Safety

House Numbers

In an emergency, police, fire and ambulance personnel depend on house numbers to find where their services are needed. Hidden, unlighted or nonexistent house numbers often waste precious time. House numbering guidelines include the following:

  • Numbers must be visible from the street
  • Numbers should be at least four inches high
  • Numbers should be placed on a contrasting background, with a reflective coating on the numbers for easy visibility at night
  • Numbers should be placed on or beside the front door. If your door is not easily seen from the street, put the numbers on a post, fence or tree at the driveway entrance so that they can be clearly seen from the street
  • In addition to the numbers on the front door of your house, if you have a rural style mailbox, reflective and contrasting numbers should be placed on both sides of the box so emergency personnel approaching from either direction can see them
  • It is not necessary to put your name on your mailbox. Only your house number and, if there is room, the road or street name. Having the street name on the mailbox is useful especially if the municipal street sign is missing.

Keeping Kids Safe – Child Luring

It’s natural for kids to trust people, especially adults. Kids need to know common-sense rules that can help keep them safe and build the self-confidence they need to handle emergencies.  By following the tips below, kids can prepare themselves so they know what to do if someone approaches and tries to lure them into a car or asks them to go somewhere with them.

Make Sure Your Kids Know:  (From Safe Kids, Inc. curriculum)

  • Always “CHECK FIRST” before you go anywhere with anyone at any time for any reason.  This includes going with relatives and people you know.  You should always check first with the person who is caring for you at that time.  If it is impossible to check with your parent or babysitter, then the answer is “NO!  You may no go.”
  • Learn your full name, address, and phone number, plus your parent’s work phone number. If your parents have a cellular phone learn these numbers as well.
  • Always have at least one other person with you when you are out walking.  If you are in a group, make sure everyone stays with the group and no one if left behind.
  • When outside your house, do not ear clothing or a backpack or other articles with your name visible on it.  A person could read it and call you by name, hoping you’ll believe that they are to be trusted.
  • If someone tries to talk to you from inside his/her car, stay more than an adult arm’s length away from the car so that you cannot be reached by the person inside the car.
  • If someone wants you to get into a car to help find a lost pet, or to leave with them for any reason, you should yell “NO” as loudly as possible and run to the closest adult whom you know and trust.
  • Run in the opposite direction from the one that the car is facing.  It is harder to drive in reverse than straight ahead.
  • If an adult tries to convince you he or she is not a stranger and that you can trust him or her, do not be fooled if you are not sure.  You are right to yell “NO” and run away.
  • Once you are in a safe place, write down as much as you remember about the car.  What color was it?  Was is a car, truck or van?  How many doors did it have?  Do you remember the license plate?  Also, write down what you remember about how the person in the car looked and where you were when this happened.
  • Remember to call 9-1-1 for help.

Safeguard Your Children

  • Learn about warning signs that your child might be involved with drugs or gangs
  • Spend time listening to your children or just being with them. Help them find positive, fun activities that they can take part in
  • Always know about your child’s activities
  • Know where your child is and when he or she will return.
  • Be sure you and your child are clear on your rules and expectations for activities. Make absolutely clear what is OK and what is not.
  • Teach your child Internet safety tips. The people they talk to online might not be who they say they are.

Internet Safety Tips (From National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)

  • Clear, simple easy-to-read house rules should be posted on or near the monitor. Create your own computer rules or print the Internet safety pledge. The pledge can be signed by adults and children and should be periodically reviewed.
  • Look into safeguarding programs or options your online service provider might offer. These may include monitoring or filtering capabilities.
  • Always read a website’s privacy policy before giving any personal information. Also make sure that a website offers a secure connection before giving credit card information.
  • Websites for children are not permitted to request personal information without a parent’s permission. Talk to children about what personal information is and why you should never give it to people online.
  • If children use chat or email, talk to them about never meeting in person with anyone they first “met” online.
  • Talk to children about not responding to offensive or dangerous email, chat, or other communications. Report any such communication to local law enforcement. Do not delete the offensive or dangerous email; turn off the monitor, and contact local law enforcement.
  • Keep the computer in the family room or another open area of your home.
  • Get informed about computers and the Internet.
  • Let children show you what they can do online, and visit their favorite sites.
  • Have children use child-friendly search engines when completing homework.
  • Know who children are exchanging emails with and only let them use chat areas when you can supervise.
  • Be aware of any other computers your child may be using.
  • Internet accounts should be in the parent’s name with parents having the primary screen name, controlling passwords, and using blocking and/or filtering devices.
  • Children should not complete a profile for a service provider and children’s screen names should be nondescript so as not to identify that the user is a child.
  • Talk to children about what to do if they see something that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable or confused. Show them how to turn off the monitor and emphasize that it’s not their fault if they see something upsetting. Remind children to tell a trusted adult if they see something that bothers them online.
  • Consider using filtering or monitoring software for your computer. Filtering products that use whitelisting, which only allows a child access to a preapproved list of sites, are recommended for children in this age group.
  • If you suspect online “stalking” or sexual exploitation of a child, report it to your local law enforcement agency. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has a system for identifying online predators and child pornographers and contributing to law enforcement investigations. It’s called the Cyber Tipline®. Leads forwarded to the site will be acknowledged and shared with the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.

Safe at Home

  • Make sure that all doors to the outside are metal or solid, 1 3/4 inch hardwood.
  • Make sure all doors to the outside have good, sturdy locks.
  • Use the lock you have. Always lock up your home when you go out, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
  • Secure sliding glass doors with commercially available bars or locks, or put a wooden dowel or broomstick in the door track.
  • Make sure your windows, especially at ground level, have good locks and use them.
  • Make sure all possible entrances are well-lit.
  • Trim any bushes or trees that hide doors or windows. Keep ladders, tools, toys, and recreational equipment inside when you’re not using them
  • Don’t hide your house keys under the doormat or in a flowerpot. It’s much wiser to give an extra key to a trusted neighbor.
  • Keep written records of all furniture, jewelry and electronic products. If possible, keep these records in a safe deposit box, fireproof safe, or other secure place. Take pictures or a video, and keep purchase information and serial numbers if available. These help law enforcement agencies track recovered items.
  • Clearly display your house number, so police and other emergency vehicles can find your home quickly.

When You Go Away

  • Put a hold on your mail with the post office.
  • Put a hold on your newspaper delivery.
  • Contact the police department for a “house check.”
  • Put automatic timers on at least two lights (and possibly a radio) to help your home look and sound lived-in.

Avoiding Fraud & Scams

  • Con artists are not always easy to spot. Smart, extremely persuasive, and aggressive, they invade your home through the telephone and the mail, advertise in reputable newspapers and magazines, and come to your door. Most people think they’re too smart to fall for a scam. But con artists rob all kinds of people from investment counselors and doctors to teenagers and elderly widows of billions every year. It’s up to you to say no. Use common sense and learn about old and new scams.
  • Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • If a caller asks for your credit card number to verify a free vacation or other gift, hang up. Your number may be used to charge purchases by phone.
  • Be very suspicious if you receive a collect call from someone who says he’s a law-enforcement officer with emergency information about a family member, requesting your phone card number to charge the call. Other variations this scam include a telephone company investigator checking a system failure, or an FCC official investigating a complaint.
  • Also be very suspicious if you receive a call from someone who requests you send money because a family member has been arrested or has been in an accident.
  • Ask for a financial report if a caller requests a charitable donation. Reputable charities will always send this information if you ask.
  • Never make an investment with a stranger over the phone

Avoiding Identity Theft (from Experian)

Your Identity Theft Protection Checklist

  • Adopt a need-to-know approach to your Social Security number and mother’s maiden name. If a business asks for this information, ask what it will do with the information, why the company needs it, how the company will protect it, and what will happen if you refuse to provide this information.
  • Never carry your Social Security card, birth certificate, checks, credit cards, or passports unless you need them.
  • Shred or hide all documents (credit card statements, bills, credit card receipts, tax returns, unused checks, cancelled checks, and credit reports) that contain account information, Social Security numbers, PINs, or sensitive information. Also shred or otherwise destroy expired credit cards and driver’s licenses, and never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptacles, or unattended gas pumps.
  • Check your credit report at least quarterly. If you are planning to make a major purchase that will require a credit check, check your credit report monthly.
  • Inspect credit card bills, telephone bills, and bank statements for unauthorized use.
  • Keep your computer files locked and password-protected.
    • When not in use, log off your computer.
    • Create a separate account for each user and do not share your computer login passwords with anyone (with the exception of a trusted spouse or computer administrator).
  • Do not use public or work computers to access bank accounts or other personal accounts.
  • Never send personal information via email, and never respond to emails asking you to verify your password, account number, Social Security number, or credit card numbers.
  • Install antivirus software, anti-spyware, and firewall software to prevent cyber-programs that steal personal information.
  • Consult with a network professional to make sure your computer system is secure.
  • When paying by credit card, keep your credit card within sight at all times to avoid “skimming,” which occurs when a worker swipes your credit card into a portable electronic device that gathers all the personal information the card contains.
  • Use ATMs located at major banks only. Never use ATMs that have evidence of tampering, and be cautious of people who might be able to see your card account number of PIN.
  • Be secretive about your passwords and PINs.
    • Use passwords that are at least six digits and include letters, numbers, symbols, and upper and lower cases.
    • Choose different passwords and PINs for each account.
    • Do not choose obvious passwords. Avoid pets’ names, birthdates, or last four digits of your phone number or Social Security number.
    • Change passwords regularly.
    • Memorize passwords instead of writing them down.
    • Do not give passwords or PINs to other people.
  • Do not respond to incoming phone calls requesting personal information. If a creditor or organization calls with a legitimate need for your personal information (account numbers, Social Security number, or credit card information), hang up and verify the phone number and legitimacy of the caller before returning the call.
  • When giving vendors your credit card number or other personal information via telephone, make sure no eavesdroppers can overhear the conversation.
  • Opt out of the mailing lists for pre-approved credit card offers.
  • Open all bills and bank statements promptly and reconcile all accounts monthly.
  • Notify your creditors before you move.
  • Never use open mailboxes to send or receive mail. Instead, use locked mailboxes or United States Postal Service mailboxes.
  • When on vacation, ask the post office to place a vacation hold on all mail.
  • Keep a schedule that indicates when credit card bills, bank statements, new credit cards, and other mail is scheduled to arrive, and contact all relevant creditors, banks, or vendors if an expected piece of mail is late.
  • Never send new checks to a mailbox, secured or not. Instead, ask the issuing bank to hold the checks at the branch.
  • Never mail anything with your account number printed on the outside of the envelope.
  • When shopping online, follow two rules:
    • Purchase only from reputable companies and confirm that sites are secure before placing an online order. Look for the closed lock icon to appear at the bottom of your browser to check the website’s security status. Also check the site’s privacy policies to make sure they are not distributing or selling your name and information without your permission.
    • Do not save to “remember” credit card information or passwords with websites. Even reputable companies have security breaches.
  • Order your Social Security Earnings and Benefits Statement annually to check for fraud.
  • WHAT TO DO IF YOUR IDENTITY IS STOLEN:
    • Information on line at ftc.gov/idtheft

 

House Check

When you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time you can place your home on a house check list. This does not replace other security measures that you should take to protect your home. It does inform our officers that you are away and when possible they will check the exterior of your residence to ensure that it is secure.

Do the following:

  • Call our office a short time before the home will be vacant.
  • Provide the date you will be leaving and the date of your return.
  • Provide an emergency contact person and phone number that we can contact if problems are found.
  • Provide any special circumstances such as vehicles that will be left in the driveway or persons who may be checking or working in your home, etc.

Tips

  • Leave blinds open in their usual position.
  • Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded or held by the post office.
  • Lower the sound of your telephone ringer and answering machine so they can’t be heard outside.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed in summer and your walk and driveway shoveled in winter.
  • Ask a friend to pick-up “throw-away” newspaper and circulars.
  • Use automatic timers to turn lights on and off in various parts of the home at appropriate times.
  • Consider connecting a radio to a timer.

Child Safety Seats

Quality E.M.S. provides free car seat safety checks or installation by certified car seat technicians. This service is provided by appointment only.

Call 724-625-6400 for information or to make an appointment.