3 Electrical Safety Tips

Ah, home electricity. It’s not the most interesting subject, but your home electrical system is part of your day to day living and if you don’t know how to safely interact with it, the results could be deadly.

Under no circumstances are we suggesting that you tackle some of your home’s electrical problems. This is the reason it takes years and years of schooling and certifications for electricians to become qualified to make adjustments to your electrical system. Of course things come up though, so we’ve gathered a few quick tips for you to keep in mind when dealing with some of the common electrical issues.

1.) Listen to your breaker. If your breaker trips and then doesn’t reset. It’s telling you there’s an electrical problem. Don’t keep trying to reset the breaker. Forcing it won’t solve the electrical problem, and it may even lead to more dangerous results. Continually trying to reset the breaker will most likely result in a house fire. If you’re luck (the term “lucky” is being used extremely loose her) you’ll at least be able to see the source of the fire, like sparks behind the sofa. Most likely though, the electrical overload will occur somewhere inside your walls and your house will begin burn from the inside out.

2.) Know when to fight and when to flee. If sparks are flying and a fire is started, you need to know what you are capable of and when you are in over your head. In any case, even if you think you have a good handle on the fire don’t let it get between you and the exit. Firefighters recommend leaving as soon as any shred of doubt enters your mind. That fear is your mind telling you you’re in a dangerous situation. Call the fire department as soon as you are safely outside.

3.) Never throw water on an electrical fire. Just as you never throw water on a grease fire, the same rule applies here. Water conducts electricity, so throwing it on the fire could either make it worse or cause injury to yourself. You’ll want to use a chemical fire extinguisher instead.

And as a side note: know how to use your fire extinguisher effectively. Use the PASS method: Pull the fire extinguisher’s safety pin, Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle and Sweep the nozzle in a side-to-side motion until the flames are out.  This is also the reason you’ll also want to make sure your fire extinguisher is always kept in a location you have quick access to. Your fire extinguisher does you no good if it’s buried under boxes in your storage unit.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Preventing Fires in Your Home

Did you know 1 person is killed every 2 hours in a house fire? It’s true! What’s even sadder is that many of these fires are completely preventable. So before you move into a new home or apartment, here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from deadly home fires:

1.) Check your smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are your number one defense against a starting fire, so it’s essential that you not only have an adequate amount, but also that they’re in working order and placed in the right locations. Smoke rises, so your smoke alarms should be place in in high rise locations like your ceiling or high on walls. Smoke alarms mounted on ceilings should be at least four inches away from the nearest wall and smoke alarms mounted on walls should be between four and twelve inches away from the ceiling. Make sure each alarm has fresh batteries and can be heard from every room in the house. Smoke alarms that are over 10 years old or have been painted over should be replaced.

2.) Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Throwing water on a fire isn’t going to do much good when it really gets going, but a fire extinguisher might still be useful in this situation. The good news is that fire extinguishers are relatively cheap (around $30 dollars for a small one). Make sure the extinguisher is in proper working order (meaning the gauge should be checked to see if it needs to be replaced or recharged) and that it is in an easily accessible location. A fire extinguisher isn’t going to do you any good if you have to rummage through storage boxes in the garage to find it. It’s also important that everyone in the household knows how to work the fire extinguisher as well.

3.) Don’t overload sockets and power strips. With all the electronic devices in today’s world, it’s easier to overload a socket and not even know it. The television, DVD player, stereo equipment, video game console, computer, lamps and many other things will often be plugged into a single power strip. For newer homes, this may be acceptable, but in an older home it may be necessary to have a professional install a new outlet nearby.

4.) Watch your open flames. Candles are often outlawed in dorms, and for very good reason: an open flame can literally catch anything on fire! But if candles are allowed in your home, make sure they’re kept away from anything that could catch. Even curtains can be blown about when someone enters a room or a breeze comes in through a window. Pets and small children can also knock over a candle on accident.

5.) Use common sense. It may sound easy, but many people have fallen victim to this line of thinking. I’ve even come close to burning the house down when a blanket that was resting on the back of the couch feel off and landed on a heater while I was in the shower. I came out to a smoky living room and a severely scorched blanket. So keep your lamps and heaters free of debris, you never know what could catch!

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Renter Safety Issues Solved

Renting a home is one thing, but being a renter with a few of the issues listed below is just plain dangerous. Hopefully, if any of these things happen to you it will be nothing more than a mere headache, but just in case things get a little heavier than anticipated, here are a few ways to get yourselves out of the following situations:

1.) Unwanted guests. Far and away one of the worst parts about renting: the random people you have to deal with. If you have a roommate, that means at some point their brother, good friend from high school, old sorority sister or even “this really, totally awesome guy I just met at the bar last night” all have a free pass to your home. And if you don’t have roommates, you’re still going to have to deal with the occasional surprise home inspection (read your lease, it’s in there) or even an additional roommate if your landlord decides he needs an extra room for his uncle that was just released from rehab. I’m making it worse than it sounds, but you get the point.

So how do you protect yourself? Well first of all, make sure the important things are kept somewhere secure. That means anything you’d rather not be messed with (like your collection of old vinyl records) needs to be kept in your bedroom. Then keep it locked up. Door locks, safes, and padlocks can work wonders when dealing with random house guests.

2.) Sketchy appliances. Of course the first thing you should do whenever any appliance breaks is to notify your landlord. Most states have a “duty of repair” which requires them to keep certain appliances (like those used for heating, cooling, electrical, plumbing and sanitary, just to name a few). Keep a record that you reported the problem in writing, and make sure it’s dated as well. You don’t want to be stuck with the bill if you need to move out three months later and the refrigerator still hasn’t been fixed.

The main issue though, is to get the item fixed as soon as possible. A broken stove could result in a more dangerous situation, such as a gas leak. After a reasonable time frame (usually two weeks), you can take your complaint to local housing officials if your landlord hasn’t attempted to make any progress. You can also contact your landlord to tell them you will be hiring a professional to fix the damaged item and you will be keeping the receipt for reimbursement.

3.) A negligent landlord. Or, the problem is your landlord him – (or her) – self. Maybe they aren’t keeping up on any of their required duties, such as putting a new lock on your door, fixing the broken step on the front stoop or replacing the missing handrail on the fire escape. If this is the case, move! These things all directly affect your individual safety, and you deserve better!

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Ways to Fight Winter Gloom

Now I may just call it “winter gloom” but let’s be honest; what I’m really talking about here is a little thing called seasonal affective disorder. You may even have it yourself and not even know it! How would you know?

Do you find yourself feeling a little depressed during the cold, winter months? What about when you happen to live somewhere that’s rainy all the time, like London or Seattle? It might seem silly, but it’s a real thing; some people just need more sun than others.

No really, I’m not even kidding! Seasonal affective disorder is a change of mood that’s brought on by decreasing amounts of daylight. That means short winter days are all it takes to trigger an episode. And if you’re already prone to having depressing thoughts, or already struggle with anxiety, a couple months of short, gray days (combined with the stress of final exams) can push you right over the edge. So how do you keep your head above water?

1.) Get out in the daylight while you can. SAD is caused by a lack of daylight, so when there is available daylight, get out there! Go for a walk, a drive, or just go sit in the park. Take a friend with you or go by yourself. Personally, I love going for a long drive; it’s the perfect way to clear your head!

2.) When indoors, position yourself near windows. Need to head to the library to do study for finals? Don’t bury yourself on the basement level, go up a floor or two and find a quiet study spot next to a window. You can even rearrange your dorm room to have your bed closer to your window so when you wake up in the morning the first thing you see is a little daylight.

3.) Exercise! Exercising releases natural endorphins that help you feel instantly happier. And all you really need is 30 minutes a day; plus you can always combine it with something outside.

Freezing temperatures make it so you’d rather stay indoors? No problem! Head to the gym (a school gym membership should be included in your tuition fees) and try and get a treadmill facing a window. Or just blast some of your favorite music in your dorm room and have a personal dance party for one. It still counts as exercise!

4.) Trick yourself. Surrounding yourself with pictures of the ocean or home during the summer time may sound like a futile attempt to make yourself feel better, but it really does work. After all, when you’re feeling homesick would you rather sit in a blank room, or one covered in pictures of friends and family? There’s a reason college kids line their walls with photos; it makes them feel better! Do the same with this: put calendar pictures of summer days in between your photos. It’ll be a wall of inspiration.

5.) Make a fun change. Changing it up in the drab of winter can bring a little excitement into your life. It doesn’t have to be crazy; just get a new haircut or try out a new bakery in town. A little bit goes a long way!

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spray, safes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lighting, fun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Keeping Important Documents Safe During a Mishap

When you think of winter you probably think of snow angels, hot chocolate and Christmas break. However, winter is also well-known for other things, like icy roads, freezing temperatures and burst pipes. Plus, the holiday season makes it notoriously difficult to get ahold of people that need to fix your burst pipes or broken windows during the winter.

Now here’s the tough part: how do you make sure your important documents are safe no matter what? Sure, you’d like to think that nothing is going to happen, but if a pipe bursts in your dorm bathroom while you’re home visiting your parents how do you know everything is safe when water starts to fill the room? And how do you know everything is safe when workers come in to repair everything?

Well first of all, you need to identify all your important paperwork. There are a lot of things you may not think of as important, but if someone else got their hands on them they could sure do a lot of damage. Here is a quick list of things you should gather up:

            – Bank account information

– Student account information (pin numbers, id cards, etc.)

– Credit card information

– Medical and immunization records

– Insurance policies and information (including student health and car insurance)

– Any tax/investment information (including financial aid items)

– Birth/Marriage certificates

– Auto registration

– Citizenship papers and passports

– Social security card

– Contact information for important people

Now granted you are probably not going to have some of things anyway (who the hell has a copy of their immunization records?), but if you do have these papers gather them up in the same group.

Step 2 is to make sure all your important documents are gathered and kept in a secure location. Many of our dorm safes, for example, are waterproof, fireproof, and even come with double steel walls and cables capable of handling up to 650 pounds of pressure. That means they are incredibly difficult to steel or break into, and in case of a natural disaster they’ll stay sealed, keeping everything inside protected.

Of course your best bet would be to have two locations with copies of the information, in case something happens in one location that makes it impossible to access this paperwork. One safe could be in your dorm, another could be at your parents’ house. That would sure make things easier when they are filling out school related forms.

In addition, it might also be a good idea to keep computer files in your dorm safe too. Think of that 40 page senior thesis you’ve been working on…would you have a backup if your computer got stolen? What if a fire ripped through your dorm room, destroying your computer and your backup you had on your USB? Copy your report on a USB and put it in your safe. That way, even if you emailed it to yourself (trust me, I’ve been there when it won’t download correctly) you’re still in good hands.

For more dorm safety equipment don’t forget to check out our website at www.secureoncampus.com!

Bullying: It’s Not Just for Grade School Anymore

Now you may be laughing to yourself right now, after all I am doing an entire post on bullying…in college. But it’s more of an issue than you might think. Actually, it might be right up your alley. Turns out bullying in college (or the workplace, or the home, or anywhere, as a matter of fact) is just as common as bullying in grade school or high school. Where there is something somebody wants, there is usually a bully lurking in the corner.

So what exactly does a bully look like in college? Well, the same as it looks anywhere else. Some are outgoing and aggressive, and may even use force to get what they want. Others are smooth-talking and manipulating (Sound familiar? Like your ex-roommate, perhaps?) and relish the simple joys of making you do things you don’t want to do. So how do you get the monkey off your back? Read on.

1.) Walk away. Yes, I know that it sounds simple, and at times it may seem that walking away would only instigate things and make them worse, but it’s quite the contrary. Bullies aren’t angry at you to begin with, they simply want a reaction. Take away their reaction and they’ll quickly lose interest.

2.) Tell someone. Just as the same is true for a child in 2nd grade, the same is true of a 21 year old college student and a 35 year old office employee. Bullies operate in secret. Bringing their behavior to the forefront makes it clear to them that they are not, in fact, invisible and what they are doing is not acceptable.

3.) Have a support system. It’s very common for someone not to be able to stand up to their bully, but it’s much easier to do when they’re with a large group of friends. First of all, your friends usually recognize when you’re uncomfortable with something and will often stick up for you if you can’t find the words. Second of all, a bully doesn’t want to take on a group of people, they’d rather deal with you one-on-one.

4.) Protect yourself. When worst comes to worst, you need to be able to protect yourself. That means having the campus security on speed dial as well as having an array of personal safety items on you at all times. These could range from pepper spray to a personal alarm to the iWitness iPhone app. All of these are great ways to make a bully stand down before anything gets out of control. And if you ever feel you might need to use one of these items, you sure as hell had better be reporting the issue to campus security ASAP.

And don’t forget to check out our store (www.secureoncampus.com) for even more personal safety items, like dorm safes, laptop locks and even personal emergency kits. You can never be too careful!

When You DO Need to Get Involved

There are times and situations when you just need to keep to yourself and not get involved. However, there are also other circumstances that make it necessary for you to stop whatever you’re doing and help out. These are some of these times:

1.) When someone is in danger. Now let me be very clear here, this does not mean that it’s appropriate to put yourself in danger, it just means that something needs to be done. If your friend is in a violent and dangerous relationship, for example, it’s not recommended that you march over to their house and give their significant other a taste of their own medicine (as much as we all would probably love to do that). Instead, you need to have a serious talk with your friend about what is happening behind closed doors. Naturally, this can be an incredibly difficult thing to talk about, so don’t pressure them for information. Simply let them know that you are there for them and then keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.

2.) Someone can’t take care of themselves. Let’s say you’re walking down the street and you see someone so drunk they’re stumbling in and out of traffic. Now of course it’s not your job to go get them, prop them up, take them home and nurse them back to health, but it is your job (as it is everyone’s job) to do something. Simply calling the cops and explaining the situation (you can even do it anonymously) is enough.

3.) When you’re unsure. This one can be debated, but I’d rather fall back on the “it’s better to be safe than sorry” mantra. For example, a few years ago there was an older woman who lived a few houses up from me. I knew her because my cat often went missing, and I always ended up knocking on her door asking if she’d seen him. One day, while out for a run, I noticed a man in his mid-40’s forcing himself into the house. I went and knocked on the door and no one answered, but I heard someone moving around inside. I called the cops and soon they were there talking to the man. Apparently she was out of town and this was her son, and she had forgotten to leave a key so he could get into her house. When she came back into town (and her son had left) she came over and thanked me for checking on her. Moral of the story: she was perfectly fine, but under different circumstances her life could’ve been in serious danger, and she truly appreciated that at least someone was looking out for her.

4.) When you’re the only one that knows anything. Many bad deeds happen in secret and behind closed doors and if no one knows what is going on things will continue the way they are. If you witness something that is wrong (a professor being inappropriate, a roommate blackmailing another roommate, etc.) speak up! Failing to do so does not keep you on the side of neutrality, it puts you on the side of the offender.

And once again, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com for plenty of personal safety equipment like pepper spray, personal alarms, dorm room safes and more!

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