Senior Track

Safety Tips

Keep an Eye on Your License Plates

A woman said her son found his license plate missing so he called the police to file a report. They told him people were stealing the plates to get free gas. Given the rise in gas prices, people have taken to stealing license plates, putting them on their car, then getting gas and running. The gas station will have "your" license plate # and you could be in trouble for "pump and run." Check your car periodically to be sure you still have a plate. If you should find it missing, file a report immediately!!! Keep an eye on your license plate! Make sure you always know it's there! When the license plate is reported as the "drive off vehicle".  it's YOU they contact! Be aware!!!!  Be aware of your license plates, most of us never look to see if the plates are there or not. 

90# on Your Telephone

An operator confirmed that this was correct so please pass it on. Check out This is true and also applies to cell phones.  PASS ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW! The author of this article is unknown.

I received a telephone call last evening from an individual; identifying himself as an AT&T Service Technician (could also be Telus) who was conducting a test on the telephone lines. He stated that to complete the test, I should touch nine (9), zero (0), the pound sign (#) and then hang up. Luckily, I was suspicious and refused.

Upon contacting the telephone company, I was informed that by pushing 90#, you give the requesting individual full access to your telephone line, which enables them to place long distance calls billed to your home phone number.

I was further informed that this scam has been originating from many local prisons/jails. The GTE Security Department requested that I share this information to everyone I know. After checking with Verizon, they also said it was true. Do NOT press 90# for ANYONE!

Cell Phone Information

The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile; network and there is an emergency, dial 112
and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you and interestingly this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.


Have you locked your keys in the car?
Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you.
Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk). Editor's Note: Tried this today and it works great!

Hidden Battery Power
Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# Your cell will restart with this reserve and the indicator will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get recharged when you charge your cell next time. Put this number in your address book and label it Reserve Power.

How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?
To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 #     A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.
When your phone get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

Free Directory Service for Cells
Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem.

When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE 411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.


Ten Tips For A Safe Hospital Stay
by Laura Nathanson, MD, FAAP
Author of What You Don't Know Can Kill You

We’re going through a sticky patch in hospital care. Patients and their loved ones often feel that there are too many doctors (and you rarely see the same one twice) and too few nurses (and it’s hard to get their attention). Worse: it’s hard to figure out just who is in charge -- or whether anyone is. Here’s why:

·         Too many doctors: 
Many hospitals are Teaching Hospitals. That means that medical students, young MD’s not yet licensed to practice, (Residents), and practicing doctors who are earning a Subspecialty degree (Fellows) all contribute to patient care. And all of them work under the supervision of a fully qualified Specialist or Subspecialist. Many patients have complicated conditions and a resulting profusion of doctors in various stages of training.

All these doctors may appear at your bedside, individually or en masse. They rotate in shifts that are shorter than they used to be; your daytime doctor is unlikely to be your nighttime doctor. And they change crews as often as week to week.

·         Nobody in charge: 
If you have only two doctors, they need to communicate only with you and with each other. If you have three doctors, there are six crosspaths for communication. If you have six doctors, there are potentially 720 types of doctor-doctor communication. Nobody checks that every such communication takes place and is accurate.

Medical specialists often vie with each other for decision-making power. Who decides if the lung abscess needs antibiotics, or surgical drainage? The lung doctors, the surgeons, or the infectious disease specialist?

Just to top it off, many hospitals now employ their own Hospitalists -- physicians who are charged with being the final decision maker at the patient’s overpopulated bedside, able to overrule a Specialist’s and or a Primary Care Doctor’s recommendations.

·         Too few nurses:
We are coping as a nation with a severe nursing shortage. Even if lots more people were eager to become nurses, there are fewer and fewer expert Registered Nurses around willing and able to teach them.

So nurses may not only be few and far between, but exhausted by longer shifts, higher patient loads, the paperwork demanded by Managed Care and the Joint Commission, (a private, non-profit watchdog for hospital standards,) and the rapid development of new skills for them to master.

What can be done?

The fall out from these developments can be serious: errors and delay in diagnosis, dangerous glitches with medication and care techniques, and oversights in ordinary patient safety.

Here are my suggestions for staying safe in the hospital:

1. Ensure that a competent adult stays at the patient’s bedside, and goes along on trips requiring wheelchair or gurney, as close to 24/7 as possible.

2. That adult should serve as a Sentinel, alert to obvious deviations in care (food being given to a patient who is supposed to have nothing by mouth, for instance); ominous changes in the patient’s condition unnoticed by the staff (increased trouble breathing, poor color, incoherence); and situations that are dangerous, such as an unconscious patient who is vomiting and in danger of aspirating the vomitus.

3. The Sentinel should be prepared to perform tasks that free up the nurse for more sophisticated patient care. Offer to empty basins and bedpans, sponge-bathe the patient, tidy the bed, know where vomit basins, bedpans, towels etc. are located, and how to help the patient put on a hospital gown. The Sentinel also may have to call for, or even administer, emergency treatment, such as suctioning the vomiting patient.

4. Ask every caregiver not only their name, but their exact title. If you don’t know what the title means (“I’m a first year fellow in Invasive Radiology,” for instance) then ask (“What is a Fellow? What is Invasive Radiology?”).

5. Ask for the training credentials of the Hospitalist. “Hospitalism” is not a specialty in itself; there are no required credentials, no Board Certification in Hospitalism. Your Hospitalist should be a Board Certified Specialist in the kind of condition the patient has. If not, or if you’re not sure, call your own Primary Care Physician.

6. Every student, resident, and fellow works under the supervision of a senior, board-certified physician. Ask each one who their supervisor is and the nature of his or her credentials. If a surgeon-in-training appears at the bedside to perform a procedure, make sure that the senior surgeon knows about it and agrees to it beforehand (unless it is a truly urgent situation.)

7. The potentially most dangerous area of the hospital is the MRI suite. It contains an extremely powerful magnet that acts on every magnetizable object in the room. Metal devices or fragments inside the body can shift and damage tissue. Loose objects in the room, such as an oxygen tank, will “home in” on the magnet at great speed, regardless of what is in the way -- such as your head. Make sure your technician has checked on all possible dangers. There are no “national” guidelines for MRI safety.

8. Every study or lab test performed is ordered to answer a specific medical question. For instance, Is the bone broken? Is the pneumonia improving? Has the heart suffered damage? If you don’t know why a test has been ordered, clarify it and write it down. Once the test is performed, make sure that the physician who “read” the results actually answers the question.

9. Wear a shrill whistle on a chain around your neck, hidden under your top, to use ONLY in the case of a true desperate emergency.

10. As soon as possible after discharge, obtain and review the records of the stay with an eye towards accuracy, logic, and the credentials of the physicians. Make sure the reports of studies answer the medical question that was asked, and that the reports of students and doctors in training have been annotated and co-signed by the supervisor.

If this all sounds daunting, well, it is. But after thirty years as a physician, and sixty-seven days and nights with my husband in four different hospitals, I can’t honestly offer less intimidating guidance.

It is likely to be decades before we get medical care under better control, and in the meantime it is up to us, the Sentinels of our loved ones, to become the crucial missing member of the Health Care Team: that is, the person ultimately in charge.

Copyright © 2009 Laura Nathanson

Dr. Laura Nathanson
is the author of What You Don't Know Can Kill You (Published by Collins; May 2007; $15.95US/$19.95CAN; 978-0-06-114582-7) and The Portable Pediatrician, as well as several other books. She has practiced pediatrics for more than thirty years, is board certified in pediatrics and peri-neonatology, and has been consistently listed in The Best Doctors in America.

For more information, please visit

Good Information! Women & Heart Attacks - Something all women need to be aware of..  Author Unknown

We all need to remember that women's heart attacks and men's are different. I got this from a friend and wanted to share. When you're done reading this, be sure to do the same.

I've meant to send this to my women friends to warn them that it's true that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing a heart know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. I had a completely unexpected heart attack at about 10:30 pm with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might've brought it on.

I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, "A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up." A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you've been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you've swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation---the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After that had seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hindsight, it was probably my aorta spasming), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR). This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws.

AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening--we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't we?

I said aloud to myself and the cat, "Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!" I lowered the foot rest, dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself "If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else.......but, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment." I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics... I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to unbolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

I then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the Cardiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like "Have you taken any medications?") but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the Paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St. Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was all ready to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints.

Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand...

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body..not the usual men's symptoms, but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act ). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one, and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn" preparation, and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they wake up....which doesn't happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a "false alarm" visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said "Call the Paramedics". Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

    Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER--you're a hazard to others on the road!

Do NOT call your doctor--he doesn't know where you live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.

3. Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure.) MI's are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there.

Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive...

A cardiologist says if everyone who reads it shares it with 10 people, you can be sure that we'll save at least one life.


Through the Eyes of a Rapist

This is important information for females of ALL ages. Please pass it along.

A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

1) The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

2) The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who's clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around specifically to cut clothing.

3) They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

4) Men are most likely to attack & rape in the early morning, between 5:00a.m. and 8:30a.m.

5) The number one place women are abducted from/attacked is grocery store parking lots. Number two is office parking lots/garages. Number three is public restrooms.

6) The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to another location where they don't have to worry about getting caught.

7) Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years.

8) If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn't worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9) These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.

Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you're not worth it.

10) Several defense mechanisms he taught us are: If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk: "I can't believe it is so cold out here", "we're in for a bad winter." Now you've seen their face and could identify them in a line-up; you lose appeal as a target.

11) If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell STOP or STAY BACK! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they'd leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

12) If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yell I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

13) If someone grabs you, you can't beat them with strength but you can by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm (between the elbow and armpit) OR in the upper inner thigh VERY VERY HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands - the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it hurts.

14) After the initial hit, always GO for the GROIN. If you slap a guy's parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you'll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble and he's out of there.

15) When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

16) Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don't dismiss it, go with your instincts!!! You may feel a little silly at the time, but you'd feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.



Good Safety Idea

Always place your car keys next to your bed at night.  If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, press the alarm key for your car.  The alarm will be set off and the horn will continue to sound until you turn it off or the car battery dies.

Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break in your house, odds are the burglar or rapist won't stick around.... after a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there..... this is something that should really be shared with everyone.

This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator.


Crooks and Gift Cards

Crooks have found a way to rob you of your gift card balance. If you buy gift cards from a display rack that has various store cards, you or your gift recipient may become a victim of theft.  Crooks are now jotting down the card numbers in the store and then waiting a few days to call to see how much of a balance THEY have left on the card. Once they find the card is "activated", they go online and start shopping. You may want to purchase your card from a customer service person, where they do not have the gift cards viewable to the public. You can prevent this theft from happening to a friend or member of your family. Please share this with all your loved ones...

Recognizing a Stroke

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke, totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and getting to the patient within 3 hours which is tough.

Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps. Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

1. *Ask the individual to SMILE.

2. *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

3. *Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. . . It is sunny out today) If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.

Car Theft Scheme

I received this in an email. I don't know if it's true or not but it could be. Nonetheless, it does off a tip which you may not have given thought.

Here's the Scenario:

You walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. You lock your doors, start the engine and shift into reverse. You look into the rearview mirror to back out of your parking space and notice a piece of paper stuck to the the middle of the rear window. You shift into PARK, unlock your doors, get out of the car and walk to the rear to remove the paper (or whatever it is) that is obstructing your view. When you reach the back of your car, car-jackers appear out of nowhere, jump into your car and take off! Your engine was running and they practically mow you down as they speed off. Guess what ladies and gents? I'll bet your purse and/or other valuables were still in the car...Your child could also be in the car!

This is a new car-jack scheme that is now being used....very successfully.

What to do: Just drive away and remove the object that's stuck to your window - later.  This is especially important for women - their purses contain all of their identification and you certainly do not want someone getting your home address, because - guess what - they already HAVE your keys!

Credited to: Tony Bartolome, Bureau of Investigations, California Highway Patrol

Hotel Keys

You know how when you check out of a hotel that uses the credit-card-type room key, the clerk often will ask if you have your key(s) to turn in...or there is a box or slot on the Reception  counter in which to put them? It's good for the hotel because they save money by re-using those cards. But, it's not good for you, as revealed below.

From the California Bureau of Investigation:

"Southern California law enforcement professionals assigned to detect new threats to personal security issues, recently discovered what type of information is embedded in the credit card type hotel room keys used throughout the industry. Although room keys differ from hotel to hotel, a key obtained from a well known hotel chain that was being used for a regional Identity Theft  Presentation was found to contain the following the information:

 a. Customers (your) name
 b. Customers partial home address
 c. Hotel room number
 d. Check in date and check out date e.. Customer's (your) credit
card number and expiration date!

When you turn them in to the front desk your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner.  An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense.

Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an employee re-issues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new guest's information is electronically "overwritten" on the card and the previous guest's information is erased in the overwriting process.  But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!!!! 

The bottom line is: Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy them. NEVER leave them behind in the room or in the room wastebasket and NEVER turn them in to the front desk when you check out of a room. They will not charge you for the card (it's  illegal) and you'll be sure you are not leaving a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off with any simple scanning device card reader. For the same reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still have the card key in your pocket, do not toss it into an airport trash basket. Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic information strip!

Information courtesy of:
 Pasadena Police Department


Safer Cooking Tips

Follow these tips to protect you and your family when in the kitchen. Whether stirring up a quick dinner or creating a masterpiece four-course meal, here's a recipe for safer cooking you need to use daily.

*To Prevent A Cooking Fire in Your Kitchen*

  • Keep an eye on your cooking an stay in the kitchen. Unattended cooking is the #1 cause of cooking fires.

  • Wear short or close-fitting sleeves. Loose clothing can catch fire.

  • Watch children closely. When old enough, teach children to cook safely.

  • Clean cooking surfaces to prevent food and grease build-up.

  • Keep curtains, towels and pot holders away from hot surfaces and store solvents and flammable cleaner away from heat sources.  Never keep gasoline in the house.

  • Turn pan handles inward to prevent food spills

*To Put Out a Cooking Fire in Your Kitchen*

  • Call the FIRE DEPARTMENT immediately. In many cases, dialing 911 will give you Emergency Services.

  • Slide a pan lid over flames to smother a grease or oil fire, then turn off the heat and leave the lid in place until the pan cools. Never carry the pan outside.

  • Extinguish other food fires with baking soda. Never use water or flour on cooking fires.

  • Keep the oven door shut and turn off the heat to smother an oven or broiler fire.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Make sure you have the right type and training to use it properly.

  • Keep a working smoke detector in your home and test it monthly.

Keep Your Pets Safe During Winter

  • Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed

  • During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the
    motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Before starting the engine, bang loudly on the car hood to give the cat a chance to escape.

  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm--dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure they always wear I.D. tags.

  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other chemicals while licking his paws and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

  • Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck that covers the dog from the base of the tail on top to the belly underneath. While this may seem like a luxury, it is a necessity for many dogs.

  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. The animal can freeze to death. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.

  • Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If necessary, paper train your puppy inside if he appears to be sensitive to the weather.

  • If your dog spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep his fur thick and healthy.

  • Antifreeze, even in very tiny doses is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Unfortunately, because of its sweet taste, animals are attracted to it. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. To prevent accidental poisoning; more and more people are using animal friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather than traditional products containing ethylene glycol. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4ANI-HELP) if you suspect your animal has been poisoned

  • During the winter time dogs and cats need just as much water as during the summertime.  Make sure water bowls are not frozen over and never assume they can get their water needs met by eating snow.

Please remember your pets count on you for their safety in emergency situations.  They cannot fend for themselves.  Treat them as you would any other member of your family.  Here are a few valuable tips from ASPCA.

Emergency Pet Preparedness by the ASPCA

Hurricanes, wildfires, flood...if disaster strikes, are you prepared to protect your pets?  A few simple steps can help ensure you won't be caught off guard.

  Display a Rescue Alert Sticker - A personalized sticker on your front door alerts rescue worker to the type and number of pets indoors. For a free sticker, visit the ASPCA website at

  Arrange a Safe Haven - Should you need to evacuate, have a list of reputable boarding kennels, shelters or local hotels that accept pets or arrange ahead to bring your pets to a friend's home. Red Cross disaster shelters will not accept pets.

   Prepare an Emergency Travel Kit - Store an emergency kit and leashed near your home's exit. Include a pet first-aid kit; a two week supply of pet food, water,  pet medications, food dished, disposable litter trays and photos of your pets (in case your pet is lost and you need to make posters). A flashlight, blanket (handy for scooping up fearful pets) and a carrier or traveling case are also helpful.

   Choose a Designated Caregiver - Give a set of house keys ahead of time to a trusted friend or neighbor in case you're unable to return home to your pets. Arrange for a temporary or long-term foster home in case you cannot care for your pets.

   Prepare Your Pets - Collars and tags with up-to-date contact information are essential for all pets. Bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Should your animal become lost, know where your local shelters and rescue organizations are located and start looking for a missing pet as soon as possible.

   Prepare Your Home:

  • For high winds: Utility rooms, bathrooms and basements offer safe havens clear of such hazards as windows or flying debris.

  • For loss of electricity: Fill up bathtubs and sinks with fresh water ahead of time.

  • For flooding: Select the highest room in you home that has a counter or shelves where your pet can take shelter.

For more information, to make donations or to report animal cruelty visit the ASPCA Web site at

Tips from the US Forest Service & Leave No Trace for Safe & Low-Impact Campfires

  • Camp in areas where wood is abundant. Go without a fire if there is little wood at higher elevations, in heavily used areas or desert settings.

  • Don't build your fire under overhanging branches.

  • If there is a fire ring, use it. Keep your fire small and burn it only while you are using it. Allow the wood to burn to ash. Put out the fire with water, not dirt. Don't build fires next to rocks, where black scars will remain for years.

  • Clean combustible debris from around the fire ring

  • If there isn't a fire ring, consider a mound fire (directions at the end). A fire pan will also work; Use a metal oil drain pan or backyard barbecue grill that has sides at least three inches high. Elevate the fire on rocks or on mineral soil so the ground isn't scorched.

  • Collect small pieces of wood no larger than the diameter of your wrist. Pick them up over a wide area away from camp. Leave standing wood, dead or alive, intact so it can provide habitat for birds and insects. Fallen trees increase the water-holding capacity of the soil and recycle nutrients back into the environment when they decompose. Avoid using hatchets or saws or breaking branches off standing or downed trees.

  • Keep wood and other fuel sources away from the fire.

  • Burn all the wood to white ash, soak with water and scatter the remains over a large area away from camp. In river corridors, pack out aches. Replace the soil you used in your mound fire and scatter unused wood.

  • Pack out campfire litter, including plastic items, glass and foil-line wrappers that should never be burned in a campfire.

  • Provide adequate supervision for children

  • Never leave your fire unattended

Building a Mound Fire

  1. You'll need a garden trowel or other digging tool and a ground cloth or plastic garbage bag.

  2. Collect mineral soil, sand or gravel from an area already disturbed (a hole left by a toppled tree, for example)

  3. Lay a ground cloth on your fire site and form the soil into a round, flat-topped mound that is at least 6 inches thick and larger than your intended fire (to allow for spreading of coals). The thickness is important because it insulates the ground from the fire's heat. The ground cloth makes it easier to clean up.

Be On Your Guard - A New Identity Theft Scam Almost On One Knows About

Identity theft scammers, pretending to work for local courts, are calling potential victims with the news that they have failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for their arrest. They then ask victims for personal confidential information, including Social Security numbers, birth dates and credit card numbers for verification purposes. This is exactly the information scammers need to commit identity theft.

The jury duty scam is very new and has already been reported in nine states: Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.

In reality, court workers do not call potential jurors and ask for their social security numbers, credit card numbers and other personal information. Most courts use Postal mail exclusively for jury matters.

"Whereas it's easy to avoid many scams by simply using common knowledge, it makes it much easier to protect yourself if you know about the other scams in advance," said Dr. Audri G. Lanford, co-editor of Internet ScamBusters.

Warning for all the ladies out there; and men please inform your significant other.

The Latest Scam:

Robbing Females using the bathroom at a Shopping Mall. The way the scam works is, a man slips into a women's restroom and sneaks into a stall. He waits until there is only one woman in the restroom in a neighboring stall.

The criminal then stands on the toilet and points a hand gun into the next stall, demanding the woman's valuables. After getting her cash and jewelry, he demands that she remove all of her clothing and kick them out of the stall. The thief tosses the clothing into a shopping bag, hangs an out of order sign on the restroom door and slips back into the mall. The out of order sign ensures no one will soon come to the woman's rescue. It usually takes an hour or two for the woman to work up the nerve to leave the restroom in the nude, giving the criminal ample time to make his get away. The woman is left naked and humiliated in a mall full of strangers.

The best defense, say police, is to never go into a shopping mall restroom alone, as only women who are by themselves are targeted.

This has so far been a nearly perfect crime, as none of the perpetrators have been caught.

Don't let this happen to another woman.


Here's a very worthwhile email I received:


I learned from my children's karate classes that the elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

Last night I attended a personal safety workshop and it jolted me. It was given by an amazing man, Pat Malone, who has been a body guard for famous figures like Farrah Fawcett and Sylvester Stallone. He works for the FBI and teaches police officers and Navy SEALS hand-to-hand combat.

This man has seen it all and knows a lot. He focused his teachings to us on HOW TO AVOID BEING THE VICTIM OF A VIOLENT CRIME. He gave us some statistics about how much the occurrences of random violence have escalated over the recent years and it's terrible. Something like 99% of us will be exposed to or become a victim of a violent crime.

Here are some of the most important points that I got out of his presentation:

(1.) The three reasons women are easy targets for random acts of violence are:

(a.) Lack of Awareness You MUST know where you are & what's going on around you.

(b.) Body Language Keep your head up, swing your arms, stand straight up.

(c.) Wrong Place, Wrong Time DON'T walk alone in an alley, or drive in a bad neighborhood at night.

(2.) Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc. and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.). DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in the passenger side, put a gun to your head and tell you where to go.


(a.) A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage: Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor and in the back seat.

(b.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

(c.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.

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

(3.) ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot).

4) If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN!

(a.) The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN!

(5.) As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed.

(a.) Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

(b.) Pat Malone told us the story of his daughter, who came out of the mall and was walking to her car when she noticed 2 older ladies in front of her. Then she saw a police car come towards her with cops who said hello. She also noticed that all 8 handicap spots in the area were empty. As she neared her car she saw a man a few rows over calling to her for help. He wanted her to close his passenger side door. He was sitting in the back on the driver's side and said he was handicapped. He continued calling, until she turned and headed back to the mall and then he began cursing at her. In the meantime, she wondered why he didn't ask the 2 older ladies, or the policeman for help and why he was not parked in any of the empty handicap spots. As she got back to the mall, two male friends of hers were exiting and as she told them the story and turned to point at the car, the man was getting out of the back seat into the front and the car sped away.


Part Two...

About a month ago there was a woman standing by the mall entrance passing out flyers to all the women going in. The woman had written the flyer herself to tell about an experience she had, so that she might warn other women.

The previous day, this woman had finished shopping, went out to her car and discovered that she had a flat. She got the jack out of the trunk and began to change the flat. A nice man dressed in business suit and carrying a briefcase walked up to her and said, "I noticed you're changing a flat tire. Would you like me to take care of it for you?" The woman was grateful for his offer and accepted his help.

They chatted amiably while the man changed the flat and then put the flat tire and the jack in the trunk, shut it and dusted his hands off. The woman thanked him profusely and as she was about to get in her car, the man told her that he left his car around on the other side of the mall and asked if she would mind giving him a lift to his car. 

She was a little surprised and she asked him why his car was on other side. He explained that he had seen an old friend in the mall that he hadn't seen for some time and they had a bite to eat and visited for a while; he got turned around in the mall and left through the wrong exit and now he was running late and his car was clear around on the other side of the mall. 

The woman hated to tell him "no" because he had just rescued her from having to change her flat tire all by herself, but she felt uneasy. Then she remembered seeing the man put his briefcase in her trunk before shutting it and before he asked her for a ride to his car. She told him that she'd be happy to drive him around to his car, but she just remembered one last thing she needed to buy. She said she would only be a few minutes; he could sit down in her car and wait for her; she would be as quick as she could be. 

She hurried into the mall and told a security guard what had happened; the guard came out to her car with her, but the man had left. They opened the trunk, took out his locked briefcase and took it down to the police station. 

The police opened it (ostensibly to look for ID so they could return it to the man).

What they found was rope, duct tape and knives. When the police checked her "flat" tire, there was nothing wrong with it; the air had simply been let out. It was obvious what the man's intention was and obvious that he had carefully thought it out in advance. The woman was blessed to have escaped harm. How much worse it would have been if she had children with her and had them wait in the car while the man fixed the tire, or if she had a baby strapped into a car seat. Or if she'd gone against her judgment and given him a lift. 

world we live in has a lot of crazies in it....better safe than sorry.


Pass this along to every woman you have access to. Never let your guard down.

Some Home Safety Tips

  • Never tuck an electric blanket in on the sides. It may overheat and start a fire.

  • Never flush insecticides down a drain or toilet.

  • Never smoke while using an insecticide, it may catch fire. 

  • Never use a fan while in a darkroom working with chemicals. The fan could blow some of the dry chemical into the air and cause a health risk.

  • Keep baking soda on hand to extinguish a kitchen fire in an emergency.

  • Change all the locks when you move into a new home. You don't know how many extra keys are floating around town.

  • Instead of keeping a spare house key in the usual places, like under the doormat or in the mailbox, wrap the key in foil and place in a 35 mm canister and bury it where you can easily find it.

  • Don't leave notes for workmen or family members. It's a shout to burglars that there's no one home!

  • To keep your tools or items such as ladders, paint the handles of tools and parts of the ladder with bright colored paint. Thieves tend to avoid stealing items that are easy to identify.

  • Fireplace logs can be hollowed out to make a hiding place fro small valuables. 

  • Hollow out the leg of a table or chair for hiding small objects. Drill from the bottom, then cap all the legs with rubber tips.

  • Frost or cover your garage windows so burglars won't be able to tell if the car is gone.

  • Install a peephole in the door separating the house and garage. That way, if you hear some noises, you can check it out without opening the door. Always keep this door locked.

  • Perfumes, makeup and deodorants can lead to the accidental poisoning of a small child or animal. Keep them stored high.

  • Install a second peephole for the children who may be home alone, at some time or another, if they are not tall enough to see through the standard peephole. 


What To Do If Your Wallet or Purse is Stolen

We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed using your name, address, SS#, credit, etc.

Unfortunately I (author of this piece) have firsthand knowledge, because my wallet was stolen last month and within a week the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online and more.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know.  As everyone always advises, cancel your credit cards immediately, but the key is having the toll-free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know who to call. Keep those where you can find them easily (having to hunt for them is additional stress you WON'T need at that point!).

File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen--this proves to credit providers you were diligent and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is perhaps most important:   and I never ever thought
to do this.

Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and SS#.  I had never heard of doing that until  advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name.  The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this--almost 2 weeks after the theft--all the damage had been done (there are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert). Since then, no additional damage has been done and  the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend and someone turned it in.  It seems to have topped them in their  tracks.

The numbers are:
    Equifax 1-800 525-6285
    Experian (formerly TRW) 1-800-301-7195
    Trans Union 1-800-680-7289

The Social Security Administration also has a fraud line at 1-800-269-0271.

We pass along jokes, we pass along just about everything... Do think about passing this information along--it could help someone else!

Don't Let Car Trouble Stall Your Vacation

A quick check of the following could make your vacation safer and more enjoyable.

  • Make sure roof racks, bicycle carriers and any other such devices are securely fastened. 
  • Check all lamps, including head and tail lights, brake lights and turn signals.
  • Child safety seats should be securely anchored and all seat belts should work properly.
  • Fill washer fluid and check to see that wipers and washers adequately clean the windshield.
  • If you are towing a boat or travel trailer, make sure the hitch and auxiliary lights, including turn signals and brake lamps, are working properly.

Emergency Supplies to pack:

  • Car emergency kit; flares
  • A jug of water in case car overheats or you get stranded.
  • Heavy-duty tape to repair burst or leaky hoses
  • Baling wire for temporary repair of loose mufflers or broken hood locks.
  • Heavy gloves for handling hot engine parts or dirty tires.
  • A tool kit stocked with screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, pliers and a hammer.
  • Towelettes and a first-aid kit for the family.

A few extra precautions could make a big difference.  


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