Home Burglary Prevention Tips

May 6th, 2009 | Filed under: Consumer Protection, Family Safety, Home Projects, Security, Security Systems | 3 Comments »

With the economic downturn we are seeing the rise in home burglary.  According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, an American home is broken into about every 15 seconds and a homeowner loses an average of nearly $2,000 in possessions and damages

It is said that every home is a potential target.  With that in mind ADT has listed several tips to prevent your home from becoming burglarized:

  • Make sure all hedges and shrubs are trimmed and not covering windows. Overgrown bushes and trees close to your house can be good hiding places and also are an indication that you may be away from home. However, thorny bushes beneath windows can be a deterrent.
  • Keep areas in and around the home well lit. A dark property is more attractive to burglars - most will choose not to enter a house that is well lit. Consider installing motion sensor lights outdoors and putting indoor lights on a timer. Also, install lights on other outdoor buildings, such as sheds or garages.
  • Always lock all windows and doors when you leave home. According to the Burglary Prevention Council, most home burglaries occur during the day, when people are away at work or school. Practice and remind your family to always close and lock all doors and windows when leaving the house unattended.
  • Never hide keys around the exterior of your home. Thieves look in mailboxes, under doormats and above doorways for keys. Do not make it easy for them to get into your home. If you will be out of town on vacation, leave emergency house keys with a trusted neighbor or consider a lock box if you must leave keys outside.
  • Never put your name on your mailbox or record your name on your answering machine. Thieves look for any information they can find to gain easier access. Only put the house number on your mailbox and door and say you are “unavailable to answer the phone” on the answering machine without stating your name. By turning down your phone ringer, thieves will not hear calls go unanswered - a sign no one is home.
  • Consider a monitored burglar alarm system. A recent Rutgers University study found that alarm systems are an effective deterrent, making a home less attractive to intruders. Make sure your burglar alarm system includes a loud inside alarm, detectors at all exterior doors and motion sensors in bedrooms and main living areas. Most insurance companies also offer a discount of up to 20 percent on homeowner’s policies when you install a monitored alarm.

“Right now we have the summer burglary season colliding with more desperate economic times. That makes it even more important than ever for homeowners to take steps to protect their most precious possessions - family and home.”


Home Improvement Projects Are Important But Safety is First

April 4th, 2009 | Filed under: Family Safety, Home Projects | No Comments »

Source: NotWeb Network

Every year, around 1.6% of American households embark on a key home improvement plan. Only two other loan application desires are more popular than home improvement projects requests. With the rise in home-improvement cases, accidents and injuries have also increased. In this article lets review the use of ladders as they are one of the most usable equipment in almost all the home improvement project whether commercial or residential.

Whether in use inside or outside, tools and equipment must be dependable and operated safely. Reliable gear is essential to safety management. Confidence in the equipment is critical. Many home improvement projects require the use of a ladder. When using a ladder in the project consider the following features.

The ladder should be in compliance with OSHA standards. If the ladder does not comply with OSHA, it should be eliminated as a ladder choice. With the OSHA rules in place it is possible to minimize the number of accidents that take place using the ladders.

Use a ladder prepared for the quantity of weight being applied. Never load the ladder beyond the manufacturer?s specifications for weight capacity. Verify the weight capacity before purchasing a ladder. Consider the weight of the person using the ladder as well as the load to be carried by that person…

Read the rest…


A Model Green Home

April 2nd, 2009 | Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Home Projects | 2 Comments »

Source: Smart Homeowner 

Last year, Fireside completed construction on a three-level, 4,000-square-foot timber-frame home that became the first residence in Michigan to achieve Platinum-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. That’s the highest level of certification available for homes under the U.S. Green Building Council’s popular green-building rating system.

The home, dubbed Burnside’s Inn, incorporates many of the latest energy-efficient systems and green building products. It features a custom timber-frame structure designed by Marty Birkenkamp of Riverbend Timber Framing, located in nearby Blissfield, Mich., in the southeastern region of the state. Building systems such as ICFs (insulating concrete forms) and SIPs (structural insulated panels) were used to construct the home. In addition, it has a geothermal heating and cooling system, as well as a stand-alone solar energy system. The result is an energy-efficient demonstration home Burnside uses to tout the benefits of building green…

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Lockbox Program Aimed at Making Seniors Safer

March 27th, 2009 | Filed under: Home Projects, Home Storage, Safes and Lockboxes, Security, Senior Safety | 2 Comments »

(Source: Yuma Sun)

On occasion when emergency responders receive a 911 call and arrive at the residence, the person who made that call may be physically unable to answer the door, which may be locked. 

  In that case, responders must break a door or window to gain access, causing property damage that will only amount to an added expense for the person who made the call. But thanks to a new federal grant, a pilot program installing Knox boxes on certain homes may be changing all that in the near future in the Yuma area.

  “This program will allow us quick access to homes that have ‘at risk’ clients in them,” said Jill Harrison, director of the Western Arizona Council of Governments. “Because we provide various in-home services such as in-home meals to the elderly that are living alone, we have already identified those people who may be most in need of this service.”

  The Knox Box is make by the Knox Co. in Phoenix.

  Harrison stressed that none of the Knox boxes has been installed, but they soon will be ordered and then installed by local fire departments, free of charge to the client.

   “A Knox Box is a small simple lockbox that either attaches to the home or to the door,” she said, “much the same as real estate companies use. A key to the home can be left inside and only the local fire department has a key that will fit the lockboxes in their area. It is very safe and secure.”

  Currently, the Area Agency on Aging, a division of WACOG, is cooperating with six local fire districts in coordinating the ordering and installation process. Those six fire districts are the Kingman Fire Department, Bullhead City Fire Department, Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire Department, Quartzsite Fire Department, Yuma Fire Department and Yuma Rural/Metro Fire Department.

  Each department will receive 50 of the Knox Boxes to be loaned to senior citizens to increase their security.

  “One of the things we like best about this program is that we can use the same lockboxes over and over in different locations,” said Harrison. “So if someone moves, we can use that lockbox at another location.”

  According to Harrison, funding came from the Older Americans Act and the National Caregiver Support Program.

  “We’re referring to this as a pilot program, but we also recognize that we might only get funded for this program one time, so we’re trying to use the money as efficiently as possible. The Knox lockboxes cost between $150 to $160 each, depending upon whether it is the type that must be mounted on the house or simply attached to the door.”

  Harrison said there are other benefits to the program as well as the increased security for senior citizens living alone.

  “We’re building a really effective series of partnerships through this program and that can carry over into other areas in the future that we can’t even see today.”


Consumer Reports Risk Survey: 48% of Americans Don’t Have Carbon-Monoxide Detectors

February 5th, 2009 | Filed under: Carbon Monoxide, Energy Efficiency, Food & Nutrition, Home Projects, Slip-and-Fall | No Comments »

YONKERS, N.Y., Feb. 2 — PRNewswire-USNewswire – Some 48 percent of Americans don’t have a carbon-monoxide detector at home, 24 percent sometimes fail to fasten a seatbelt, and 39 percent often eat raw dough when making cookies, according to a nationally representative poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

This is the second part of a two-part series that looks at risky behavior. The first half was published in the February 2009 issue of Consumer Reports.

The poll reveals what behaviors Americans do which they probably shouldn’t including: occasionally using the top step of a ladder (31 percent), sometimes having a beer while using a power tool or mower (13 percent), and letting their kids play on a trampoline (43 percent).

Also, the survey shows what behaviors Americans don’t do that they probably should including: having a rubber mat in the tub or shower (61 percent don’t), changing batteries in smoke alarms yearly (21 percent don’t), and eating burgers only well done (32 percent don’t).

The full report on how often Americans take risks is available in the March 2009 issue of Consumer Reports, on saleFebruary 3 and online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

The results are revealing because these behaviors can cause real harm, according to safety experts at Consumer Reports and elsewhere.

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, safety belts saved 15,147 lives in 2007.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that carbon-monoxide poisoning claims almost 500 lives in the U.S. each year.
  • The CDC notes that a common cause of food-borne salmonella infections is under-cooked or raw eggs, often found in cookie dough. Salmonellosis causes an estimated 1.4 million cases of foodborne illness and more than 500 deaths annually in the United States.
  • Based on Consumer Reports’ analysis of Consumer Product Safety Commission data, more than 105,000 hospital-treated injuries in the U.S. in 2007 were linked to trampolines.

The poll revealed men were slightly more likely than women to let children play on a trampoline, and women were more apt to eat burgers well done, fasten their safety belt religiously, and clean lint from the dryer after each use. Respondents ages 18 to 35 were more likely than older folks to eat raw cookie dough; those 55 and older were more likely to have a rubber mat in the tub or shower.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a random-digit-dialing telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. In all, 1,000 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+. Interviews took place in October 2008. The margin of error is +/- 3% points at a confidence level of 95 percent.

MARCH 2009

The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for commercial or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports(R) is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. To achieve this mission, we test, inform, and protect. To maintain our independence and impartiality, Consumers Union accepts no outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the interests of consumers. Consumers Union supports itself through the sale of our information products and services, individual contributions, and a few noncommercial grants.