Tips To Prevent Date Rape


Tips To Prevent Date Rape

Rapists are not always strangers or anonymous attackers. When someone you know - a date, steady boyfriend, casual friend or partner - forces you to have sex, it's still rape.

The Bureau of Justice reports that seven out of 10 victims of sexual assault know their attacker.

Preventing Date Rape

There are several things you can do to protect yourself when you are dating:

  • Do not let alcohol or other drugs decrease or interfere with your ability to take care of yourself and make sensible decisions.

  • Do not accept beverages from someone you don't know and trust. Always watch your drink and never leave it unattended, at any time.

  • Follow your instincts. If a place or the way your date acts makes you nervous or uneasy, get out. If you need to call a friend to escort you home, don't hesitate to do so.

  • Check out a first date or a blind date with friends. Meet in and go to public places. Don't leave a social event with someone you have just met or don't know well.

  • Carry money for a phone call, taxi, ride sharing service or, better yet, take your own car.

  • Have a personal protection app like Virtual Halo on your smartphone so you can let your emergency contacts know if you’re in a dangerous position along with your exact location.

What to do when someone you care about has been sexually assaulted

When supporting a survivor of sexual violence, don't be judgmental or take control away from the victim. Try to communicate the following ideas to the victim which will greatly assist healing.

  • "I'm glad you're alive."

  • "It's not your fault."

  • "I'm sorry it happened."

  • "You did the best you could."

The following guidelines will also help to build a sense of trust and safety in the survivor.

  • Let the victim make his/her choices

  • Be a good listener.

  • Try to minimize the number of times the victim must tell what happened.

  • Always respect the survivor's confidentiality.

If you have been raped...

  • Get medical attention as soon as possible.

  • Do not shower, wash, douche or change your clothes. Valuable evidence could be destroyed.

  • Don't isolate yourself. Don't feel guilty and don't try to ignore it. Rape is a crime and should be reported.

  • Get counseling to deal with the emotional trauma.

  • Call your nearest rape crisis center.

If you think you've been assaulted while under the influence of a drug such as Rohyponol or GHB, seek help immediately, try not to urinate before providing urine samples, and, if possible, collect any glasses from which you drank.

What are "date rape" drugs?

Rohyponol ("roofies," "roopies," "circles," "the forget pills") works like a tranquilizer. It causes muscle weakness, fatigue, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination and judgment, and amnesia that lasts up to 24 hours. They look like an aspirin - small, white and round - and are colorless and flavorless. When dissolved in liquids, they can take effect in as little as 20 minutes.

GHB (also known as "liquid X," "salt water," or "scoop") also causes quick sedation. Its side effects include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, coma and death. The drugs most common form is a clear liquid, although it can also be a white, grainy powder.

Both of these powerful sedatives are illegal if possessed in New York State, especially if used in the commission of a sexual assault.

If you think you've been assaulted while under the influence of Rohypnol or GHB, seek help immediately. Try to save your urine in a clean glass container, as well as any glasses from which you may have drank.

Rohyponol and GHB are called the date rape drugs because when they are slipped into someone's drink, a sexual assault can take place without the victim being able to remember what happened.

The myths - The truth

  • "It can't happen to me." 
    Anyone can be sexually assaulted. Studies show that victims range in age from infancy to people in their nineties, and include people from every racial, economic, religious and social background. Each minute, 1.3 women are raped (National Victim Center and Center for Crime Victims Treatment and Research, 1992).

  • "She asked for it." 
    No one asks to be sexually assaulted. Nor does anyone's behavior justify or excuse the crime. People have a right to be safe from a sexual violation at any time and place, and under any circumstance. The offender, not the victim, is responsible for their actions.

  • "Most offenders are men who differ from the victim in race or ethnicity." 
    Over 90% of sexual assaults occur between people of the same racial or ethnic background.

  • "Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers at night in out-of-the-way places." 
    Familiar people and places are more dangerous. As many as 80% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows (FBI statistics). Over 50% of sexual assaults occur in the home and as many occur during the daytime as happen at night.

  • "Only women can be raped." 
    The FBI estimates that as many as one in ten men are victims of sexual assault. Other researchers estimate that between one in four and one in seven male children are sexually abused.



6 Tips For A Safe & Healthy New Years Eve


6 Tips For A Safe & Healthy New Years Eve

Whether you choose to ring in the New Year in Times Square with tens of thousands of strangers or in your living room with close friends, ring in the new year with a party. Even though the it’s time to celebrate, make sure to follow these safety tips to keep your New Year’s Eve celebration healthy and safe.

1.) Drink Responsibly 

Go easy on the alcohol, too. Pacing yourself prevents alcohol poisoning and ensures you can pay attention to your surroundings as you act smart and stay safe.

You may also consider skipping the alcohol this year. While this may not sound like the most fun option, it is definitely the safest one. If you know you’re going to be the person driving on New Year’s Eve, then the only way to ensure your sobriety is to skip the drinks. A little bit of responsibility can go a long way when drunk drivers are on the road and cops are around every corner

2.) Navigate Crowds

Whether you’re a guy or gal, grab a friend and travel in a group for safety. Keep an eye on your surroundings, never go anywhere with strangers and never leave your beverage unattended. Leave your valuables at home and hold your phone and wallet in a front pocket, too, especially if you’re headed to a crowded celebration downtown.

Have a plan and let your friends know where you’ll be and a plan to check in when you’re home.

Download and configure the Virtual Halo personal safety app on your iPhone; it’ll work on your Apple Watch as well. If you’re in a situation where you’re uncomfortable, an effortless push on the SOS button will let your emergency contacts know that you need help and your exact location.

3.) Designate A Driver

If you’re planning to drink, do not drive. Don’t let your drinking friends drive, either. Instead, choose a designated driver, hire a taxi, plan ahead with an Uber or Lyft, take public transportation or invite everyone to crash in your living room.

If you’re abstaining from alcohol, remember that winter weather can make roads slippery, particularly when you travel after dark. Drive carefully as you leave early, go slow and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. Of course, if the roads are too bad, stay home and watch the party on TV instead of going out this year.

4.) Decide Where You’re Staying The Night

This isn’t one of those nights where you “play it by ear.” Make a plan of where you’re going to stay and whom you’re going to stay with and let a close friend or family member know. When celebrating, it’s a much smarter move to crash on a friends couch than get into an accident on the road with someone else that hasn’t been as responsible as you. Asking your host to stay the night in advance is one of the best ways to have a fun night and still stay safe.

5.) Ban Guns and Fireworks

Stick with noise makers and sparklers if you need special effects on New Year’s Eve. Otherwise, an inexperienced user could kill or injure someone. Plus, shooting guns and fireworks could break local noise ordinances and other laws.

6.) Handle Food Safely

Appetizers, hors d’oeuvre and snacks keep the party going. Heat food adequately and refrigerate leftovers promptly, though, to prevent food poisoning. Check in with guests about possible food allergies, too, as you safely indulge in party foods.

Ringing in the new year is a fun tradition. Use these tips to keep the party, your guests and you safe and healthy.


Safety Around The Holidays


Safety Around The Holidays

Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season

Holiday safety is an issue that burns brightest from late November to mid-January, when families gather, parties are scheduled and travel spikes. Take some basic precautions to ensure your family remains safe and injury-free throughout the season.


Traveling for the Holidays? Be Prepared

Many people choose to travel during the holidays by automobile, with the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation. In 2015, 355 people died on New Year's Day, 386 on Thanksgiving Day and 273 on Christmas Day, according to Injury Facts 2017. Alcohol-impaired fatalities represent about one-third of the totals.

Even Angel Hair can Hurt

Decorating is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating every season.

  • "Angel hair," made from spun glass, can irritate your eyes and skin; always wear gloves or substitute non-flammable cotton

  • Spraying artificial snow can irritate your lungs if inhaled; follow directions carefully

  • Decorate the tree with your kids in mind; move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top

  • Always use the proper step ladder; don't stand on chairs or other furniture

  • Lights are among the best parts of holiday decorating; make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets, and don't overload your electrical circuits

  • Plants can spruce up your holiday decorating, but keep those that may be poisonous (including some Poinsettias) out of reach of children or pets; the national Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222

  • Make sure paths are clear so no one trips on wrapping paper, decorations, toys, etc.; NSC provides tips for older adults on slip, trip and fall protection

It's Better to Give Safely

We've all heard it's important when choosing toys for infants or small children to avoid small parts that might prove to be a choking hazard. Here are some additional gift-related safety tips:

Watch Out for Those Fire-starters

Candles and Fireplaces

Thousands of deaths are caused by fires, burns and other fire-related injuries every year, and 12% of home candle fires occur in December, the National Fire Protection Association reports. Increased use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations present in many homes means more risk for fire.

  • Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle

  • Keep candles out of reach of children

  • Make sure candles are on stable surfaces

  • Don't burn candles near trees, curtains or any other flammable items

  • Don't burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace

  • Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year

Turkey Fryers

While many subscribe to the theory any fried food is good – even if it's not necessarily good for you – there is reason to be on alert if you're thinking of celebrating the holidays by frying a turkey.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there have been 168 turkey-fryer related fires, burns, explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning incidents since 2002. CPSC says 672 people have been injured and $8 million in property damage losses have resulted from these incidents.

NSC discourages the use of turkey fryers at home and urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments or consider a new oil-less turkey fryer.

Don't Give the Gift of Food Poisoning

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some holiday food safety tips. Here are a few:

  • Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking

  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature

  • Refrigerate food within two hours

  • Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for four days in the refrigerator

  • Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating

  • When storing turkey, cut the leftovers in small pieces so they will chill quickly

  • Wash your hands frequently when handling food


Wildfire Planning & Resources


Wildfire Planning & Resources

Step One - Create A Communications Plan
This can be done way in advance and always in place for when disaster strikes, not for just when wildfires occur. Designate primary and secondary meeting points, discuss which social media posts you're going to post to to find one another if you become separated. Memorize each others mobile phone numbers. Designated a common family member of friend well removed from the geographic area that you can relay information through. Use a personal protection app like Virtual Halo so you can check in with each other and transmit your exact location (basic services are free). Keep your mobile phones charged and have spare battery chargers fully charged at all times.

Unlike tornadoes, wildfire’s give a little notice so potentially affected residents can take a little action to achieve maximum safety. Below are a group of tools recommended for you to use when preparing for a wildfire. Be safe out there... and good luck!

Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. Your friends and family may not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You will most likely have to evacuate. What’s your plan?


Step Two - Develop a Family Emergency Plan
This will include what to do during what type of disaster and should have provisions for when you're home and when you're traveling. had made planning a snap, visit their site here. Immediate steps to take include:

  • How will I receive my warnings?

  • What is my shelter plan?

  • What is my evacuation route?

  • What are the dietary needs of my household?

    • Get any provisions including water, batteries and flashlights that will be needed.

  • What planning do you need to make for your pet(s)?

Step Three - Constantly Review the FEMA Evacuation Guidelines
And follow all directions given by local and state governments. Access FEMA Evacuation Guidelines here

Step Four - Prepare For Evacuation

  • Inside The House

    • Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.

    • Remove flammable window shades, curtains and close metal shutters.

    • Remove lightweight curtains.

    • Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.

    • Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights.

    • Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.

    • Shut off the air conditioning.

  • Outside The House

    • Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, etc.) or place them in your pool.

    • Turn off propane tanks.

    • Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.

    • Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Fill water buckets and place them around the house.

    • Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running, they can affect critical water pressure.

    • Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.

    • Put your Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle.

    • Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.

    • Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of the house for firefighters to quickly access your roof.

    • Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.

    • Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation. Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened.

    • Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.

  • Animals

    • Locate your pets and keep them nearby.

    • Prepare farm animals for transport and think about moving them to a safe location early.

When waiting out a wildfire, be careful, the danger may not be over yet when everything looks clear. Each locale will distribute information differently. During the Napa Valley fires in 2017, they had a community-wide text service to let residents of the valley know what was going on and happening. Stay alert to local broadcasts and sign up for text alerts and download relevant apps if available.

After the wildfire, wait until your area is declared safe by emergency management personnel before returning home. And remember, recovering from a natural disaster is often a gradual process. Good luck and be safe!



Keep Your Data Safe While Traveling Overseas


Keep Your Data Safe While Traveling Overseas

Whether at home or abroad there are a lot of cybersecurity threats that can put you and your personal data at risk, but this threat is even more perilous when you travel overseas. What steps have you taken to keep your data safe? Here are five key things you should be doing to protect against cyber security threats:


1. Change Your Passwords

Before you travel abroad, change all of your passwords on all of your devices. Your passwords should never be simple, like “password,” or use personally-identifying information, such as your name, birthdate, etc. Instead, opt for passwords that are at least eight characters long and use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. When possible, you should also enable two-factor authentication.

2. Enable Auto-Delete

In the event that your device is stolen or misplaced, you want to have an extra safety measure in place. Make sure you enable auto-delete, a feature that will automatically erase all of the data in your device if someone incorrectly enters the password a set number of times.

3. Look for Anti-Theft Software

As an added level of protection, download anti-theft software to all of your devices. This software should allow you to remotely lock your device in the event that is it lost or stolen so you can take steps from there to locate it or erase all of your personal data. And while you’re downloading, make sure you’re only enabling apps that protect your personal information, like Virtual Halo.

4. Disable WiFi Auto-Connect

You should only connect to WiFi when you know it is safe and secure, no matter where you are on the map; but especially in foreign territory you want to be extra careful. Before you leave home soil, make sure you disable WiFi auto-connect features so you have to manually connect. If you know you will need to access sensitive data overseas, search for a secure VPN connection you can temporarily use.

5. Turn Off Bluetooth Connectivity

Along the same lines as WiFi, you want to turn off your Bluetooth connectivity. Cyberthreats can instantaneously seize opportunities to access your personal data through either WiFi or Bluetooth, so keep them out by turning it off altogether.

6. Keep Your Devices with You at All Times

Modern society is practically glued to their smart devices, but as a reminder: always keep your devices with you and in your sight. It only takes a second for them to go missing!