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Safety Tips

6 Tips For A Safe & Healthy New Years Eve

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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.

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Improve Your Health By Focusing On Your Personal Safety

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Improve Your Health By Focusing On Your Personal Safety

There are plenty of potentially dangerous health risks that people routinely avoid every day. But if you want to keep your personal health in check, it’s a good idea to start with your safety. When you feel safe, you feel comfortable, which naturally reduces your stress levels. And since stress can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease, keeping your mind and body relaxed and as stress-free as possible is one of the keys to leading a healthy, fulfilling life.

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Personal Safety = Less Stress = Better Health

How are you keeping yourself healthy? When you think of health, your first inclination may be to imagine running, eating well or even practicing yoga; but do you consider your mental well-being? Your surroundings have been shown to have an impact on your mental state. When you feel safe, you feel comfortable and your mind is at ease, but when you don’t feel safe, your adrenaline races through your veins, putting your mind and body on high alert in preparation for the fight or flight response. This puts stress on your body both mentally and physically, which is why taking care of your personal safety is actually an integral part of being healthy.

Stay Alert to Avoid Danger

To stay safe, start by trusting your instinct; it’s usually very accurate. If a situation feels dangerous or you think there’s something off, there’s a reason why. Get to safety as quickly as possible and call for help. And always try to rely on the buddy system when you’re traveling to new areas or going on an adventure, like camping or hiking. Whether your buddy is another friend, family member or even your dog, having that extra safety net can come in handy if the situation arises.

Take Extra Precautions to Keep Yourself Safe

Even if you are traveling alone, always make sure you have a means to get help if you need it. With modern smart technology, it’s easier than ever before to stay connected and keep yourself safe. If you download Virtual Halo, your personal safety app, to your phone, you can link it to your Apple Watch so getting help is as quick and easy as pushing an SOS button.

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Why You Should Always Let Someone Know Where You Are

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Why You Should Always Let Someone Know Where You Are

Have you ever gotten lost?

It’s never a fun feeling. It happens to even the best outdoors people. And scientists now think that when we’re lost we do really walk in circles.

While it may not have been for a very long amount of time, most of us can remember getting temporarily turned around at some point. And if you do remember, you can likely recall the fear as well. But that fear shouldn’t deter anyone from enjoying adventure activities.

Venturing out hiking or camping, travelling across the country or foreign countries. It’s fun and a wonderful experience, but obviously it comes with risks. In such a mobile world, it’s critical to let people know where you are. Why? Because you never know what could happen. And it’s important to have a backup plan in case something happens.And it’s also something good so your loved ones don’t worry about you when you’re out enjoying the world.

Here are a few tips for letting people know where you are:

Tip #1. Expect the Unexpected

You never truly know what is going to happen when you’re on an adventure. You can plan and plan and most times things will be fine. But it only takes one time for things to go haywire. It’s critically important that you expect, or at least plan, for the unexpected. A great way to be prepared in the event of an emergency is to let someone know where you are.

Whether you are on a road trip across the country, hiking or camping in the woods, or simply running out to the store, let someone know your planned route. You might think that your plans will change. You can let the person know, but still give them a basic itinerary. The more information they have the more they can assist if you get lost.

Tip #2. Provide A Basic Time Frame

While you’re out, try to give someone a time frame to expect you back. It doesn’t have to be exact. Within a day or so. This way, if you haven’t contacted them or made it home when you said you would, they can be on the lookout for you. If your plans change just let your person know by checking-in. Just a quick message to let them know you’re doing fine. This way, if they can’t reach you, they’ll have an idea of what’s going on. Then, if something does happen, they know to react.

Tip #3. Stop & Assess

A very common scenario when you get that dreaded feeling of being lost is to move frantically. It’s natural to want to quickly get back on track. To feel at ease again. You want to avoid this tendency.

The best course of action is to STOP.

Stop. Think. Observe. Plan.

Give yourself time to take a breath and to figure out where you’ve been. How long you’ve been walking. Odds are pretty good that with a clear mind and a little rest that you can find your way back to your trail.

Tip #4. Take Advantage of Modern Technology

With everything going on in life, it can be difficult to remember to update someone at all times. Thankfully, our phones are a simple way to take care of that for us. With convenient, simple apps like Virtual Halo, you can send a quick check in to let them know you’re fine, or send an SOS if you aren’t.

With Virtual Halo, you have an app that puts your safety first and makes it easy to let someone know how you’re doing and if you need help. This quick alert is critical in an emergency situation to keep you and loved ones safe.

Exploring and adventuring are amazing aspects of life. It’s great to get away from the business of the city and all the modern technology. But you can unplug and still have the nice safety net that technology provides. You can still get away from it all, but it’s good to have a backup plan so that when something does happen you can quickly get back on track and work on your next adventure.

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Holiday Safety Tips

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Holiday Safety Tips

As the busy holiday season approaches, so does the chaos that goes along with it. This is one of the most wonderful times of year; unfortunately, it can also be one of the most dangerous. We run from errand to errand, shopping mall, to shopping mall, and something happens that makes us really attractive to criminals. We are preoccupied, scattered and definitely not focused on what is going on around us; perfect prey for an opportunistic thief.

I have trained with all different types of professionals in personal safety, from ex-navy seals to SWAT officers. There is one common thread that runs throughout any self-defense or security training; common sense. With all the hustle and bustle throughout the holiday season, that is the one thing that people loose all sight of. The following are some safety tips you need to be aware of to keep you and your family safe this holiday season…

How to protect yourself from being a victim of credit card fraud:

Many criminals do their shopping on someone else’s tab. They usually get their card number of choice from an unsuspecting victim’s discarded receipt. Make sure any credit card slips or receipts are tucked safely in your wallet. Do not throw them away at the mall. If a store clerk asks you for personal information such as address, telephone number, or driver’s license number, be sure to ask why they need the information, and any information you give them should be out of earshot from other customers lurking behind you. Department stores like to input all your private information to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing fees, that way they can develop a mailing list or do market research, all on your dime. Never give out your private information to a store clerk unless it is related to the transaction. For example, when you return an item, many stores will mail you the refund. Another risk of giving out your personal information is identity theft. 500,000 people a year are victims of identity theft. Many people’s lives have been destroyed by their personal information falling into the wrong hands. Simple information such as an address, driver’s license number, or most dangerous, a social security number, allows a criminal to assume another persons identity complete with credit cards, new bank accounts, and even a new home or car loan. Be sure to question why a clerk needs to have your personal information. Remember, you are the customer; it is your right to keep your private information private.

How to stay safe at the mall:

How many of you have rushed to your car after a marathon day of shopping; bags wrapped around your wrists like handcuffs? Or how many of you have thrown all your packages in the back seat, hopped in your car, and started to back out, only to find you had left the back door wide open? Criminals love to attack in parking lots the darker and more isolated the better. So this holiday season, use common sense. Park in a lighted area, the more people the better. Use a shopping cart to carry your bags to the car, or at least make sure you hands are free if an emergency should arise. As you walk out to your car, look around the parking lot. Be aware of who is in front of you and in back of you. As you get towards your car, look to see if anyone suspicious is standing close by. Is your car the way you left it? If you notice anything unusual, do not go to your car. Go back in to the mall and find a security guard. This should not feel like you are being paranoid, just Street Smart. From the time you leave the mall to the time you get home safely, don’t let the preoccupation of daunting holiday tasks take you away from using common sense and focusing on your surroundings.

How to get home safely:

Many carjackers like to follow their victims home. As you leave the mall, glance in your rear view mirror to see if anyone is following you. If you feel like you are being followed, make a turn and then another. If the car is still behind you and you have a cell phone, dial 911. No matter what, drive straight to a local police station. There aren’t too many criminals brazen enough to commit a crime in a police parking lot. These safety tips are not meant to scare you or make you paranoid, they are to empower you and make your holiday season crime free. There are some personal security devices to assist you in keeping safe. Pepper spray or foam can be attached to your key chain and is as easy to use as hair spray. When sprayed into your assailant’ eyes, it causes their mucous membranes to swell, their eyes to shut, and they have difficulty breathing. This gives you time to get away and get help. A personal safety alarm is also helpful. It looks like a pager, and can attach to your purse or belt. It has a little pin on the top that when pulled, causes a very loud, high pitched shrieking noise that will either make your assailant run or attract attention from other people in the area to come to your aid.

Traveling During The Holidays:

If you are planning a trip out of town for the holidays, put your holiday lights on a timer. Also be mindful that if you run extension cords to your outdoor lights, the window providing access to the cords may not be properly secured.

Try not to advertise your plans to be gone for the holidays online. Broadcasting the location or duration of your trip on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can be dangerous. It may be something exciting you really want to share, but be aware that you could be blatantly telling criminals, “I’m not home.” The AAA organization suggests asking a neighbor to check on your home (and your mail) while you are out of town. This is a great way to give you peace of mind that all is well back home.

Make sure your close family and friends know where you'll be and how to get in touch with you in case of an emergency on either end. Outfitting your family with the Virtual Halo app will help everyone keep in touch - especially when going to a big place like Walt Disney World. The Check In feature is ideal for famlies to be able to rendezvous at a specific location.

Remember, simple common sense actions can keep you from becoming the next crime victim. Don’t live in fear, relax, make smart personal safety choices and ENJOY the Holidays!

Reprinted from SafetyChick.com and Johns Eastern Blog

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Halloween Safety Tips

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Halloween Safety Tips

  1. Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  2. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  3. Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  4. Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  5. Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  6. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  7. Trick or Treat With an Adult
  8. Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
  9. Keep Costumes Both Creative and Safe
  10. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  11. Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  12. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
  13. When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
  14. Drive Extra Safely on Halloween
  15. Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  16. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  17. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  18. Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  19. Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
  20. Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
  21. Make sure your children have Virtual Halo on their phone so they can send an SOS if they get seperated from you, that way you will know exactly where they are.

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