1. Thanks for the ladder!
Call me a social climber if you will, but I did discover a ladder in your back yard. Thank you for leaving it where I could lean it against your home and easily reach a second-story window. I really love it when upper story openings aren’t wired to a home security system!
So, if you want to keep me out, store your ladder in the basement or a locked garage. And call your security company to wire upper-story windows into your alarm system.
A rising star
2. Loved your trash
Can’t tell you how much fun I have driving around neighborhoods on trash day (especially after big gift holidays) when the empty boxes on the curb reveal what wonderful new toys you have. Your thoughtfulness made it possible for me to land a new laptop and a flat-screen television in one easy trip to your home!
Next time, break down the boxes and conceal them in the recycling or trash bins.
3. Dear Can’t-Get-Around-To-It
Recently, I noticed you hadn’t trimmed trees and shrubs around your home, so I knew I’d have a wonderful place to hide while I worked to break into your home. I really can’t thank you enough for all the great new things I grabbed.
Next time, trim back bushes and trees near windows and doors. Make sure entry points to your home are easily visible from the street — I much prefer to work in private! While you’re at it, install motion-sensor lighting. I’m scared of bright lights!
The Tree Lover
4. Su casa es mi casa!
I was sincerely relieved to find your back door was a plain wood-panel door. I had no trouble kicking it in (my knees appreciate how easy that was!) Imagine how silly I felt when I discovered that your windows weren’t locked anyway.
You may want to take a cue from your neighbor and install steel-wrapped exterior doors with deadbolts on all your entries. And be sure your windows are locked when you’re away.
All the best,
5. Bad reflection on you
You’d be surprised how many home owners position a mirror in their entry hall so I can see from a window if the alarm system is armed. (Yours wasn’t, but I’m guessing you know that by now!) Thanks for taking a lot of pressure off of me.
A little free advice: Relocate the mirror so your alarm system isn’t visible if someone else would peer through a window.
6. The telltale grass
Wow, isn’t it amazing how fast the grass grows these days? I swung by now and then and noticed your lawn was uncut, newspapers were piling up on the front steps, and your shades were always closed. To me, that’s an open invitation.
Next time, hire someone you trust to mow regularly, pick up around the doorstep, open and close various window shades, and turn different lights on and off (or put a few on timers). One more thing: Lock any car you leave in the driveway, or I can use your garage door opener to get in quickly.
Your Trip Advisor
7. Getting carried away
Many thanks for putting your valuables into an easy-to-carry safe that I could carry right out your back door. (Nice jewelry, and thank you for the cash!)
You may want to invest in a wall safe, which I rarely attempt to open. Or, rent a lock box at your bank.
Mr. Safe and Not-So-Sound
8. Dear BFF
Thanks for alerting a professional acquaintance of mine via your social network that you were away for the week in Puerto Vallarta, having the time of your life. Me? I enjoyed a very relaxing visit to your home with no pressure of being caught.
If only you had known that posting comments and photos of your trip on social networks is fine — but do that after you return so you won’t broadcast your absence!
9. Tag, you’re it!
Where are you? When you use popular geo-tracking apps, such as FourSquare and Glympse, I might know if you’re not home. Web sites such as www.pleaserobme.com help me keep track of your whereabouts.
If you prefer that I not visit your home, be careful about geo-tagging. But, otherwise, thank you for the loot!
— Just Tagging Along
10. Thanks for the appointment
Thanks for inviting me into your home to view the laptop you wanted to sell. I do apologize for the scare I gave you when I took it (and your purse).
Did you know that some large U.S. cities are averaging one so-called “robbery by appointment” per day? If you want to sell high-ticket items to strangers, I suggest you arrange to meet at the parking lot of your local police station. I definitely won’t show up, and you’ll still have your valuables (and your purse!)
Tuesday, September 11 2012
As Hurricane Isaac relief efforts continue, American Red Cross chapters nationwide are uniting to help every family create a disaster plan.
Whether it’s a hurricane, earthquake or house fire that threatens, families need a disaster plan first to make sure they are ready when emergencies happen. “Just like no coach would bring a team onto a field without a game plan, every family needs their own game plan for emergencies,” said Russ Paulsen, executive director of Community Preparedness and Resilience at the Red Cross. “When disaster strikes, it’s too late.”
Disaster plans should include designating a meeting place right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, a location where everyone should meet if they can't go home and an out-of-area contact who can help connect separated family members. All members of the household should work together on the emergency plan and each person should know how to reach other family members.
The Red Cross has tools to make it easier for people to make or update their plan. The American Red Cross Hurricane App for iPhone and Android smart phones helps people create a plan and share it with household members and over social networks. In addition, a template to build a plan is available at redcross.org/npm.
“Being prepared is a family’s best defense,” said Richard Bissell, Ph.D., chair of American Red Cross Preparedness Sub-Council and member of its Scientific Advisory Council. “Having a plan is vital to making sure all household members know what to do in an emergency.”
OTHER WAYS TO GET READY
The Red Cross has several programs to help people, businesses, schools and communities be better prepared.
“We can’t control Mother Nature,” said Paulsen, “but we can control what we do. And having a plan can make all the difference.”
Tuesday, August 07 2012
1. Keep your home well-maintained on the outside.
Burglars want an easy target. Stand on the street outside your house and ask yourself: Does my property look neglected, hidden, or uninhabited? A front door or walkway that’s obscured by shrubbery offers crooks the perfect cover they need while they break a door or window. To improve security, trim shrubs away from windows and widen front walks.
2. Install motion detector lights.
All sides of your house should be well-lit with motion-activated lighting, not just the front. Simple motion-activated floodlights cost less than $50 each, and installing them is an easy DIY job if the wiring is already in place.
3. Store your valuables.
Thieves want easy-to-grab electronics, cash, jewelry, and other valuables, though some are not above running down the street with your flat-screen TV. Most make a beeline for the master bedroom, because that’s where you’re likely to hide spare cash, jewelry, even guns. Tour each room and ask yourself: is there anything here that I can move to a safe deposit box? Installing a home safe ($150 to $500) that’s bolted to your basement slab is a good repository for items you don’t use on a daily basis.
4. Secure your data.
While you probably won’t be putting your home computer in a safe anytime soon, take steps to back up the personal information stored on it. Password protect your login screen, and always shut off your computer when not in use (you’ll save energy, too!) Don’t overlook irreplaceable items whose value may hard to quantify, like digital photos.
5. Prepare ahead of time in case the worst happens.
Tuesday, July 31 2012
Successful burglars have lots in common — home owners who unwittingly give invitations to robbery. Here’s how thieves thank you for your generosity.
You come home to an open front door, a ransacked house, and missing valuables. How did a burglar know you’d be gone? How did they get in?
1. Thanks for the ladder!
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-security/how-to-prevent-burglaries/#ixzz21jzxsdEr
Tuesday, July 03 2012
Ahhhh! At the end of a busy day, who doesn’t look forward to the surge of well being that comes with closing the door behind you, finally able to relax now that the world is at bay. Whether living in apartments or homes, everyone deserves that feeling of safety and security. Yet, like most everything else, real security has to be earned.
In the area of home security, we’ve come across both good and bad news. The good: the most recent FBI report shows that the number of burglaries is decreasing across the nation. The bad: burglaries are still responsible for 23% of property crimes, and total losses for those were estimated at more than $15,000,000,000. That’s billion. Fortunately, a few very simple actions can reduce the chances that any of our Evansvillehomes will become one of those statistics.
Close and Lock Doors and Windows
This may seem obvious, but the FBI reports that burglars don't use force in about a third of homes hit by burglaries. If a criminal can gain easy access through an open or unlocked window or door -- including the garage door -- his job becomes that much easier…and, from his point of view, that much safer (yes, burglars are safety-conscious!). Since most burglaries take place during the day, Evansville homes will be significantly more secure if their owners remember to check the windows and doors whenever they leave.
Opt For Deadbolt Locks
Most people don’t realize how flimsy most front door locks actually are. While no lock is impenetrable, deadbolts take longer to break. Since burglars look for the easiest way to enter homes, most will give up and find homes with more vulnerable locks. This seems a small detail, but thoughtful protection like this can be a selling point for Evansville homes whenever their owners decide to put them up for sale.
Install a Home Security System
Whether a simple burglar alarm or a complex system with motion sensors, window and door sensors, surveillance cameras and even 24/7 off-site monitoring, burglars who find that they are expected know they will be risking arrest. It’s why statistics show that just having a security sign out front can help deter break-ins. The cost of security systems can be partially offset by a discount (usually 5% - 10%) from your home’s insurer.
An important part of owning homes is protecting them -- and ‘the buck stops’ with you, the owner. I hope you will consider me a trusted resource forEvansville home maintenance and security-related referrals anytime!
Friday, June 08 2012
It is better to send text messages than to call when natural disasters strike and networks get congested, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday, also urging people to add battery-powered cell phone chargers to their storm emergency kits.
Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told reporters that forecasts for a "normal" Atlantic hurricane season should not keep those in potentially affected areas from getting ready for storms that could make landfall.
"There is no forecast yet that says where they are going to hit or not hit. So if you live along the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic, and as far inland as the folks in Vermont found out last year, you need to be prepared for this hurricane season," Fugate said at a White House news briefing.
The U.S. government is working to extend its public alert warning system beyond radio and television to mobile networks, Fugate said, noting that most new and upgraded cell phones have the capacity to receive such emergency notices.
Households without fixed-line phones should be ready to charge cell phones during power cuts, the FEMA administrator said, also calling on families to make alternative communication plans for when wireless networks are congested.
"When there's a big crisis, don't try to call people on your phones - text message. It's a lot faster and gets through. Use social media to update people ... and also be prepared when power outages occur how you're going to keep your electronic devices charged," Fugate said. "Add to your evacuation kits your cell phone chargers."
(Reporting by Laura MacInnis; Editing by Anthony Boadle) http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/31/uk-usa-weather-storms-idUSLNE84U01D20120531
Monday, May 14 2012
Surviving a Deadly Twister, Twice in 65 Years!
WOODWARD, Okla. — On April 9, 1947, Wilma Lake was alone in her apartment on Oak Avenue when a tornado swept through this rural town in the dark of night. She survived — crouching beneath a table — but many of her neighbors did not.
For Ms. Lake, then a 23-year-old office assistant, life went on: she would soon become Mrs. Nelson, marrying Eldon Nelson, who was known as Bud, and raise three children at 3412 Robin Drive. In graceful cursive, the brass knocker on the front door read: The Nelsons.
Early Sunday morning, shortly after midnight, Mrs. Nelson, now 87, was home alone again, on the city’s west side, in the house on Robin Drive, when an alert came over her weather radio warning of a tornado spotted a few miles outside town.
Barefoot and in her pajamas, she stood inside a small closet in the master bedroom, trying to get her son’s dog, a tan-and-white cocker spaniel named Sugar, in with her. Sugar refused, so Mrs. Nelson shut the door.
“It was so fast,” she said. “I hadn’t been in there anytime at all until it was like a bomb went off. I guess it was the roof blowing off.”
As happened 65 years ago, Mrs. Nelson survived, uninjured, even though a piece of wallboard fell on her head. And this time, six of her neighbors died, in the deadliest of a series of tornadoes that left a trail of destruction throughout the central Plains late Saturday and early Sunday.
The tornado that struck Woodward was nowhere near as powerful as the one in the 1947. But for the handful of men and women in this city of 15,000 who survived the earlier tornado, the devastation stirred painful memories.
The great tornado remains part of the lore and history of the place — the mural on The Woodward News building has a swirling twister painted on it — but no one thought anything like that would happen again.
On Monday afternoon, Mrs. Nelson went back to her house for the first time since the tornado struck, injuring more than two dozen people and demolishing 89 homes and 13 businesses as it cut a miles-long path through the city. Oklahoma officials raised the death toll to six from five. Three of the victims were identified on Tuesday as Frank Hobbie, 24, and his two daughters, Faith, 7, and Kelly, 4. Two others who died were Derrin Juul, 41, and his daughter Rose Marie, 10. A 63-year-old man also died in the Texas hospital to which he had been airlifted.
For the most part, 3412 Robin Drive exists in name only. The tornado rendered it a kind of half home: roofless, with caved-in white brick walls and shattered glass. The closet in which Mrs. Nelson took shelter now has the equivalent of a sunroof. The winds were so strong that a shard of a roof shingle pierced a plastic bottle of hand soap next to the closet and stuck there, like a dart.
Around the corner, a 10,000-square-foot store called Carpet Direct was ripped to shreds, with an upturned truck next to the wreckage.
As she surveyed the ruins of the home she shared with her late husband and the rest of her family for 47 years, Mrs. Nelson said she was not sure what it all means — surviving two of the worst nighttime tornadoes in Oklahoma history.
Mrs. Nelson, who turns 88 in July, stands 5-foot-2 and weighs 125 pounds, and her survival seemed to defy logic.
“I think the Lord must have left me here for a purpose,” she said, chuckling.
Relatives and neighbors — even the state insurance commissioner, John D. Doak — went to the house to greet Mrs. Nelson on Monday. As she sat in what remained of her living room, a friend arrived and gave her a hug.
“I’m going to make it,” Mrs. Nelson told her, tears in her eyes. “I’m a toughie. I told them at the hospital I was a tough old coot.”
Amid the destruction, the smallest things survived.
For 28 years, Mrs. Nelson kept a white bowl labeled “Grandma’s Goodies” on top of the refrigerator, with candies for her grandchildren and other children in the neighborhood. After the tornado, there it sat, without a crack in it. The front door remained intact, too, the door knocker unscarred.
Mrs. Nelson said only one thing went through her mind as the roof tore loose. “I was so worried about Sugar, and I just said, ‘Oh, God, take care of Sugar, take care of Sugar,’ ” she said.
After the tornado hit, one of her grandsons, Shane Semmel, 38, was the first relative to arrive at the house. Mrs. Nelson was in an ambulance parked outside. “She wasn’t worried about her house or anything else,” Mr. Semmel said. “She was worried about that dog.”
Mr. Semmel walked inside. Sugar was in the kitchen, covered in insulation. He knelt down and checked her. She was fine. She had survived.
Monday, March 05 2012
Make a home emergency preparedness kit with all the essential supplies to aid you in case a disaster strikes your area.
Putting together a home emergency preparedness kit you hope never to use may seem like a waste of time and money. But when disasters happen that are beyond your control, you can take charge of how you respond.
Items for an emergency preparedness kit
Store all items in an easy-to-carry bag or suitcase that’s readily accessible. Make sure everyone in the family knows where it is and what it contains. If you need to evacuate your home quickly, here are the essentials you’ll need for a basic “grab and go” kit:
Tailor a emergency preparedness kit to your needs
Along with the basics like food and water, it’s important to have what you need for your particular situation. You may not need extra blankets in southern California, but you do need escape ladders in case of wildfire. And you’ll want extra blankets to survive a winter power outage in Maine.
Update your emergency preparedness kit regularly
Replace all food and water approaching its expiration date. Replace batteries. You might pick a specific time each year to check, such as before hurricane season in the south or after Thanksgiving if you live in the north.
Buy a pre-made kit
As an alternative to making your own kit, you can buy a fully stocked kit from the American Red Cross. A kit with a three-day supply of essentials for one adult costs $50 to $70.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/emergency-preparedness/make-home-emergency-preparedness-kit/#ixzz1ncZcTjyB
Friday, March 02 2012
You dropped and broke a CFL bulb. No need to call a Haz Mat team — just keep a cool head and follow these 8 tips.
A broken compact fluorescent bulb isn’t cause for panic, but it is cause for concern. CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs typically contain a small amount of mercury, which can turn into dangerous mercury vapor if the bulb breaks.
Cleaning up and disposing of a broken CFL properly is important, especially if you have young children, you’re pregnant, or the bulb breaks on a carpet.
Step 2: Gather up cleaning supplies
Step 3: Cleaning up your broken CFL
Step 4: Double-check your work
Did your CFL break onto a carpet? If you have small children who crawl or play on the carpet, you may want to replace the area of carpet where the CFL bulb broke. A Maine Deparment of Environmental Protection Agency study says residule mercury left behind after you clean the carpet can be released as vapor when children play or sit on the carpet.
You can avoid the problem entirely by using only LED or halogen bulbs in rooms where your kids play or sleep, and in your bedroom while you’re pregnant. Also, make sure you’re using CFLs appropriately to keep them from burning out too soon.
Step 5: Take out the trash
If you vacuumed, take the whole vacuum outside before pulling the bag out of the machine. Seal the vacuum bag and put it in the trash. If you have a canister vacuum, empty the canister into your sealable container and wipe the inside of the canister clean. Put the cleaning rag into the container, too.
Step 7: Remove the debris from your property
Ask local government officials where to find one in your area.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/lighting/broken-cfl-clean-up/#ixzz1ncYW3mmv
Wednesday, November 09 2011
In less than three minutes, a house fire can become uncontrollable. In 1975, house fires tended to not become uncontrollable until an average of 17 minutes, according to a report by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology.
Despite better smoke alarms, home fires are spreading faster nowadays, studies show, so why are blazes spreading quicker?
Certain home furnishings may be one of the biggest culprits of home fires burning faster, some fire experts say. For example, upholstered furniture contains flammable polyurethane foam, which can potentially increase fire hazards. Also, fire experts note in an AOL Real Estate article, homes nowadays are constructed with more open floor plans and building materials, such as wallboard, that can contribute to faster spreading fires too.
Source: “Hot Stat: Today’s Homes Burn Faster Than Ever,” AOL Real Estate News (Nov. 7, 2011)
Wednesday, August 10 2011
Carbon monoxide (CO) in your home can be a quiet, deadly killer. You can’t see or smell it, but in high enough levels, it can kill someone in moments. CO is produced whenever any fuel is burned – oil, gas, wood, charcoal, etc…Typically, the amount released into your home environment from well-maintained and properly operating appliances, but still hundreds of people die every year from CO poisoning.
Symptoms of CO poisoning:
If you suspect CO poisoning – get to fresh air, and get an emergency room quickly. Be sure to let the doctor know you suspect CO poisoning.
Prevention is the best way to avoid CO Poisoning
Thursday, January 20 2011
GET WINTER-WISE: Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather
December 22 is the first day of winter 2010/2011. In many parts of the country, cooler weather has already begun to set in. So before you curl up with a good book or head outdoors to enjoy the snow, take time to make sure your home is ready for cold weather so it can enjoy the winter as well.
Inspect your heating system.
Breathe easier this winter. Have an HVAC professional inspect your furnace and clean air ducts to remove dust. Then, make sure you have a good supply of furnace filters on hand and make a note to change them every month. Something as simple as changing a furnace filter can reduce heating costs by up to 5%. If you have hot-water radiators, bleed the valves.
Replace old thermostats.
Nearly 50% of the energy used in a typical American home is for heating and cooling. Think about replacing your thermostat with a programmable one, allowing you to keep your home a little cooler at night.
Ready your chimney and fireplace.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace that hasn't been cleaned recently, hire a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote. Chimneys should be capped or screened to keep birds or rodents from nesting there. Check your fireplace damper and make sure it still opens and closes properly. For brick chimneys, inspect the mortar and tuckpoint if needed.
Go outside. Weatherize the exterior, doors and windows.
Inspect the outside of your home. Look for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes and seal them. Weatherstrip around doors and gaps along the foundation helps to keep cold air out. Caulk around windows for the same reason. Switch out screens and storm windows in the fall, before it gets cold.
Do you need more attic insulation?
Although insulating or upgrading insulation can be a big step, it is relatively easy to add insulation to most attics. A poorly insulated attic can be a major source of heat loss.
Up on the roof.
Inspect your roof, gutters and downspouts. Replace roof shingles that are worn and check the flashing to make sure your roof is watertight. Clean leaves and debris from gutters and if you don't have them already, think about installing leaf guards. Clear downspouts with a hose.
No more frozen pipes.
You can prevent your plumbing from freezing with a few easy steps:
• Drain and detach all garden hoses.
• Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
• Drain air conditioner pipes. If your air conditioning system has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
• Leave heat on while on vacation (at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit).
When the Lights go out
Prepare for power outages ahead of time:
• Buy indoor candles and matches or a lighter.
• Keep a flashlight and extra batteries on each floor of your home.
• Keep the phone numbers of utility companies near your phone or inside your phone book.
• Buy a battery-operated radio.
• Have extra bottled water and non-perishable foods on hand. Don't forget food for your pets.
• Protect computer and sensitive electronic equipment with a battery backup and/or surge protector(s).
• Keep blankets and a first-aid kid in a location that's easy to access and remember.
• Prepare an evacuation plan for emergencies.
Friday, August 27 2010
I found a great site for smoke detectors and other essential safety products for the deaf and hard of hearing. We take many things for granted and sometimes forget that there are friends and family members amongst us who have disabilities and need special help.
Smoke, Fire, and CO Detectors for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Smoke detectors save lives. We know you take your safety and the safety of your loved ones and friends very seriously. That's why we've taken the time to hand select a collection of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. From the popular Gentex smoke detector to the Kidde smoke alarm and beyond, make Products for the Deaf your first choice when safety matters. We're proud to offer products like the Gentex smoke alarm that features an alert alarm with strobe light. You can buy with confidence knowing that your smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector is time tested and hard working.
Here is a link to the website: http://www.productsforthedeaf.com/smoke,-fire,-and-co-detectors