- Apartment Safety
- Auto Theft Prevention
- Barbeque and Grilling Safety
- Child Safety
- Child Safety Seat Information
- Cold Weather Safety
- Con and Fraud Prevention
- Consumer Safety & News
- Crime Prevention Check List for Businesses
- Fire Escape Plan
- Fire Safety Overview for Kids
- Home Heating Fire and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
- Home Safety
- Identity Theft Prevention
- Personal Safety
- Shopping Safety
- Turkey Fryer Safety
- Urban Coyote Awareness
- Utility Outages
- Vacation Safety
- Water Safety
Apartment Safety Tips
Because families in apartment complexes live so close together, there are special areas of concern when it comes to fire safety. Apartment complexes are simply a series of small, connected homes. It’s important to remember that what you do in your apartment can affect people living six-doors down, or even in the next building.
Special hazards that affect people who live in apartments:
- Often, there is only one way in or out — no back door.
- Stairways are often built entirely of wood. If the stairwell or walkway is on fire, you may not be able to exit through the front door.
- Congested parking can mean blocked fire hydrants and/or blocked fire lanes. (A ladder truck can be 8 – 9-feet wide, and 50-feet long. A blocked fire lane can slow down response time.)
- An apartment building is, in effect, a very densely populated neighborhood. (If the downstairs or next door apartment is on fire, it can spread quickly to adjoining apartments in a matter of minutes.)
Without properly working smoke alarms, it make take a lengthy amount of time before finding out that another part of the apartment building is on fire. Consequently, this could cut your chances of getting out of the building alive.
Make sure you have smoke alarms and an extinguisher that works.
A smoke alarm(s) and an extinguisher are required in every apartment unit. Two story apartments must have at least one alarm on each floor and placing it close to sleeping rooms is recommended. Remember to check the batteries once a week, and replace the batteries at least twice a year. Make sure your fire extinguisher is kept in good working order and is placed in a central location. Most are kept under the kitchen sink.
When in use, barbecues should be located on ground level and be a minimum of 5-feet from buildings, structures, covered walkways or roof overhangs. Barbecues should be done at the designated locations on the complex campus and not on unit balconies or patios.
Don’t park in front of fire hydrants and don’t park in fire lanes.
Respecting the fire restrictions may literally save your life. When friends visit, be sure to remind them to park only in appropriate parking areas.
Never leave smoking materials burning. Never smoke in bed.
Often times the most common cause of apartment fires is careless disposal of smoking materials.
Make sure there’s a number on your apartment door.
If there isn’t or if it’s difficult to read then you should contact management.
Keep a copy of your apartment number and apartment building number, inside your apartment, near the phone.
The information will then be handy for babysitters, and it will be there if you panic.
Complex owners and managers need to be sure gated driveways are accessible to firefighters.
A lot of multi-housing complexes are now gated. Work with the fire department to make sure access requirements are met.
Don’t run extension cords under carpets or from unit-to-unit.
They can easily overheat. Extension cords are for temporary use only. They are not to be used as a substitute for permanent wiring.
Appliances, Electric Blankets
Before leaving your apartment always make sure that coffee pots, irons and electric blankets are cut off.
Get acquainted with disabled folks in your building.
If there’s a fire, they may have extra difficulty getting out. You may be able to help them, or you can direct firefighters to the disabled person’s apartment.
What To Do If There’s a Fire
- Once out – STAY OUT! Do not go back in for ANY reason.
- Call 9-1-1 from a safe location.
- Give the dispatcher as much accurate information as you can.
- Get out of the apartment.
- Try to let neighbors know to get out. Help elderly and disabled folks or families who have many children.
- Have someone meet the fire trucks when they arrive, if it can be done safety.
- Keep the fire lanes open.
- If you can’t get out, use a mobile phone to stay in touch with 9-1-1 dispatchers. Shine a flashlight or wave a sheet out the window to alert firefighters that you’re trapped. The most important thing is to stay calm!
Auto Theft Prevention
What are some preventative measures to protect your vehicle?
- Always lock your car and take your keys
- Never leave the vehicle running and unattended
- Never leave a spare set of keys in your vehicle
- Use auto theft deterrents (steering wheel locks and /or alarms)
- Park in well-lit areas and be familiar with your surroundings
- Park in attended lots
- Keep all valuables and packages out of sight
- If you have a garage, use it and lock your car in the garage.
- Park with your wheels sharply toward the curb and put on your parking brake.
- Thieves will often use tow trucks or flatbed trucks to steal your vehicle and this will make it a little more difficult for them.
- Anti-Theft Systems – Including siren or horn alarms, starter disablers, motion sensors, remote control activation, panic buttons and shock detectors on doors, windows or trunk lids.
- Steering Wheel Locks – Steering wheel locks are visible from outside the vehicle and prevent the wheel from being turned more then a few degrees.
- Collars – Collars are devices that wrap around the steering column and prevent the steering column from being stripped and exposing the starting mechanism.
- Fuel or “Kill” switches – Inexpensive switch inside the vehicle cuts off fuel supply or “kills” electrical current and must be flipped before vehicle will start. Check if vehicle’s warranty is affected before installing.
- VIN etching – The vehicle identification number of your vehicle is etched on windows and / or major parts to make them easier to trace.
- Vehicle Tracking Systems – Hidden transmitters allow stolen vehicle to be tracked by police or by global positioning satellites.
Barbeque and Grilling Safety
Each year, about 600 fires/explosions nationally occur with gas grills resulting in injuries to about 30 people. Propane gas is highly flammable. The new safety standard for propane gas tanks requires that an “over-fill prevention device” be installed in new gas tanks. The new propane gas tanks have valve handles with three “lobes” (prongs) while older tanks have valve handles with five prongs. People with older propane gas tanks should trade them in for the new, safer tanks.
Each year about 19 people die nationally as a result of Carbon Monoxide (CO) fumes from charcoal being burned inside. Charcoal produces CO when it is burned. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can accumulate to toxic levels in closed environments.
Gas Grill Safety Tips
- Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
- Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.
- Always keep propane gas containers upright.
- Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors.
- Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
- Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.
- Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents, or campers. Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.
- Since charcoal produces CO fumes until the charcoal is completely extinguished, do not store the grill indoors with freshly used coals.
A New Way to Look at an Old Problem
- 95% of all child abductions and molestations were done by someone the child knew or thought they knew (source: FBI).
- 5% of all child abductions and molestations were done by a “stranger.”
- Teaching “stranger danger” doesn’t apply to 95% of reported cases. We need to teach our children to be safe 100% of the time!
- Your child needs to CHECK FIRST with you before they go ANYWHERE with ANYONE at ANY TIME. Teach this to them as a slogan and have them repeat it.
- CHECK FIRST before you get into a car or go in a building with anyone, even a neighbor or someone you think you know.
- CHECK FIRST before you take candy, food, toys, etc. from anyone.
- Children need to know their full name, address (including state) and telephone (including area code).
- If they find a gun or bullets – do not touch it! Teach them to tell an adult.
- Your child should not give out any personal information.
- Your child should not give out his or her photo without your permission.
- Your child should never agree to meet in person someone they “met” online.
- Your child should tell you if anything upsetting occurs on the Internet.
Child Safety Seat Information
Child Seats are vital (and required) to insure the safety of your children. The following information outlines Child Seat requirements:
- Rear Facing Seats – Should be installed in the back seat of the vehicle. Weight requirement: up to 20 lbs AND 1 year of age
- Forward Facing Toddler Seats – Should be installed in the back seat of the vehicle. Weight requirement: 20-40 lbs up to the age of 4 (Please check car seat for specific weight and height requirements)
- Booster Seats – Installed in the back seat of the vehicle. Age/height requirement: about 4-8 years old, unless they are over 4’9″
- Safety Belts – Ages 8 and older or taller than 4’9″
Any additional questions about car seats or if you need assistance installing a car seat, please contact the Police Department at (770) 455-1000.
Stay safe during cold weather
Prepare your home and family
- Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
- Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- If you have pets, bring them indoors. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure that they have access to unfrozen water.
- Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
- Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
- Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Brakes – check for wear and fluid levels.
- Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
- Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas.
- Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.
- Oil – check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
- Thermostat – ensure it works properly.
- Windshield wiper equipment – repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
- Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
Place a winter emergency kit in each car that includes:
- Windshield scraper and small broom
- Battery powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Snack food
- Extra hats, socks and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt and sand
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares
- Fluorescent distress flag
Dress for the weather
- Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
- Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
- Wear a hat.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
Con and Fraud Prevention
Learning how to identify common cons and fraud situations and understanding how to protect yourself against con artists is your best defense against cons and frauds.
Types of Cons:
- Bait and Switch – An item is listed at a great bargain in an advertisement or in-store display, but when you go to store purchase it, they say that they’ve sold out of that particular one, yet have another at a higher price.
- Bank Examiner – A person claims to be a bank official and wants you to withdraw your money to catch a crooked employee. No bank or police agency will ask you to withdraw your money for any reason.
- Pidgin Drop – A stranger approaches you about finding a large amount of money and wants to share it with you. The catch is you need to put up “good faith” money.
Types of Fraud:
- Home Repair Fraud – “contractors” offering “today only” specials
- Identity Theft – Using your social security number and other personal information, the thief takes your identity and uses it as their own to draw credit, etc.
- Sweepstakes/Contests/Lotteries – Fees to “win” a prize
- Telemarketing Fraud – Prize offers, travel packages, health products, investments, charities, and recovery schemes
- Please Note: These are just some examples of cons and frauds, and it is no way inclusive of all cons and fraud situations.
What You Can Do About Internet Fraud
- Delete all SPAM (unsolicited e-mail). Never reply. Purchase a SPAM filter.
- Ignore e-mail messages that ask for your personal information—even if it looks like it comes from your ISP (Internet Service Provider), bank or auction website.
- Only use credit card payment services and online escrow accounts that you are familiar with.
- Distribute the “10 Tips to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft” within your business and neighborhood communities.
Internet Dating Sites
Dating sites have become increasingly popular for singles as well as scammers. If you decide to join a dating site be wary of flawlessly attractive individuals especially if there is a big age gap and the inquiring individual communicates in broken or poor English. Lots of times these are scammers from other countries that prey on customers. Never ever agree to give money to these individuals or allow yourself to be lured to a sham website. If you engage or suspect you have engaged a scammer let the moderator know immediately.
If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is! If you suspect a con or fraud, call the police at (770) 455-1000.
If you have a problem with a business, call the Better Business Bureau at 404-766-0875 or www.bbb.org or call the Attorney General’s Office at (404) 656-3300. And don’t forget to call your financial institutions immediately if your checks/credit cards have been lost or stolen.
If you think you’re an ID Theft Victim, call the Fraud Unit of all major credit-reporting agencies listed below to place a fraud alert.
- Equifax - www.equifax.com To order your report, call: 1(800) 685-1111. To report fraud, call: 1(800) 525-6285/ TDD 1(800) 255-0056 or write to: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241.
- Experian – www.experian.com To order your report, call: 1(888) EXPERIAN (397-3742). To report fraud, call: 1(888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)/ TDD 800-972-0322 or write to: P.O. Box 9532, Allen TX 75013.
- TransUnion – www.transunion.com To order your report, call: 1(800) 888-4213. To report fraud, call: 1 (800) 680-7289/ TDD 877-553-7803; fax: 714-447-6034; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Fraud Victim Assistance Dept., P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634-6790
What Else You Can Do:
- Remove your name from the telemarketer list by signing up at www.donotcall.gov or call 1(888) 382-1222.
- Opt-out of credit and insurance offers (either permanently or for five years) by calling 1 (888) 567-8688 or go to www.opoutprescreen.com .
- Stop direct mail and telemarketers by going to www.dmaconsumers.org or send a check or money order for $1 (payable to DMA) and writing to: Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 282, Carmel, NY 10512
Crime Prevention Check List for Businesses
The latest terrorist trend indicates a shift from large fortified structures to targets that have greater public access and fewer inherent security measures. Citizens are a crucial component in securing our communities. The Doraville Police Department would like to remind you of the following procedures which will assist in securing you, your employees, your facilities and customers.
- Remind employees to be aware of suspicious persons and activity, e.g., occupied vehicles in unusual locations, persons photographing or diagramming your facility, telephone calls seeking suspicious information, etc.
- Challenge any unfamiliar persons in or near your work areas. If they do not appear threatening, engage them in conversation about what they are doing, who they work for, what their name is, etc.
- Ensure that all security and video systems are operating and in good working order.
- Consider deploying security personnel to areas of high visibility and/or public access, e.g., public entrances, front desk areas, public-gathering points, etc.
- Increase scrutiny of public parking lots and vehicles.
- Consider reducing vehicular access to areas close to buildings.
- Be aware of any packages that are abandoned and/or appear to be suspicious.
- Obtain identification from all persons doing business at your facility.
- Secure uniforms, employee identification, company vehicles or other items that might be stolen or replicated and used to circumvent security measures.
Intelligence sources report that the United States and U.S. interests worldwide continue to be the most attractive terrorist targets. Your vigilance and attention to the suggestions listed above will help to safeguard our community.
Report suspicious activity as quickly as possible to the Doraville Police Department at (770) 455-1000. For emergencies call 911.
Fire Escape Plan
While smoke alarms alert people to fires, families still need to develop and practice home fire escape plans so that they can get out quickly.
- Draw a floor plan of your home, showing two ways out of each room, including windows.
- Practice the escape plan at least twice a year, making sure that everyone is involved – from kids to grandparents. If there are infants or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them.
- Agree on an outside meeting place where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Remember to get out first then call for help. Never go back inside until the fire department gives the OK.
For more information, please contact the DeKalb County Fire Department at (678) 405-7750.
Fire Safety Overview for Kids
- Most fatal fires occur at night, when people are sleeping. It is important to have at least one smoke alarm near the bedroom area to provide early warning in case of a fire. In homes with more than one level, place at least one smoke alarm on each level. Have your parents test your smoke alarms at least once a week and replace the batteries at least twice a year.
- In case of fire while sleeping, roll out of bed and crawl low under smoke. Smoke is dangerous to breathe. Hot smoke rises toward the ceiling, leaving cooler, cleaner air close to the floor and you will be able to see better. Go quickly to your exit. Smoke rises and has poisonous gases in it.
- Develop a home escape plan with your family and practice it often. Always know two ways out. Once you are out, stay out. Go to the designated meeting place.
- Have a designated meeting place for the family. Make sure everyone is out of the house, and then go to the neighbor’s house and call the fire department or 911.
- If your clothes catch on fire, do not run. Running can make the fire spread. Instead, stop where you are. Drop to the floor or ground and cover your eyes and mouth with your hands. Roll, over and over until the flames go out.
- Matches and lighters are tools for grown-ups only. If you find them, do not pick them up; instead, go tell a grown-up.
- Stay three feet away from the fireplace when there is a fire in it. A screen should be in front of the fireplace and adults should take care of the fire, not you.
- Remind your parents to turn the handles of the pots on the stove to the back of the stove when cooking so the pots cannot be easily turned over on you.
- When turning on the hot and cold water, turn on the cold water first and then turn on the hot until the water warms to the temperature you want it. This will eliminate your getting burned.
- If you get burned, run cool water over the burned area for 5-10 minutes. Never put ice on a burn. Also, never apply oils, sprays or ointments to a serious burn – unless directed by a physician.
- Firefighters are your friends. Do not hide from them. They must wear special clothes to keep them safe from fire.
Home Heating Fire and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
The leading months for home fires and home fire deaths in the United States are December, January and February. On average, more than a third of home fire deaths in the United States occur during the winter months. Critical elements of home heating safety have to do with correct installation, maintenance, fueling and operation of portable and space heaters, as well as safely arranging household items around them.
Major causes of home heating fires include:
- Lack of regular cleaning of chimneys in fireplaces and woodstoves.
- Placing things that can burn too close to space and portable heaters.
- Flaws in design, installation or useFueling errors involving liquid, or gas-fueled heaters.
- Leaving portable or space heaters unattended.
Prevent home heating equipment fires:
- When purchasing equipment, select ones that have the mark of an independent testing laboratory.
- Install and maintain heating equipment correctly.
- Make sure the equipment complies with local fire and building codes.
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a heating device.
- All types must be kept at least 36 inches from anything that can burn, including furniture, bedding, clothing, pets and people.
- Space heaters must not be left operating when you are not in the room, or when you go to sleep.
- Children should be supervised at all times when space heaters are in use.
- Do not put drying clothing or combustibles over heaters.
- Check for fraying or splitting wires, or overheating. Have problems repaired by a professional before operating the space heater.
Portable Kerosene Heaters
- Use only fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
- Never use gasoline or any other substitute fuel, because the wrong fuel could burn hotter than the equipment’s design limits, and cause a serious fire.
- When refueling, always turn off the heater and let it cool down completely before adding fuel.
- Wipe up any spills promptly.
- Store kerosene away from heat or open flame, in a container approved by the fire department.
- Have chimney inspected by a professional prior to the start of every heating season, and cleaned if necessary.
- Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire if not removed through cleaning.
- Use a sturdy fireplace screen.
- Make sure the flu is open while in use.
- Burn only wood. Never burn paper or pine boughs, which can float out the chimney and ignite your roof or a neighboring home.
- Do not use flammable liquids in a fireplace.
- If decorating fireplace with Christmas stockings or other season decorations, DO NOT BURN FIRES IN IT!
- Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
About 230 people die each year from CO poisoning related to fuel burning household appliances, such as furnaces, space heaters, water heaters, clothes dryers, kitchen ranges, wood stoves and fireplaces.
Each year, approximately 25 people die and hundreds more suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning when they burn charcoal in enclosed areas such as their homes – in a bedroom or living room for heat or cooking. Some also burn charcoal in campers or vans, or in tents.
When inhaled, carbon monoxide, a tasteless, odorless gas, is easily absorbed into the blood. The gas is lethal when it replaces the amount of oxygen needed to sustain heart and brain function.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and nausea, are often dismissed as a “touch of the flu,” even by doctors.
- Never use a vented-type heater without proper venting and flue (chimney).
- Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for the proper size heater and for its installation, maintenance and use. Have it professionally installed, if possible.
- Have your heater installation checked by the local fire marshal, building inspector, or gas company before lighting.
- Never use a heater that is in disrepair. Always keep your heater in proper operating condition.
- Turn off the heater if the burner flame looks strange, i.e., yellow flames, unsteady flames, or smoky flames.
- Turn off the heater, ventilate the room and get into the fresh air if you feel other than normal, i.e., headache, nausea, fuzzy vision–remember CO does not have a odor and you may become unconscious before you realize there is a problem.
- Make sure the venting system is open–a blocked vent can cause your space heater to exhaust CO into your living space.
- Never sleep in a room where a gas heater is burning.
- Do not operate a gas heater in a completely ‘tight’ room. The heater needs a source of fresh air to operate safely and efficiently. Crack a window, if needed.
The home should be a safe haven. In reality, it is where most injuries and devastating property losses occur. In fact, home injuries are one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of 5 and fire is the second leading cause of accidental death in the home. Additionally, property losses exceed 4 billion dollars annually. The long-term emotional damage to victims and their loved ones is incalculable.
To keep your family and property safe, practice the following safety tips:
- Dial 911 for police, fire and ambulance.
- Install smoke alarms – A minimum of one for each level of home. One in each bedroom is better. Test the alarms monthly and change battery once a year.
- Install carbon monoxide detector if home has gas appliances
- Keep a 5lb ABC fire extinguisher on each level of home.
- If your home has a residential sprinkler system, be sure to test it at least once a year. If not, consider having a residential sprinkler system installed to protect your family and their belongings.
- Learn CPR.
- Make a home escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
- Make sure address is clearly visible from street.
- Maintain 36″ clearance around water heater.
- Keep flammable liquids in well-ventilated space and away from sources of ignition. Store in proper containers.
- Place oily rags in a metal container with a tight fitting lid.
- Only store as much paint, chemicals, fuel, etc. as needed.
- Turn off LPG tank on BBQ when not in use.
- Install appropriate barriers to pools and other sources of water.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets.
- Unplug small appliances when not in use.
- Properly dispose of smoking materials and don’t smoke in bed.
- Do not run electrical cords under rugs or furniture.
- Replace all worn or damaged electrical wiring.
- Keep portable space heaters at least 3 feet from combustibles.
- Never leave burning candles unattended.
In homes with small children:
- Install protective covers on all electrical outlets.
- Shorten blind cords or secure up high.
- Attach dressers to wall to prevent tipping over.
- Keep medicines, vitamins, cleaners, sharp utensils, etc. up high and in locked cabinet.
- Use toilet lid lock.
- Turn handle of pot on stove to the side or use rear burners.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach.
- Use child gate at top and bottom of stairs.
For more information, please contact the Doraville Police Department (770) 455-1000 or the DeKalb County Fire Department at (678) 406-7750.
Identity Theft Prevention
Following these simple rules can dramatically reduce your risk of identity theft:
- Guard your Social Security number. It is the key to your credit report and banking accounts and is the prime target of criminals.
- Do not print your Social Security number on your checks.
- Do not put out-going mail in your box for the postman to pick. That red flag is an invitation to identity thieves.
- Review your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statement once a year to check for fraud.
- Do not carry extra credit cards or other important identity documents except when needed.
- Photocopy both sides of your driver’s license and credit cards and keep them in a locked fireproof safe so you have all the account numbers, expiration dates and phone numbers if your wallet or purse is stolen.
- Examine the charges on your credit card statements before paying them. Consider canceling unused credit card accounts.
- Don’t give your credit card number or personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the call.
- Do not mail bill payments and checks from home. They can be stolen from your mailbox and washed clean with chemicals. Mail them from inside a U.S. Post Office.
- Shred all old bank and credit statements as well as “junk mail” credit card offers, before discarding them. Use a crosscut shredder.
- Do not respond to online “phishing”. Bank and credit card companies will never send you an e-mail asking that you to log in and provide your personal information. If you receive an email requesting your personal information, contact your account provider to report the email. If there is an issue with your account, the company will simply ask you to contact them. Be sure you have up-to-date computer anti-virus and firewall protection. Also turn your computer when you’re not using it.
- Monitor your credit report. It contains your Social Security number, present and prior employers, a listing of all account numbers, including those that have been closed, and your overall credit score. After applying for a loan, credit card, rental or anything else that requires a credit report, request that your Social Security number on the application be truncated or completely obliterated and your original credit report be shredded before your eyes or returned to you once a decision has been made. A lender or rental manager needs to retain only your name and credit score to justify a decision.
- Request a credit report every quarter from one of the credit bureaus. You can get one free from each bureau every year.
- Close your garage door. An open door can be an open invitation for residential burglary and related identity theft.
- Distribute the “10 Tips To Help Keep You Protected Against Identity Theft” within your business and neighborhood communities
- Report the theft to the local police department and obtain a police report number. In Doraville, call the Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division (770) 220-1593.
- Contact your bank and report the theft to their fraud department. Tell them the police report number.
- Equifax – www.equifax.com, (800) 525-6285 and write P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
- Experian – www.experian.com, (800) 397-3742 and write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
- TransUnion – www.transunion.com, (800) 680-7289 and write: P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834
- Close all accounts that have been tampered with.
- Contact check verification companies:
Telecheck – (800) 710-9898
Certegy, Inc. – (800) 437-5120
International Check Services – (800) 631-9656
- File a complaint with FTC – www.consumer.gov/idtheft or (877) 438-4338
- To opt-out of credit and insurance offers (either permanently of for five years), call 1 (888) 567-8688 or go to www.optoutprescreen.com
- To stop direct mail and telemarketers, go to www.dmaconsumers.org or send a check or money order for $1 (payable to DMA) and write to: Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 282, Carmel, NY 10512
If you’re business or community association would like request a free presentation on safeguarding against identity theft contact Captain Josh Sellers at (770) 936-3847 or email@example.com
- Lock your doors and windows at home.
- Keep your garage door closed and park the car in the garage if available.
- Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up when you are in your car.
- Wear a seatbelt.
- Store your garage door opener out of site – somewhere other than the visor.
- When stopped at a red light, scan the area and be aware of the surroundings.
- Walk with a calm and confident attitude projecting that you know where you’re going.
- When walking to your car, keep your head up and scan the area. If you are carrying a purse, hold it close to you. Have the key in your hand as you approach your car.
- Trust your instincts, if you are feeling uneasy then avoid the problem.
- If you use a portable stereo when jogging, the headphones shouldn’t be covering your ears so you can’t hear what’s going on around you. Also, whenever possible jog during the day.
The malls, gallerias, outlets and shopping centers of the metro area are wonderful places to find a gift for yourself or someone special, but please be vigilant because thieves target these locations. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe:
- Always park under a light – even if you begin your shopping during the day. Often a quick shopping trip can drag out and you find yourself walking to your car after dark. If you are already parked under a light, your car will be visible.
- To a car thief, a mall is like going to a buffet. There are all makes and models available. Use an anti-theft deterrent such as the club or steering wheel column. Another good device is a kill switch or car alarm that needs you to push a button on your key chain before gas will flow to the engine.
- Theft from vehicles is also a problem. Many times people who are shopping all day will go back to their car to drop off their purchases. This is not recommended, but if you are going to do it, put the parcels in your trunk or cover them with a blanket so they are not visible.
- If you are shopping at night and have to walk alone to your car, ask the mall security to escort you to your car. When you walk to your car, hold your car key in your hand and keep your head up so you can scan your environment.
- When you get to your car, look underneath as you approach and look in the back seat before you get in. If your doors or windows have any damage, don’t get in the car. If people are hanging around your car, go back to the store and ask the manager or staff for help.
- When walking inside the mall, pay attention to your surroundings. If you have children, do not let them run unescorted around the mall. Malls are not a baby-sitter.
The latest trend in preparing a Turkey is Deep Frying. However, if you don’t take precautions, you may end up with an injury or fire. Deep Fryers can be dangerous because:
- Many units easily tip over, spilling the five gallons of hot oil within the cooking pot.
- If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner/flames causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
- Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too, may result in an extensive fire.
- With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
- Follow your fryer’s instructions.
- Only deep fry smaller turkeys-up to 12 pounds.
- Use oils with high smoke points such as peanut, canola and safflower. Peanut oil adds flavor, but it can be a concern if guests have peanut allergies.
- To determine how much oil you’ll need, put the turkey in the basket and place in the pot. Add water until it reaches one to two inches above the turkey. Lift the turkey out, and use a ruler to measure the distance from the water to the top of the fryer. Pour out the water and dry the fryer completely.
- Remember that it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to heat the oil, depending on the outside temperature wind and weather.
- Before frying, pat the turkey dry with paper towels to keep the hot oil from spattering and popping.
- Slowly lower the turkey into the oil, and maintain an oil temp of 350F. Fry turkey for three to four minutes per pound or about 35 to 42 minutes for a 10- to 12-pound turkey.
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.
- Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.
- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don’t watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.
- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 911 for help.
- Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pots remains dangerously hot, hours after use.
Historically, coyotes were most commonly found on the Great Plains of North America. Their range now extends from Central America to the Arctic. Except for Hawaii, coyotes live in all of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In spite of being hunted and trapped for more than 200 years, more coyotes exist today than when the U.S. Constitution was signed.
Hardly any animal in America is more adaptable to changing conditions than the coyote. Coyotes can live just about anywhere. They are found in deserts, swamps, tundra, grasslands, brush, and dense forests, from below sea level to high mountains. They have also learned to live in suburbs and cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver and Atlanta.
One of the keys to the coyote’s success is its diet. A true scavenger, the coyote will eat just about anything. Identified as a killer of sheep, poultry and deer, the coyote will also eat snakes and foxes, doughnuts and sandwiches, rodents and rabbits, fruits and vegetables, birds, frogs, grass and grasshoppers, pet cats and cat food, pet dogs and dog food, carrion, and just plain garbage.
Coyotes are active mainly during the nighttime, but they can be moving at any time during the day. Most sightings of coyotes occur during the hours close to sunrise and sunset.
Adult coyotes weigh between 20 and 45 pounds. Females are generally smaller than males and western coyotes are generally smaller than eastern coyotes.
Coyotes look like small collie dogs. They have erect pointed ears, slender muzzle, and a bushy tail. Most coyotes are brownish gray in color with a light gray to cream-colored belly. However, a coyote’s color varies and may be somewhat darker or lighter depending upon the geographic region and the time of year. Most coyotes have dark or black hairs over their back and tail.
Hearing a coyote is much more common than seeing one. The calls a coyote makes are high-pitched and variously described as howls, yips, yelps and barks. These calls may be a long rising and falling note (a howl) or a series of short notes (yips). These calls are most often heard at dusk or night, but may be heard in the day. Although these calls are made throughout the year, they are most common during the spring mating season and in the fall when the pups leave their families to establish new territories.
A high reproductive rate and rapid growth of offspring aid in the coyote’s success. Coyotes breed in February and March and pups are born about 60 days later. An average coyote litter contains four or five pups. Pups are born in dens. In urban environments, dens can be in storm drains, under storage sheds, in holes dug in vacant lots, parks, or golf courses, or any other dark, dry place.
Growth & Development
Pups are cared for by both parents and can eat meat and move about well by the time they are a month old. Because food requirements increase dramatically during pup rearing, this is a period when conflicts between humans and urban coyotes are common. By 6 months of age, pups have permanent teeth and are nearly fully grown. About this time, mother coyotes train their offspring to search for food so it is not unusual to observe a family group traveling through parks and golf courses. If food is deliberately or inadvertently provided by people, the youngsters quickly learn not to fear humans and will develop a dependency on easy food sources.
After this training period, usually in October and November, most young disperse and find their own breeding territory, but one or two pups may stay with the parents and become part of the family group. Although coyotes tend to travel and hunt singly or in pairs, they may form groups as population densities increase or where food is abundant such as in urbanized areas.
Coyotes & Humans
In areas where they are hunted or trapped, coyotes are extremely wary of human beings. However, in urban areas where they are less likely to be harmed and more likely to associate people with an easy and dependable source for food, they can become very bold. They will come up to the door of a house if food is regularly present. Coyotes have learned that small dogs and cats are easy prey. Newspapers across the country have carried stories of coyotes harassing leashed dogs on walks with their owners in and near parks and golf courses within city limits.
If you enjoy seeing coyotes and want a closer look at them, use binoculars. Don’t ever put food out to lure them closer. Nearly all wild animal bites occur when people attempt to feed them or to treat them like domestic animals. Enjoy watching wild animals, but don’t lead them into temptation. Animals that lose their natural fear of humans are more likely to pose a danger to humans and the lifespan of such an animal is shortened. Remember, all wild animals are unpredictable and caution is the watchword when they are around.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the chance of human-coyote conflicts:
- Do not feed coyotes!
- Eliminate sources of water, particularly in dry climates.
- Bird feeders should be positioned so that coyotes can’t get the feed. Coyotes are attracted by bread, table scraps, and even seed. They may also be attracted by birds and rodents that come to the feeders.
- Do not discard edible garbage where coyotes can get to it.
- Secure garbage containers and eliminate garbage odors.
- Feed pets indoors whenever possible. Pick up any leftovers if feeding outdoors. Store pet and livestock feed where it is inaccessible to wildlife.
- Trim and clean, near ground level, any shrubbery that provides hiding cover for coyotes or prey.
- Fencing your yard could deter coyotes. The fence should be at least 6 feet high with the bottom extending at least 6 inches below ground level for best results.
- Don’t leave small children unattended outside if coyotes have been frequenting the area.
- Don’t allow pets to run free. Keep them safely confined and provide secure nighttime housing for them. Walk your dog on a leash and accompany your pet outside, especially at night. Provide secure shelters for poultry, rabbits, and other vulnerable animals.
- Discourage coyotes from frequenting your area. If you start seeing coyotes around your home or property, chase them away by shouting, making loud noises or throwing rocks.
What do if I lose power?
- Check to see if your neighbors have lost power also. If not, reset your circuit breaker.
- Using a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone, report a power outage to Georgia Power (404) 325-4001
- Turn off all lights and major appliances – including computers, air conditioners/heaters, TVs and VCRs.
- Use flashlights instead of candles.
- When the power returns, wait a few minutes before turning on lights and appliances. Then do so one at a time.
If you are driving during a power outage and you encounter a dark, nonfunctional traffic signal, treat it as a four-way stop. Yield to the right-of-way, then proceed with extreme caution.
What should I look for if my home is damaged in a disaster?
- Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas, open a window and leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
- Look for electrical system damage, indicated by sparks, frayed or broken wires, or the smell of hot insulation. Turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker if the area is dry. Otherwise, call an electrician.
- Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the county water department and avoid using water from the tap.
- Atlanta Gas & Light: 770-994-1946
- DeKalb County Water & Sewer: 404-378-4475
- Georgia Power Company: 404-325-4001
Vacations are supposed to be a time for fun and relaxation – a time to “get away from it all.” Unfortunately, there is no vacation spot in the world that is 100% safe from criminal activities. Therefore, the crime prevention measures that you incorporate into your daily routine must be incorporated into your vacation planning.
The following precautions will help you to have a safe and enjoyable vacation:
Before You Leave Home:
- Plan your trip and give the itinerary with emergency phone numbers to a trusted friend or neighbor.
- Place identification tags on the inside and outside of your luggage. Use your first initial and last name only.
- Install good locks on your doors and windows and be sure to use them.
- Remove all exterior “hidden” house keys.
- Make sure all valuables are engraved with your driver’s license number and expiration date.
- Make a record of your credit card and travelers check numbers and keep it in a safe place.
- Arrange for a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail, packages and newspapers on a daily basis. You can also stop delivery of both for the time you will be gone. You can place a hold on your mail by contacting your post office or by visiting http://www.usps.com
- Make arrangements to have your lawns mowed and watered.
- Use timers for interior lights and radios. Make your house look “lived in.”
- Give the DPD the dates that you will be out of town. As time permits, they will conduct extra patrols of your neighborhood.
- Make arrangements for the care of your pets.
- Purchase a prepaid phone card.
- Prior to any long distance motor vehicle trips, have your vehicle serviced by a reputable mechanic.
- Never carry large amounts of cash, use travelers checks.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Always check the interior of your vehicle before entering.
- Do not stop and assist a stranded motorist. Go to the nearest phone booth and call for help.
- Never let your gas tank get below one-fourth full.
- Use well traveled roads, avoid shortcuts.
- Keep your doors locked and windows up at all times.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers.
- Never advertise your plans for strangers. If you think you are being followed, drive to the nearest populated area telephone and call the police.
- Always park in well lighted areas.
- Always carry your purse or wallet with you.
- Keep your valuables out of sight, preferably locked in the trunk.
- Engrave your car stereo, CB radio, car phone and other removable items with your driver’s license number and expiration date.
- Avoid late night driving.
- If lost, stop at a well lighted service station for directions.
- Unpack and arrange your belongings so you can tell if anything is missing.
- Lock your suitcases so they can’t be used to carry your property out of your room.
- Always take your cash, credit cards and car keys with you when leaving your room.
- Do not open your door to strangers. Look through the door viewer before opening your door.
- Do not leave jewelry, cameras or other expensive items lying around your room. Use the hotel safe to store your valuables and extra cash.
- Always use the hotel’s auxiliary locking devices on the doors and windows. Consider purchasing and using portable locks and alarm devices.
- When leaving, if the maid has cleaned your room, hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the outside of the door.
- When you go out, leave a light and the radio turned on.
- Take your room keys with you. Do not leave them at the front desk.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Notify the management of any suspicious persons in the area.
- Do not give out your room number to strangers.
- Report any missing items to hotel management and the police.
- There is safety in numbers. Tours should be taken with a group. Verify the tour agency or guide is reputable.
- Be wary of strangers who ask a lot of questions about you and your vacation plans.
- Never carry large amounts of cash. Leave what you don’t need in the hotel safe. Separate the larger bills from the smaller ones in order to avoid flashing all your bills in full public view.
- Stay in public areas. Do not wander off from your tour group.
- Looking lost will make you an easy target for crime. If you need directions ask a service station attendant. Do not ask pedestrians directions.
- If renting a car, cover the car rental agency’s name or logo with a piece of masking tape. A rented car is a good indication that you are a tourist.
- Before leaving the hotel, ask if there are any areas in town that should be avoided.
- Travel brochures and maps are a good indication that you are a tourist. When not in use, keep them in the glove compartment.
- Remember, vacation planning, thought, and security awareness will reduce your chances of becoming the next victim of a crime.
Drowning is a quick and silent killer. In the time it takes to answer the phone, tragedy can occur. Multiple layers of protection are the key to a water safety plan. Protect your family with the following safety tips.
- Supervise children wherever they could find water. Children can drown in as little as an inch of water.
- No one should swim alone. This includes grown-ups!
- Designate an adult to be responsible for watching children in pools during parties, and rotate shifts. Have them wear a special shirt, hat or badge so that others know not to interrupt this person while on duty.
- Install a pool fence or other approved barrier around the pool perimeter. Solar covers are NOT considered a barrier.
- Ensure pool access gates are self-closing and self-latching. Check regularly to keep in good working order.
- Secure doors, gates and pet doors that lead to pool area. Secure spas with childproof covers.
- Keep a phone by the pool to call 911 in case of an emergency.
- Take CPR classes at least every two years, and practice in between to keep your skills sharp. Babysitters, grandparents and friends should all know safety rules and CPR.
- Teach children to swim at the appropriate age. (Remember this does not “drown-proof” anyone!)
- Keep toys and objects away from pool or spa area.
- Move furniture inside of the fenced area and away from fences so children can’t use them for climbing.
- Empty inflatable pools, ice chests and buckets when not in use.
- Keep bathroom doors closed. Consider using a toilet latch during toddler years.
- If an accident happens, act immediately.
- If a child is missing, always check the pool or spa first.
- Yell for help.
- Dial 911.
- Start CPR.
- Teach your children to be water safe!
- Tell children to yell for an adult and throw a flotation device if they find someone in trouble in the water. They should NEVER jump into a pool to save someone else.
- Encourage children to tell an adult right away if the pool gate is left open or the cover is left off the spa.
- Teach them to dial 911 in case of an emergency.