Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Butler Shoots and Kills Himself Demonstrating Gun Safety

Randall Trent Butler (23) of Sanford, NC accidentally shot and killed himself while demonstrating the gun safety features on his 22 caliber pistol. According to WRAL website, Butler was at the home of his girlfriend Sunday June 26, 2011 demonstrating how the gun safety worked to friends when he apparently failed to reengage the safety, when he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Upon reading about this tragedy I felt compelled to share a few simple gun safety tips.

1. Guns should never be loaded when demonstrating them.

2. Guns should not be pointed (loaded or unloaded) at people or animals in a nonthreatening environment.

3. Use a trigger lock in addition to the safety.

4. Store gun in a lockable gun box or gun safe.

5. Make sure that weapons are protected by a monitored external home security system when they are left in the home while you are away.

6. Never horse play with weapons, even if unloaded.

7. Never handle a gun or other weapon if you have been drinking or under the influence of drugs.

8. Use common sense.

My condolences go out to the family. It is my hope that his death will save the lives of others by serving as a chilling reminder that a forgetful or thoughtless moment with a gun can be fatal. For more information on gun safety or other personal safety or home security issues contact me at (919)949-9690 or email me at jimmcneely@whensafetymatters.com.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Home Inventory Plan – A Cornerstone to Home Security


Home Inventory Plans are often treated like Fire Escape Plans they are topics that people have a vague idea of their relevance but fail to prioritize them and put them in place. For most people the home inventory plan need becomes apparent when they face a burglary or fire and must file a claim against their insurance. The lack of planning and proper implementation during a time of disaster heightens stress levels and delay or minimize the settlement a person might have received from the insurance company. This article will detail several quick and easy ways to put a home inventory plan in place.

The first method utilizes the common cell phone that almost all people own. If you have a video phone or even just a camera phone along with internet accessibility you can perform your inventory room during a commercial break.

Video the items in the room and give a description of the item including make and model. Save the video and then email it to yourself. In the event that something should occur like a burglary or fire you will be prepared.

Another more detailed way of performing a home inventory can be found at www.knowyourstuff.org . This amazing free site will walk you through a simple process that allows you to inventory items room by room, manage and update as necessary and create reports that can be printed in a excel format or accessed remotely over the internet.

As you inventory your home you will often discover that over the years you have acquired many more items than you originally had when you first took out your homeowners or renters policy. I cannot stress the importance of having an insurance review to make sure that you have adequate coverage. Your insurance agent may also discover ways to increase your coverage and lower your premium at the same time. This was the case for me. A sometimes overlooked discount is the monitored fire and security system discount that a person can qualify for if they have a monitored fire and security system installed in their home. These discounts can be as much as 20%.

For additional information on this topic or other security related issues contact Jim McNeely at (919) 949-9690 or jimmcneely@whensafetymatters.com.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Highway Shootings Raleigh, Durham-Tips to Stay Safe

With three shootings on Triangle area highways since June 18, 2011, there is cause for everyone to be concerned. According to media reports the three shootings have left on fatality, Michael Hunter who was shot and killed on I-147 on Saturday night of June 18, 2011. There was a second shooting on Monday the 20th and another on Wednesday the 22nd. There were only minor injuries in the most recent shootings. According to witnesses the community should be on the lookout for a 2000 model silver Acura and a Dodge Charger. In addition to looking for the suspect vehicle here are 10 tips to stay safe on the roads.

1. Beware of your surroundings and driving habits of those around you.

2. Drive with the traffic and try not to be isolated, there is safety in numbers.

3. If at all possible avoid major highways- the shooter or shooters will have a more difficult time escaping to a major arterial road if you take secondary roads.

4. If possible avoid driving late at night and early morning before sunrise- especially highways.

5. Avoid being distracted by your cell phone, load music, or eating in your vehicle.

6. Drive in the far right hand lane on the highway, so you can minimize your risk of being boxed in and you can observe someone passing you that may roll down their passenger window.

7. If someone pulls behind you flashing their lights get over and take the first exit and get to a well populated, well lit area. Report any aggressive drivers.
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8. Never respond to others poor driving habits by flipping them the bird, cursing at them or exhibiting other road age actions.

9. Never let your poor driving habits cause others to become irate with you. Don’t cut people off, signal when you change lanes and don’t drive slowly in the passing lane.

10. Until the suspects are caught only take necessary trips.

For more information on this topic or other personal or home and/or business security issues contact Jim McNeely at (919)949-9690 or jimmcneely@whensafetymatters.com.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Realtor Safety when showing foreclosures and short sales


The current weakened economic market and the affect on the housing market has created enhanced occupational hazards for realtors. Selling real estate has always been a job that could be considered high risk, due to the fact that realtors often spend time in unoccupied homes with people they do not know, which could make them targets of robbery, assault, battery, rape and even homicide. With the increased number of foreclosures and short sales realtors not only face the dangers from those they are showing the property to, but also from those that may be squatting in the property they are showing. This is cause for realtors to take more safety precautions in order to protect themselves.
The longer a house stays on the market the more likely that home is to attract crime. Foreclosures have been known to be used by gangs, drug addicts, illegal immigrants and the previous owners that were foreclosed on. In order to stay safe realtors should apply these simple tips.

1. When looking at a foreclosure or short sale always alert someone at the office as where you are going and when to expect you back.

2. Before viewing the property stop by the neighbor’s home and introduce yourself. Let them know who you are and what you are doing. Ask them to watch out for you.

3. If at all possible bring someone with you. If it a high risk neighborhood get a police or sheriff deputy to go with you.

4. When pulling up to the house do not pull into the driveway. Park on the street where you can not be blocked in.

5. When walking up to the house observe your surroundings look for areas where someone or something could be lurking.

6. Perform a perimeter sweep of the house look for broken windows, or broken door jams. Press all exterior doors to see if they just open. If they do open at the touch-do not enter. Immediately call the police

7. Have your cell phone pre-programmed to call 911.

8. If you are working with a buddy have them remain in the car to act as your look out. Should something happen they can get away quickly and get help.

9. Upon entering be observant if you see things like drug paraphernalia, gang signs, items of food or evidence that someone is still in the home. If you see any of these things leave immediately and call the police. You do not want to encounter a squatter.

10. If you do encounter a squatter get out of the house and call the police.

11. The number on thing every realtor should do is put safety first and use their gut instinct. If something does not feel right do not proceed.

For more information on realtor safety or other security related issues contact Jim McNeely at 919-949-9690 or at jimmcneely@whensafetymatters.com.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Top ways to protect an unoccupied home on the market from thieves


1. Secure the crawlspace door by removing the Phillips or flat head screws in the hinges and replace them with star bolts. Also add a U style lock to secure. This will keep thieves from stealing the air handler underneath the home.
2. If the power is left on and there is a garage door opener, remove the red hanging tag to prevent a thief from breaking out the glass or drilling a hole and pulling it to gain access.
3. Hide deer style hidden cameras that can be hidden in the landscaping to see any unwanted activity. They are relatively inexpensive and can be moved from property to property.
4. Keep the security system active and make sure that it has cell monitoring.
5. The listing agent should become involved the neighborhood watch, by doing so they can get more exposure for themselves and protect the property.
6. The listing agent can also build good will and gain exposure by meeting with police in that district and circulating a picture of that listing and asking them to patrol the area. By getting increased patrols in the area is a strong selling point. The realtor can also get referral business from the police department.
7. Realtors can also work with a veteran security specialist to have them perform a security audit of the home that can be provided to prospective buyers, which will highlight the safety features of the home and suggest upgrades to further strengthen the safety of the property.

To learn more about any of the above listed items contact Jim McNeely (Certified Life Safety Specialist and Security Expert with Advantage Security at jimmcneely@whensafetymatters.com or (919)949-9690)