Monthly Archives: August 2012

Live In a Nice Neighborhood? This Post is For You

Steve Jobs, LL Cool J and Paris Hilton– what do a deceased billionaire, a rapper turned actor and a socialite all have in common? Well, besides the fact that their homes are located in so-called nice neighborhoods, each one’s home was also broken into. LL Cool J even had to fight an intruder with his bare hands since a criminal broke into his home as his family was sleeping in the wee hours of the morning.

Live In a Nice Neighborhood?

This blog post is dedicated to everyone who believes they live in a nice neighborhood; to everyone with neighbors who look out for one another and, especially, to homeowners who feel that they are the least likely candidates for a break-in. A bury-your-head-in-the-sand mentality could very well be making you a target. Allow us to help you adjust your thinking before it’s too late.

Your Home Is a Perfect Candidate for Burglary

See, the truth of the matter is that you may live in precisely the type of neighborhood that a burglar prefers. Think about it, if you were a thief would you prefer breaking into a home in a nice, quiet neighborhood or a home in a run-down, noisy neighborhood, instead? Which do you think is most likely to be relaxed about security? Which is likely to have items you’d like to steal? Speaking for myself here, but if I were a burglar and I were risking my freedom by breaking into someone’s home, I’d much rather make it worth my while and break into a house where I’m likely to score items of value as opposed to one in an undesirable and, likely, low-income neighborhood.

A False Sense of Security

By now, you may be wondering if any of the celebrity homes mentioned at the top of this post were equipped with an alarm system. While, we’re sure they all were (at least we hope that they were), you should note that home security systems can’t work if they’re not properly armed. And, as may be the case with some of you reading this, a false sense of security sometimes accompanies home ownership in upper-income neighborhoods and many residents do not bother to turn their alarm systems on.

Getting back to our famous burglary cases here for a moment, let’s take a closer look at how each one could have been avoided. Hopefully, you’ll glean a few tips that you can apply at your home.

Security Mistakes at Steve Jobs’ Home

The Jobs’ burglary may have surprised many, but the details of the break-in were not at all unusual. While his home was being renovated and his widow was temporarily residing elsewhere, a down-on-his luck criminal was able to waltz right into the house. See, the thief got on the property’s fence by climbing scaffolding left behind by a work crew. Next, he managed to discover an unlocked garage that also contained a key to the billionaire’s home. With unfettered access, the burglar was able to take his time in leisurely sifting through Jobs’ personal effects before loading the billionaire’s luggage with jewelry, multiple computers and other digital devices, as well as a few household appliances. He even rambled through Jobs’ wallet and stole his state-issued identification!

Obviously, the security mistakes here are many. First, the alarm system, which hopefully included surveillance cameras and alarm monitoring, should have been armed. Second, a key to the home should never have been left on the premises and, third, someone should have made certain that renovation crews didn’t leave unattended equipment behind that would have tempted a burglar. At the very least, the scaffolding used to scale the home’s fence should not have been there.

Lessons From LL Cool J’s Break-In

In LL Cool J’s case– which is perhaps the most frightening of all since he and his family were at home and asleep at the time of the break-in– we learn a few things. Obviously, a monitored alarm system should have been in place and activated. Also, something that isn’t discussed too often in these conversations is that a house should be silent at night. LL Cool J, fortunately, was able to hear an intruder in his home and reacted quickly. People who sleep with a radio or television on, or even with the constant whir of a fan, may not have heard a sound in the middle of the night, however. Another thing the NCIS: Los Angeles actor may have benefitted from is a device like the Fake TV Burglary Deterrent Device, which gives the illusion of a television being on, but without sound which may interfere with a sleeper hearing things that go bump in the night.

What We Learned From Paris Hilton’s ‘Bling Ring’

For Paris Hilton, it appears that her home’s break-in was highly targeted. In fact, the criminals accused of burglarizing the heiress’ house were a part of a celebrity burglary ring who not only targeted Hilton, but also the homes of other celebrities including actors Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan. Perhaps the most surprising of all, however, is that some of the gang’s members, including its female mastermind, came from affluent families.

What we learn here is that criminals come in all genders and from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Also, they are sometimes the people we least expect them to be. One of the women in what the media has named the “bling ring” was so tiny in physical stature that she was used to give the group access to one victim’s home because she was able to fit through the house’s pet door. Who would have ever expected such a petite woman of burglary?

Rethinking Security

So, the next time you try to justify your lack of home security by believing that you live in a safe area, think about each of these cases and the scores of other nice neighborhoods where break-ins have occurred. For your sake and for the security of your family, please face reality and opt for a complete home security system, instead. As experts report that home burglaries continue to rise throughout the country, you cannot afford to hold a low expectation of a burglary happening to you.

The Importance of Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Does Your Smoke Alarm Function Properly?

Many of us have smoke detectors in our home, but do we check them annually to see if they actually work? You do not want to wait until a fire takes places to test whether or not your smoke detector works. Every year approximately 3000 people die each year in the U.S. in result to home fires. It is important to check to make sure that the batteries are new and working. In more than half of reported home fires, the houses were equipped with smoke alarms but they did not go off. The batteries in these alarms were either missing, dead, or put in the wrong way.

Preventing Home Fires

 Have you ever heard your fire alarm make a high pitched beeping sound? It is very common for people to remove the batteries when that sounds goes off. Typically, because this happens at the most, inconvenient times, like at 3am when you are trying to sleep. The dangerous thing about this is because the smoke detector is no longer annoying us, we easily forget to even check what caused it to sound off in the first place. For the most part the alarm will make this sound because all it needs is some new batteries. If you remove the batteries from the smoke detector for any reason, you must remember to replace them. Forgetting something so small can result in great loss and damage. It is always a good idea to have a backup plan in case something still manages to go wrong. Create with your family a fire escape plan and go over it with your family members. It is better to be over prepared for a fire within the home instead of panicking if a fire were to take place.

Do You Have a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

We all have smoke detectors in our home, but what about carbon monoxide detectors? According to the Nation Fire Protection Association around 93% of homes have smoke alarms. But, The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that only 15% of homes have carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of poisonous deaths. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and deadly gas. You cannot see it, taste it, or smell it and it can kill you without any warning. Some of the symptoms people may notice can be much like that of a cold or flu. It is very important that you are aware of them. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, irritability, nausea and vomiting. The more serious symptoms one may have can be difficulty breathing, seizures or convulsions, coma, cerebral edema and even death.

Where Does Carbon Monoxide It Come From?

When fuels like coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane and other natural gases are burned incompletely, carbon monoxide is produced. Why is Carbon Monoxide so dangerous? When inhaled, carbon monoxide displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Carbon monoxide can be produced by our common home appliances if they are not properly installed or maintained. Gas refrigerators, gas dryers, gas stoves, gas water heaters, fireplaces and charcoal grills are an example of things that produce carbon monoxide. Fumes from cars and gas-powered lawn mowers can also contain carbon monoxide. It can enter into the home through the doors and walls if an engine is left running in an attached garage.

How to Protect Yourself against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

First and foremost, make sure that you keep your boiler, water heater, stove and other appliance working well. Make sure that they are properly installed and well ventilated. Have your household heaters, chimneys and flue inspected and cleaned every year. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that every household install at least one carbon monoxide detector, near the sleeping area. Just as smoke detectors need to be tested, so do carbon monoxide detectors. How exactly do you go about testing a carbon monoxide detector? Home Security Store can assist you with testing your carbon monoxide detector. With the Solo C6 Carbon Monoxide CO Detector Tester you are able to sample the air and measure the amount of CO present over a period of time. It a dangerous level of CO is detected the alarm will sound off. It takes only a matter of seconds to test to see if your detector is working.

Both carbon monoxide and smoke detectors can be purchased at Home Security Store. There are a variety of products sold online that will protect your home and your family. Do not let your family become victim to any of these tragic events. Now is the time to protect your home and make sure that everything is operating the way it should.

Wildfire Safety

What do you really know about Wildfires?

When the weather begins to warm up we instantly start to think of summertime! During this time we also have to consider that with the heat comes dryness which in turn causes wildfires. Wildfires are one of the most powerful natural forces that we have. They can burn up thousands of acres in little to no time. At times they seem uncontrollable, but the fact of the matter is, we are in power to help prevent wildfires. In 2011, more than 8.7 million acres burned due to wildfires in the U.S. More than 5.4 million acres burned in result to human-caused wildfires. This year alone in the U.S. there are approximately 4,898,542 acres and counting that have be destroyed due to wildfires. Once a wildfire gets going it can burn at a rate of almost 15 miles per hour. Sadly, over 900 homes are burned each year because of wildfires. There are a number of fires going on right now. In Riverside County there is the Buck Fire. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, already 3 thousand acres have been burned and the fire is 15% contained. A Cal Fire spokesman, Rick Vogt, said that the fire is fuel driven. The dry grass and brush are what is feeding this fire. Luckily, the winds have been somewhat calm. There are certain precautionary tips that we need to keep with us during the dry hot seasons.

What Causes Wildfires

Although wildfires can be caused by natural forces like lightening or simply the heat of the sun but, nine out of ten wildfires are caused by humans. Some of the common causes for the start of human-caused wildfires are arson, campfires, throwing out still lit cigarettes, improper burning of debris, playing with matches and fireworks and prescribed fires. Other factors include past fire suppression policies that allowed fallen leaves, branches, and excessive plant overgrowth in forest and wild land areas to accumulate. Also, the increase in dry and hot weather and the variation in the weather pattern have also played a role in the start of more wildfires over the years.  There are three components to a fire. Of these three things are fuel, oxygen, and heat. Heat and oxygen are two things that are beyond our control, but fuel is another thing. All it takes is for someone to throw a cigarette out of their window on a hot summer’s day and a fire can quickly set off. We need to be conscience of the things that were are doing with fire.

How to Prevent Wildfires

There are a number of ways that we can prevent wildfires. For the most part, when people go camping they tend to be in places away from the city life. There is typically more wildlife and forestry around. It is very important that you know how to safely build and dispose of campfires. First and foremost, you want to  keep your campfire at a safe and manageable size. Never leave the fire unattended, not only is this dangerous for starting a fire, but is also dangerous if you have little ones around. It is okay to use large pieces of wood that you find around you, but never cut off branches from live trees to use for your  campfire. To extinguish the fire be sure to pour lots of water on it until the hissing sound stops. Drown all of the embers in water, not just the ones that are glowing red, all of them. A big reason campfires cause wildfires is because there are embers that are still hot and burning. If you do not have water then you need to use dirt. Lastly, stir around what is left in the campfire and make absolute sure that everything is drenched and no longer lit. If you smoke, make sure you have an ashtray in your car. Do not throw your cigarette butts out of the window. Smoke only near concrete surfaces away from dry, overgrown brush. At home, clear away all flammable debris. Make at least a 100-ft perimeter free of debris around your home. Check all smoke detectors around your house to make sure that they are working properly. Home Security Store offers a variety of fire alarms and smoke detectors. For example the DSC2-Wire Photoelectric Smoke Detector. With their affordable prices and low-profile design, they can be the perfect fit for any home.   They also have the By completing these precautionary steps as well as using common sense, we can make a big differences in preventing wildfires.

Wildfire Safety

If you see a wildfire you need to immediately call 9-1-1. In these situations you do not want to assume someone already has. If the wildfire poses as a threat to your home is vital you make your home visible for firefighters to see it to try and save it. These things should only be done ONLY if you have time. Most importantly you want to make sure that you can evacuate safely. If you do happen to have time though, leave all doors unlocked and lights on so that the firefighters are able to see your home through the smoke. Shut off your gas and disconnect your garage doors so they can be opened by hand if the power goes out. You will also want to take with you all of the valuables that you absolutely cannot live without.

During this very hot time with dryness all around it is important that we not only do our part are preventing wildfires, but also make sure that we are aware of how they start. Wildfires can start instantly and move very fast so it is our responsibility to make certain we are prepared if disaster hits.

Don’t Have Anything Worth Stealing? Think Again!

From time to time I meet people who offer a plethora of reasons why they don’t believe they need a home security system. In most cases, this faulty thinking stems from a false sense of security ranging from those who believe that they live in a nice neighborhood and that a burglary can’t happen to them, to those who pride themselves on having a dog or a gun for protection. We’ve made a great deal of effort to debunk these myths in the hopes of educating people on how to protect themselves at home. One excuse that I’ve also encountered a number of times– and that deserves further exploration– is the notion that many people share of not having anything of value worth stealing in the first place.

Burglars Aren’t Always Looking For a Big Score

Unless you reside in a cardboard box, you have items that are attractive to burglars. Bear in mind that most aren’t in the business with the hopes of getting rich. A great majority of burglars are, in fact, drug addicts looking for items that they can sell quickly for a few bucks or even trade for their next fix. Burglars also tend to be young people, many of which do not have high overhead costs, but burglarize homes in order to gain a little recreational money or even because they covet items such as mp3 players, cell phones and other items which are useful, but that aren’t considered to be high-end merchandise. Then, there’s also the group of burglars who break into homes just for the thrill of doing so.

Common, Everyday Items Attract Thieves

For many burglars, stealing household fixtures such as faucets, copper piping or even kitchen appliances will do the trick. As previously mentioned, mp3 players and smartphones are popular items targeted for theft, as are television sets, DVD players and, of course, video game consoles and the games that they accommodate. When my own home was burglarized, the thieves made away with a handful of jewelry and, before they were interrupted by my son who walked in on them, they’d loaded up laundry baskets filled with DVDs. Our stereo equipment, personal computers and televisions were all left untouched…and perhaps the thieves intended to take these things before they were caught in the act, but prior to being burglarized, I would never have thought that our collection of DVDs would be the first items loaded up for heist ahead of our electronic devices.

Perhaps you’re a minimalist who doesn’t own a television set and who doesn’t spend money on anything beyond your barest essentials. Still, don’t count yourself out as a future burglary target. By the mere fact that you’re reading this blog post means that you own a personal computing device, which automatically places you squarely in the running for a home break-in.

Some Intruders Aren’t After ‘Things’ at All

Beyond material items, let’s be mindful that there are other far more valuable things that a thief can steal from your home. It pains me to have to write this, but children and small pets are sometimes the main targets in a break-in. In fact, a popular scam for some thieves is to steal a family pet, wait for the animal’s owners to post a reward for it and then return the animal and collect the cash reward.

And, unless you’ve completely and deliberately tuned out of society, undoubtedly you’ve heard about children being stolen from their homes. The cases of Jon Benet Ramsey and Elizabeth Smart immediately come to most people’s minds when referring to these type of home break-ins, but they unfortunately do not end there. Several other children have been abducted from their homes even with other family members present at the time. Just this summer in Philadelphia, a 9-year old girl was abducted by a naked man who entered through the front door of her home at 4:30a as she lay sleeping in her own bed. Thankfully, she is safe at home once again, but this is only after being sexually assaulted by the man.

Are You Playing Into a Criminal’s Plan?

Be seriously aware that burglars, kidnappers and the like count on people feeling a false sense of security. Believing that home security advice does not apply to you and that you have no need to take active steps to protect yourself from a break-in plays perfectly into a criminal’s plan to violate your home…or to even physically violate you or a family member. Dogs can be sedated or poisoned and a sleeping gun owner isn’t much of a threat to a sneaky intruder. For sure, we’re not big on blaming victims, but in just about every case of burglary or home invasion, there were things that could have been done beforehand to prevent these things from occurring. Everyone can do more and everyone must do more to stop thieves from stealing our peace of mind as a society.

Enlighten Us All

Has your home ever been broken into? Did you believe that your house wasn’t a target for burglary? In the comments’ section below, we’d really appreciate it if you’d share your story with our readers along with your home security lessons that were learned in the process.

How Does a Biometric Lock Work?

What is Biometrics?

There are both psychological biometric technology and behavioral biometric technology. Physiological biometrics are individual features that belong to a person’s body. For example facial recognition, iris scanning, retinal biometrics, hand scanning, voice recognition, DNA matching and biometrics fingerprinting. It works by analyzing and storing the physical trait to be used for security. Behavioral Biometric Technology relies on unique mannerisms. These features include voice patterns, hand signatures or typing rhythms. Biometrics works by checking a collection of records of recorded traits. When a user toes to gain entry the biometric device will take the information presented and compare it with the information stored. In order to gain entry your fingerprint is scanned by sensors that identify the specific mapping of your fingerprint. The fingerprint, which you pre-program is marked by computer algorithms and stored in a database. If it matches up with what is stored, access is instantly granted. If there is no match access will be denied. There are times when you may need to try again to gain entry and that is perfectly okay. Unlike case sensitive passwords, no matter how many times someone tries to unsuccessful gain entry, the lock will not freeze or lock up. Fingerprint recognition is considered to be the best choice for most applications because of its accuracy, speed, reliability, non-intrusive interfaces, and cost-effectiveness.

Why Choose Biometric Locks?

Some of the most important things to a person can be a person’s family, home and security. Biometric locks are becoming more favorable among people for many reasons.  A big benefit to them is there are no worries about forgetting a key or even forgetting a password. All you need is simply your fingerprint. Contrary to what you see in movies about photocopying a fingerprint to gain entry through a door, this is not true. Anatomically, no two people can have an identical fingerprint.. This puts people at ease knowing there is virtually no way for someone to duplicate their fingerprint and override the lock. Another benefit to biometric fingerprint locks is that once you remove someone from the lock, they are permanently removed and no longer able to gain entry. This is helpful because with a key someone can easily copy it making it useless if you take it away from them. Biometric door locks make it just as easy to add someone to the door as it is removing them. One thing that people may worry about is what happens in the case of an emergency? What if something goes wrong and you need to open up the door and you are not there? Luckily, there is a backup plan for these locks. There is a pin number that you can program into these locks as well as a backup. These locks can be used anywhere from the home to the workplace. Biometric fingerprint locks are the best because it has the highest security. These locks are great for in the home and the workplace too.

Where Can You Find Them?

Home Security Store offers a variety of quality biometric locks that are efficient, affordable and reliable. They have the latest in biometric locks to keep you up to date on your security. These locks allow you store many users and have a professional look to them. The locks will recognize the fingerprint within 1-3 seconds, but on average take about 1.5 seconds to authenticate. The handles on these locks are reversible making it even easier to use. Some of the locks that are more affordable are the LS-9 Adel Biometric Fingerprint Lock, Trinity-788 and for the kids the Adel Cartoon lock. These are DIY locks that have very easy installation steps making it easy for anyone to install. Say goodbye to calling a locksmith or trying to climb through a window if you forget your keys inside. With biometric finger locks you no longer have to worry about locking yourself out because not having access is impossible. These solid metal doors prevent people from breaking or vandalizing the lock. These locks are low not only easy to use, but also low maintenance. With the battery light lasting one year you won’t have to worry much about replacing them constantly. All you need is four AA batteries and your lock is back to working perfectly. The Trinity-788 lock can store up to 99 entries and the LS-9 Adel Biometric Fingerprint lock can store up to 120.

Biometric locks are user friendly and very affordable. It makes is easier to monitor what is going on whether it’s in your home or at work. You will know who has access to specific locations and not only that you literally control who you want having access. Whether you want to allow someone access for a week or a year, you have the luxury of doing that. They are a great way to have a little more piece of mind when it comes to securing important possessions or simply keeping your home safe. With biometric technology you can’t go wrong. Don’t wait any longer or worry anymore, now is as good as any time to try it out.

Tips on Childproofing a Home

Childproofing a home is one of the most important home security measures you can take. While this type of security is not geared toward protecting a household from an intruder, it is designed to keep your children and grandchildren safe from dangers lurking within your home. Contact with ordinary furnishings, home structures and household items can be harmful to young children and some can even cause fatalities.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, an international organization dedicated to international child safety, the number of children who die each year in the United States due to unintentional injury has declined significantly in the last 20 years. Still, scores of children under the age of 14 years old die every year from accidental injuries, many of which occur at home. We hope to see these numbers decline even further and even someday cease to exist completely. If you’d like to join us in this vision, keep reading.

Whether you’re a new parent or whether young children simply visit your home from time to time, the following are a list of very easy steps that you can take to childproof your home:

Cushion Sharp Edges

We’ve all sustained an injury or two from bumping into stationary objects. For children, however, common incidents like these can be especially threatening. This is particularly true for crawling babies and toddlers who’ve yet to perfect their walking skill. We suggest taking a moment to literally crawl around your home on your hands and knees in order to view your home’s layout from a child’s vantage point. Identify all of the sharp counter, table and wall edges in your home and then take measures to pad these in order to protect little ones before an accident occurs. If you need help figuring out the best way to do so, we recommend the MACE KinderGard Edge Cushions or corner cushions.

Place Medications and Vitamins Out of Reach

Each year, young children are accidentally poisoned by common items found in every home like vitamins, prescription medications and even over-the-counter medications. Of course, these items should always be stored safely out of a child’s reach. Going a step further, however, we suggest placing a childproof lock on drawers and cabinets where such items may be stored.

Cover Wall Outlets

This one is probably the most common warning when it comes to childproofing a home and, as such, is often the first childproofing step taken. How many of you actually carry coverings with you when you travel or visit someone’s home, though? This is something that should be seriously considered as children don’t just explore at home, but have a tendency to do so everywhere they go. For example, when my son was about three years old, he stuck a nickel in a wall socket at a hotel where we were visiting. Fortunately, he wasn’t harmed, but the sparks that flew from the wall socket, as well as the blackened, scorched nickel were warning enough for us to cover all wall sockets even while traveling. Affordable and widely available for purchase, outlet plugs should be in every home, car and purse.

Swimming Pool Safety

Despite constant warnings about preventable drowning deaths, children still die in swimming pools each and every year. Several drownings have already occurred this summer, such as the tragic death of two brothers, Kendell and Kensley Francois, age three and five years old in New Jersey who appear to have climbed a neighbor’s fence before drowning in the swimming pool there. This story highlights the importance of everyone practicing swimming pool safety, not just parents and grandparents, but neighbors too. Having a gated pool (which everyone should) is not enough and we can all do more. One way that every pool owner can help do her or his part is by installing a device such as the Safety Turtle Pool Alarm with Gate Sensor, which will immediately send a loud, audible alert each time a pool’s gate is opened.

Immediately Recycle Dry Cleaning Bags/Covers

As devastating as the number of child drowning deaths are, statistics from Safe Kids Worldwide reveal that even more children die from accidental suffocation. Sadly, a number of years ago, I met a young mother who’d lost her newborn due to accidental suffocation by a dry cleaning bag. The child was asleep on a relative’s bed as visitors filled the home to pay their respects for the young mother’s recently deceased father. Someone changed clothes in the bedroom where the child was and left a dry cleaning bag on the bed. As these bags are lightweight and move about easily, the bag shifted with the wind created from the bedroom door opening and closing and it ended up resting on top of the baby.

Whether you have a young child in your home or just may have one visit you from time to time. Think ahead by making the immediate recycling of plastic dry cleaning covers a priority in your home. A lot of dry cleaning companies offer customers the opportunity to recycle bags at their location. If your dry cleaner doesn’t allow you to return bags, simply recycle them at your local recycling center.

Your Help is Needed

Last year, a press release issued by Safe Kids Kansas proclaimed that more than 2,000 children each year die from accidental deaths that occur at home and even more are hospitalized due to serious injuries that take place at home. In addition to safeguarding our homes against burglary, each of us must commit to doing more to protect children from injury and preventable deaths.

Ideas Welcome

Childproofing a home is a subject too large to be completely covered in this limited space. We’ve done our part in starting the conversation and now it’s up to you. What are some your best suggestions for childproofing a home? Do us all a favor and share your input below.

Disaster or Emergency Preparedness

What to do in an Emergency Situation in or Away from Home

A disaster or emergency situation can strike at anytime. And usually, it is when we least expect it. It is important to know what to do in an emergency situation as well as where to store your emergency survival kits. Having a survival kit as well as types of survival food is something we may not think about as much as we should. It is vital that if you do not have one, you prepare one. In the event of a disaster or emergency situation there is no telling how quickly one will receive help. If you are away from the home and disaster strikes you should be aware of what exits to take how how to react in such a situation. In any crisis the number one thing to remember is to stay calm. If that requires you to take in deep breaths to help you do so, do it. You want to think clearly and use common sense. You also want for not only yourself to remain calm but also those around you. It can be so easy for us to instantly panic when we are placed in an emergency situation. It is a great idea to plan out the escape routes in your home to help make you as prepared as possible if anything happens. If you are away from the home you want to make certain that you listen to the people in charge to make sure that you don’t miss out on important evacuation tips. In an emergency it is wise to avoid taking elevators because you do not want to risk getting stuck on one in any sort of emergency circumstance. All business places should have an evacuation plan for multiple types of emergencies so it is best to stay calm and listen to what they advise you to do.

What to Include in your Emergency Kits

In your survival kit you should included a number of things. You will want to have batteries, emergency blankets, flash lights and flares, a battery-operated hand crank radio, first aid kit, food and water. In addition to those there are some other important items that you should consider including while preparing your kit. It would be wise to have money or travelers checks set aside if any type of emergency were to take place. Also, wherever you store your emergency kit is also a good place to store important family documents like birth certificates or insurance policies. Remember, if you are storing papers, put them in something that is waterproof. If you have any pets or infants you want to store extra pet food or baby formula in this area so it is ready to go if you need it. Having things like an extra set of clothes and games for the kids is an added bonus, but it is not something that would be considered a must have when preparing your kit. Home Security Store offers a variety of survival kits that are all ready to go. They are affordable and have all of the essential items that are needed. All you need to do is purchase it, store it, and you’re ready to go. A few of the popular kits Home Security Store sells are the Mayday Urban Road Warrior Kit, the Mayday Deluxe Emergency Honey Bucket Kit and the Mayday Deluxe Emergency Backpack Kit. All of these are affordable and very convenient! Another benefit to these kits it that they will not take up much storage space at all.

Survival Foods

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, recommends storing a gallon of water per person, per day for up to three days. As far as food goes they recommend having at least a three day supply of non-perishable foods. While you are making this kit,it is a good rule of thumb to remember that whatever you are packing, have at least a three day supply. It is important to stock up on carbohydrates. In fact, 50-60% of the foods you put in long-term storage should be carbohydrates. Home Security Store has a great food supply kit. They offer the Wise Food Supply in either a 120 or 60 serving supply. The entrees in this kit are stored in a grab-and-go bucket making it easy to access in any emergency situation. There are a variety of entrees included in this kit. The choices range from Cheesy Macaroni to Teriyaki and Rice. This kit is well worth buying especially with it’s 25 year shelf life. Other foods that FEMA recommends having are vitamins, canned fruits and vegetables, granola bars, peanut butter, and trail mix. Focus on having dry foods that will not easily perish.

Where to Store Your Survival Kits

While in an emergency situation you want for all emergency supplies and kits to be close to an exit and easy to reach. Closets and garages can be great storage places as well as even your car. A coat closet is particularly good being that most of them are located near the front door or entry way. Storing your supplies near an easy accessible exit it key. You want to make this as easy as possible and avoid any delay.

Emergency or disaster situations can be scary and unpredictable. But, by following these guide lines and making the appropriate precautionary steps, you will be calm and prepared.

Employee Background Checks: Are They Legal?

Why Are Background Checks Necessary?

Are all employee background check the same? What do employee background checks consist of? These are questions that many of us may have and some may even worry about. According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), one in four adults in America has had either an arrest or conviction that will show up in a criminal background check. For certain jobs background checks may be required by state or federal law. Securing the people’s information has increased drastically due to how many more checks employers have been conducting. When it comes to applying for a new job, having a background check can be worrisome. People fear that mistakes they made in the past many, many years ago will still haunt them when applying for a job. Employee background checks over the years have become more common and actually expected by the applicants. There are many things that have occurred overtime that led to an increase in employee background screening. In recent years, a majority of the states have made laws requiring people who work around children to have a background check. This only makes sense because we want all of our children and young loved ones to be kept safe and protected. There has been an increase in child abuse and child abductions making it more of a priority to protect children. Not only do many states require background checks for those working with children, but also those around the elderly and disabled. Other factors that have contributed to an increase in employee screening was the terrorist attacks on September 11. Security nationwide has heightened after this event even in the workplace. Falsified or inflated information from applicants is another thing that has resulted in employers having to process more background checks.

What Details are in Background Checks?

Background checks typically do not dive too far into the applicant’s information. They only look into what is necessary. The employer must look at each applicant individually and ask if the conviction or offense will affect them in the position if hired. For example, if someone is applying for a cashier position and they had a recent conviction of embezzlement then that is a fair reason to not hire the person. But if someone applying for that position had a reckless driving offense on their record then that is not something that will necessarily affect their position as a cashier. The employer must look at the nature and the gravity of the offense and see if the offense relates to the job.  As well as looking at the nature of the job they are applying for. But, the higher up people get in a job, the more responsibility they will have. Which in some cases, little offense can affect them getting the job. As the applicant, it is a very good idea to give oneself a background check before applying for jobs. Know what offenses and or convictions you may have on your record. Look your driving records, credit reports, court records and things of that sort. That way, you are prepared and know whether or not you are the best fit for the job.

Items Not Allowed on a Background Check

  • Bankruptcies after 10 years.
  • Civil suits, civil judgments and records of arrest after 7 years.
  • Paid tax liens after 7 years.
  • Accounts places for collections after 7 years.

Most negative information after seven years, except for criminal convictions, is not allowed to be on an employee background check. But, there are exceptions to this rule. If the applicant is applying for a job making $75,000 or more, these rules do not apply. Unless an arrest resulted in conviction, employers are not able to use this information on a background check. But, if an employer is looking to hire someone that would be working with patients, they are able to ask the applicant about sex related arrests. Also, if an applicant is applying for a job where they would be working around and have access to medications, the employer can ask about drug related arrests.

Items Allowed on a Background Check

  • Driving Records
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Credit Reports
  • Criminal Records
  • Social Security #
  • Education Records
  • Workers Compensation
  • Bankruptcy
  • Character References
  • Neighbor Interviews
  • Medical Records
  • State Licensing Records
  • Drug Test Records
  • Past Employers
  • Personal References
  • Incarnation Records
  • Sex Offender Lists

Many background checks consist of public records created by government agencies. Both things allowed and not allowed on background checks may vary depending on the job in which you are applying for. You can simply ask the employer what information will be processed in an employee background test. In the case of a background check, the employer is just looking to find the employee that is the best fit for their company or business. If there is any questions regarding what will be on an employee background check, simply ask the employer.

Home Security on a Budget

Burglary Statistics

In the U.S. there are over 2 million burglaries reported each year which amounts to about 6000 per day. Only 17% of homes have a security system or some form of home security.  A home burglary occurs approximately every thirteen seconds. By not having a home security system your home is about 300% more likely to get broken into. During the summertime homes have a higher chance to be broken into because people tend to leave windows open for air flow. Also, because this is the time of year that people are away from their homes for long periods of time while vacationing. These statistics about home burglaries are not only shocking but scary as well. It is so important that you take action to protect your home. With our struggling economy, it is vital that we invest the money we have wisely. But, no matter how the economy looks, there is never a good or bad time to purchase home security. If you do not have any form of home protection, the time to buy something is now. There are many options to consider for home security that can be purchased for those on a tight budget, so there is no reason that your home should remain unprotected.

Home Security Options

There are many types of affordable home security products. Ranging from yard signs to driveway alarms, chances are there is something you will find that will scare off burglars. Home Security Store offers a variety of choices to keep your home and family safe. There are driveways alarms that can be purchased that are also motion activated. You will be notified when someone comes onto your driveway. Along with that are motion activated lights. Anytime that someone goes in an area that the light is set up, the light will turn on. It is great to use for not only your driveway but dark corners around your front or backyard that can be a possible hiding space for a burglar.

The Fake TV Burglar Deterrent device is a great buy. Not only is it very affordable, but also looks real from the outside eye. It uses multiple colored, flashing LED lights that create the illusion of a real TV. It looks real and it also uses less electricity than your average TV, which is beneficial considering it will be on while you’re away from your home. This item can be controlled with the use of your computer.

The Burglar Deterrent Kit is another possibility. It includes the Fake TV as well as yard signs and decals. There are a number of products like dummy cameras and electronic watch dogs that can also be taken into consideration. The dummy cameras look just like real security cameras and are a fraction of the cost. These can be purchased for under $40. The cameras look as if they are recording even though they are only there for show.

Burglar or not, a lot of people are scared of houses that have big, aggressive dogs. Thanks to the Rex Plus Electronic Watch Dog Alarm, you can make it appear as though you have a mean, angry protective dog in your home. This alarm sounds like a real guard dog and can easily scare off intruders. You can place this anywhere in your home with the use of a standard outlet. This alarm will sense people through walls, thick doors and glass.  All of these things look very realistic and work like a charm! Now, there is even the option of home automation. The benefit of this is that you can have certain lights and alarms set in your house to make it appear as if you are home. You can set timers for the lights within your home to turn on at specific times of the day. This helps prevent your home from being burglarized while you are away on vacation. A burglar is less likely to break into a home that looks as if someone is in there.  Many of the items found on Home Security Store’s website can easily fit within a tight budget.

For those who want to be extra cautious, full home security systems may also be purchased. There are systems that have DVR capability that can record all activity in and around your house. Although these systems can be a little pricey, they allow you to watch everything that is going on.  Buying a security system is a very wise investment. It gives you the freedom for paying for a monthly alarm company. But, if you are unable to fork out the money right then and there, you also have the option to pay every month for a home alarm company. There are specific benefits to all of the security products out there.

It’s a proven fact that homes with security systems and home protection are less likely to be burglarized. The importance of keeping your family and home safe are priceless. If you have considered getting a security system but were unsure of what to purchase, you now have many options. Protect yourself before your family and home becomes a victim to one of the 6000 home burglaries per day.

What Should I Put in My Bug Out Bag?

The short answer to this question is to put every bare necessity that you and your family will need to survive away from home during an emergency into your bug out bag. While food and water are certainly your most important necessities, remember that you may also need health supplies and basic tools, too. Whether you already have your bag packed or are just beginning to build your supply list, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this post you’ll have a firm grasp on exactly what you need to make sure that you are packed and ready to bug out (i.e. evacuate) in an emergency situation.

What Is a Bug Out Bag?

For those of you who are unfamiliar, let us first introduce you to the concept of a bug out bag. Simply, it is a bag packed with all of the essentials (such as food, clothing, medical supplies, etc.), which you will need to have in one accessible location in case of an emergency. For sure, your bug out bag should include a basic emergency and first-aid kit, but it should also enable you to completely bug out– as in flee looting, violence and the general chaos that is likely to occur after those around you are forced to endure more than a few days without electricity, clean water or public safety services. Just as you do with home security, it is important to think about you and your family’s survival and safety in every situation whether at home or on the road. Thus, every member of your family should have their own bug out bag packed and ready at all times.

Bug Out Bag Basics

Just like the contents of everyone’s closet, refrigerator and medicine cabinet are different from the next, so will the precise contents of each person’s bug out bag. At the very least, however, your bug out bag should contain the following essentials:

  • Non-perishable foods (such as pre-cooked canned meats, jerky, boxed juices, coffee, etc.)
  • Water (at least week’s supply for each family member’s drinking and hygiene)
  • An extra supply of prescription medications (don’t forget pet medications)
  • First aid supplies
  • Pet food
  • Durable, warm clothing (don’t forget closed-toe shoes or boots)
  • Outdoor cooking and eating utensils
  • Items to protect you from the elements (sleeping bag, tent, water-resistant clothing, etc.)
  • Personal security items
  • Cash (small bills are recommended)

A Good Emergency Kit

To help you gather most of the essentials you’ll need, we suggest investing in a good emergency kit like the Mayday Deluxe Emergency Honey Bucket Kit. We also recommend investing in additional water purification tablets or an emergency water filter. Remember that you will not only need drinking water in an emergency situation, but you may also need water for cooking and for your personal hygiene. Make sure that you have enough of each of your essentials since you and your family may need to rely on these items for several days or more.

 Heat, Lighting and Energy

 Without heating and electricity, you’ll have to supply your own. These items will help:

  • A reliable fire starter or waterproof matches
  • Emergency flares
  • A solar-powered or battery operated lantern
  • A heavy-duty flashlight
  • Tinder (to start a cooking fire and to heat water useful for first aid and bathing)
  • Batteries

Health and Hygiene

As needed, make sure each family member and pet has an additional supply of prescription medications stored in a bug out bag ahead of time. Such is not something you want to risk leaving home without. In addition to necessary medications, the following health items should also be included in your bug out bag:

  • Sunblock
  • Insect repellent
  • Vitamins
  • Toilet paper
  • Personal care items (soap, toothpaste, lotion, razors, deodorant, tampons, etc.)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Bleach
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Condensed towels

Tools

 In the event of a widespread disaster, emergency crews will have their hands full. You may need to clear debris or build a temporary shelter on your own. While there’s no way to know exactly what you’ll need in such a situation, you’ll do well to at least have the following tools on hand:

  • Electrical tape
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Wire cutter
  • Binoculars
  • Shovel
  • Hammer
  • Sturdy rope

Personal Safety Items

 Becoming lost or trapped during an emergency can present a life or death danger. Also, dwindling food, water and other resources tend to bring out the worst in people. Frightened, hungry or wild animals can also prove to be a serious threat during chaotic times. At the very least, make sure that you have the following items on hand to increase you and your family’s security and safety:

  • Pepper spray
  • A loud whistle
  • GPS Tracking device
  • Extra items for barter

Bartering Items

Depending upon the extent of your emergency, you may find that cash on hand isn’t nearly as valuable as survival items that you can use to trade with others. Just about any of the items in your bug out bag can be used for bartering with others. You may need these items to trade for necessities or they may even be useful in negotiating your safety if confronted by desperate people. Some of the items you may want to consider packing extra of are:

  • Food items
  • Water
  • Water purification tablets
  • First aid items
  • Batteries

Communication

  • A solar-powered, hand-cranked or battery-operated emergency radio (One that receives AM/FM, as well as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) broadcasts. NOTE: Some emergency radios also offer a cellphone charging feature.)
  • A fully charged cellphone

Storing Your Bug Out Bag

For sure all of these items should be stored in a portable bag, such as a high visibility backpack or a military-style duffle bag. An additional waterproof box or chest is good for storing larger tools that will not fit into your primary bag. All of these items should be stored in your car’s trunk thus enabling you to flee at a moment’s notice if necessary.

Be Prepared For ‘Just In Case’

Think for a moment about the number of news reports you’ve recently heard about earthquakes, flooding, power outages and similar circumstances leaving people without regular access to food and water. In many of these instances, public services were stretched far too thinly for police, fire or emergency crews to do much good for the masses who were in dire need. Now, think about what you would do in such a situation? Are you prepared to live without electricity, food, water and heat for at least a week if you needed too? Your bug out bag is, therefore, your ‘just in case’ all-in-one survival kit.

Tell Us What’s In Your Bug Out Bag

Do you have a bug out bag? What’s in it? We look forward to you sharing your bug out bag list in the comments section below.