a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, April 5, 2013

What If . . . You Find Yourself in Danger at Home?

Before we continue with part 4 of these safety posts a reminder . . .
Some of these ideas can help you avoid a potentially bad situation while others will help you act IF you find yourself in a dangerous situation.

The following are habits that are simple to develop. Being cautious is not being paranoid. Being safe may keep you from  being sorry.

No matter how safe you feel your neighborhood is,
it is very wise to keep your house locked ---
even when you are home (which some think
is unnecessary.)

BE AWARE IN YOUR HOMES — Don’t automatically act on the “out of the ordinary.” Individuals intent on doing evil are inventive! Stay alert and keep safe. 


  • If you want to have your windows open for air, take blocking precautions: open them only enough to allow air to come through---not a person! 
          For sliding doors or windows, place a length of dowel in the inside window track preventing the window from being opened wider.
          For windows that open from bottom to top, buy or make stoppers that only allow a few inches to be raised.

  • Consider a barrier between you and who ever is on the other side of the door when you open it. Not many years ago almost every home had a screen door along with the regular door(s). They were usually made of window screen  in a simple wooden framework. Not so, these days.  But also, unfortunately, most homes today have oversize or fancy doors that do not "lend" themselves to this extra protection.  A couple of years ago we installed one of the "modern"one at our front door. It not only allows us to have the door open to let in air, it is a comforting safety feature. It is made from heavy holey-stuff with grill work.  They aren't very expensive;  they can easily be installed to the existing framework; in daylight you can see who is at the door without them being able to clearly see you; and they aren't overly "ugly" I think they are a great bang for the buck!!!
  • If you need help, yell FIRE instead of help---it attracts more attention, which is sad but, confirmed in a safety class, true. 

  • If your car has an automatic car door opener keep your car keys by your bed. If you hear a noise that concerns you, you can press the alarm button and it will set off the car alarm. Somehow the alarm "waves" are able to travel through walls so this is effective even when you are on the side away from your driveway. Have someone stand by your car and then try it to make sure it works for you!
  • Keep your cell phone by your bed. Even if it is out of charge I was told in a recent class that you will still be able to dial 911. The control center won't be able to automatically track the location of the call but they can talk to you. I'm am not sure how to test this (since you shouldn't just dial 911) but I trust the instructor that told us.
Any deterrent, even if it is only going to slow the perpetrator down just a couple of seconds, is often all it takes for him to pass up your home in favor of an easier mark. They usually won't take a chance on the possibility that the dog may be just around the corner of the house or in the house, or to speculate on whether you actually have a security system or not. So . . .

  • Buy a huge dog dish, paint a mean sounding name on it (like Killer or Bruiser, etc.), beat the dish up to make it look used, and throw it in the backyard.
  • Post a "Beware of Dog" sign.
  • Buy "This house protected by security alarm" stickers and place on doors and windows.
  • Plant "stickery" bushes under windows.
  • Add deadbolt locks to your doors --- and then be sure to use both locks. 

The following are reported to be true. While I can't verify them, they do provide extra cautions we may not have thought of on our own.

A woman heard a crying baby on her porch late one night so she called the police because she thought it seemed weird. The police told her “Whatever you do, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.” The lady then reported that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window. The policeman said, “We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.” He told her that they think an attacker has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls from women reporting baby's cries outside when they're home alone at night.

If, especially after dark, you hear, or are awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of your outside water faucet running or what you think is a pipe that has burst, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE! This ploy has the attacker turning on your outside taps full blast so that you will go out to investigate and he can attack.

I think this next one is especially cunning --- I had never considered  predators would be patient.

One day a nicely dressed man knocked on a door and when the woman answered told her he and his family were considering moving to the neighborhood and could she tell him what she thought of the schools. After she answered, he thanked her and left.

The next week, he knocked once again and asked her a couple more seemingly appropriate questions; thanked her and left.

A few days later, he appeared once again with a logical question and apologizing for bothering her.  (By then, even cautious people would be feeling quite comfortable.)  He started coughing, asked for a drink of water and . . .

Next:  Being safe on the phone and more

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What If . . . You Find Yourself in Danger while Jogging or Walking?

Before we continue with part 3 of these safety posts a reminder . . .
Some of these ideas can help you avoid a potentially bad situation while others will help you act IF you find yourself in a dangerous situation.

The following are habits that are simple to develop. Being cautious is not being paranoid. Being safe may keep you from  being sorry.

  • IT IS IMPORTANT TO ALWAYS BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS, whether alone or with someone, whether walking for exercise or pleasure, or going to and from your responsibilities or activities — EVEN IN FAMILIAR AND COMMON AREAS; EVEN IN DAYLIGHT!
Note from Gail: One summer my girl cousins and I were selling berries from our grandparents' garden, door to door in their small country town. (I was 8 or 9; they were about 12 and 13). It was dusk; the houses were spaced far apart. Suddenly we noticed a man walking briskly behind us and it didn't feel right. My cousins started running down the street. I was prompted to run to one of the houses that had lights on.  They told me he was just a crazy man who wouldn't hurt us and slammed the door.  I jumped off their porch and ran past two other houses until I saw another one with a light on. They were kind and understanding, while explaining his situation and agreeing that he probably wouldn't have hurt us --- still they understood our fear and took us home. 

  • USE EAR BUDS AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES WITH  GREAT CAUTION.  Whether you are walking or stationary, THESE CAN ALL CAUSE DANGEROUS DISTRACTIONS ---1) making you less in tune to promptings, 2) less aware of your surroundings, 3) unaware of suspicious noises and activity --- ALL MAKING YOU EASY PREY FOR A CRIMINAL.
  • IF A ROBBER ASKS FOR YOUR WALLET AND/OR PURSE, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. TOSS IT AWAY FROM YOU---Chances are that he is more interested in your money and will go for that---AND RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
  • IF THE PREDATOR HAS A GUN AND YOU ARE NOT UNDER HIS CONTROL, ALWAYS RUN! PREFERABLY IN A ZIG-ZAG PATTERN. Even when running in a straight line the chances of being hit are only about 4 in 100 times and, even then, it most likely will not be a vital organ. 
  • GO AGAINST YOUR NATURAL TENDENCIES TO BE SYMPATHETIC AND HELPFUL. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy*, the serial killer from the 1970's was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS PLAYED ON THE SYMPATHIES OF UNSUSPECTING WOMEN. He sometimes walked with a cane, or a limp, sometimes wore a fake cast, and asked “for help” into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
*Utterly unique in its astonishing intimacy, as jarringly frightening as when it first appeared, Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me defies our expectation that we would surely know if a monster lived among us, worked alongside of us, appeared as one of us. With a slow chill that intensifies with each heart-pounding page, Rule describes her dawning awareness that Ted Bundy, her sensitive coworker on a crisis hotline, was one of the most prolific serial killers in America. He would confess to killing at least thirty-six young women from coast to coast, and was eventually executed for three of those cases. ... Rule's book strikes a seamless balance between her deeply personal perspective and her role as a crime reporter on the hunt for a savage serial killer -- the brilliant and charismatic Bundy, the man she thought she knew.... (book review)

Note from Gail: We lived near one of the shopping mall's where Ted Bundy tried and failed  to abduct a teenage girl. He got away but she was able to give a description.  Our neighborhoods were in virtual self-imposed lock-down! It was very scary.

Again, being cautious is not being paranoid. Being safe may keep you from being sorry----even if you feel embarrassed or rude in the process.

IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)


Coming Soon
 Be Safe:
 At home; 
On the phone and more