Going On Vacation? Don’t Tell The Burglars!

February 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Safety 

Want to help keep your home safe from burglars while on vacation? One smart way is to refrain from announcing your plans on various social networks such as Facebook. 

There’s other common-sense tips, too, as shared in this 4-minute video from NBC’s The Today Show.

Drawing from a series of interview with former convicts, you’ll learn that there’s more to keeping your home safe than just locking the doors and windows, and setting the alarm system for “away”. You’ll also want to make sure your home looks “lived in”.

And some of these tricks you may have never thought of. 

For example, while on vacation:

  • Make sure a neighbor is picking up your mail and newspapers daily
  • If it snows, have a friend drive tracks in your driveway, or shovel it clean
  • Set inside lights to a timer, giving the appearance someone being home

In addition, if you don’t have a safe for valuables, consider moving them to a child’s room. It’s among the last places a burglar looks.

You can’t make your home 100% safe from intruders but you can make your home a tougher target. Just use some common sense and follow the tips in the video.


Home Safety Tip : How To Install And Test A Smoke Detector

November 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Safety 

Test your smoke alarmAccording to the United States Fire Administration, in 2008, there were an estimated 378,200 in-home fires. Combined, these fires caused $8 billion in property damage and killed 2,600 people.

Unfortunately, many of affected homes did have smoke detectors installed, but the devices were faulty either because of dead batteries, or because the smoke detector had reached the end of its useful life.

This is why it’s so important to test your home’s smoke detectors at least once annually.

Here’s how to test a smoke detector:

  1. Ask a family member or friend to walk to the farthest point of the home from the detector.
  2. Push and hold the testing button to activate the alarm. Usually, this takes 5 seconds.
  3. Confirm with the family member or friend that the alarm was audible from his/her location.

And there’s an additional step worth taking.

Just because the smoke detector’s alarm works doesn’t mean that the actual smoke detector works. For less than $15, therefore, you may want to buy a “smoke test” from Amazon to confirm whether your detector is faulty. The smoke test simulates a real fire so, if the detector fails to sound when it’s tested, it’s time to replace the entire smoke detector unit.

2,000 residential fires occur on Thanksgiving Day each year — most of them related to cooking. Before Thursday, make sure your smoke detectors are working. You don’t want your home to be Fire #2001.


Are You Throwing Out Food Before It Goes Bad?

August 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Safety 

Milk lasts beyond its Sell By dateJust because the expiration date has passed, that doesn’t mean that the food is spoiled. It’s a deep-seated misconception that results in the average American household wasting 14% of all food purchases.

The estimated cost of waste like that totals in the billions.

The data comes from a study commissioned by ShelfLifeAdvice.com, a website devoted to helping households cut food bills by providing better information of how to properly store food; of how food expiration dates work; and, by defining what “use by”, “sell by” and other product dates actually mean.

Among survey participants, women fared better than men, older people fared better than younger people, and married people fared better than non-married people.  Overall, however, there’s room for better understanding.

For example:

  • Milk will remain safe for about a week after the “sell by” date. It’s safe to drink beyond that, but the taste may change for the worse.
  • Cottage Cheese will remain safe for about 2 weeks after the “sell by” date.
  • Mayonnaise will last for up to 4 months after opening, when kept cold

And, perhaps the biggest surprise, is that eggs, if properly refrigerated, will remain fresh for up to 5 weeks after the “sell by” date on the carton.

Read the survey’s complete results on the ShelfLifeAdvice.com website, including facts you may not have known about keeping your food beyond its expiration date.  What you learn will keep you from pitching food prematurely, and help you save money at the grocery store.


Ex-Burglars Share Tips On Protecting Your Home From Break-Ins

August 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Safety 

This week marks the start of August, a popular vacation month for Americans. Maybe you’re among the many in Madeira that will leave town for a few days — or a few weeks.  But, before you leave your home, make sure you don’t leave clues for burglars.

Sure, there’s the basics like using an alarm system, locking your doors, and having a neighbor pick up your mail, but there’s additional precautionary steps you should follow, too.  In a piece titled “Tips a Burglar Won’t Tell You“, NBC’s The Today Show shares some of them. They’re tips gleaned for a series of interviews with ex-convicts. 

Among the advice:

  1. Have neighbors remove fliers and other solicitations from your driveway and/or mailbox
  2. If you don’t have a safe, hide valuables in a child’s room — not in a sock drawer
  3. Don’t announce your vacation on Facebook, Twitter or other websites

It’s impossible to protect your home from burglary completely, but you can take steps so that your home is not the most obvious target on the block. Start with common sense protection, then follow the extra tips from the video.


How To Prevent Mercury Poisoning With CFL Light Bulbs

July 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Safety 

CFL bulbs require care when handling

According to the EPA, if every household in America replaced one “traditional” bulb with an energy-saving compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulb, it would result in $700 million in energy cost savings each year, plus a greenhouse gas savings equivalent to that of 800,000 automobiles.

They’re expensive, but CFL bulbs tend to pay for themselves in less a year, and often last for several. It’s no wonder they’re so popular with homeowners in Madeira.  But, CFLs also come with health risks.


Namely, CFL bulbs contain mercury — an average of 4 milligrams per bulb.


The mere presence of mercury doesn’t make CFLs dangerous. It just means that you should exercise care when handling them, and take certain precautions when disposing of them.

The Environment Protection Agency offers some tips:

  1. Screw/unscrew the bulb from the base and not the bulb to prevent breakage
  2. Never force a CFL bulb into a light socket
  3. When the bulb burns out, bring it to one of 3,106 recycling centers

The EPA website also give guidance for dealing with broken bulbs. Among the recommendations: Don’t wash mercury-covered clothing to prevent contaminating other clothing, too, and don’t vacuum up the poison, either. There are special handling instructions to prevent poisoning yourself and others in your household.

The EPA’s CFL safety PDF is 3 pages long and can be viewed on its Web site.

CFLs provide long-term energy and environment cost savings. And, with some common sense care, their risks to your health can be minimized.


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