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!

How to Confront a Bad Roommate

86512298

Ah, bad roommates. At some point in our lives, we will probably all have a bad roommate. It will either be our friend that we never imagined was so messy, the relative that has an unbelievable disregard for privacy or the stranger that moved in when we were completely desperate. Either way, every roommate cannot be perfect, so when things get to be too unlivable, it becomes necessary to confront the other person. Of course there is a right and a wrong way to do this, and the wrong way can make things much, much worse (if that’s even possible), so here are some tips to make this more of a friendly discussion than a confrontation:

1.) Pick the right place and time. Don’t bombard your roommate at 2:00 in the morning just as they walk in the door from an all-night study session during finals week. Instead, schedule a time in the future to talk about the issues. And don’t worry about keeping it all secretive; chances are your roommate knows you both need to talk too. A good idea is to schedule it for a time when the both of you can relax, like Friday night after you both get home from work. That’ll give you the chance to talk things through and then even go out for a beer afterward.

2.) Say what you need to say. There is no point in having this discussion if you just casually browse over your points. If you’re upset about something, you need to address it. Otherwise, they might not even know it’s a problem, will keep doing it, and this meeting will have been completely useless. If you need to make a list, do that; just so long as you find a way to say what you need to say.

3.) Listen. Every story has too sides. Maybe they never load the dishwasher because they have no idea how a dishwasher works. No matter how silly it may sound, you have no idea what their backstory may be. Allow them a chance to explain their behavior, and then don’t get defensive if they have a few problems with your behavior as well. You’re not perfect either, you know.

4.) Be ready to compromise. Living with another person means you aren’t always going to get your way. However, you both can meet in the middle, so be ready to give a little bit in one area in order to get a little in another.

5.) Plan something for after. Some talks are better ended when each person goes their separate way for a night (which is completely understandable) and some conversations are best ended when each roommate goes out for a beer and gets over the whole thing. Planning for something to do will give you a way out either way, you just have to choose whether or not to invite them after your talk.

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!

Forgotten Questions for Screening Potential Roommates

So it looks like you need a roommate. Maybe you like the idea of paying less in rent and utilities every month or maybe you’re just sick of making funny jokes every night and having no one around to laugh at them. Either way, you’ve started searching for a roommate. Luckily, you’ve probably found a few potentials.

However, even though you’ll probably ask them the basic questions (do you have pets, are you a smoker, etc.), there are a few additional questions you need to ask before you truly decide to live with this person.

1.) Do you use any drugs? Asking “Are you a smoker?” covers the basics, but it’s leaving out quite a bit of other things. Marijuana is technically a drug, and even if you’re cool with it, if your roommate admits to using it that means they’re going to be keeping some of it in your house. Marijuana is still very illegal in many states, which means if it’s in your house you are also at risk.

2.) Are you okay with my pet? You might be okay with their pet hamster, but will they be okay with your 16 pound cat that has a tendency for ripping lids off of cages? Just as they have to be forthcoming, you have to be forthcoming as well. Otherwise you could have some serious issues on move-in day.

live lavish

3.) Why did you leave your last residence? This question is essential. Of course you are going to do a background check with every applicant (you are, right?), so this question will not only let the explain themselves if something unsavory were to come up, but it will also prove whether they are honest or not in the first place. And don’t let them get away with a vague, “Oh I don’t know, I just had to leave.” You have every right to know the details. Plus, you need to be aware of badmouthing; this is just like a job interview, and badmouthing previous employers is never a good sign.

4.) What are your other expenses? This might sound nosy, but the question is absolutely necessary. Your rent may be quite low for the area, but if they’re paying thousands of dollars off in student loans and credit card debt, your measly $300 a month might be the one thing they plan on skimping on every month.

5.) How do you like to spend your free time? This should give you an idea of what kind of noise/activity level you’re going to be dealing with. If they say they love to cuddle up with a good book and a cup of tea on their days off, that’s much different than the roommate that says they like to “have a good time” on the weekends.

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!

Buying a House with Friends

Let’s face it; paying rent sucks. It’s usually just money that’s going to nothing. Plus, you really have no say over what happens at your home. You need new locks put on the doors? It’s probably going to happen whenever your landlord gets around to it. When you own your own home the both of you can determine everything that happens with it. You can install a home alarm system, you don’t have to  worry about being evicted for having your  music too loud and you don’t have to hide your cat anymore.

Nowadays, more and more friends have been pooling their money together to buy a home. You might hear the term “mingles” being used to describe them. And it seems banks are even catching onto the trend, as more and more lenders are tailoring specific loans to friends looking to make a home purchase together.

And while there are many positives to such a relationship (your rent might be exactly the same, but now you’re both building equity with those monthly payments), there are definitely some other factors that you need to consider.

1.) How well do you know your friend? If you’ve known this person since childhood and are personally aware of the fact that they have never paid a bill late in their entire lives, then that’s a pretty good sign. Keep in mind though, if you guys are planning on living together in this house, are you ready to have them as a roommate? Just because you get along well doesn’t mean you can live together. Everyone has a few little quirks that might be deal-breakers to a roommate.

2.) Discuss all finances. Your credit score and putting in for a home loan aren’t the only things you need to consider. After you own the home, how much do each of you have for an emergency fund? Do both of you have enough money saved to pay for burst pipes or a failed roof? Homeownership between two people leaves no room for financial secrecy.

3.) Have you hired the right people? It’s not only important to hire an experienced real estate agent, but also an experienced real estate attorney. Since the paperwork will be different than that of a single buyer or a married couple, it’s very, very important that every, single detail be reviewed by an attorney. This will not only force you both to review each document in detail so you are both well prepared for the commitment, but it will clear things up should anything happen that would need to be settled in the future.

4.) Have you drawn up a lease? Even though you both own the home, a lease is an absolute must should things ever go downhill later. A lease should specify cohabitation terms. People change, and you want to make sure the person you are planning on living with does not change into a terror of a roommate. Then your hands are tied. A lease will ensure a comfortable and expected living space for both of you. Don’t be too nervous though, a lease can always be changed or adjusted in the future.

5.) Have you looked into insurance? Many couples both buy insurance separately, naming the other party as the beneficiary. This way, if one of you meets an untimely death, the other won’t be left in hot water.

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!

Safety Advice from a Home Burglar

If there’s anyone you’d be wary of taking advice from, it would probably be a known criminal. Still, when it comes to home safety (especially if you’re living off campus) this is probably the best person you could possibly talk to. After all, they’re the ones looking for cracks in your home’s lockdown capabilities. So what are some things a criminal gets rather excited to see when looking for a target? Read, learn, and keep yourself safe.

1.) “I’ve probably been here before.” A crook isn’t going to waste time on a home that has little to offer on the inside. Chances are they’ve already taken a look around your place. Whether they were here last week fixing your internet, talking to you about the upcoming election or were trying to sell you a set of steak knives, they’ve found some way into your house to look around a bit. Be cautious who you let into your home, even if it seems fairly innocent. There’s nothing wrong with making someone give you their sales pitch on your front stoop instead of in your living room.

2.) “I can tell when you’ve been gone awhile.” Yes, it’s true: a pile of newspapers on your doorstep or mail falling out of your mailbox is a dead giveaway that your home is unattended. This isn’t so much of a problem if you have roommates, but if you live alone or all your roommates are gone at the same time (you’re all on a university sports team), you could be at risk. It’s also a common tactic for a potential burglar to attach a flyer in your doorway (maybe a Chinese takeout menu) to see how long it stays there. Plus, when it snows, a lack of fresh tracks leading to the door is a dead giveaway. So are those giants snow drifts in your driveway; it means you don’t even have a neighbor stopping to check up on things. Jackpot.

3.) “I always check bedside drawers, dressers and the medicine cabinet.” So forget about that stash of money you’re hiding in your sock drawer, that’ll probably be the first thing that gets found. Oh and that safe that you’re convinced no one is going to get into? If it’s not bolted down or attached to something, it’ll just be loaded up along with everything else. One piece of advice when it comes to hiding things though, crooks hardly ever look in children’s rooms. And speaking of kids…

4.) “Your kids’ belongings broadcast your wealth.”  If you’re a single parent all those toys your kids leave lying around the yard give criminals an idea of what kind of money you’re able to spend. Sure you might be a broke college student, but they don’t know that. If your kids have some serious toys out front, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume they have an expensive gaming system and their own personal laptops inside.

5.) “Sound is your friend.” A flashing television, music, or a loud dog is a perfect deterrent for a burglar. And while it’s perfectly acceptable to turn appliances off when you leave town, it’s smart to invest in a device that has the flickering glow of a television and works on a timer.

6.) “Stop broadcasting your whereabouts.” It’s incredibly easy to find your Facebook page and just wait until you post, “Heading to the airport! Cabo here we come!” It’s also easy to wait for “check-in” of “At MacKenzie River Pizza with 3 others.” Then a burglar knows there’s a pretty good chance your stuff is up for grabs.

Make sure to check out all of our dorm (or off-campus) safety equipment at http://www.secureoncampus.com!

Safety Items to Keep in Your Purse/Backpack

Now there are countless safety items that you should take with you to college. Fire extinguishers, for example, are not very expensive and are invaluable in a tight spot, but I doubt you’ll be carrying one around in your backpack all day. The same goes for your laptop safe or even a bunch of padlocks. Even if you think it’s a good idea to lock up your backpack (it is) I guarantee you’re going to choose practicality over safety in the end. And the number of times per hour combined with the exhausting weight of textbooks, you’re not going to carry anything more than you have to.

Besides the following items, that is. They weigh next to nothing and they just might save your life, so read on and stock up.

1.) Pepper spray. What, you’re a big strong man that doesn’t believe in carrying pepper spray? You’re an independent woman that has taken her fair share of self-defense classes and can take care of herself? Riiiiiight. Don’t want your friends making fun of you? Completely understandable, but still not a valid excuse. We’ve got pepper spray disguised as a black pen, perfume, lipstick and even as a tiny keychain. The fact is it’s super light, and you’ll (hopefully) never have to use it. But at least it’s there clipped on the side of your backpack or sitting at the bottom of your purse if you should ever need it.

2.) An alarm. A personal alarm costs next to nothing, and it creates a shrieking sound that will bring help immediately. In fact, alarms have been found to be almost more efficient than yelling help; people might not always come to the sound of someone yelling, but they will absolutely do something about an insanely annoying sound coming right outside their window. Put an alarm on your keychain and you’ll instantly have a way of drawing attention to yourself in a scary situation.

 

3.) A witness. What do you think is the greatest deterrent for a criminal? You might think it’s the punishment itself, but you’d be wrong. According to the most recent and valid research we could find, it’s not the severity of the punishment that criminals fear, it’s the certainty of punishment. That’s why most crimes happen in the absence of witnesses; no one wants to get caught. Enter the iWitness Smartphone Service. Not only can you film the offense taking place, but your phone also automatically calls 9-1-1 and tracks your location. Make sure you’re never alone again.

These things cost pennies on the dollar but they are incredibly helpful in keeping you safe, so what are you waiting for?!