Monday, August 31, 2009

Couple bound during break-in

MICHAYWÉ -- A Michaywé couple were bound with tape and blindfolded while at least two men ransacked their residence for several hours early Thursday morning and made off with money and property.Gaylord Michigan State Police (MSP) post detective Sgt. Kevin Day is asking anyone with information to contact the Gaylord post at 732-2778.Day said troopers from the Gaylord post were dispatched to a Michaywé residence around 2 a.m. for a report of a breaking and entering. According to reports, after the ordeal, which Day said began shortly before midnight, one of the victims had called 9-1-1 dispatch from a neighbor’s residence to report his home had been broken into while he and his wife were asleep.Once the suspects left the crime scene, Day said the man, who is around 70 years old, was able to chew through the tape which bound him and he made his way to the neighbor’s home.Day said it is believed access to the residence was gained by removing a screen from an open window. Once inside, Day said the suspects, armed with knifes and wearing masks, bound both victims with tape and blindfolded them.
“It happened so quickly they (victims) didn’t even get a good look at their masks,” Day noted. Although the couple were blindfolded, Day said they believed the thieves were in their 20s or early 30s.At one point, Day said, one of the perpetrators told the wife that if she screamed they would kill her. Other than the psychological trauma from the incident and minor injuries from being bound, Day said neither victim sustained serious injury.“This is definitely a stepping up from what you might call a regular breaking and entering,” said the detective. “When you have someone breaking in, knowing that someone is home and then to do what they did, this is much more serious.“They knew (suspects) what they were going to do. It was all planned out in advance to rob these people. The fact they had weapons makes it armed robbery. If we catch them the penalties are going to be much stiffer than if was just home invasion. They had a plan and they carried it out.”Day said this type of crime is almost unheard of in Gaylord and he could recall only two similar incidents from the past 15 years in which a victim or victims had been bound during the commission of a crime.“Fortunately, it is pretty rare but when it happens it is serious,” Day noted. “It is especially traumatic for the victims to go through something like this.”For approximately two hours, Day said the unknown men searched the residence for valuables and stole money and property from the residence.“They were very casual about it,” said Day. “They took their time and didn’t appear to be in any hurry.”After troopers arrived and began their investigation, the MSP canine unit was called to the scene, but investigators say they believe the suspects fled the crime scene in a vehicle.According to Day, investigators may release more details of the crime by the beginning of the week if the crime remains unsolved over the next several days.For now though, he said investigators are cautious about what information is being releasing to the public as it could possibly hamper the investigation.While Day said this type of brazen crime is unusual in the Gaylord area, he advises residents living in the Michaywé area take extra precautions by keeping doors and windows locked, be extra vigilant and contact police if they observe any suspicious activity.“Because we don’t know who these people are or where they are from I would advise residents to take extra safety precautions,” Day said.Contact Michael Jones at 748-4513 or

How to protect yourself

Here are a few tips from several metro Detroit police departments and the Block Watch program on how you can protect against home invasions:
• Keep all of your home's doors and windows and the garage door locked.
• Keep your vehicles in the driveway locked, too, because thieves have been known to break into autos to get to garage-door openers.
• When away, leave a light on inside or outdoor lights on.
• Consider installing a burglar alarm. If you have one, make sure it is set each night.
• If one isn't established already, encourage neighbors to create a Block Watch group to help keep an eye on one another's properties -- especially when someone is out of town.

Metro home invasions on rise this year

Police say thieves look to sell items in hard times

Home invasions in parts of metro Detroit increased 8% to 100% during the first part of this year, compared with the same time frame in 2008, area police departments report.
Places such as Harrison and Bruce townships, Canton and Dearborn have seen increases in burglaries, and Rochester Hills has seen an uptick in break-ins while people are at home.
Police say everything from televisions and cash to beer, food and other property is being stolen, things likely to be pawned for drug money or just extra cash for thieves who probably are hurt by the hard economic times.
"Any time the economy takes a bad downward spiral, property crimes increase," said Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad.
In response, some police agencies said they've increased patrols. Dearborn -- reporting an 18% increase in home invasions and other property crimes, such as garage break-ins, since 2008 -- is on the lookout now for a man who posed as a Comcast employee to break into a home.
Compared with the first half of 2008, Harrison Township went from 37 break-ins to 48; Canton from 172 to 187, and Bruce Township from five to 10, according to police.
Rochester Hills has had 123 home invasions and burglaries so far this year. That's comparable to last year's numbers, but those increased 25% from 2007, said Capt. Mike Johnson of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.
"Our residents don't have to live in fear," said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, but he added that people should remember to lock windows and doors.
Macomb Township saw a decrease in home invasions during the first half of this year, but thieves ransacked a home in the township Wednesday. Authorities attribute the downward trend to neighborhood watch groups.
Kelly Hare, who lives on the same street as the burglarized home, said she is concerned about the possibility of a break-in or home invasion. More than a year ago, someone ripped up her fence and broke into her shed.
"It's always something we worry about," she said.
Contact GINA DAMRON: 586-826-7269 or

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Safety Tips for House Sitters

Some measures house sitters should take to assure their personal safety.

House sitting is an excellent way to make a few extra dollars and save on the rent at the same time. Well, you may not always save on the rent, but you may save some on utilities and possibly get some extra privacy thrown in the mix.

While many house sitters are just doing a favor for a friend or relative with little or no pay, some are able land lucrative appointments with repeat customers. Most people who hire house sitters do so because their home is in a potential crime area. This can be due to a high crime area or because the house is known to have a significant number of valuables within.

Always take precautions when house sitting.

Criminals watch possible targets for their next hit. They will see the family making preparations to be gone. It might be that the residents were seen carrying suitcases out to leave on a trip. If the crooks miss that you have moved into the residence to house sit, you could be caught in a dangerous situation. Follow some simple rules to keep yourself safe when house sitting.

Make it obvious that you are staying in the house.

Park you car in the driveway when you first arrive. At the very least, this will signal possible burglars that the house is being checked. If the neighborhood is relatively safe, leave your car in the driveway all night. This will disrupt any plans that may have been laid for the first night after the family has left town.

Leave a porch light on for an hour or two after dark and then turn it off.

Most porch lights are not put on timers. This will send another signal that the house is occupied. Make a point of lights on and off as you go from room to room. If possible, leave at least one light on in a part of the house that is difficult to see into. Even if the criminals are considering breaking in anyway, they will not want to risk it with someone in the house that is still awake. Their uncertainty works in your favor.

Have a cell phone with you at all times.

While it is highly unlikely that a burglar will come in after you have established your presence in the home, you do not want to risk that the phones will be disconnected. It is always a good plan to have a way to call for help if needed. Have an agreement with a friend or relative to check in by a certain time every evening. This will make certain that someone is checking on your well-being.

Vary your routine every day.

Those who break into houses like to know what to expect on the inside. They do not want to risk the resident showing up when not expected. By showing up and leaving at a variety of times, you will remove the sense of security from any planned robbery.

Have a friend over to visit or to spend the night several times per week.

If you are young or female or both, a bold criminal may decide that you can be handled or view you as part of the prize. Have someone there often enough to discourage this line of thinking. If that is not possible, get to know the neighbors on either side and across the street well enough to call them if things get out of hand. Someone knocking on the door can be as unsettling as the siren from a police car to thugs. Neighbors can arrive within seconds. The police, at best, will require several minutes.

Install some devices to make several lights in the home motion activated.

These are inexpensive and allow for fixtures inside to be turned on when motion is sensed. Having a television, radio, or even several lights set up in this fashion will send most intruders back out the door. If the home is equipped with anti-theft equipment and burglar alarms, make sure these are activated before retiring for the night.

Have an escape route planned.

Know how you will exit the house in an emergency. Set up a plan of escape as soon as you arrive. You will need one from all parts of the house. This will be helpful whether it is a break in, fire, or some other dangerous situation. You may want to sleep on the main floor of the house if there are more than one story. It is easier to get out if you do not have leap from a window or roof.

by Allen Teal

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guardian Alarm Helps Detroit Woman Who's Home is Burglarized

BBB Home Security Tips

Check out this video from the Better Business Bureau on what to look for, and look out for, when choosing a home security company.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bad economy fuels arson spike in Mich.

Mike Wilkinson and Ron French / The Detroit News
Detroit firefighters have their own name for foreclosed homes: Fuel.
"If there are arsonists looking to torch property for fraud or revenge, there are more opportunities out there," said Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner Seth Doyle. "Foreclosed homes present a tremendous amount of fuel."
More than the Michigan economy is smoldering. Suspicious fires are increasing across the state, with fire officials saying that some despairing owners are risking prison to get out of debt and vacant, foreclosed homes are being torched by drug dealers and bored teens.
"What's happened is people have gotten so desperate they don't know where to turn," said Mike Coon, a detective with the Sheriff's Department in Clare County, a rural county of 30,000 between Mount Pleasant and Houghton Lake.
Those additional fires are endangering people and property and may lead to higher insurance rates as investigators scramble to keep up with the criminals.
The number of suspicious property fires -- including homes, businesses, cars and boats -- rose nearly 50 percent between 2006 and 2008, reaching 4,895. And those figures -- more than 13 suspected arsons per day -- don't include Detroit, where about a quarter of all Michigan fires occur. Detroit was not included because it has not submitted its 2008 fire data to the state fire marshal's office. The department's own arson data for 2008, though not comparable to other counties, does show a similarly stark increase.
The surge bucks a decades-long decrease in arson fires, and is occurring nearly everywhere from inner-city Detroit to suburban St. Clair Shores to rural Iron County in the Upper Peninsula. Of Michigan's 83 counties, 70 have seen arsons rise, according to the state fire marshal's office.
"It's all financially motivated," said Coon, whose county saw the percentage of fires labeled as arson or suspicious rise from 15 percent in 2006 to 45 percent in 2008.
Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 15 percent, and among the highest rates of foreclosure and outmigration in the nation -- a combination that amounts to an economic Molotov cocktail to frustrated fire investigators.
In 2006, only 10 Michigan counties categorized more than 20 percent of fires as suspicious or arson; in 2008, 56 counties reached that rate and 14 exceeded 30 percent.
Overwhelming number
In 2008, Detroit recorded 6,486 suspected arsons -- almost 18 a day, and up by roughly 25 percent since 2004, according to the Detroit Fire Department.
With a squad of 21 investigators, "it's physically impossible to investigate them all," said Detroit Fire Arson Chief Gary Victor. "Unless we have the ability to complete an investigation and testify in court that it's arson, then we don't call it arson."
So the department performs a kind of triage, investigating suspicious fires in which there were deaths or injuries first, then working down the priority list through schools, apartment buildings and occupied homes.
Unoccupied structures are at the bottom of the list.
"There's a feeling, talking to investigators around the state, that there is an issue with the number of vacant properties that cannot be sold in the current market or rented, that still have mortgages, taxes and utilities," Victor said.
Vacant homes tend to be torched more frequently, and Detroit has plenty of them; there were more than 90,000 vacant housing units in Detroit in 2007, more than double the number in 2000, according to the U.S. Census. Some of them are apartments in otherwise occupied buildings, but many are single-family homes that have been abandoned during Michigan's ongoing recession.
Vacant homes in inner cities like Detroit, Pontiac and Flint don't stay vacant long: The homeless move into some; drug dealers claim others; street gangs pry open doors and set up shop. Some foreclosed homes end up being torched by rival gangs or drug dealers.
"We're seeing some fraud, some revenge, some to cover a crime," Victor said. "Then you have people who set fires for the excitement."
Many go unpunished
Property losses attributed to arson or suspicious fires rose 30 percent statewide between 2006 and 2008, reaching more than $120 million. Since many arsonists go unpunished, an increase in suspicious fires can lead to an increase in insurance claims, and, ultimately, premiums.
"Arson burns everybody," said Lori Conarton, communications director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan. "Your rates are based on losses. An increase in arson translates into an increase in rates for everybody."
Insurers are spending more to investigate fire claims, too, and that cost is being passed along to property owners.
Nationally, just 18 percent of arson cases result in an arrest. Still, a one-in-five chance of going to prison isn't a good bet for financially troubled homeowners, said Sgt. Dale Hardy, a fire investigator for the Michigan State Police based in Gaylord.
Arson of a dwelling can bring a 20-year prison term; arson of a building, 10 years.
"There are thousands of people in dire straits. They don't burn their homes. They don't burn their cars or boats. They don't jeopardize the lives of firefighters," Hardy said. "It's unfortunate that (some) take this path."
The Detroit arson squad caught two serial arsonists last year and earlier this year broke up an arson-for-profit ring.
The squad now has an accelerant-sniffing dog, and hopes to find grant money to fund a push to decrease home arsons in the same way it focused on car fires earlier this decade, lowering the number of intentionally set auto blazes by about 25 percent. (313) 222-2563

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

$3,000 reward offered in unsolved Detroit slaying

Family members desperate for answers in the slaying last year of a 34-year-old Detroit man have increased the reward for information leading to an arrest, Crime Stoppers of Michigan announced.
Don Jefferson Jr. was killed in his home about 1 a.m. June 24, 2008. His family has donated an additional $2,000 to Crime Stoppers’ reward fund, which was $1,000.
Jefferson was shot to death in his home in the 19000 block of Hickory near 7 Mile Road on the city’s east side.
“Someone knows who committed this crime, and they need to come forward so this family can be at peace,” John Broad, president of the state’s Crime Stoppers, said in a news release issued today.
People with information are asked to call 1-800-SPEAK UP.
Contact AMBER HUNT: 313-223-4526 or

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Suspect Arrested for Break ins

Police believe they have the man responsible for a local crime spree. It's a crack in a series of cases that investigators say span across the greater Lansing area- dozens of break ins at local businesses. Meridian Township police say they caught the thief in the act early Sunday morning. Robert Allen Miller is charged with two counts of breaking and entering. Police believe, now that he's behind bars, the burglaries will stop. Broken windows, missing cash, it's been an all too familiar sight over the past few weeks from Lansing on eastward into Meridian Township.
Sgt. Lana Howell, Meridian Township Police: "There's a lot of similarities. There are more similarities that are pointing that they are connected."
Video surveillance caught the man Lansing police believe is behind the crime spree. Investigators say he breaks in by throwing a heavy object through the window, then heads straight for the cash register.
Lt. Noel Garcia, Lansing Police Department: "We believe that we have some, pretty good physical evidence that ties him in to a couple of our cases."
Police say they caught the suspect, responding to an alarm at a restaurant on Grand River Avenue.
Sgt. Lana Howell: "The officers parked a distance away and were approaching the business on foot. While they were approaching, they heard the sound of glass breaking across the street from the building where we actually had the alarm."
Evidence of the broken glass remains. It was just yards from there where police say officers finally caught up with their suspect and the stolen property.
Sgt. Lana Howell: "They did a great job catching the guy and we're hoping that our string of breaking and enterings are over with."
Lt. Noel Garcia: "The good news is that he's under arrest now and won't be committing these crimes anymore."
One suspect, dozens of crimes, police now begin the task of putting all the pieces together. Investigators from local police agencies plan to meet on Wednesday. They say they'll compare notes and evidence on the break ins to see which cases can be linked to this suspect. More charges could be issued by the end of the week.

A fire broke out over the weekend, destroying a Marquette County home

POWELL TWP. -- A fire late Saturday night leaves a Marquette County family homeless.
According to the Powell Township Fire Department, the fire broke out at the home of a volunteer fire department member.
Firefighters were called out shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday to the home of Larry Dionne at 506 Schenk Road. They stayed on the scene until after 5 a.m. Sunday to ensure that the blaze did not rekindle.
Dionne, his wife, one-year-old daughter, and a family friend, who had been staying with the family since returning from a tour in Iraq, escaped without injury.
The uninsured home is considered a total loss, and authorities believe that the blaze is electrical in nature.
To assist the family, a spaghetti dinner is being held at the Powell Township Fire Hall Wednesday Night from 5 to 7 p.m.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Flint Township sees spike in break-ins

FLINT TOWNSHIP (WJRT) -- (08/14/09)--Flint Township police say in the last month they've seen a spike in the number of home break-ins reported.
There's not really an estimate as to how many and police say there's no one hot spot. They've just noticed this type of crime has picked up.
Luke Avery has lived in his Dye Road home for nine years and says he's never noticed a crime problem.
"I've seen a couple of cops across the street but that's about it," he said.
Lynette Bronson isn't as lucky. She claims her home has been broken into three times in the last month.
"And attempted twice," she said.
The latest incident, she says, occurred Thursday night when it was still light outside.
"My front door was kicked in," she said. "I got a call from my alarm company."
Bronson says a brand-new expensive door was just installed earlier in the day. It replaced the last one which was ruined during the first break-in.
A window has seen better days, too.
"That was the second time they got in," Bronson said. "The first time they got in it was the front door."
She even has trouble keeping track of each separate instance and what was taken each time. She says they at the very least got away with TVs, purses, cash, her camera and even her drivers license.
But the bottom line is, she's upset.
"I'm scared for my life," she said. "I mean, if they were to break-in while I was here?"
Flint Township police say they've received calls from people wondering what they can do.
The last Tuesday of every month, a Neighborhood Watch meeting is hosted by the police department 6 p.m.
If you live in the township, they invite you to stop by, even if you're just looking for some safety tips.
Also, they stress the importance of keeping an eye out for others.
If you notice something suspicious, call them.

Another String of Break ins

Police in Ionia County are looking for a suspect they believe is behind a string of home break ins in the area. The Ionia County Sheriff's Office says forensic evidence has been collected from several homes invaded by the man. Officers aren't naming the suspect, but believe he is trying to leave or has already left the state. They are still warning residents to take precaution when it comes to their homes or property and report suspicious activity to the sheriff's office.

Unpredictable Weather Brings Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Risks

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is urging residents to be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning when using alternative sources of power during an outage.
Due to recent weather-related power outages, Michigan residents are asked to be extra vigilant as they compensate for the lost power.
If not used safely, gas-powered generators, kerosene heaters or other alternative heating or power sources can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Residents are encouraged to seek shelter with friends, family, or at a community shelter as a safer alternative.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, tasteless, and odorless gas formed when fuel is burned. Carbon monoxide can build up to deadly levels within minutes in enclosed spaces and can only be detected with a carbon monoxide detector.
Warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include flu-like symptoms without the fever: headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause coma and death. Every year, hundreds of people in Michigan are hospitalized and 15 to 20 die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning when the power is out:
- NEVER run a generator inside your house or in your garage, and keep it away from windows and doors. (If theft is a concern, lock it to a tree or fence.)
- NEVER use charcoal or propane grills or camp stoves indoors.
- Do not use portable heaters powered by propane or kerosene indoors.
- Always turn off your vehicle in the garage.
- Place a carbon monoxide detector in the hallway outside bedrooms in all sleeping areas.
Source: Michigan Department Of Community Health

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Police Seek Help Solving Break ins

Local police need your help as they investigate a series of burglaries. Meridian Township police say the first string of break ins happened on the 3,000 block of Lake Lansing Road on Saturday. Burglars broke in to the Jiffy Lube, Roberts Wallpaper and Paint and the Carriage Hills Marathon. There was another break in later that day at All About Hair in Haslett. Five more break ins were reported in Haslett on Sunday. If you have any information about these burglaries, call Crimestoppers at 517-483-stop. There is up to a one thousand dollar reward for information that leads to an arrest.

Home Safety Council's "Safety Guide"

The Safety Guide includes tips to help you make your entire home safe. Whether you follow a room-by-room approach to home safety or are looking to make seasonal safety improvements to your home, the Safety Guide offers step-by-step tips and photos to help.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Safeguard Your Home Against Burglars

Our parents talk about times when burglaries were few and far between and hardly anyone locked their doors at night or when they left the house. Sadly, that is all in the past and today’s householder must take very careful and active steps to secure his home against burglars.
Generally, your home and possessions are at risk from:
1) The professional thief who knows what he is after and can get it, quickly and with the minimum of damage or fuss.
2) The opportunist thief who sees something, like an empty house, and decides to strike there and then. He doesn’t always know what he is after and he can create a great deal of mess and damage. He is also most likely to react dangerously in haste and might cause physical harm to others.
3) The thief who gets his thrill from causing the maximum disruption and damage to other people’s lives and property.
The following tips will help you make their jobs harder.
Make It Difficult For Them
1) Be Careful. Check everything is locked and properly secured before leaving your home unattended. Do not leave windows open or ladders lying around for a thief to use to gain access.
Keep tools – gardening and DIY – out of reach. Don’t leave valuable on view from outside your home. Make a point of walking round your home, at night, to get a feel for what a thief might see. Move valuables like videos and television sets to positions out of sight from the window.
Don’t leave car doors open and never leave keys in the ignition. Do not leave bicycles outside unattended.
Always draw the curtains before you leave home for the evening and leave a light on somewhere in the house. Leaving a bedroom light makes it look like someone is home probably reading or watching television.
If your house will be unattended for any length of time, always cancel the milk and newspapers and ask a neighbour to keep an eye on things while you are away. Housesitters are a good idea, especially in outlying locations or where you have a lot of valuables at home.
For longer absences have your mail stopped or ask someone to collect it for you, from your home or the post office. Arrange to have your lawn cared for in your absence and for curtains to be opened and closed each day. Let a trusted neighbour know of your absence and ask him to keep an eye on things for you. But don’t tell anyone else. Where you will be away for a very long or indeterminate period, let the police know how long you will be away and how you can be reached in emergencies. Tell them who is looking after your house for you and how a key may be obtained if necessary.
Call the police the moment you become suspicious about anything concerning the safety of your home, family or possessions.
Do not give telephone callers the impression you are alone. Do not let small children or elderly relatives answer the door.
Do not enter your home if there are signs of intrusion. Always call the police from a neighbour’s house first.
A good barking dog is useful, especially for homes left unattended for long periods.
Have a good alarm fitted to your home and check regularly that the battery is working.
Neighbourhood watch schemes are a good idea and can reduce break-ins significantly. Insurance premiums can sometimes be lower where an effective neighbourhood watch scheme is in operation.
Ask a neighbour you can trust to keep an eye on your home for you while it is unattended. Offer to do the same for them.
2) Marking Your Valuables. Always mark your valuables in some way to help police identify them if they are lost or stolen. UV highlighter pens are useful for marking cars, bicycles and other larger items.
For antiques, collectibles and items you do not want to mark, take photographs and keep the prints in some safe place, preferably outside of your home, like at your solicitors’ office or in a bank safety deposit box.
Keep an up-to-date record of serial numbered property. Inscribe an identifying number, like your driving licence number or date of birth on appropriate valuables. Any number will do as long as you can remember what it is.
Doors: Have outside doors fitted with five-lever mortise locks. Look for quality locks that can not be picked or opened with skeleton keys. It’s a good idea to have two locks fitted. Avoid thin wood doors that are easy to break down or saw apart. Glass panels are not a good idea, unless fitted with laminated glass. Have a safety chain fitted that allows you to open the door to see visitors without allowing them access to the house. A spy-hole fitted to the door allows you to see visitors without them seeing you and without you having to open the door at all.
Windows: Have key-operated locks fitted to all windows. These are a major deterrent. Always keep the key out of sight, not on the window sill. Pay careful attention to small windows. There are thin thieves and fat ones, and others who use children to enter premises and open windows. Think about having security shutters or grilles fitted to most vulnerable windows. Never leave valuables beside an open window.
For French windows have heavy duty sliding bolts fitted to the top and bottom of each panel. Do not overlook basement windows which are frequently secured only with spring latches that are easy to open.
Skylights: Consider having grilles or shutters fitted and always use a mortise lock.
Porches: Have laminated glass fitted and do not leave your post or milk on view in the porch.
Exterior Lighting: It is a very good idea to have an outside light fitted to come on when someone approaches, especially at night. An all-night light on low power is another useful possibility.
Invest in a timer or photo-electric cell light that will turn on at dusk and off at dawn.
Outdoors: Keep fences in good condition and gates locked. Trim shrubbery and hedges where thieves might lie in wait. Prune trees that may allow access to second story windows. Do not leave ladders lying around for thieves to use.
Do not leave a key in a secret place. Burglars know what secret places to look in.
Exterior Pipes: These can be painted with a special substance that makes them difficult or impossible to climb.
Garages, Greenhouses and Sheds: The building at the bottom of the garden is an easy proposition for most thieves and can contain much valuable equipment, like lawnmowers, bicycles, toys, even cars. Always have yours properly secured and have some form of alarm or special lighting system fitted to warn of intruders. Keep doors closed and locked at all times. Make sure doors and locks are fitted and kept in good repair.
Further Advice: Ask your local police station to advise you on all aspects of home security.
UV Pens and property marking kits can identify and help safeguard your valuables. Ask at stationers and DIY stores.
If you are hard of hearing ask about special alarm systems and smoke detectors.

The Dangers Of Carbon Monoxide

The dangers of carbon monoxide should be taken seriously by the general public. If it is inhaled, its affects can be so catastrophic that it can even lead to death. You can be at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning anywhere, whether that be at home or at work. Its particular qualities make it more dangerous and harder to detect, as it is odourless and invisible. It takes one faulty appliance for all hell to break loose. Once it has been breathed in, it replaces the oxygen in the blood, killing off cells and starving vital organs of oxygen.

Many reports have indicated that some 20 million households in the UK are not protecting themselves by taking necessary precautions to detect the gas. Some of the early symptoms to look out for are feelings of nausea, dizziness, headaches, and forgetfulness. The general nature of these symptoms suggest that they can be easily missed or misinterpreted. This is even more so when the person affected moves out of their environment and their symptoms clear.
What can be done?

If you don’t take enough vigilance and care, the risks of suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning can be higher. However, there are steps you can take to be better prepared and to reduce the risk of exposure. Once you prepare yourself, you will be in a better position to deal with any emergency that arises.

If you are about to go on vacation. it is a good idea to call up and check if there are any gas appliances where you are staying. It is better to be safe rather than regret it later. Remember, if you find out that there is a gas heater at your location, you always have the option to be asked to move somewhere else. If you wish to be extra precautious, it is good to take a carbon monoxide detector.

How to deal with an emergency

One of the most important things is to know what to do and who to call in an emergency case of carbon monoxide poisoning. If the appliance you were using starts leaking gas, stop using it immediately and get everyone away from the area as soon as possible. Never use the appliance again until you have had it checked over by a professional registered engineer.

It is important to get plenty of ventilation into the area, so you should open all the windows and doors. If someone you know has been affected by the carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important that you remove them from the contaminated area straight away and take them into the open air. Oxygen should be supplied if there is some available. Make sure you call for medical help and ensure the person affected rests.

Once the person starts receiving medical care, it is important that you notify the health professional that carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected so that the correct treatment is provided. If you have gas appliances in the property, make sure you do not smoke or turn any light switches on or off. Don’t do anything to create a spark.

Tal Potishman, editor of Heating Central, writes articles about boilers, central heating, Farnborough plumbers, underfloor heating and solar thermal. He specializes in helping save money by advising on efficient heating.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dryer Vent Wizard, a national dryer vent cleaning company, strives to promote consumer awareness in dryer fire prevention

EMAILWIRE.COM, August 05, 2009 ) Murphysboro, IL – A group of linemen working to restore power to a neighborhood were in the right place at the right time when they noticed a home on fire. Workers grabbed fire extinguishers while others filled their hard hats with water to fight the flames until fire emergency crews arrived.The fire was caused by a clogged dryer vent; flames caught the interior wall as the fire began to spread. Firefighters said that if it weren’t for what the linemen had done the results would have been devastating; the home lost.Dayn Benson, franchise manager of Dryer Vent Wizard, headquartered in Warren Michigan, was recently interviewed. “Over 15,000 clothes dryer fires are reported each year,” said Benson. “The results are often devastating with deaths, injuries and loss of homes. Dryer vent cleaning is the number one preventer of dryer fires.”In joining efforts with the NFPA, Dryer Vent Wizard is providing advice to consumers to minimize the risk of dryer fires. They encourage consumers to read their informative articles with tips for keeping their clothes dryer safe and operating efficiently; visit Vent Wizard provides maintenance tips to consumers as they recommend annual professional dryer vent cleaning. Dryer vent systems should meet the manufacturer’s codes as well as city and state codes. By law, all gas dryers in the United States must be vented to the outdoors. To order a dryer vent inspection and service visit http://www.dryerventwizard.comContact:Dryer Vent WizardD. Benson – Corporate Office5523 East Nine Mile Road Warren, MI

Carboxyhemoglobin (Carbon Monoxide [CO])

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, gaseous substance found in tobacco smoke, automobile exhaust, fires burning with poor ventilation, improperly functioning furnaces, and defective gas-burning appliances such as stoves. When the hemoglobin of the blood is exposed to CO through inhalation, carboxyhemoglobin is formed. The affinity of hemoglobin for CO is over 200 times greater than for oxygen. Thus, hemoglobin is prevented from combining with, and transporting, oxygen to such tissues as the brain. This results in a lack of oxygen being released in the tissues of the body, a condition known as hypoxia. Symptoms of CO poisoning vary with the carboxyhemoglobin level. Levels of 20% to 30% cause headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and impaired judgment. Levels of 30% to 40% result in confusion, muscle weakness, hyperpnea, hypotension, and tachycardia. When levels reach 50% to 60%, there is a loss of consciousness and possible seizures, and with values greater than 60%, respiratory arrest and death may occur.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Police Have Suspect In Home Break-Ins

Bloomfield Township Police Say At Least 5 Homes Have Been Broken Into Recently
POSTED: Monday, August 3, 2009
UPDATED: 7:32 pm EDT August 3, 2009
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Money, jewelry and computers have all gone missing after a rash of home robberies in Bloomfield Township.
Police said at least five homes in the area near Square Lake and Telegraph roads have been broken into recently, most while there have been people inside at the time.
Judy Trower said she’s still shaken up after what happened inside her home.
“I’m terrified. I’m still terrified,” Trower said. She said she’s so scared she won’t even open a window or door to cool her home.
Trower said a thief broke into her home in the middle of a night through an unlocked side door, grabbed a laptop, some alcohol and then made his way to the home’s master bedroom.
“I looked at my dresser, in my bedroom, which is three feet from where I sleep, and my jewelry box is missing,” Trower said.
Trower said neighbors have been passing out fliers about the break-ins.
Police said they believe the person responsible is a resident of an area group home for the physically and mentally challenged.
Police said the man has been removed from the home and may face charges, depending on if authorities can determine if the man is mentally capable of being charged.
The case has been turned over the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Firefighter Will Perform 100 Skydives in Memory of Smoke Inhalation Victims

Joe Frolick, avid skydiver and professional firefighter, will combine his love of skydiving and passion for the fire service by performing 100 consecutive skydives on September 4, 2009. Joe’s desire to accomplish his mission is to bring attention to much needed education regarding smoke inhalation fatalities and the need for continued research and program development to save the lives of firefighters and civilians alike.
Indianapolis, IN, August 01, 2009 --( Event creates awareness about smoke inhalation deaths, prevention and treatment for firefightersFirefighter Joe Frolick, Wayne Township Fire Department, will attempt to set the record for the most consecutive skydives in Lebanon, Ohio on September 4, 2009 by performing 100 consecutive jumps in an event known as “100 Reasons.” This event is about supporting research that is developing effective interventions for smoke inhalation and educational programs sponsored by the Cyanide Poisoning Treatment Coalition.“If commercial flying had as many civilian fatalities as those relating to smoke and fire, there would be a public revolt,” said Rob Schnepp, CPTC president and assistant chief of special operations for the Alameda County Fire Department in California. “The numbers aren’t going down, and this tells me that we aren’t addressing the problem adequately.”To emphasize Joe’s mission, the Cyanide Poisoning Treatment Coalition will host the 1st Annual Midwest Smoke Symposium that will provide free training to 100 firefighters with a focus on fire ground smoke inhalation, prevention, diagnosis and the use of the preferred antidotal treatment for smoke inhalation which can most assuredly save lives if cyanide toxicity is diagnosed.“Raising awareness and getting training, combined with new national fire standards and tools to diagnose and treat cyanide and carbon monoxide exposure, should dramatically increase the survivability of firefighters and civilians exposed to these toxins and decrease the harmful long-term health problems that show up in the form of heart disease,” said Kevin Reilly, author of the SMOKE article on proper air management at the fire scene and emergency breathing techniques.“What we have in our homes today is very different from 10 years ago. Today we have laminates, foam cushions, mattresses and bedding made of synthetics and with chemical fire retardants, plastics, acrylics – all which emit hydrogen cyanide during the combustion process,” said Shawn Longerich, executive director of the CPTC. “We are very good at recognizing and treating carbon monoxide poisoning, but we have to start recognizing that cyanide poisoning can be an even bigger issue. Once we do that, we can get serious about diagnostic testing through tissue toxicology and antidotal treatment.”Smoke inhalation is far more deadly than ever before. No longer can we be focused on carbon monoxide as the deadly culprit in fire smoke. The new toxin on the block is hydrogen cyanide and when mixed with carbon monoxide they become the Toxic Twins. While carbon monoxide kills the blood, cyanide kills the organs. “As a society we should no longer be accepting of smoke inhalation death statistics. It’s time to take the matter seriously and understand that smoke inhalation can be treated … but one must know that to effectively treat smoke inhalation, cyanide exposure must be factored into treatment protocol,” said Longerich.Those who have died from smoke inhalation will be memorialized during the event. Families are encouraged to submit photos of loved-ones to the CPTC to include in a wall-size collage that will be constructed for the event. For more information, please visit­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­About the CPTCThe Cyanide Poisoning Treatment Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non-profit comprised of fire service organizations, firefighters, and physicians. Through joint strategic initiatives to focus the required attention and resources on the issues, the CPTC aims to increase awareness about the risk of fire smoke cyanide exposure to improve early recognition and appropriate treatment for firefighters and EMS personnel. The CPTC has been on the cutting edge of fire smoke cyanide exposure and treatment protocols since 2005. Appropriate recognition of the signs and symptoms of cyanide toxicity, as well as a comprehensive understanding of treatment and antidotes, is the educational objective of the CPTC.

The National Burglar And Fire Alarm Association, A Model Organization

There are many different associations in the United States alone. Each association represents different sectors or field of specializations. One of the many associations is the NBFAA or the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association.
It is worthy to note that the NBFAA has served for about 60 years already. It supported the varying needs of the industry, the society, the nation, as well as its members. This association is also the biggest professional trade organization in the United States; and it represents, enhances, and promotes the development and growth of electronic life security and safety. Many members of the NBFAA have benefited because of the association provides products, development tools, timely information and services to foster business’ property and growth.
Being an advocate, the association helps in increasing awareness about electronic safety, integrated systems, and security. They are engaged in different activities like trainings and media programs, especially the ones which support new technology. Public safety is one of the many considerations that NBFAA is much concerned about, together with financial stability, recognition, and commitment.
You might wonder who the members are; most of the members are from the different sectors of the industry; sales, installation, manufacturing, monitoring, and service. This enables the association to address different issues and concerns of the whole industry.
More or less 70% of these companies which are involved in life/fire safety systems, video surveillance, access control, shop alarms, and monitoring are all members of NBFAA. And these companies serve millions of commercial and residential customers which makes it easier for the association to identify the changing needs of the community and the nation.
Because it has proven to stay very long in the market, the mission of the association is always carried out effectively, and that is to promote, support, and represent the whole industry for growth and empowerment of businesses.
The following are its five components in order to fulfill the association's mission statement:
1. Government relations allow NBFAA to keep a close watch for various legislations regarding public safety, electronic life security, and the home burglar alarms systems industry. This is always done on the local as well as the state levels. NBFAA provides monthly reports and conveys information to its members throughout the United States.
2. Information about different industry affairs are also provided to its members which includes issues on technological changes and other environmental issues that has a great impact on the businesses.
3. Public relation is also a very important component. NBFAA exert their efforts to reach consumers and other constituents to establish a good communication and ensure homeland security and public safety.
4. Standards have a vital role in the industry, and the association provides its members with useful information pertaining to the different status of current standards and aids in the creation or development of on-going standards.
5. There is also a professional development through the National Training School, which was founded in 1985 by NBFAA was able to meet the changing needs for trainings on electronic life. Now, the NTS still offers trainings, but the programs are more diverse and competent. Thousands of students are able to complete and get certification after attending at NTS.
NBFAA is a very good example of a non-profit organization which helps the entire adt alarms industry and its consumers. Organizations such as this should be supported and given recognition. NBFAA still has a lot of people to serve, and it has a very good chance to stay for a long time.

Smoke detector alerts Vienna Township homeowner to fire

by Sarah Schuch Clio Messenger
Friday July 31, 2009, 5:57 PM
VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Michigan -- Mike Uhelski and his dog were able to escape safely from his burning Lake Road home Thursday night, thanks to a working smoke detector.
"I thought (the smoke alarm) was my alarm clock," he said. "I got up like I was getting up for work."
Uhelski, 37, said he got up as quick as he could and found his kitchen filled with smoke. The only thing he could think of was that it was coming from his basement, he said.
Firefighters were called to Uhelski's home at 5481 Lake Road at 11:01 p.m.
"The smoke detectors pretty much saved everybody's lives," Uhelski said. "(But) I want my house back. I lost everything I got."
He was, however, able to push out his 1971 Chevelle he had stored in his garage. He was not able to put in gear, though, and it rolled back into the ditch causing minor damage.
The car was his pride and joy, said Mike Uhelski's father, Joe Uhelski, who owns a house behind his son's.
Joe Uhelski said he could see the flames from his house as soon as his son called him and when he left around 3 a.m. the firefighters were still there.
Neighbors about six houses down were having a bonfire Thursday night, spotted the smoke and called 911, Joe Uhelski said.
Clio Area Fire Capt. Bob Mansfield said when firefighters arrived the home was engulfed in flames, and it took eight fire departments about six hours to put out the fire.Mike Uhelski still can't believe what happened.
"It's not fun at all," he said. "It's actually a sickening sight."
By Friday, Joe Uhelski was able to purchase some clothes and be put up in a hotel covered by his insurance.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and is still under investigation.
Shannon Murphy contributed to this report.

Jackson County Sheriff Seeks Information on Break Ins

July 31, 2009 7:50 PM
In Jackson County, officials are searching for suspects after a break in at a business there Thursday night.
It happened at Steak's Eatery on Oak Lane in Summitt Township.
Police say the suspects stole a safe and a large quantity of meat.
Deputies believe the suspects were involved in a second breaking and entering Thursday night at Giglio’s restaurant, which is being investigated by the Michigan State Police.
Any one with information on either crime is asked to call the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

Home Security Beat

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