If you have a pool, you need an alarm

Published by:

We’re rapidly approaching pool season for most of the United States. People from coast to coast will be setting up and filling their pools, promising to themselves that this year will be the one where they actually make time to enjoy the pool. Sadly, on average around 900 children die each year from drowning, many in their own family pools.

A pool alarm is certainly no substitute for vigilance on the part of the parents and other care givers but it should absolutely be one of the tools used to protect children in the home.

A Pool Alarm Saves Lives

The Pool Protector Pool Alarm is simplicity itself. It has two components. The sensor unit rests on the side of the pool with part of it extending into the water. The second component is the receiver, which is placed anywhere within 200 feet of the sensor, such as perhaps the kitchen or living room of the home.

Pool Alarm

When the sensor activates, the receiver emits a 100dB alarm, easily loud enough to get the attention of everyone in the home. The alarm also sounds right at the sensor unit, doubling the amount of noise and alerting anyone who might be outside.

The sensor, once installed, cannot be deactivated. There is a sleep button that is activated when people are using the pool. When the sensor detects no movement in the pool for a certain period of time, it automatically reactivates itself. Also, the sensor will detect if someone tries to deactivate the unit and, if that happens, the alarm goes off. Many pool owners fear neighborhood children from jumping the fence and using the pool when no one is around. That won’t be happening more than once with the Pool Protector.

It isn’t just for detecting illicit pool use, either. In ground pools in particular can pose a serious hazard for those walking near them. Countless adults have slipped and fallen into the pool when they weren’t paying attention to where they were going. Fortunately, the vast majority of those accidents did little more than bruise the ego of those involved. Children like to explore and they love to explore places and areas that are off limits to them. As many a parent has found, children are little escape artists and can often find their way over, under, or through gates, fences, and other obstacles quite easily. You can’t always rely upon such devices to keep your children safe. A pool alarm provides that extra layer of security.

A pool alarm is not magical, though, and won’t create some sort of force field around the pool, preventing anyone from entering or falling into it. However, the alarm can provide you with those precious extra seconds to respond to an accident, something that certainly could mean the difference between life and death.

Hidden Camera Catches Boyfriend Doing the Unthinkable

Published by:

Here is another reason to stay vigilant concerning your children, even around people you supposedly know. That this was able to go on for so long is even more damaging for the child.

Piece of Slime

“RAYTOWN, Mo. — A Missouri mother used a hidden camera to catch her boyfriend allegedly taking nude photos of the woman’s 6-year-old daughter, police said.”

“After placing the camera in her daughter’s room with a clear view of the bed, the mother and her friend left the home to “run an errand.” A few minutes later, Bibby apparently entered the girl’s room and the hidden camera captured Bibby taking photos of the girl’s private area, investigators said.”

“…had been suspicious of Bibby in recent months, which prompted her to install the hidden camera”

Hidden Camera catches Pedophile – http://fox5sandiego.com/

I’ve always been an advocate of installing hidden cameras in your home to help you keep track of how your children are being treated. Background checks for nannies or caregivers is a good start but actually seeing with your own eyes how others interact with your loved ones is your best bet.

You can find hidden cameras and spy gear available by clicking on these links. It’s better to have peace of mind than to wonder and always having that nagging thought in the back of your mind.

Prepping for vacation

Published by:

Prepping for Vacation

What is vacation season for most of us is a busy time of year for burglars. They love to find an unoccupied home, one where they can take their time searching high and low for the good stuff. As you plan your next out of town vacation, take the time to make preparations to keep your home safe while you’re away.

First, keep your mouth shut about planned trips! Crooks and thieves frequent the same social media sites as you do. They are always searching for posts about upcoming trips and such. Don’t post about your trip until you’re back home. And whatever you do, fight the urge to make your friends jealous by posting pics of you and your family on vacation while you’re still out of town. I know, that can be nearly impossible not to do in this day and age. Recognize the risk of doing so, though.

Prepping for Vacation

Talk to a trusted neighbor about having them keep an eye on things while you’re away. Ask them to collect the newspaper every day, feed the fish, and take a walk through the home to check for anything amiss. You might go so far as to ask them to park a vehicle in your driveway so it looks more like someone is home.

You might consider having the post office suspend delivery while you’re gone. Otherwise, ask your neighbor to collect your mail every day. What I’ve found works really well is to give the neighbor one of those canvas shopping bags you see everywhere. They can toss all mail and newspapers right into the bag each day. Personally, I much prefer having my neighbor collect this stuff rather than suspend delivery. This way, I can access everything as soon as I get home, rather than having to visit the post office to grab it.

Timers work great for turning lights on and off in the evening. Consider adding a radio to the mix, too, so as to provide some audio as well as visual evidence that someone is home. Exterior lights are hopefully motion activated. If they aren’t, you might consider installing new lights, not just for your vacation, of course, but because motion sensitive lights are an excellent security tool.

Let the local police department know when you’ll be out of town. They can let the officers in your neighborhood know to keep a closer eye on the area. Be sure to tell them that you’ve arranged to have your neighbor check on things, too, so as to avoid any surprises.

If you are truly concerned about home security while you’re out of town, you could purchase one or more IP cameras. These transmit over a wi-fi system and you can access the footage in real time using a laptop or smartphone.

Plan ahead so your vacation isn’t ruined by what you find when you return home.

Avoiding the Violence of Riots

Published by:

Baltimore Riots

Despite the Gray family’s plea for peaceful demonstrations, innocent citizens of Baltimore are now victims of what many are calling an all out war. While the reasons may be justified, these actions are not.

We believe that the majority of Americans agree that proving a point and having an opinion about a situation does not have to – and shouldn’t – involve or end in violence. Would you agree that the meaning of this incident has now lost its value, no matter what side you are on?

What about those with no opinion at all? Those who do not take a side because they feel it is none of their business. What about our emergency responders, those who are sacrificing their lives to save others? Why are they being targeted? Why are these protesters throwing cinder blocks at a moving fire truck? What is that proving?

The Gray family has lost a loved one. No matter what his past included, he had a family who loved him and now he is gone. Is this further violence helping his family to grieve? The family asked for peace. The American people should respect at least that. Are we?

Baltimore Riots

Image Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2015/dgreenfield/black-violence-matters/

There are videos upon videos of innocent bystanders getting caught in the crossfire of these riots. Vehicles driving by only needing to get to their destination while dodging flying objects. People are running in the street avoiding getting in harm’s way to make their way back home, or to their job, or to a safe place.

Although it is obvious that the best protection is to stay away from a riot as violent as this, it is also important to make sure you carry something to defend yourself. What may start as something peaceful could turn violent the blink of an eye. Innocent bystanders should have the means to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Make sure you stay protected. Carry a stun gun or a pepper spray. Be aware of your surroundings. Leave when you feel uncomfortable about your safety. No matter your side, try to remember that violence only hurts further, it does not resolve anything.

Do You Overshare?

Published by:

Beach Trip

I’ll admit, sometimes I feel like a crusty old curmudgeon, even though I’m only in my 40’s. People today seem like they need to share every…single…detail of their lives with the entire planet. See, the problem with oversharing isn’t just that it is extremely annoying to many of us, it is also putting you and your family at risk for some pretty serious situations.

When you post how you’re getting ready for your trip to the Bahamas, we all know you’re just wanting to make everyone else jealous. We get that, really. But, you’re also telling people you won’t be home for a week or so. That’s an open invite for ne’er do wells to pay your home a visit. Same thing goes when you post pics from your trip in real time.

Beach Trip

Posting pics from the art class you’re taking? Do it often enough and it becomes rather easy to predict exactly where you will be on Wednesday nights from 6:30PM-8:00PM. Could be the bad guy isn’t interested in what you have in your home but would much prefer getting to know you up close and personal.

One of the more popular online activities is buying and selling on various rummage sale oriented sites and groups. Be careful with those, particularly if you’re posting pics of items you have for sale. Pay attention to what is visible in the background of the picture. Avoid showing things like big TVs and other electronics as those can be very tempting to criminals. They could make arrangements to buy the diaper pail you’re selling just to find out your address, then come back later for the TV.

Here’s a really scary one. The pictures you take with your snazzy smartphone are often embedded with GPS coordinates. With the right software, a picture downloaded from your Facebook profile page could lead someone right to your door, even if you’ve never posted your address anywhere online.

Something else worth considering – anything you post online is conceivably there forever. Even if you later delete it from your Instagram or whatever, it is possibly still on a server somewhere and could be there for all time. Think twice before posting that pic.

Oversharing isn’t limited to the cyber world, either. Those cute signs parents put in their yards, the ones that tell one and all how proud they are of their son, #57 on the football team? Yeah, that just tells people that during football season, no one is probably home on Friday nights.

Bumper stickers can be the worst offenders. The stick figure families? Many of them note the names of the kids, something child predators love to see. Couple that with the sticker that says, “I’m a proud parent of an honor student at XYZ Middle School” and they know who the kid is and where to find him or her. Lovely.

Take a good look at your social media accounts, your yard, and your vehicles. Are you oversharing?

The Perfect Spring Break Gift – Date Rape Drug Detector

Published by:

Praying to the Porcelain God

If you have a daughter heading off on a Spring Break vacation, you are naturally going to feel a little nervous about it. Every year, there are stories about young women being assaulted, often through the use of a “date rape” drug such as GHB.

Do your daughter a favor and pick up a packet of Drink Guard cards. They come in a pack small enough to fit into the tiniest of purses. The test itself is as simple as can be. Just put a drop of your drink onto the card and if the card turns dark blue, don’t drink your drink!

Date Rape Drug Detector

It is frighteningly easy to introduce a drug into someone’s drink. Passing your had over the glass or cup as you pass by is all it takes. The drugs used today dissolve quickly and usually have little to no taste. Given how strong the mixed drinks can be at parties, the victim is none the wiser, until the drug begins to take effect.

Date Rape Drug Detector

There are a few simple rules that, if followed, will go a long way toward keeping you safe when alcohol is involved.

1) Never leave your drink unattended. If you do, assume it is tainted and get a new one, using a new cup or glass.

2) Never go to a party alone. Always have a friend with you and watch out for one another.

3) Having a few drinks is fine. Getting so drunk you can’t stand up on your own is not. The idea is to have fun, not end the night praying to the porcelain god. Keep in mind, many of the symptoms of date rape drug ingestion mirror or mimic the effects of being drunk – dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and slurred speech. The more sober you are, the easier it will be to detect whether you may have been slipped a drug.

Praying to the Porcelain God

4) When in doubt, use date rape drug detector cards to test your drink. If you find your drink has been drugged, let your friends as well as the bartender and party hosts know immediately.

If you suspect you have been given a drug, let someone know immediately so they can keep an eye on you. Heading to the local emergency room wouldn’t be the worst idea, either, so they can monitor the situation and take action should it become necessary.

Dealing With Bullying

Published by:

Dealing With Bullying

The following is an excerpt from Prepper’s Home Defense by Jim Cobb. It comes from Chapter 13 – Children and Security.

For as long as there have been children, there have been bullies. I doubt there is anyone reading this who has never once been on the receiving end of bullying. An argument can be made that being bullied is a natural part of growing up. However, it seems as though bullying has changed quite a bit since I was a wee lad on the playground. Today, bullies are as apt to do serious, permanent physical damage as they are to taunt with colorful language.

Dealing With BullyingTeaching your child how to successfully deflect or stop bullying will lead to an increase in self-esteem and self-confidence. Bullies tend to prey upon those who they feel are weaker than themselves, so the first line of defense, so to speak, is to put out an air of confidence. If a child causes the bully to believe their behavior will lead to injury or at least make them look bad in front of their peers, they’ll likely as not seek a different target.

It certainly isn’t politically correct to suggest this, but I’ve always believed the best solution to being bullied is to sock the bully in the nose. It is usually very unexpected and does the job quite well. When one of my sons was young, he was having trouble with a bully. He went through the official channels by reporting it to his teacher and other staff members but nothing changed. He was reluctant to respond physically as he was afraid he’d be the one who got in trouble, which of course is what the staff members told all students about fighting. I finally called a meeting with his teacher, the principal, the vice-principal, and the guidance counselor. As I recall, the conversation went something like this:

Principal: “Mr. Cobb, we understand your concerns. Do you have any suggestions as to how to deal with the situation?”

Me: “I’ve told my son that the very next time [bully’s name] touches him or even so much as looks at him cross-eyed, he is to punch him. If he gets up, he’s to punch him again. This will continue until he stays down. Maybe [bully’s name] will get it through his head then.”

Principal: “I don’t think we can condone that!”

Me: “You’re misunderstanding me. I’m not asking for your permission here. I’m just telling you ahead of time exactly what is going to happen. If you want a different course of events, then I’d suggest you step up your efforts to keep [bully’s name] away from my son and under control.”

Perhaps not too surprisingly, we didn’t have problems with the bully again.

Credit Card Protection

Published by:

Credit Card Protection Shopping

Like many people today, we do a fair amount of shopping online, especially during the holiday season. Back in late 2013, we purchased some music instrument gear for one of our kids for Christmas. It was at a fairly well known online store so we didn’t think too much of it. It just so happened, though, that the credit card we used for that purchase was one we don’t use very often and, in fact, that was the only purchase we made with that card during the holidays.

Credit Card Protection ShoppingFlash forward a couple of months. My wife monitors our credit accounts fairly close, both for budget reasons as well as to watch for possible fraud, given how prevalent identity theft is today. She found a suspicious transaction the day after it was made. Someone had tried using our credit card info to buy a bunch of custom ATV parts online. Turned out, the transaction had already been refused and voided because the person hadn’t provided the proper credentials online. Then, we found another transaction a few days later at another online store. Again, the company had caught the fraud and refused the transaction. So, we ended up not being out any dough, which was great. But, we had to wonder just where the info on that card had come from. The only place we’d used it was at the one store in December. We never did get the whole story but the card was canceled and new ones were issued by the bank.

If you have even just one credit card, you need to be very diligent about keeping accurate records on your end as to purchases you make. You also need to closely monitor the account so you can catch mistakes or fraud as quickly as possible. We were VERY lucky that the fraud was caught by the stores and the charges refused. Yes, credit card banks are generally fairly cooperative about investigating fraud and reversing charges but there’s still a lot of hassle involved. And that’s just if it is a one-off fraud. Those who truly have their identity stolen will tell you it is an absolute nightmare to get everything straightened out.

Many major credit card banks today offer a range of services, at no charge, that will help you monitor your accounts. At the minimum, see about setting up alerts for transactions above a certain threshold. What will happen is that if the credit card is used to make a purchase above the dollar limit you’ve set, you’ll receive an email or perhaps a text message letting you know. This happens within minutes of the transaction taking place. With some cards, you might even be able to set it up such that a representative calls you to make sure the purchase or charge was legitimate.

Another suggestion is to stop using a debit card for online purchases. Many banks, when you open a checking account, will offer you a debit card that pulls from that bank balance. That’s mighty convenient, yes, but the only time you should use that card is if you are making the purchase in person, such as at the grocery store or gas station. Using it online, should the info be stolen, exposes your entire bank balance to potential fraud.

Credit card fraud is alarmingly common in today’s world. It seems all too easy for crooks to obtain your info and buy all sorts of stuff, often shipping it overseas. Unfortunately, a credit card is all but necessary to have. You need it for renting cars and hotel rooms as well as making purchases online. Do whatever you can to protect yourself. Talk to your bank about the options available to you.

Funneling is a Key Element in a Security Plan

Published by:

Funneling around a Backyard Shed

Funneling is a key element in a security plan. The basic idea is to force intruders to move to specific areas, places where you can have greater control over the situation. For example, if ne’er do wells are moving through your property, you don’t want them hiding behind your outbuildings. Instead, you want to force them into open areas where you can better handle them, using whatever means you feel are necessary.

Here’s how this might work. Let’s say you have a fairly large shed toward the back of your property. It is within sight of the house and you fear someone might use it as cover while scoping out the home. One option might be to place piles of brush or junk back there, heaping it up to the point where someone can’t easily hunker down.

Funneling around a Backyard Shed

Another option could be to scatter broken glass and metal on the ground, then letting the weeds and grass grow long enough to hide it. Someone who decides to hit the dirt so as to not be seen would be in for a rude awakening. In fact, their shouts might serve as a handy alarm, too.

Yet one more possibility, though it isn’t truly funneling, is to set some sort of motion sensor alarm or trip wire back there. Something that will alert you to the presence of a potential threat in that area. If the alarm is discovered, the person(s) might avoid that area, serving the purpose of putting them out in the open.

Keep in mind, though, that anything you set out in the way of traps and such might also be dangerous to you and your family if folks aren’t careful. The absolute last thing you want to do is have one of your children get hurt because they forgot about the broken glass behind the shed, y’know? Make sure every family member is made aware of any areas where you’ve laid traps or alarms.

There may also be legal issues with some forms of traps. For example, I recall at least one case where a guy had set up a shotgun in a hunting cabin in such a way that if the door was opened the gun fired. It ended up killing someone. If memory serves, the family of the intruder successfully sued the owner. I believe he also faced some criminal charges as well, though I don’t recall how that turned out for him. Suffice to say, you may want to hold off on setting out any lethal methods of funneling until and unless the rule of law ceases to exist.

Defense in Layers

Published by:

Defensive Wall

When creating your home defense strategies (and you ARE creating them, right?), you need to think in terms of layers, not unlike an onion. It isn’t nearly enough to just decide you’re going to go toe to toe with anyone who dares enter your home uninvited. Ideally, they’d never get that far, if you’ve planned properly.

There are at least three distinct layers to a well crafted security plan. It starts with the perimeter. This area extends from your front door to as far as your property line. Ideally, this is the area where you’ll stop most intruders. You’ll do this by working on the risk versus reward equation. You want the possible intruder to believe the risk of going further won’t be worth the reward for doing so. For example, if the appearance of your home is such that it doesn’t look like there would be much of value inside, they may pass your home completely and seek fortune elsewhere. The other option is to increase the perceived risk, such as having one or more dogs, signs indicating alarm service monitoring, and the like.

Defensive Wall

The next layer is your structure. This is your home itself. You want the strongest doors, windows, and locks you can afford. Again, you’re working on the risk versus reward. The more work involved with breaking into the home, the less desirable it will be to do so. Sufficient exterior lighting, particularly motion activated lights, go a long way toward deterring intrusions after dark. Keeping your head on a swivel as you come home and exercising good situational awareness is also important. Sometimes burglars and other nasty types will watch a home for a day or two in order to see if patterns exist as to the comings and goings. If they notice that you’re constantly on alert to possible threats, they may just decide it isn’t worth it.

The final layer is your personal space. If an intruder has gotten through your perimeter and entered your home, in my opinion at least, all bets are off. You should do anything and everything you can to defend yourself and your family. Now, with that said, state laws vary and in some areas you might not legally be able to take certain actions that might be completely legal elsewhere. It pays to do your homework and to know ahead of time what is “allowed” and what is not. More than one homeowner has found themselves on the wrong side of Johnny Law because they did something that, in the eyes of the law, went too far.

That said, learning self-defense such as a “real world” martial art, can go a long way toward defending your personal space. While it is no substitute for a good handgun and the requisite training, you may find yourself unarmed at the worst possible moment.

Take a look at your security plans. Do they cover all the layers?