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This is your comprehensive guide to services and safety for the Bucks County Area. The information in this guide has been provided by business professionals, and your local fire and law enforcement officials. was created to foster a sense of community by acquainting you with the products, services, history, and resources available in the area. If you have any questions about the area, product information or services, do not hesitate to contact us via E-mail or by phone at 215.598.9694. Also, don't forget to peruse the Special Offers, Fine Art and Something To Eat Areas of this web site and down load the Special Let's Get Offers that are available.



Babysitter Safety Tips
Babysitter Tips
Babysitter Alert - Fire Safety
Are You Ready?
What to do After the Parents Leave
Babysitter Alert - Safety & Security
Before You Babysit...
In Case of Fire
Babysitter Alert - Medical
Coping with Emergencies
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  • When you babysit, you are entrusted with a child's life.
  • Your primary responsibility is to care for the children's needs and most of all: keep them safe and secure.
  • It’s important to be prepared for all types of emergencies.
  • The more you know, the better babysitter you’ll be!
  • A well-prepared babysitter will be highly respected and greatly appreciated by parents.
  • Any sitter who takes these recommendations to heart will be in great demand.
    1. Have the following information written down and readily accessible in the event of an emergency.
      • Family name, children's names, house address with nearest cross street.
      • Instructions on how to contact the parents, phone number(s) of close relatives and neighbors.
      • Have the doctor's name and phone number along with a medical release.
      • Include the phone number of the poison control for your area.
      • Print a Blank Emergency Information Form to write all this information down.
    2. In the event of an emergency: Call 911:
      • Identify yourself by name, tell them you are babysitting and state the problem.
      • State the address of the house where you are and the nearest cross street. (Be sure to specify north, South, Avenue, Street, etc.)
      • Give the phone number you are calling from.
    3. Get written instructions about any medicines to be given to the children -- how much and what time.
    4. Having visitors while babysitting is a bad policy. Always get approval if you would like to have a visitor.
    5. Find out who you should call in case of an emergency. Be sure to get their phone number.
    6. Be sure to meet the family dog.
    7. Take a walk through the house and check for any special locks or windows that cannot be climbed out of in case there is a fire.
    8. Locate where all the telephones are so you know you will be able to find one in the case of an emergency.
    9. During the walk through, check for hazards and things that the children can get into, such as matches, lighter fluid, electric cords, plastic bags, medication, or anything else that may be dangerous.
    10. Look to see if there is a pool. Check for doggie doors and any unlocked doors or windows leading to that area.
    11. Have a mental fire drill: that is, plan on more ways than one to get yourself and the children out of the house in case of fire.
    12. Make sure all the doors and windows are locked from the inside, and lock the front door after the parents leave.
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  1. If it is evening, turn on the porch/outside light.
  2. If the children are asleep, check on them about every 15 minutes.
  3. If the children are up, know their location at all times and never leave them alone too long.
  4. If for any reason you must leave the house, TAKE THE CHILDREN WITH YOU!
  5. DO NOT open the door for anyone unless you personally know the person.
  6. If someone insists on coming in and you do not recognize them, or if you suspect a prowler, CALL THE POLICE AT 911. (Read these guidelines for when it is appropriate to call 911)
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  1. Sound the alarm -- yell FIRE as loud as possible.
  2. If possible, close the door to the area where the fire is.
  3. DO NOT attempt to extinguish the fire, but rather attempt to save a life.
  4. Get everyone out of the house, and do not go back in for any reason.
  5. Keep all the children together, and go to the approved neighbors's home.
  6. Call the Fire Department at 911 and leave the children with the neighbors, then go back outside to direct the firefighters to the fire if you need to.
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  • Locate the doors and windows so you will know at least two exits from every room.
  • Learn the sound of the smoke detectors. Know how to use the fire extinguishers.
  • Find out the family’s fire escape plan and special meeting place.
  • Make sure pot and pan handles are turned in so children can’t grab them. Never hold a child while cooking.
  • If the child’s clothes catch fire, smother the flames with a blanket or rug. If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop to the floor, and roll to extinguish the flames.
  • If the child’s clothes catch fire, smother the flames with a blanket or rug. If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop to the floor, and roll to extinguish the flames.
  • If you see a fire or hear the smoke detector, get the children out immediately! Show the children how to crawl low in smoke.
  • Once you and the children are out, never go back in the burning house. Call the Fire Department from a neighbor’s phone.
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  • Lock the doors and do not let anyone in unless the parents have told you to expect a visitor. If you have doubts about a person’s identity, call the parents and verify the visitor before you open the door.
  • If anyone comes to the door and asks to make an emergency phone call, offer to make the call for him, but don’t let him in.
  • If someone comes to the door and refuses to leave, or attempts to break in, call the police.
  • Never admit that you are home alone with the children.
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  • Bruises: Apply ice to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Burns: The best first aid for burns is to run cool water over the burned area for 10 to 15 minutes. If a burn blisters or appears charred, get medical help immediately!
  • Caustics / Acids: On the skin, change clothes and wash thoroughly. If eyes are affected, rinse with warm water, and call the emergency medical number.
  • Cuts (Minor): Press a sterile gauze over the wound to stop the bleeding. Elevate the wound above the heart. Don’t wash a wound that bleeds.
  • Insect Stings: Pull out the insect stinger with tweezers and apply ice. If there is an allergic reaction, call for help.
  • Nosebleeds: Gently pinch the nostril and encourage the child to breathe through his mouth until bleeding the stops.
  • Poisons: Call emergency Medical Services. Be prepared to tell the operator what and how much the child ingested.
  • Scrapes: Wash with soap, apply antiseptic and cover with a bandage.
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Are you ready?
  • Infants will choke on small objects like buttons or coins. Never let an infant have any object smaller than his fist.
  • Crawlers & Toddlers move fast! Be alert to protect them from potential hazards.
  • Youngsters do not always understand danger and require careful watching.
  • Remember: Be ready to give the child all your attention. Be alert to possible harm. Be prepared for emergencies.
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Before you babysit...
  • Arrive Early
  • Learn where the diapers, clothes, bedding and first aid supplies are located.
  • Look for possible hazards: electrical outlets, space heaters, etc.
  • Have the emergency phone numbers you need.
  • Know the exact dosage and time of medication.
  • Understand how to operate all appliances.
  • Ask questions! Parents can give you valuable information.
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Coping with emergencies!
  • You must be prepared to handle every emergency. Know how to contact the Police, Fire, and Medical Services.
  • For a complete first aid course contact your Red Cross Center, Boy and Girl Scouts, or Fire and Police Departments.
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Swimming Pool Safety
Profile for Drowning Victims
Pool Alarms
Drowning Prevention Tips for Pool Owners
Happy Ending Story
Pool tips
CPR Training
Patio and Yard Tips
Supervision is the key word when it comes to pool safety, but supervision combined with a variety of barriers and safety devices - fences, latched gates, locked doors, pool covers and more - goes even further toward drowning prevention.
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Profile for Drowning Victims
  • 60% are children ages 6 months - 4 years old.
  • 75% drown in their own swimming pools.
  • 85% drown at the victim's or a friend's home.
  • 75% of the time the attributed cause is poor supervision & no pool barrier.
  • In 77% of child drownings, the child was out of sight for 5 minutes or less.
  • Most Kids under 6 were being supervised by one or both parents.
  • Most Kids are found in their own pool with their clothes on.
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Drowning prevention tips for pool owners
  1. Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area for any reason.
  2. Don't be distracted by doorbells, phone calls, chores or conversations.
  3. If you must leave the pool area, take the child with you, making sure the pool gate latches securely when it closes.
  4. Always keep your eyes on the child or children. Designate a child watcher, whether you or someone else, when you attend a party or have friends or family over.
  5. Talk with baby-sitters about pool safety, supervision and drowning prevention.
  6. Post rules such as "No running," "No pushing," "No dunking" and "Never swim alone." Enforce the rules.
  7. Don't rely on swimming lessons or "floaties" to protect your children in the water.
  8. Don't assume that drowning or a drowning incident couldn't happen to you or your family.
  9. Don't have a false sense of security just because you think your pool area and home are secure. Always watch your children, whether in the house or outside.
  10. Attend a CPR class. Make sure your baby-sitter knows CPR.
  11. For the nearest cardiopulmonary resuscitation class, contact your fire department, Red Cross or hospital. Performing CPR on an infant and Performing CPR on an adult
  12. Encourage your neighbors to follow pool safety guidelines, including keeping their back gates and doors locked, and their pool gates securely closed and latched. For More Pool Safety...
Requirements, other safety guidelines
By Sue Doerfler The Arizona Republic June 6, 1998
Most cities require permanent fences around pools at homes where children 6 years old and younger are living. Pool fences also are suggested for any home where young children visit or spend any length of time. When installing a fence, first check out the guidelines of your municipality. Make sure the fence meets specifications as to spacing of slats or chain links, as well as other requirements. Check your municipality for its pool barrier ordinance. Make sure an existing pool fence is in good shape and stable, not wobbly or falling over. Pool fences need to be maintained like cars and appliances to be effective, Phoenix Fire Division Chief Bob Khan said. If a fence is unsteady, have it stabilized by a contractor or handyman. Regularly check that the gate latches securely and that spring mechanisms work properly. Regularly oil the hinges and latches. Faulty or broken latches and hinges negate the value of having a pool fence, Khan said. Keep gates closed securely at all times. Never prop them open. All too often people prop open gates, which creates an invitation for wandering children to enter the pool area unsupervised, he said. If the gate has a lock, keep the keys well out of children's reach.
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Pool Tips
By Sue Doerfler The Arizona Republic June 6, 1998
  1. Regularly check that the gate latches securely and that spring mechanisms work properly. Regularly oil the hinges and latches.
  2. Don't allow children to play in the pool area. Remove all toys, tricycles - anything a child might want to get - from the vicinity.
  3. Post CPR instructions and the 911 emergency number in the pool area.
  4. Keep lifesaving equipment, such as a pole, life preserver and rope - in the pool area. Hang them from the fence so people won't trip on them.
  5. Have a phone handy to the pool area. Do not answer the phone while your children are in the pool; use the phone only to call 911 should a problem occur.
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Patio and Yard Tips
By Sue Doerfler The Arizona Republic June 6, 1998 To Keep Children Away From Pools
  1. Lock all exterior windows, doors and sliding doors at all times. Keep the keys well out of reach of children.
  2. Install self-closing mechanisms on doors.
  3. Attach hook and eye locks - small metal locks - at the top of exterior doors. These help prevent children from going out "locked" doors. Don't let these give you a false sense of security, however. Four- and 5-year-olds can easily drag a chair over to the door and flip open the hook and eye lock.
  4. Lock doggie doors as well. Small children can easily fit in the small openings of doggie doors.
  5. Lock back gates and front doors.
  6. Don't place chairs, tables and other objects near pool fences. Children can use these to climb over. Better yet, place outdoor furniture inside the locked pool fence where it will be inaccessible to children.
  7. Empty wading pools when not in use. Empty standing water off pool and spa covers. A child can drown in as little as two inches of water.
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Pool Alarm Products
Pool products 'Tools' help, but do not replace supervision By Sue Doerfler The Arizona Republic June 6, 1998
Pool products, such as pool and gate alarms, may help prevent drownings, but they are merely tools, nothing else, said Phoenix Fire division chief Bob Khan. These products should not be used in lieu of supervision, he said
  • Check the products and their batteries continually to ensure they are working.
  • Pool motion alarms emit a piercing sound when someone falls into the pool, or when the pressure of the water changes or when movement in the water is sensed.
  • Motion sensor alarms have an infrared beam that sound off when someone passes through the beam.
  • Gate alarms, similar to burglar alarms, sound an alert when someone enters the pool area. Make sure these are above the reach of the child.
  • Door and window alarms, similar to gate alarms, make a sound when the door or window is opened. Place these out of the reach of children.
  • Pool covers are designed primarily to keep debris out of the pool, but they can also be a safety device. As an alternative to door alarms, they should be able to withstand the weight of two adults and one child and meet other specifications, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Magnetic safety latches for doors are designed to prevent jarring, sticking and other mechanical resistance to door closings.
  • Removable pool fences are not designed to take the place of permanent barriers, but can be used by people who do not have children but want some barrier when children visit. There are a variety of types that are usually made of see-though mesh.   
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CPR Training
Performing CPR on an infant
Performing CPR on an adult
The baby and adult CPR instructions in the above links are only a reference on how to perform CPR. They are not intended to be your only guide. Everybody should be properly trained for CPR by qualified instructors. The agencies and organizations listed below can assist you in finding a class: * American Heart Association: Toll-free:800-242-8721. * American Red Cross; Toll-free:800-842-7349. * National Safety Council,; Toll-free:800-293-0112.
  • American Heart Association: Toll-free:800-242-8721.
  • American Red Cross; Toll-free:800-842-7349.
  • National Safety Council,; Toll-free:800-293-0112.
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Happy Ending Story
A close call One father's scary story By Martin Dolan The Arizona Republic May 17,
1998 Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic

Our backyard pool went off by accident Monday morning, and it nearly killed our little boy. In reality, though, it wasn't an accident. I knew the pool was loaded, and I left it lying out in the sunshine, a silvery siren for an 11-month-old as fearless as Fosdick. I didn't close the pool gate - which isn't much different from handing Connor a .38 and turning my back. But thanks to God and a German shepherd named Greta, Connor is squealing and dancing his way around the house again, oblivious to the lesson his mom and dad will never forget: Even good parents can screw up, and kids will die for it. It's a lesson I've heard and helped repeat scores of times while editing stories about accidents and tragedies for The Arizona Republic. I knew that survivors often end up horribly damaged, and that marriages often are destroyed by water "accidents." But the "accident" happened anyway. It was cool on Monday morning when Greta and I got up before the rest of the household. Tina was in our bed with Jack, who was only 8 days old, and Connor was still sawing logs in his crib. I let the dog out the dining room door, propping the pool gate open so she could do her business in the grass and then come back to her water dish on the patio. I closed the screen and the heavy French door. I was aware that the pool gate was open, but it wasn't a big deal because the door was shut. Too bad it wasn't shut tight.

Connor was exploring the family room when I headed to the bathroom, Republic in hand. I watched him crawl into the kitchen, heard his hands slapping the hardwood as he went into the dining room. I figured he'd hang a left and make for the front room, where his toys are. Greta suddenly went ballistic. This wasn't a "Yo, cat!" bark, or a "That terrier's in our yard again!" bark. This was loud, crisp, urgent: "GET OUT HERE NOW!" I did. As I hit the patio, I could see waves rolling in the corner of the shallow end and knew the worst had happened. Another step and there he was, floating on his back, lips blue, the water lapping against his little jumper, the one with duckies on it. It's an image that will drop the bottom out of my stomach for the rest of my life. "CONNOR, NO!" I screamed as I jumped in, thinking that my wife would kill me if I let him drown. I scooped him up to my shoulder and smacked him between the shoulder blades with my palm. Tina, awakened by Greta's bark, was at the door, frantic. She dialed 911 as I laid the boy on the carpet, turned him on his side and whacked him again on the back, hoping he'd cough or throw up. I tried to open his mouth so I could try CPR. His jaws were locked, so I twice tried blowing into his nose. The gurgling noise I heard probably was air leaking past his cold, wet little cheeks, but his eyes opened! When he whimpered and squirmed a little, I knew that God had given me another chance. The Fire Department arrived in what seemed like a heartbeat. Paramedics put Connor on an oxygen mask and hooked up some monitors while calming Tina and me and asking us what happened. After a minute or two, I carried him to the ambulance, where his mom took over for the ride to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. By the time I got into dry clothes, gathered the baby bag and loaded Jack into the car, the TV crews were on the scene. Guess it was important for Phoenix to see the ashen father back out of his garage. Another film crew was waiting for Tina and our son at the ER. Connor missed his chance for a thumbs up for the cameras, but they mercifully didn't zoom in on Tina, who was still an understandable wreck. Connor's vitals all were excellent, and by the time I made it to Orange Room No. 26 at the ER, he was charming the staff, laughing at his stuffed bear and dancing his head in a figure 8. A chest X-ray revealed no fluid in the lungs, but Connor was admitted overnight to Phoenix Children's Hospital as a precaution. Stinky old Greta, never a favorite of Tina, is queen of the house now. She got a brontosaurus bone from a shepherd admirer, a chunk of roasted chicken from me and a turkey treat from Tina. But Greta will have to share her hero status with the fire crews and the staff at Good Sam, particularly the folks who kept the reporters at bay while our family came to grips with what had almost happened. I can't say which I felt more, shame, guilt or relief. When I went home to get a few things for the hospital stay, I went into Connor's room and fell to the floor in sobs, thinking of life without my Bubba. Thank you, dear God, that I didn't find out. Tina, the family, the paramedics and the nurse told me to not blame myself, to look at the outcome. You saved your little boy by acting quickly, they said. Maybe so, but I also put him in harm's way by not making sure the gate and the door were closed. Accidents don't just happen, folks. TV was all over the story at 4, 5 and 6 o'clock, pairing it with the recovery of the body of a young drowning victim from Bartlett Lake. Our story was the "happy" balance to that tragedy, and it had an animal hero, too. The coverage was accurate, and our privacy was respected in a cutthroat market not known for its sensitivity on breaking news. We were amused that two channels sent helicopters over to shoot footage of the flip-flops I'd kicked off jumping into (or out of) the pool. Another shot video of Greta pacing the yard from the back yard of our neighbors, who have small children of their own. We hope to God that a TV crew never has to ask our permission to shoot tape of a near drowning in their yard. By the evening, Connor's story was old potatoes. There had been another pool incident, and a little girl who had tumbled into a bucket and was pulled to safety. And that's the problem. There are so many of these stories, we'll get used to hearing about the dangers of pools, how they're out there waiting like thugs in broad daylight. We'll think that we're too careful, that we're good parents, that these things only happen to screw-offs. But it's not true. The slightest lapse around water can set off a chain of events with tragic consequences. Try thinking of your pool as a pistol on the coffee table. Then go check the pool gate. And even though I've learned my lesson, I know we're not out of the woods by any means. Jack will be crawling before we know it, and Connor on two feet will be even faster than Connor on all fours. He doesn't remember a thing about Monday, other than he got another teddy bear. In fact, a few minutes after we got home Tuesday, he jetted over to the dining room door, heading for the pool.

*** Martin Dolan has worked at The Arizona Republic since 1984.

Other Pool Stories Current Stories & Events Index Water-Related Incidents
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Crime Prevention
Street Smarts For Busy People
You can do a great deal to reduce your risk of becoming a victim. The most effective weapons against crime are common sense, alertness, and a few basic precautions.
Elementary Street Sense
Tips For Bus And Subway Riders
If You Are Threatened
Defensive Driving
Elevator Sense
If You Are A Victim Of A Crime
Rules Of The Road...
Biking And Jogging
How To Help A Victim Of Crime
Kid Safety Quiz

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Elementary Street Sense
  • Wherever you are, stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings. Don’t daydream.
  • Communicate the message that you’re calm, confident, and know where you’re going. Stand tall, walk purposefully, and make quick eye contact with people around you.
  • Stick to well-lighted, busy streets. Stay on the part of the sidewalk that is farthest away from shrubs, dark doorways, and alleys where people can hide.
  • If you walk at night, consistently vary your routes.
  • Walk with a companion, whenever possible.
  • If you work late, arrange to leave with a coworker or accompanied by a security guard. Make sure your car is parked as close to the entrance as possible or move it to a safe spot in the late afternoon when people are leaving.
  • Keep your car locked and check the back seat and floor before getting in.
  • Don’t overload yourself with packages and don’t wear shoes or clothing that restrict your movements.
  • Avoid displaying large amounts of cash or other tempting targets such as jewelry or expensive clothing.
  • Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps, and keep a firm grip on it. Carry a wallet in an inside coat or front trouser pocket.
  • Know the neighborhoods where you live and work. Find out what stores and restaurants are open late and the locations of police and fire stations. If your are in an unfamiliar neighborhood, take a few minutes to look around for stores, telephones, and streetlights.
  • Have your car or house key in hand as you approach your vehicle or home.
  • If you think someone is following you, abruptly switch directions and walk toward an open store, restaurant, or lighted home.
  • If you are really scared, scream for help.

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Defensive Driving
  • Keep your car in good running condition and always have more than enough gas to get there and back.
  • Park in well-lighted areas that will still be well-lighted when you return, like under a street light.
  • If your car runs out of gas or breaks down, raise the hood and tie a white clothe to the door handle to alert passing police cars. Get back in the car and keep the doors and widows locked until the police come.
  • If someone stops, ask him or her to phone for help. Use a banner that says “Please Call Police” on the front or rear window.
  • If you think someone is following you, don’t head home. Keep, your hand near the horn and drive to the nearest police or fire station, open gas station, or other business where you can safely get help.

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Rules Of The Road...
  • Lock your car, close the window, and check the trunk before leaving.
  • Never leave valuables in the glove compartment or under the seat.
  • Make a photocopy of your registration and keep it in a safe place.
  • Leave only the ignition key if parking in an attended lot.
  • Keep the Vehicle Identification Number and a complete description of your car in a safe place at home or at work.
  • Lock all your packages in the trunk before leaving.
  • Never put an I.D. tag on your key ring.
  • Park in a well-lighted and busy area.
  • Consider anti-theft devises such as: Ignition Kill Switches. Fuel Kill Switches. Auto Alarms. Steering Column Locks. Tape Deck Locks.

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Tips For Bus And Subway Riders
  • Use well-lighted and busy stops.
  • Don’t fall asleep. Stay alert.
  • If you are verbally harassed, say loudly and firmly “Leave me alone.” Attract help by talking loudly or screaming.
  • Watch who gets off the bus or subway with you. If you feel uneasy, walk directly to a place where there are other people.

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Elevator Sense
  • Familiarize yourself with emergency buttons of elevators you ride frequently.
  • Before getting into an elevator, look inside, to be sure no one is hiding in it.
  • Stand near the controls.
  • Get off if someone suspicious enters. If you’re worried about someone who is waiting for the elevator with you, pretend you forgot something and don’t get on.
  • If you’re attacked, hit the alarm and as many floor buttons as possible.

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Biking And Jogging
  • Go with a friend if possible. There’s safety in numbers.
  • Vary your route and schedule so there is not a distinct pattern.
  • Be familiar with your routes and know places along the way: businesses, police and fire stations -- where you could go for help.
  • Avoid isolated areas. Look for routes that are near populated areas or roadways.
  • If you must bike or jog at night, try to do it with a friend and wear reflective clothing.
  • Consider buying a whistle or shriek alarm.
  • Leave the headphones at home. You need to be alert to what’s ahead and behind you.

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If You Are Threatened
  • Don’t resist if the attacker is only after your property or has a weapon.
  • If you do decide to resist don’t get scared get mad! Shout “No!” “Stop!” or “Call the police” loudly and forcefully.
  • Try to incapacitate or distract your assailant long enough so you can escape. A jab to the throat or eyes or swift kick to the knees may give you a few minutes to get away or attract help.
  • Try to get an accurate description of the attacker: color of eyes and hair, type of clothing, height and weight, race, sex, any unusual features such as scars.
  • If a vehicle is involved, get the license plate number.
  • Report an attack, a mugging, robbery, attempted rape, purse snatching -- to the police or sheriff’s office immediately.
  • Call a victim assistance service or rape crisis hot line to help you deal with the trauma that any assault causes.

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If You Are A Victim Of A Crime
  • Report the crime and be prepared to testify in court.
  • Join a local crime prevention organization.
  • Talk to friends and co-workers about the crime and ask them to accompany you to court.
  • Contact your local victim assistance program or community mental health center for help.
  • Report the crime to local law enforcement agencies immediately to prevent others from being victimized. But, when you undertake this responsibility, you as a victim are entitled to certain rights.
  • A right to be treated with dignity and compassion.
  • A right to protection against intimidation from your attacker.
  • A right to information about the progress of your case.
  • A right to be informed about victim services and victim compensation laws in your community.
  • A right to equal treatment in court, such as being consulted about bail, plea bargaining, and when you will be needed to testify.
  • A right to the prompt return of your property if it is recovered by police.
QUESTIONS TO ASK IF YOU ARE A VICTIM: (Talk with some people at work to get answers to the following questions:)
  • What happens to my job if I am a victim?
  • Who takes care of my responsibilities?
  • Whom do I tell if I am a victim at work?
  • What are the company policies where victimized employees are concerned?

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How To Help A Victim Of Crime
DO :
  • Call an ambulance.
  • Give emergency first aid.
  • Call the police.
  • Offer a ride to the hospital.
  • Be there. Help with the victim’s children and meals. Small tasks are tough for traumatized victims.
  • Express concern and caring by asking, “How do you feel?” or “I’m glad you’re okay.”
  • Encourage the victim to talk.
  • Let the victim repeat herself. Be patient. Ask: “Tell me what happened.” and “Can you tell me more about that?”
  • Reassure the victim that it wasn’t his fault.
  • Make assumptions. (Often no one asks. “Are you all right?”)
  • Assume that the victim has reported the crime.
  • Blame the victim in any way. (“You shouldn’t have walked through there.”)
  • Ask questions out of idle curiosity.
  • Push rape or sexual assault victims to tell details about the crime.
  • In the aftermath of crime, victims desperately need to know that someone cares, and that they can survive. You can help by listening.
  • Your presence helps counter feelings of helplessness, guilt, and isolation that victims often experience.
  • Offer to help with practical things like babysitting, cooking a meal, repairing broken locks and windows, and trips to court...
  • If a co-worker needs time off to handle claims and appearances in court, offer to cover appointments and help out with his or her workload.
  • Help the victim contact victim services or a mental health center to cope with the trauma and practical burdens of victimization.
  • Encourage victims to get active in community crime prevention or victim assistance programs to restore their confidence and help others.
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Fire Prevention
Holiday Safety Tips
1. Learn the common causes of home fires and burns.
2. Involve the whole family and check for home hot spots.
3. Know how to correct fire and burn hazards quickly and safely.
Fire Safety Checklist
Christmas Tree Safety Tips
Tips For Parents of Trick or Treaters
Fire Extinguishers
Holiday Home Safety
Homeowners at Halloween
Should You Fight the Fire
Holiday "Safety" Gift Ideas
Other Fire Protection Links
Safety Tips For Trick-or-Treaters
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Fire Safety Checklist
1. Is the phone number for emergencies on your phone?
  • This number is 911 in most areas.
2. Is your house number visible from the street so emergency vehicles can find you?
  • Reflective or illuminated numbers work best for visibility at night.
3. Do you have smoke detectors installed in your home?
  • Are they tested monthly?
  • Replace batteries at least once a year.
  • Some smoke alarms may be dependent on your home’s electrical service and could be inoperative during a power outage. Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery at least once a year.
4. Do you have Carbon Monoxide detectors installed in your home?
  • Are they tested monthly?
  • Winter months are an especially dangerous time because the house is sealed tight with limited fresh air.
5. Familiarize your children with the sound of your smoke alarm.
6. Does your family have a fire escape plan with an emergency route for each members’ bedroom?
  • Are there two ways out of each room?
  • Are the exits easy-to-use and unobstructed?
  • Does every family member know how to escape from the house by crawling low in smoke?
  • Have you arranged a safe family meeting place?
  • Do you hold regular fire drills?
7. Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home?
  • Keep ABC multipurpose fire extinguishers charged and ready to use.
  • Does everyone know how to use it?
8. Do you know what to do if your clothes catch on fire?
  • Never Run! It only helps fan the fire.
  • If you are unable to STOP, DROP, and ROLL, a blanket can be used to smother the flames.
9. What do you do if a fire breaks out?
  • If a fire breaks out, get out fast and call the fire department from a neighbor’s home.
  • Never go back into a burning building for any reason.
10. Are matches and lighters kept in a safe place?
  • Are they out of reach of children?
11. Have all weeds, tree branches, leaves and litter been removed from your yard?
  • They are potential kindling for sparks from fireplaces...
12. Do you have a screen on your fire place?
  • Is it kept closed at all times?
13. When is the last time you had your chimney swept? (cleaned)
14. Do you sleep with your bedroom doors closed?
  • This will slow the spread of the fire and give you more time to escape.
15. Do you have security bars, grates, or fencing over windows to keep burglars out?
  • Make sure they have a quick release and that everyone knows how to use them so you are not trapped inside in case of fire.
16. Do you have a Professional Home Security System?
  • Have them install or tie in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to notify the proper authorities.
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Fire Extinguishers
  1. When used properly, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or controlling it until the fire department arrives.
  2. Portable extinguishers, intended for the home, are not designed to fight large or spreading fires.
  3. However, even against small fires, they are useful only under certain conditions and:
    • The operator must know how to use the extinguisher.
    • There is no time to read directions during an emergency.
    • The extinguisher must be within easy reach and in working order, fully charged.
    • Some models are unsuitable for use on grease or electrical fires.
  4. Choose your extinguisher carefully.
  5. A fire extinguisher should bear the seal of an independent testing laboratory.
  6. It should also be labeled as to the type of fire it is intended to extinguish.
    • There are three basic classes of fires.
      1. Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics.
      2. Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paint, lacquer, and flammable gas.
      3. Class C: Energized electrical equipment including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery, and appliances.
    • All fire extinguishers are labeled with standard symbols for the classes of fires they can put out.
    • A red slash through any of the symbols tells you the extinguisher cannot be used on that class fire.
    • A missing symbol tells you only that the extinguisher has not been tested for use on a given class of fire.
    • Many household fire extinguishers are "multipurpose" A-B-C models, labeled for use on all three classes of fire.
    • If you are ever faced with a Class A fire, and you don't have an extinguisher with an "A" symbol, don't hesitate to use one with the "B:C" symbols.
    • Warning: It is dangerous to use water or an extinguisher labeled only for Class A fires on a grease or electrical fire.
  7. The extinguisher must be large enough to put out the fire.
  8. Most portable extinguishers discharge completely in as few as eight seconds.
Extinguisher sizes:
  • Portable extinguishers are also rated for the size of fire they can handle.
  • This rating is a number from 1 to 40 for Class A fires and 1 to 640 for Class B fires.
  • The rating will appear on the label.
  • The larger the number, the larger the fire extinguisher can put out.
  • Higher-rated models are often heavier. Make sure you can hold and operate the extinguishers.
Installation and Maintenance
  • Extinguishers should be installed in plain view above the reach of children near an escape route and away from stoves and heating appliances.
  • Extinguishers require routine care.
  • Read your operator's manual and ask your dealer how your extinguisher should be inspected and serviced.
  • Rechargeable models must be serviced after every use.
  • Disposable fire extinguishers can be used only once; they must be replaced after one use.
  • Following manufacturer's instructions, check the pressure in your extinguishers once a month.
Operating A Fire Extinguisher
  1. Stand 6 to 8 feet away from the fire and follow the four-step PASS procedure.
    • PULL the pin out: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers have other devices that prevent inadvertent operation.
    • AIM low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the base of the fire.
    • SQUEEZE the lever below the handle: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge. Some extinguishers have a button that you press.
    • SWEEP from side to side: Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out.
  2. Watch the fire area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat the process.
  3. If the fire does not begin to go out immediately, leave the area at once.
  4. Always be sure the fire department inspects the fire site.

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Should You Fight The Fire?
Before you begin to fight a fire...
  1. Make sure everyone has left, or is leaving, the building.
  2. Make sure the fire department has been notified by dialing 911.
  3. Make sure the fire is confined to a small area and that it is not spreading beyond the immediate area.
  4. Make sure you have an unobstructed escape route to which the fire will not spread.
  5. Make sure that you have read the instructions and that you know how to use the extinguisher.
  6. It is dangerous to fight a fire under any other circumstances.
  7. Instead, leave immediately and close off the doors and windows if possible.
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Christmas Tree Safety Tips
  1. Consider an artificial tree (they are much safer and cleaner).
  2. A real tree should not lose green needles when you tap it on the ground.
  3. Leave the tree outside until ready to decorate.
  4. Cut 1 inch off the trunk to help absorb water.
  5. The stand should hold at least 1 gal. of water.
  6. A 6' tree will use 1 gallon of water every two days.
  7. Mix a commercial preservative with the water.
  8. Check the water level every day.
  9. Secure the tree with wire to keep it from tipping.
  10. Keep tree away from floor heaters, fire places, or other heat sources.
  11. Use only UL-approved lights, and no more than 3 strands linked together.
  12. Use miniature lights -- which have cool-burning bulbs.
  13. Turn off the Christmas lights when you sleep, or if you leave your home for very long.
  14. Clean the tree stand to improve the tree's water intake, use one capful of bleach to a cup of water.
  15. Dispose of the tree properly. NEVER BURN A REAL TREE IN THE FIREPLACE.
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Holiday Home Safety
  1. Install a smoke detector or new batteries in the one(s) you have and TEST it.
  2. Use only outdoor lights outside your home.
  3. Examine light strings each year, discard worn ones.
  4. Fasten the bulbs securely and point the sockets down to avoid moisture build up.
  5. Connect no more than three light strands together.
  6. Never use indoor extension cords outside.
  7. Avoid overloading wall outlets and extension cords.
  8. Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow.
  9. Unplug light string before replacing a bulb. Review the original package to verify the proper wattage and voltage.
  10. When connecting light strands, wrap a plastic bag around connections and tie ends with teflon tape.
  11. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree, use colored spot lights.
  12. Make sure trees hung with Xmas lights are not touching power lines.
  13. When using candles, place them a safe distance from combustibles.
  14. Place candles in sturdy containers. Remember, hot wax burns kids.
  15. Extinguish candles prior to going to bed.
  16. Dispose of fireplace ashes into a metal container until cold.
  17. After parties, check around and under sofa and chair cushions for smoldering cigarettes. (Provide lots of ash trays)
  18. Install at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home.
  19. Have an operable fire extinguisher readily available. See Fire Extinguisher Information.
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Holiday "Safety" Gift Ideas
Put together a gift basket containing one or more of the following items:
  1. Three smoke detectors and batteries.
  2. A quality fire extinguisher.
  3. A flashlight and batteries or light sticks.
  4. A first-aid kit.
  5. A carbon Monoxide detector.
  6. A mobile phone.
  7. A second floor escape ladder.
  8. "Emergency kit"- energy bars, water, battery radio, flashlight/light sticks and a first-aid kit packed in a small travel bag.
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Safety Tips For Trick-or-Treaters
  1. Carry a flashlight
  2. Walk, don't run.
  3. Stay on Sidewalks
  4. Obey traffic signals
  5. Stay in familiar neighborhoods
  6. Wear a watch you can read in the dark.
  7. Make sure costumes don't drag on the ground.
  8. Shoes should fit (even if they don't go with your costume)
  9. Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house.
  10. Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props.
  11. (If no sidewalk) walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
  12. Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape.
  13. Approach only houses that are lit.
  14. Stay away from and don't pet animals you don't know.
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Tips For Parents of Trick or Treaters
  1. Make your child eat dinner before setting out.
  2. Children should carry quarters so they can call home.
  3. Ideally, young children of any age should be accompanied by an adult.
  4. If your children go on their own, be sure they wear a watch, preferably one that can be read in the dark.
  5. If you buy a costume, look for one made of flame-retardant material.
  6. Older children should know where to reach you and when to be home.
  7. You should know where they're going.
  8. Although tampering is rare, tell children to bring the candy home to be inspected before consuming anything.
  9. Look at the wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks suspect.
  10. When driving, go slow, slow, slow all evening. (Adult Halloween partiers should have a designated driver.)
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Homeowners at Halloween
  1. Make sure your yard is clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip the young ones.
  2. Pets get frightened on Halloween. Put them up to protect them from cars or inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater.
  3. Battery powered jack o'lantern candles are preferable to a real flame.
  4. If you do use candles, place the pumpkin well away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing.
  5. Make sure paper or cloth yard decorations won't be blown into a flaming candle.
  6. Healthy food alternatives for trick-or-treaters include packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, mini boxes of raisins and single-serve packets of low-fat popcorn that can be microwaved later.
  7. Non-food treats: plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, coins.
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Other Fire Safety Links
Fire Extinguishers at Home
Prevention Safety Tips
Stop Drop & Roll
Smoke Detectors
The Silent Killer (article)
Fireworks Continued...
Using 911
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School Bus Safety
Animated School Bus Safety
National Highway Safety Transportation Adm.
NHTSA's Kid's Page
School Bus Safety
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NHTSA's Kid's Page
Hi! Welcome to NHTSA's Kid's Page! We're Vince and Larry, NHTSA's crash test dummies, and we'll be your tour guides. Come along as we have fun visiting all of the hot spots around town. We'll learn lots of cool stuff, play some games and even see a movie. Just click on us anytime to return to our home page. Go visit "Safety City"
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Animated School Bus Safety
Well, hello there and welcome to the school bus safety page!  Vince and I are here to tell you some interesting facts about school bus safety. Click anywhere on the bus to learn about all the special features that let you get to school in one piece!... A great site for you and your children to learn about riding a school bus. Go directly to this Website...
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National Highway Safety Transportation Administration
NHTSA's school bus safety program is committed to reducing school bus-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities through both behavioral programs and vehicle regulations. NHTSA works to educate school bus drivers, students, and other motorists about safe behavior that reduces the risk of being involved in a school bus-related crash. NHTSA establishes and enforces Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards which make the school bus strong and enable it to better protect passengers. Link to NHSTA web site...
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School Bus Safety
This Web site is sponsored by Wake County Schools, NC, in conjunction with the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) at NCSU by a grant through the Governor's Highway Safety Program. Link to this Website...
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Identity Safety
Consumer Affair's Identity Theft Home Page
The Problem of Identity Theft
If You Become a Victim
Protect Your Identity
Where To Get Help
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The Problem of Identity Theft

Everyone is at risk of having their identities stolen, according to government and private sector estimates. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to establish credit, borrow money, charge items or even commit crimes in your name.

While the incidence of Internet identity theft is growing, fraud experts agree that you still are more likely to become a victim of this federal crime by more traditional means, such as improperly discarding credit card or other financial data. Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming an ID theft victim and what to do should you be stung by one of these thieves.

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Protect Your Identity
  • Never respond to unsolicited requests for your social security number (SSN) or financial data.
  • Before discarding, shred credit card, ATM receipts and any pre-approved credit offers you have received, but do not plan to use.
  • Check all credit card and bank statements for accuracy.
  • Avoid easy to figure out access and personal ID (PIN) codes.
  • Obtain a copy of your credit report yearly and check it for accuracy.
  • Use only secure sites when making online purchases. Secure pages begin with "https."
  • Pay for online purchases by credit card to assure you get what you paid for and limit your liability.
  • Safeguard your SSN, and check Earnings and Benefit statements annually for fraudulent use.
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If You Become a Victim
If you find you have become a victim of identity theft, immediately take the following actions.
  • File a police report.
  • Contact your banker.
  • Notify all of those with whom you have a financial relationship.
  • Tag accounts closed due to fraud. "Closed at consumers request."
  • Notify credit bureau fraud units.
  • Establish a password for telephone inquires on credit card accounts.
  • Place a fraud alert statement on your credit report.
  • Request bi-monthly copies of your credit report until your case is resolved (FREE to fraud victims)
  • Report check theft to check verification companies.
  • Check post office for unauthorized change of address requests.
  • Follow-up contacts with letters and keep copies of all correspondence.
Remain Alert

Suspect ID theft if you're denied credit for no apparent reason or if routine financial statements stop arriving in a timely manner.

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Where To Get Help
Credit Reporting Bureaus:
Report Fraud................................................................ 800-525-6285
Order Credit Report...................................................... 800-685-1111
Report Fraud................................................................ 888-397-3742
Order Credit Report...................................................... 888-397-3742
Trans Union
Report Fraud................................................................ 800-680-7289
Order Credit Report...................................................... 800-888-4213
Social Security Administration
Report Fraud................................................................ 800-269-0271
Order Benefits and Earnings Statement........................... 800-772-1213
Reporting Fraudulent Check Use
  Check Rite.................................................................... 800-766-2748
  Chexsystems................................................................. 800-428-9623
  CrossCheck................................................................... 707-586-0551
  Equifax......................................................................... 800-437-5120
  National Processing Co.................................................. 800-526-5380
  SCAN........................................................................... 800-526-5380
  TeleCheck..................................................................... 800-710-9898
  More Information About Identity Theft and How To Avoid It Can Be Found At:
  Federal Trade Commission
  Americans For Consumer Education and Competition
  The Privacy Council
  Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers
  Consumer Affair's Identity Theft Home Page
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We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed using your name, address, SS#, credit, etc. Unfortunately, I (author of this piece) have firsthand knowledge, because my wallet was stolen last month and within a week the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know.

  1. As everyone always advises, cancel your credit cards immediately, but the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know who to call. Keep those where you can find them easily (having to hunt for them is additional stress you won't need at that point!). On a personal note, I remember losing a MC and until I got the toll free number from information, etc. I was a wreck.
  2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
  3. But here's what is perhaps most important: I never ever thought to do this. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and SS#. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time I was advised to do this, almost 2 weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert).  Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them in their tracks. The numbers are: Equifax 1-800 525-6285 Experian (formerly TRW) 1-800-301-7195 Trans Union 1-800-680-7289 Social Security Administration fraud line at 1-800-269-0271 We pass along jokes, we pass along just about think about passing this information along... it could help someone else.
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