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Carbon Monoxide Safety

by Cassie October 27, 2016

Monitored Fire detector

Most people are aware they need fire alarms to warn them of a fire. But many people are not as aware of carbon monoxide. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a deadly and invisible gas. Colorless, tasteless, odorless, and poisonous. In 2007, there were 2,302 confirmed cases of people being hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning. It is essential to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home as many appliances release this deadly gas. My Alarm Center provides a monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detection system that can keep your home safe, even when you’re not there.

The benefits of My Alarm Center’s monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors include:

  • A linked central monitoring board so that when the alarm is set off, help can be notified immediately. This will take place even when you’re not home and when the security alarm is not armed.
  • Monitoring can provide protection to many people who are not capable of responding to a traditional alarm. This could include the elderly, disabled, children, people suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, and pets. The alarm immediately responds to safety providers.
  • The system provided by My Alarm Center monitors carbon monoxide and smoke in the air 24 hours a day.
  • Once the Central Monitoring Station is alerted, it first calls the home to assess the situation. If there is no response, the authorities are immediately contacted.
  • First Responders will arrive at the scene in minutes.

Firefighters recommend placing one monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detector in every bedroom and living space to ensure complete safety in the home. Unfortunately, too many people are endangered because they don’t have a working fire alarm or carbon monoxide detector. My Alarm Center’s fire and carbon monoxide detector system has the ability to constantly monitor your home and to keep it safe even when you’re not there. This system can give you peace of mind when you’re not home and alert you before a disaster can take place. Contact My Alarm Center for more information on professionally monitored Carbon Monoxide detectors.

Purchase Guide For Home Safes

by Cassie October 4, 2016

In order to keep your valuables safe inside of your home, you may want to consider purchasing a safe. There are many different features provided by different types of safes, and it is important to purchase a safe that will fit your specific needs. Freshhome.com provides useful feedback on the purchase process.

Home Safe

Purchase Guide For Home Safes

1.Determine what valuables you will store.
Determine the types of valuables you plan to protect inside the safe, and gather these items together. One essential document that should be contained inside of the safe is an inventory of your possessions. This way, if there ever was an incident, you have an inventory to prove what you own. To determine the rest of the safe’s contents, start with important paperwork. Identify documents like birth certificates, passports, and legal paperwork. Any important business investments or financial documents should also be included. Expensive jewelry and external hard drives are contents that should be included as well.

2. Determine what size you want.
Once you determine the quantity and type of valuables you will be storing, you should have a general idea about the size you will need. It is also a good idea to determine the location of the safe in your home before you purchase it. A common size in-home safe is usually about 1.2 or 1.3 cubic feet, which would contain stacks of 8 1/2 by 11-inch paper, stacked up to 12 inches in height. Determine the height, width, and depth of your valuables to choose the best safe for your needs.

3. Determine what you need to protect your valuables from.
Different safes are designed to protect their contents from different disasters. Some are designed solely for theft or water damage, and others are to protect from a fire. These features are provided and are available in various options.
Fire Resistant: It is very common for homeowners to pursue purchasing a safe in order to protect their valuables from a fire. Safes are tested to determine what type of material they are supposed to protect and how long they can withstand heat. For storage of different contents, the inside of the safe needs to be kept at a certain internal temperature in order to offer protection. Paper documents can be protected at an internal temperature of up to 350 degrees. If you plan to store old tape recordings, the internal temperature can only reach 150 degrees. The storage of CD’s or DVD’s need to be preserved at 125 degrees. A big factor is how long the safe can withstand a fire. Most commonly, home safes will provide around 30 minutes of protection.
½-hour fire protection at 1550°F or 843°C
1-hour fire protection at 1700°F or 927°C
2-hour fire protection at 1850°F or 1010°C
Theft Protection: The average amount of time that the common safe can withstand an attack is around 15 minutes with household tools. The average 1.2 or 1.3 cubic-foot scale weighs close to 100 pounds when it is empty, so it would be very difficult to steal the entire safe. Many safes include bolt down kits and also provide options to be concealed in a wall or anchored on a concrete floor.
Water Resistance: Water protection is usually included with basic fire or theft resistant safes. Some safes are submerged in water to be tested in an accurate simulation of flooding. Other safes are only water resistant and can maintain flooding for up to one hour.

4. Determine the type of safe you need.
Small safes are usually less than 0.8 cubic feet in size. Medium-sized safes are usually larger than 0.8 cubic feet. Large safes are between 1.2 and 2.0 cubic feet. Extra-large safes are anything over 2.0 cubic feet in capacity.
Wall Safe: This safe is known to be lightweight and usually of smaller size. These work well for storing paperwork and photographs.
Floor Safe: This is a bulkier option, but gives the most flexibility with features. Larger items can be stored and the weight of its content is not an issue.
Weapons Safe: Specialty weapon safes are designed differently than the average floor safe. These are equipped with extra locks, pry-proof metals, and locking bolt technology.
Lowes.com provides tips on the best size safe for you and what the storage capacity of different safes are.

5. Determine what kind of lock you need.
There are two options for locks when purchasing a safe: Dial and Digital. Each has advantages and disadvantages so it is important to evaluate them before your purchase.
Dial Locks: These locks are traditional turn-dials. They are opened by rotating the dial to the right and left to input the combination. This is seen as the most reliable option because the possibility of an electronic failure is eliminated. However, if the combination is forgotten, then a professional is needed to reset it.
Digital Lock: This is the type of lock usually used in hotel safes. They open with the input of a numerical pin. This is an easier way to open the safe and allows you to have access to your belongings quickly. This safe has a drawback of needing to replace the batteries regularly in order to lock it effectively.

6. Determine where to put it.
The best place to put the safe varies depending on the design of your home. Statistics prove the master bedroom of a home is the first stop for intruders in most home security breaches. It is recommended to keep the safe in a different location for this reason. The basement provides the best protection in case of a fire, but also could be damaged in the case of flooding.

7. Determine your price range.
A basic fire chest normally costs around $25 at most local retailers. This would be able to hold a normal stack of documents. An average home safe of 1.2 or 1.3 cubic feet costs around $150 to $300. Anything of a larger scale is more expensive and if it includes different features like drawers and shelving it will also add to the price tag.

8. Determine where to purchase the safe.
Home safes are available at many retailers including Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Sears. There are also many options listed online and through Amazon.com.

Once you determine that you would like to purchase an in-home safe to protect your valuables it is important to evaluate these tips in order to make the right purchasing decision. The size of the safe, the contents it will hold, and what levels of protection are needed are important to evaluate before you make a purchase. Worried about your valuables? Add a primary layer of protection for your valuables with My Alarm Center’s home security systems. We provide professional home monitoring for properties from Philadelphia to Seattle.

Home Safety for Independent Seniors

by Amy September 26, 2016

senior home safety
While there are various retirement homes and options for assisted living, many senior citizens prefer to remain in their homes. Seniors have the ability to live in their homes until a much later age with the help of personal medical alert systems. By receiving assistance at the push of a button, seniors can remain independent, but connected to the appropriate emergency response contacts. In addition to personal security systems, it is important that senior homes are safely equipped to accommodate aging needs to allow for a safe and independent lifestyle.

Useful tips for senior safety around the house:

In the Kitchen:
• Rearrange cabinet contents so that reaching and bending is limited
• Replace cabinet knobs with handles for easier access
• Purchase a refrigerator with a lower freezer
• Elevate the front of the refrigerator so that the doors will swing closed
• Install swivel plates in the bottom of corner cabinets to make for easier access
• Use the microwave before using the oven whenever possible to avoid burns, but not if a pacemaker is used
• Use a faucet with one level that can balance water temperatures
• Ensure the temperature on your water heater is set to 120 degrees
• Use an electric teakettle over a stovetop option. The best model has an automatic shutoff feature
• Ensure to check expiration dates on food often

In the Bedroom:
• Install bed railings to make it easier to get in and out of bed
• Check smoke detectors regularly
• Keep a flashlight near the bed for easy access
• Install motion detector lights near the bed side floor
• Keep a chair in the bedroom to use for assisting in getting dressed
• Keep the floor area of the bedroom clear and avoid the use of throw rugs
• Consider using a medical alert system

In the Bathroom:

• Elevate toilet seats to make getting up and down easier
• Install a grab bar next to the toilet, shower, and tub to help getting up and down
• Install a medical alert button near the shower
• Replace knobs on faucets with handles that are labeled hot and cold
• Install power outlets on a level that is easily accessible
• Use a night light in the bathroom
• Remove door locks from the bathroom door in order to make it easier for a loved one to assist if needed
• Redesign the bathroom to have a walk in tub or shower. Installing a seat within the shower is an important safety feature
• Install non-skid strips onto the shower floor

In the Living Room:

• Use carpeting rather than hardwood floors to provide better traction
• Remove items from the floor used for decoration like plants, baskets, and footstools
• Replace chairs that have wheels
• Ensure that all power cords are moved out of the way and lamps are placed in areas they cannot be tripped on

Home and Recreational Safety:
• Replace the front door knob with a lever handle
• Make sure flashlights are always easily available
• Always wear shoes that fit properly and have a low heel
• Reinforce stairway railings and install more hand holding railings throughout the house
• Have canes or walkers present if necessary
• Keep smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on every floor
• Keep important items at waist level and ensure to avoid standing on chairs or ladders
• Salt the driveway and walkways during the winter
• Be cautious of identity theft
• Be aware of medication side effects

It is very possible for senior citizens to maintain their independence and live on their own, but it is essential that their houses are reinforced with safety precautions. These tips are provided by A Place for Mom. For information on My Alarm Center’s personal emergency response system visit our site or contact us today.

Back to School Child Safety Tips

by Cassie August 9, 2016

School Safety Tips

The school year is starting up. While you are out buying school supplies and new outfits, take the time to teach your children school safety tips as well. Review safety tips for transportation and also emergency contact information. If an emergency does arise, be confident that your child will know what to do because you’ve taught them how to respond. Use these safety tips to ensure your child stays safe this school year.

School Bus Safety: The American Red Cross informs children on how to stay safe while riding the school bus. Security tips include how to wait to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the driver instructs them to get on. Your child should ensure that they are always getting on to their designated school bus, no alternatives.
Carpool Safety: If your neighborhood is participating in a carpool, make sure that every driver in the group is following proper safety protocol. All passengers need to be buckled, and anyone who is under 13 years old should travel in the back. Never attempt to overload a car full of children to save a trip. Travel safety tips are available on safecar.gov and provide feedback for parents on how to keep their children safe on the way to and from school.
Walking Safety: Children 10 years old and younger should always be accompanied by an adult on their way to and from school. Teach them the basic traffic laws of a walking pedestrian by abiding by crosswalk rules and walking traffic lights. Inform them to always look both ways before crossing any streets and avoid approaching strangers if possible.
Stranger Danger: Make sure to inform your child of “Stranger Danger.” It is not wise to create panic necessarily, but it is essential to explain to your child that not all people have good intentions and it is possible for bad things to happen when dealing with strangers.
Contact Information: It is important that your child remembers what number to call in case there is an emergency. All children should know their home phone number and address. Try to get them to memorize your personal phone number, and give them a piece of paper to keep in their backpack with all other emergency contacts.
Know School Policy: Determine the policy for your school in case of an emergency. It is also important to know their policies on releasing students early from school and what is needed from visitors. It is important for you to feel that your child is always safe while at school.
After School: Howtolearn.com suggests many tips to teach your children if they are going to be coming home to an empty house after school. It is important that you teach them how to be safe while they are home alone. Show them to lock the front door as soon as they come home, and to keep all other doors locked while you are not home. Your child should also never answer the front door to any strangers while no one else is home. My Alarm Center offers home security systems, that enable parents to receive alerts when children arrive home.

Whether your child is at school, coming to or from school, or home alone after school, make sure they always know what to do in order to stay safe. Role playing is suggested by experts so that you know exactly how your child will respond in an emergency situation and teach them how to handle it properly.

Sources:
http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Keep-it-Safe-When-You-Head-Back-to-School
http://www.safercar.gov/parents/OnTheMove/BackToSchool.htm
http://www.howtolearn.com/2013/09/back-to-school-home-security-tips-your-kids-need-to-know/

Home Automation Gifts for Dad

by Cassie June 13, 2016

 

Home Automation Gift

Home Automation Gifts for Dad

This year for Father’s Day, get your dad the gift of home automation. Not only will he love receiving the latest technology, but he will gain daily convenience and peace of mind, with increased home security.  Here are a few of the ways that home automation can help simplify his life and increase your family’s home security:

Keep Doors and Windows Closed

By providing your dad with a home automation system, he won’t have to worry if the garage door was left open once he sits down to relax for the night. Through automated sensors, he can simply check from his mobile device and close it with the push of a button and rest easy knowing that his lawn equipment or big kid toys are secured. Dad can check for open windows while traveling and ensure that the home is secure from anywhere.

Adjust the Thermostat

Many dads take responsibility for managing the thermostat to reduce heating costs. Most often, Dads choose to keep the house cool at night and then adjust it in the morning, to a more comfortable temperature. With smart home technology, Dad can adjust the temperature right from his mobile device or schedule the temperate change to occur at customized times of the day or night, ongoing. Manually changing the thermostat is a fatherly task of the past.

Improve Home Security

When we hear a bump in the night, Dad is usually the one who investigates. Now, he can be the protector of the castle without leaving his bedroom. Using wireless cellular monitoring, and a smart home app, Dad can monitor surveillance cameras to check on the family. Dad can also ensure that the home is secure while traveling, providing increased rest and relaxation.

Eliminate Keys

Dad will never have to worry about locking out any family members or hiding a spare key. Secure key pads provide an easy way to unlock the door through the home automation system. He’ll never have to wonder if the kids are able to get into the house after school or if the dog walker made it in time, giving him undeniable peace of mind. He can allow contractors or friends into the home remotely with the touch of a button and reduce security risks caused by handing out spare keys.

Keep Tabs on the Family

Dad will now have the ability to receive alerts on home arrivals and departures. Home sensors detect motion and alert Dad to movement in designated locations in the home, even ones that are out of sight.

Detect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide

Monitored smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors give Dad peace of mind and protects your family’s home and pets. This smart home gadget sends mobile device notifications and alerts local authorities in the event of smoke or carbon monoxide detection, even when no one is home. This way, your home and pets are safe even when family members aren’t present. It can work with or without a home security system being armed and is professional monitored for total peace of mind.

When deciding what gift to get Dad for Father’s Day, home automation is the gift that keeps giving peace of mind and convenience, every day. The benefit list doesn’t end here! Contact My Alarm Center to learn more about home automation and the packages we offer from coast to coast, from Philadelphia to Seattle.

5 Secrets Home Burglars Are Keeping from You

by Cassie April 13, 2016

Home Break In

It is every home owner’s worst nightmare. Returning home from a relaxing vacation with your family only to find your home has been ravaged and ransacked. Every drawer is turned over, photographs litter the floor, household items destroyed, and prized personal belongings are just gone. Why me? What could I have done to prevent this from happening to me? Should I have gotten one of those home security systems and security cameras?

Prevent this from happening to you. Here are five secrets burglars don’t want you to know to prevent a home security breach:

1. They watch your house. You may remember them. That friendly passerby walking his dog that waved when you walked out to get the mail wasn’t just a new face in the neighborhood, he was staking out your house. What could he see when your door was open? Nice furniture, big TVs, gaming systems? Or the repair man that walked through your home to the kitchen to fix the sink. He really was just as nice as could be, but he was really analyzing the layout of your house. What is the best way to get upstairs, where jewelry, money, and prescription drugs are kept? Anything valuable downstairs that could be easily grabbed on the way out?

2. They avoid houses with dogs, too much risk. Burglars avoid houses with dogs. Why risk breaking into a house with an alive alarm system that can bite? So yes, even little Fido is protecting you.

3. No matter how safe your neighborhood is, an unlocked door or window might as well be an invitation. Five minutes is plenty of time to rob you blind when the front door is unlocked. The barrier between them and your home is gone, now they can quickly get in and out without anything in their way.

4. Have neighbors pick up your mail, newspapers, shovel your driveway, anything that makes it look like someone’s home when you are out of town. Full mailboxes and newspapers in the driveway screams that no one is home and hasn’t been for a few days. For those semi-professional burglars, they may know which day of the week is garbage day after casing the neighborhood for a few weeks and target a house that did not put their garbage cans out.

5. Home security systems and security cameras work! One of the main reasons thieves have decided to break into your home is because it’s easy and they aren’t likely to get caught. When they are casing a house to rob, that is one thing they look out for. Is there a camera that will show my face? Is there an alarm system that will alert police, who will be waiting for me when I step outside the house? Most importantly, advertise that you have one of the home security systems and security cameras! Don’t be shy! Make sure to get a My Alarm Center sign to put in your yard that you can display clearly.

4 Ways to Secure Your Home Technology

by Cassie March 15, 2016

Home Technology Security

Home security measures are not limited to your alarm system, surveillance cameras, or monitored fire detectors. Something as innocuous as a computer can become a thief’s most effective tool in stealing your personal information. Online files could also be manipulated or corrupted to spread viruses across large networks in minutes before anyone knows what is going on. With that in mind, what can you do to secure your physical and digital technological assets?

1. Secure All Devices and Servers with Strong Passwords

At a minimum, you will want to secure your computer, your smartphone and your tablet with a password. You should also use a password to protect your WiFi network as that can reduce the odds that anyone uses a baby monitor or your smart home thermostat system to get a glimpse into your home. Passwords should have both uppercase and lowercase numbers as well as numbers and symbols. Furthermore, you should change your password every 30 days to keep potential hackers guessing.

2. Never Transmit Sensitive Files or Personal Information Without Encryption

Everything that you either upload to the Internet or transmit over the Internet should be encrypted whenever possible. This reduces the odds that someone sees your social security number, a credit card number or any other information that could be used to steal your identity or put yourself or your family in danger. To tell if a website is securely encrypted, look for https: rather than http: in the URL.

3. Use Parental Controls to Limit What Your Kids Can Do

While you may understand that you don’t just share information online or have security settings set to your preferences, your kids may not appreciate or share your concern. They are likely more concerned with getting to their favorite website or social network to see what their friends are up to. Using parental controls will restrict what sites that they can access or what they can do to the device itself. Controls may even lock them out after a certain amount of screen time each day or during times when you can’t monitor what they are up to. Two examples of common parental control services include www.kiddle.co, a kid safe search engine provided by Google and Net Nanny, a paid software that provides customized, parent selected restrictions and monitoring.

4. Report Any Suspicious Activity to Your ISP

If you see a file that you didn’t download to your computer or believe that you have a virus that could be tracking your keystrokes or other activities, contact your ISP immediately. It may be possible to get a log of who accessed your computer or your network. If you do have a virus or a trojan loaded to your computer, it may be necessary to see a professional to have it removed immediately.

While you can’t guarantee that your devices or files will be 100 percent secure, there are steps that you can take to reduce the odds of a security breach. Strong passwords, knowing who is using a given device in your house and reporting suspicious activity can keep you and your devices safe from hackers and thieves. Being mindful of both physical and digital home security measures will help protect your family and home.

We Once Threw Snowballs At Santa Claus, or How Philadelphians Get Into The Holiday Spirit

by Cassie December 15, 2015

Philadelphia Art Museum

As Philadelphians, we wear our contradictions with pride. We’re the City of Brotherly Love, but we’re also some of the most hated (or feared, as we prefer) sports fans in the U.S. And while our paradoxes don’t stop at the holidays – we are the city who booed Santa Claus (Look, we had reason: The Eagles were 2-11 that season.) – Philadelphia loves the holidays.

No, really. Our city loves this season. Just look around the city, and you’ll see entire row-house rows outfitted in beautiful lights. You’ll see candles in the windows. Santas sprinkle the city (and usually, they don’t get booed or snowballed). And Philadelphia’s Christmas events, attractions and things to do – they’re absolutely abundant. And completely magical.

Here’s a rundown of our favorite Philadelphia holiday events for 2015:

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest (November 27-March 6)

While not strictly holiday, there are few things that mark the Philadelphia holiday season more than a winterized Penn’s Landing. The Delaware riverfront location is always picturesque, but add in some decorated trees, holiday lights, and cozy fire pits, and this city favorite screams holiday cheer. Rent some skates (or bring your own), warm up in the heated tent, down some hot cocoa, and then head out onto the frozen surface to make some winter memories.

 Macy’s Christmas Lights Show (November 27-December 31)

Longtime Philadelphians remember this as the Wanamaker light show, and today Macy’s carries on the beloved tradition. Since 1956, Philadelphians have made the pilgrimage to watch the Christmas Light Show: 100,000 LED lights that depict seasonal scenes to the tunes of the Wanamaker Organ and Julie Andrews’ melodic narration.

Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle (November 12-December 31)

Leave it to a park named after Ben Franklin, to create one of the best, most beloved light shows of the season: the annual Electrical Spectacle. The spectacular display runs everyday, every 30 minutes from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is a true and enduring delight for the city’s kids (and their parents).

The Christmas Village (November 21-December 27)

If you associate the holidays with old-fashioned coziness, get thee over to Philadelphia’s own Christmas Village, housed at Love Park. The German-themed, open-air market pays homage to our state’s roots while offering up awesome and one-of-a-kind gifts from 60+ vendors at 90+ wooden booths.

The Holiday Railroad at Reading Terminal Market (November 27-December 31)

If you find yourself in Center City with a train lover, head on over the Reading Terminal Market. Located right by the piano court is a 500 square-foot holiday railroad, complete with 14 working train lines and plenty of holiday cheer.

Adventure Aquarium’s Christmas Celebration (December 4-31)

While technically not in Philly, the Adventure Aquarium is an honorable member of our fine city, which means we can include it on our list of favorite holiday events. And that’s a good thing, since Santa goes swimming every year at Camden’s aquarium.

Christmas at Longwood Gardens (November 26-January 10)

If you’ve only visited Longwood during the warmer months, you’re in for a huge treat. Every year, the beautiful gardens are outfitted in a half-million twinkling lights, decking the halls (and trees) with jaw-dropping displays.

Happy holidays, Philly! Try not to throw snowballs at Santa this year.

Safe Toys & Gifts Month

by Cassie December 1, 2015

Safe Toy Month

December marks the annual safe toys and gifts month – fittingly, as surely ’tis the season for giving and receiving.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking hey, it’s a toy; it must be safe! But while toys are closely regulated, and while toys are designed with kiddos in mind, that doesn’t mean they’re universally safe. There are recalls. There are loose parts. There are long strings. There are many potential safety issues, which are compounded when people don’t follow age recommendations. (For example, giving a 2-year-old a toy marked 4+.)

But relax. There’s plenty you can do, before and after unwrapping, to ensure all the little ones you love are safe. Read on for tips on choosing (and checking for) safe toys and gifts this holiday season:

Use Your Eyes

The simplest test is to look at a toy. Does it have sharp corners; is it pointed; does it have long strings that could wrap around a little neck? (Tip: 7 inches is the absolute longest length for a safe toy.)

 Get Out Your Measuring Tape

One of the biggest safety concerns is choking. Toys for the youngest crowd (generally, infants through preschoolers) should be large enough that they’ll be impossible to swallow. If you’re buying many gifts, consider getting a small-parts tester (essentially, a tube to mimic a small child’s windpipe); otherwise, check that even the smallest parts measure more than 1.25″ wide and 2.25″ long.

Check Age Recommendations

It’s tempting to buy gifts based on a child’s interests, despite marked age recommendations. But often, the age suggestion is not determined by development but by safety; universal interest toys marketed for older ages usually have small parts that pose choking hazards, or other dangers to little ones.

 Beware of Fire Hazard

Toys with electrical elements or fabric should be carefully labeled regarding fire hazard. Fabrics should be marked as flame retardant, while electrical toys will have plugin recommendations. Additionally, electrical toys with heating elements are appropriate only for ages 8+.

Check for Lead

You’d think lead-paint problems were in the past, but unfortunately they’re not. At least, not entirely. Err on the safe side, and only purchase painted toys specifically labeled as lead free.

 Check for Toxicity

Speaking of lead, that’s not the only toxic concern: kids put toys in their mouths all the time. For any art supplies, or really any toy for the under-5 crowd, double-check that it’s labeled as non-toxic.

Listen to a Toy

Toys that make noise can be fun – said no parent ever. But if you’re really going down that rabbit hole, test out the sound first. Some toys can make noise as loud as a car’s horn; put to a child’s ear (and kids are wont to do), these noisemakers can cause permanent hearing damage.

Doublecheck Safety Standards

Most toys are labeled as passing their relative safety standards. For example, the above-mentioned electronics should always be labeled UL, which indicates they meet the standards set by Underwriters Laboratories. Bikes, scooters and similar toys, plus their safety gear, are usually certified by the CPSC or Snell.

 

Generosity is a wonderful thing. This year, give as best you can but please, always give safely. Happy holidays!

Famous Horror Movie Safety Tips: What They Could Have Done Differently

by Cassie October 21, 2015

Horror Movie Safety Tips

Turn off the lights. Queue the creepy music. Grab the popcorn. But if you hear a squeaky floorboard, whatever you do, DO NOT ask, “Who’s there?”

I am an unabashed horror fan. Old movies, B movies, ridiculous sequels, parodies – bring ’em on. I love a good scare. And so, to celebrate the horrors of October, I thought we could do a little something fun. And that’s to look at fatal horror movie errors that almost guarantee a character death. Oh, and how they could have been avoided, of course. Safety first!

Don’t: Run From Danger
Sprinting from danger can seem like a very good idea – fight or flight, right? and who wants to fight a serial killer? – but as seen in modern classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (and many, many others of its ilk), it’s not that great of an idea. In fact, it’s a pretty good way to not be around much longer. That’s because when we’re panicked, running flat-out and not watching the terrain, falling is a given. Falling flat on our faces is likely.

They might have lived if… They had practiced their fire/emergency escape plan (chainsaw-wielding serial killers totally qualify as an emergency). Practice, practice, practice, and they’d have been able to evacuate with their eyes closed, no falling prey to crazed killers.

Do: Get a Good Night’s Sleep
There are few villains more nightmarish than Freddy Krueger, amiright? For more than 30 years, his disfigured face and sharp talons have haunted horror-lovers everywhere. In addition to unsettling dreams, do you know what he’s given us? The knowledge that being too tired is downright detrimental to our health.

They might have lived if… They’d gotten a solid night’s sleep. Everyone’s needs and rhythms are different, but experts agree that most of us need a solid 7-9 hours. Getting enough sleep not only fuels your day, but can help you stave off illness, be more productive, and enjoy better moods. Plus, if anyone ever comes to haunt your nightmares you’ll be able to stay awake… at least for a little while.

Don’t: Assume the Villain is Dead
This one’s so cliché, you can see it in your head: The last remaining characters, standing over the villain’s “corpse,” weeping in relief. Then, BAM! The killer pops up and slays a few more, bringing the survivor count down significantly. Moral of the story: Don’t let your guard down and don’t assume “the killer’s dead”.

The might have lived if… They’d called the police. Look, horror movies notwithstanding, it’s not a good idea to play the superhero. If you fear a break-in or other risk to your safety, call the police. Then, wait for their arrival. Do not face a burglar on your own.

Do: Perform Regular Car Maintenance
Never does a dead battery or flat tire result in so dire a situation than in a horror movie, where a bum car can get you killed. (Tune in to Night of the Living Dead, and you’ll know what I mean. See you in 96 minutes!)

They might have lived if… They’d taken their car to a mechanic. We all go in from time to time (or do it ourselves), whether it’s for an oil change, to rotate our tires, or for those pesky annual inspections. Ask your mechanic to do a full once-over, and you’ll have a better chance of avoiding the horrors of a car break-down.

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