It is definitely the time of year when even certified ‘Hate To Shop-phobics’ find themselves heading to the mall, super store or to an online merchant to find the perfect gift for everyone on their list. Also heading to all of those locations are those who find their Christmas cheer by stealing yours (along with your wallet, money, ID, purchases & possibly your physical well being)! Thieves, pickpockets, scam artists and other unsavory sorts prey on all of those harried, distracted and thoughtful shoppers. Before you head out to shop, remember these tips gathered from multiple safety sites:Read More
The pumpkins are being carved and right next to the row of Halloween costumes are Christmas ornaments! Yes, it is that time of the year when budgets, bodies and emotions can all come crashing down from the weight of Holiday-mania! Preparing ahead (a recurring theme here), a bit of planning and a good dose of self-control can yield a holiday season with more happy memories than post-holiday mania. Try these time, energy, emotion and money saving tips this year!Read More
It is one of every parent’s worst nightmares: your child is with you, or worse even, with another adult and involved in an automobile accident. The driver, you or someone else, is seriously injured and unable to identify the children in the car. What are emergency workers supposed to do? Obviously, they will do all within their power to get medical attention to everyone involved, but what about your child? How will those who attend to him or her know whom to call? Is there important medical information that first responders and emergency physicians need to know before treating your child? These are all reasonable and real-life concerns that emergency workers face everyday. Even if your child were unharmed, you would want to be called as quickly as possible to comfort your child!
It is a common enough occurrence that a program has been developed to deal with just such a scenario. CHAD was developed by the National Travelers Assistance Program, after a 13-month old boy named Chad was involved in a car accident while being driven by his babysitter. The babysitter was killed in the accident and Chad’s parents were located only because an E.R. nurse recognized the child. If she had failed to do so, little Chad would have been temporarily placed in foster care.
Since that unfortunate accident the NTAP developed a small adhesive sticker that is filled out by the parents and placed on the right (child’s right as seated) corner of the child’s car seat or booster. You can request a free sticker or you can easily label your child’s seat. Using a ‘sticker’ sheet or label designed for a floppy disk, cassette tape or other blank sticker, or a 3×5 card that you can tape down and write on the following information:
- Child’s Name:
Birth date: Parent’s Name(s):
Phone(s): (home, cells, office) Parent’s Address: Child’s Physician:
Physician’s Phone: Emergency Contact:
Phone: Child’s Known Allergies and/or medical conditions:
Add any additional information you feel is important. Some items that would be helpful to rescue workers and medical personnel would be, for example, your child is autistic, on medication, is hard of hearing, hyperactive, etc.
(The CHAD sticker does not include the allergy and medical condition information. However, this could be critical to treating your child in an emergency. If you use the CHAD sticker, please add this information. If your child does not have any allergies that you know of, write NKA.)
Consider duplicating this information for each child if you are traveling by plane or train. Place the card in the child’s pocket, their backpack and/or jacket pocket. If placing the information in a pocket, safety pin it to the inside of the pocket. This information also belongs in each child’s 72-hour kit.Read More
Have you ever thought of the car as being a part of your preparedness plan? It should be! Those 4 wheeled dollar hogs are expensive to purchase, insure, fuel, maintain and keep ready should we face a need to ‘hit the road’.
The Prepared Auto is one that is, first and foremost, affordable. Large auto loans that stretch the family budget are detrimental to your long term financial, spiritual and emotional well being. Choose wisely when you must purchase a car. Make sure it fits your family needs (not necessarily wants), has a good safety record and will last for years to come. Save as much as you can to avoid consumer debt and shop carefully; engaging your brain more than your emotions!! (See separate article about saving money when buying a car.)
Before purchasing a car, double check the cost of insuring it! Insurance rates are based on the value of the car, its durability in a crash, the likelihood of theft and the damage it can do to another vehicle. Also check the crash test results of any car you are considering. The Insurance Institute crash tests are more thorough than the US government tests.
When you have your car, maintain it properly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Simple oil changes, the correct tire pressure and maintaining all fluid levels will reduce your repair bills and cut your maintenance costs.
Now that you have the car and maintain it carefully, prepare it to be your mode of transportation not only everyday but in the event of a small or major catastrophe. Some important ‘to dos’ include:
- Refuel no later than when the gas gauge hits the 1/2 empty mark. You will never run out of gas and it is actually better for your car to not allow it to pull gas from the very bottom of the gas tank. This is particularly true for older cars.
- Stock your car with the following: (all items can fit in a small bag) flashlight with battery stored outside the flashlight, 3 or 4 road flares, 1 or more ‘space’ blankets, 2 liters of water, candle in a jar, matches, energy bar (or hard granola bar), hat, spare tire & appropriate tools, small map & compass, diapers for those with babies, wipes & hand sanitizer, first aid kit, sanitary needs, tissue, jumper cables, cash in small bills, change, bungee cord, & multi-tool. If you live where it snows, add a small shovel & sand for winter driving.
- NEVER ALLOW ANYONE to ride in your car unless they are properly restrained in the appropriate car seat, booster seat or seat belt.
- Secure loose items in the car. Things can fly and cause damage to occupants!
- Help children learn to entertain themselves while in the car.
- Avoid using the cell phone while driving.
- In the glove compartment, keep paperwork required by law. Be certain that you have contact information for your insurance company and roadside information.
- Maintain the appropriate tags, stickers and license. Don’t wait until the end of the month to get necessary inspections done.
- Lock your car and keep packages out of sight.
- You can store a good number of quarters and rolled bills in an empty tube that mini-M&M’s come in. Keep this in your glove compartment.
- Have a cell phone charger that works in your car.
- If you have an old cell phone, charge it up and store it in your glove compartment. Even if it is not ‘registered’ with a cell phone provider, you can call 911 with it.
- Have an extra set of keys for every car you own hanging in an easy to find place within your home. Many cars are unnecessarily lost during evacuations because those at home do not have a key to the cars sitting in the driveway. Even worse would be that those at home could NOT evacuate safely because they did not have a key to the car!
- Even if you have a GPS system, travel with a good road map in the car!
- Keep a list of contact phone numbers in your car–include family members, work phone numbers, children’s schools and those you could call in an emergency.
- Remember that eating while driving is just as deadly – if not more so – than talking on your cell phone behind the wheel!
If you take care of your car, it will be ready at a moment’s notice to take you wherever you are required to go!Read More