Category Archives: Safety

FM Radio for Emergencies

With the recent hurricanes, one of the lessons learned is that the cell phone towers will be down and your phone is probably not going to work to make phone calls or text messages.

One thing however your phone might be capable of during an emergency is listen to FM broadcasts. Not all phones have this capability. My Moto G works fine and many Android phones still have the FM chip. Unfortunately the latest iPhones do not have the FM chip.

The app you will want to install is called NextRadio. It installs easily and does an immediate search of your local stations.

You will want to hook up a pair of headphones as these are your antennae. I did notice that when the headphones are not connected, the app will change and use you cell data or wireless access to stream the music.

This may be an app you will never have to use, but you will want it installed before an emergency.

Advertisements

Freezing Your Credit

If you’re part of the Anthem 80 million people who had their personal information stolen, you may want to do a Credit Freeze. Steve Gibson talked about this in his Security Now Podcast #495.

Here is a good article on Freezing Your Credit.”

http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/personal-finance-credit/credit-freeze-and-thaw-guide/nFbL/

You have to do this with the three individual agencies and it does cost some money.

Here’s another good article from Consumers Union – part of Consumer Reports.

Article #2 from Consumers Union
http://consumersunion.org/research/consumers-unions-guide-to-security-freeze-protection/

Missouri Information
http://consumersunion.org/pdf/security/securityMO.pdf

In Missouri – it seems like the best $15 anyone could invest.

Protecting Your Garage Door from the Bad Guys

Found this video on how to protect your garage door from being open with a coat hangar.

One-Time Credit Cards

This last month I’ve had four different individuals ask for donations to worthy causes. I don’t mind supporting all these different groups, but giving out my credit card number online to different groups is not something I like to do.

Also using a credit card online, does seem to be a bit dicey these days. Hackers are getting into company databases and while you do have recourse when you have a credit card, the hassle factor makes things more difficult.

One way to keep your credit card safe is to use one-time credit card numbers. Then if someone does steal or hack that number they won’t be able to charge anything to that account.

Citibank is one of the credit card companies that have this feature and I set up a credit card with them just to get this feature. I use fake answers for the Security Questions. After you get the card, you can go online and receive a one-time credit card number which will be charged to your regular account.

I did this and while it does involve an extra step and a couple extra minutes, it does give you peace of mind that your main credit card is safe.

Here’s the process:

  • In your browser, allow pop-ups. In Chrome – Settings – Privacy – Content Settings (or just Search for Pop)
  • Go to http://www.citibank.com
  • “Select an Account” – Credit Cards
  • Login and password
  • Take Me to – account Home
  • Sign On
  • “Account Management” – Get a Virtual Account Number
  • Launch web based version
  • Note – on Chrome, it actually doesn’t popup, but I notice a 2nd version of Chrome is started and I have to open that tab.
  • Agree to terms and conditions – click the box.
  • Follow the prompts
  • Click on Generate a Virtual Account Number.
  • When it shows up on screen I do a Print Screen, put it into my photo editor and print it out.

Now you have the satisfaction of knowing that you can use the credit card safely and it can never be used again.

When you’re done, you can turn on pop-up blocking again.

Fire Safety Notes

Here are a few notes from a recent CERT review.

You can find some of the CERT training materials here.

  • Fight the fire when it is small – that’s when you have a good chance to extinguish it. A small fire extinguisher will only handle a fire the size of a chair.
  • If the fire is out of control inside the house – get outside. If you go inside, the fumes are toxic and you will become a casualty.
  • If you basement is wet, don’t go down to turn off the electricity.
  • Safety is #1 priority – work with a buddy and always wear safety equipment.
  • Cooking fires – use a lid to put out the fire and don’t take the lid until it is cool. Don’t walk the pan over to the sink – you will just catch other things on fire. You also need a kitchen fire extinguisher close by. Here’s a good article.
  • Electrical – don’t use “1 to 3” types of plug adapters. Use a fused power strip.
  • Clean the back of your refrigerator and dryer – they collect a lot of fine material which could combust.
  • Program the electric company into your phone ahead of time.
  • Paint – you can fill the paint can with kitty liter and let it dry. Then it’s safe for the trash.

Credit-Debit Card Fraud – What To Do

1024px-Credit-cards

Within the last year, there seems to be a jump in credit-debit card fraud and I thought I’d put together some tips to keep as protected as possible.

  • Restaurants – don’t use a credit card – use cash. Any time someone takes your card and it’s out of sight, it’s just asking for trouble.
  • Use a credit card – not a debit card. While both cards are protected, the potential for damage and aggravation is much higher with a debit card. A debit card can empty your bank account without you even knowing it. I don’t even have a debit card.
  • Use different credit cards for different purposes. I have a card for Amazon purchases, a card for other online purchases, and a card for medical expenses. I like to segregate my expenses so that I can keep track of what I am spending and with whom. If you only use one card, when bad guys get hold of it, it’s harder to spot the bad purchases. If you have certain monthly charges to credit cards like Tivo or Netflix, consider having a card for just those expenses.
  • Pay close attention to your monthly statements. If you don’t recognize a store or expense, question it. If it’s not you, you don’t have to pay for it.
  • When you use a bank ATM, watch for skimmers and cameras. I like to use a piece of paper to cover my hand when I enter my pin.
  • Watch out for phishing attacks in email. NEVER click on email links. Type in the website link and then go from there. Links in email are excellent ways to lose your identity.
  • Shred all paper mail that may have credit card information.
  • If you suspect a problem, immediately call your credit card company.

 

Thanks for the credit card image to By Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa (sxc.hu)

When the Shooting Starts

I was listening to a law officer talk about five actions that could save your life if there was a shooter in your house/building etc.

1. Don’t cower – act – run – take action.

2. Run across the line of fire. You want the shooter to have to move and constantly change aim.

3. Distract. If possible throw something at the shooter.

4. Distance – get as far away as possible.

5. Cover – get a brick wall/concrete between you and the bad guy.

How to Secure a TV From Tipping Over

tv-injuries

I saw a recent news item saying that 41 kids this year were killed by TVs and heavy furniture falling on them. I decided to see if I could make my own device to secure my TV’s.

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml13/13066.html

TV-Support--01

Here’s my end result – now I’ll tell you what it involves.

The first thing I noticed was that my Samsung TV had four large bolt holes – the  question was, “What size bolt do I need?” After doing a bit of googling, I decided on an M8 bolt. I went to the hardware store, bought four and tried to install them – no luck. They would not screw into the back of my TV.

TV-Secure-hex-bolt

I went back to the store and found out that there are two different types of M8 bolts – 1.00 or 1.25. The difference is the type of thread on each bolt. I tried M8-1.25 and it was perfect.

My next consideration was how to attach something to the TV. I found some nice webbing on Amazon and bought two kinds to test each out. The thinner and less expensive webbing works just fine.

TV-Support--grommet

I also bought a 3/8 inch grommet kit to make grommets for the webbing. I heated up the grommet cutter and used it to melt the hole for the grommet.

To attach the webbing to the cabinet, I heated a nail and punched a hole in the webbing where it would attach to the cabinet. I then drilled a small pilot hole in the cabinet and used a 1 1/8″ drywall screw and a washer to secure the webbing to the cabinet.
TV-Support--nail

TV-Support--cabinet

I did leave a little slack in the webbing just in case I needed to turn the TV slightly.

This solution is only meant from keeping kids from pulling the TV over onto themselves. It is not meant as an earthquake solution.

Note – I’ve found a product on Amazon which will do basically the same thing. It’s the Kidco Anti-Tip-TV-Strap-Pack.

++++++++++++++++++++

Another more simple option is to buy a TV Mounting kit and attach it to the wall. Even if you don’t plan on using the kit to hold the TV, it will keep it from falling over. Here’s a kit I ordered from Amazon for only $28. This particular kit is for smaller TV’s. I’m using this solution for the basement TV.

tv-secure-04

One Key for All Your Homes Locks

I just installed a new door lock and this process works great. If you’ve like to get back to one key for all your doors give this a try. Once you get this type of lock in all your doors, you can change the lock for all locks in just a few minutes.

SMART KEY PROBLEMS AND A SOLUTION

I was so happy with the Smart Key on one door I decided to buy another door lock for a different door. Installation went fine, but when I did the Smart Key setup, I somehow messed it up. Now neither key would work. I called Kwikset and got a solution – here’s what I did.

  1. Lock the lock. Put in the key that should be working. Hold the lock with one hand and with the other slowly turn it back and forth and slowly pull it out. When the lock turns, put in your Smart Key, then push the key in the entire way.
  2. Now turn the key back to the starting position and pull it out.
  3. It fixed!