Who’s competent?

OSHA sets standards for fall protection in order to save lives. They specify how many pounds anchor points need to be able to hold, they determine fall distances and a whole lot more. There are times, no doubt, where it seems all these regulations and standards may seem like a big burden but it is undisputable that they save lives.

So I have only one question… Why isn’t the term “competent person” so ambiquous? Doesn’t it sound like OSHA is missing the elephant in the living room by not setting standards of training for this competent person?

Fact is that if you own a company, you are the one who determines who is and who isn’t competent. You can sit a person down for 10 minutes and have them watch a video and call them “competent” simply because OSHA doesn’t define the term.

In fact, here’s what the Labor and Industries website has to say about the issue:

Competent Person
The term “Competent Person” is used in many OSHA standards and documents. An OSHA “competent person” is defined as “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them”. [29 CFR
1926.32(f)
]. By way of training and/or experience, a competent person is knowledgeable of applicable standards, is capable of identifying workplace hazards relating to the specific operation, and has the authority to correct them. Some standards add additional specific requirements which must be met by the competent person.

There are currently no specific standards regarding competent persons.

Did you read that last line? “no specific standards”!

Seems to me that you can write all the regulations and standards you want, if you haven’t got someone on site who understands and knows how to apply them, the standards are pretty useless.

Now, a word of warning if you are thinking of using this “loophole” to avoid getting your competent person the proper training. If you have, God forbid, an accident or a fatality and OSHA or L&I come out to investigate, you, as the owner is going to have to justify in a court of law, how and why you claimed that your “competent person” was defined as such. There may be no specific standards set by OSHA but at that point it isn’t OSHA you’re going to be answering to and a court of law probably isn’t going to agree that a 10 minute video is sufficient to make a person “competent” on an issue like this one where lives hang (or fall) in the balance.


Check out crime and violence in your neighborhood

Want to know how safe your neighborhood is? Head to http://www.trulia.com/local/ type in your address and you’ll get a map of the immediate area around your house will spot designating crimes and violence in the area.

Below, for example is a screenprint of the area right around our building in Kent:

Mouse over any of the black dots (on the real website, not on the image above) and it’ll give you a description of the type of crime, whether the perpetrator was apprehended or not and the status of the case.
If there is a number in the dot, the number represents the number of crimes in that spot.

You can choose to view just non-violent crimes, violent crimes or both. You can zoom in or out.
Check it out for yourself. Hopefully you’ll find that your neighborhood is safer than you thought.


Fireplace and Chimney Safety Week

Sept 23- Sep 29 is National Fireplace/Chimney Safety Week.

Chimney/Fireplace Safety Tips

Anatomy of Your Fireplace

When most people think of chimneys, they think of fireplaces. Memories of cold winter evenings, relaxed and cozy in front of a crackling fire are hard to beat, and the ability of an open fire to soothe the wild beast within us all is legendary. Since the dawn of time, humans have gathered around the open fire for a sense of safety and community and the fireplace is still the focus of family living in many homes, especially around the holidays.

But in spite of all the glowing aesthetics, there are some practical considerations. When you’re dealing with an element as capricious and potentially dangerous as fire, knowledge really is power, so please read on to learn how to make your fireplace both safer and more enjoyable.

Let’s start with a quick anatomy lesson, and a brief explanation of commonly used terms:

 

Fireplaces come in two general types, masonry fireplaces built entirely of bricks, blocks or stone and mortar, and factory built fireplaces consisting of a lightweight metal firebox and a metal chimney. (There are a few hybrids too, the most common being a heavy metal firebox and smoke chamber coupled to a regular brick chimney).

A masonry fireplace has a firebox built of individual generally yellowish firebrick, a brick chimney above the roof, and if you look up past the damper you will see a roughly pyramid shaped affair also built of brick. A prefab fireplace generally has a firebox of cast refractory panels, and usually some metal is visible in the room all around the firebox. If you look up past the damper you will see a round metal chimney. And above the roof is more round metal chimney, sometimes surrounded by a simulated brick housing.

Chimney fire, dont let it be your house this fall/winter!!

Top 10 Wood burning Tips from CSIA
To aid in the prevention of chimney fires and carbon monoxide intrusion and to help keep heating appliances and fireplaces functioning properly, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) offers the following safety tips:

1. Get an annual chimney check. Have chimneys inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a qualified professional chimney service technician. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys.

2. Keep it clear. Keep tree branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from the top of the chimney.

3. Install a chimney cap to keep debris and animals out of the chimney.

4. Choose the right fuel. For burning firewood in wood stoves or fireplaces, choose well seasoned wood that has been split for a minimum of six months – one year and stored in a covered and elevated location. Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace or wood stove.

5. Build it right. Place firewood or fire logs at the rear of the fireplace on a supporting grate. To start the fire, use kindling or a commercial firelighter. Never use flammable liquids.

6. Keep the hearth area clear. Combustible material too close to the fireplace, or to a wood stove, could easily catch fire. Keep furniture at least 36 away from the hearth.

7. Use a fireplace screen. Use metal mesh or a screen in front of the fireplace to catch flying sparks that could ignite or burn holes in the carpet or flooring.

8. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Place detectors throughout the house and check batteries in the spring and fall. When you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time (November 6, 2011), remember to check your batteries.

9. Never leave a fire unattended. Before turning in for the evening, be sure that the fire is fully extinguished. Supervise children and pets closely around wood stoves and fireplaces.

10. The CSIA recommends annual inspections performed by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. These chimney sweeps have earned the industry’s most respected credential by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimney and venting systems. The National Fire Protection Association also recommends that all chimneys are inspected on an annual basis.

Chimney/Furnace maintenance is vital to your family’s safety:

 

  • Be sure to read the manual for your fireplace or stove, and keep it handy. Every model is different and you’d be wise to know the particulars for safe and enjoyable use.
  • Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Change that smoke detector battery!!
  • Burn only well-seasoned and dry firewood.!
  • Empty the ashes from previous fires before starting a new fire.
  • Manufactured fire logs create a clean burning fire and are an excellent choice. Just be sure to never burn more than one at a time, and let it burn down completely without using a log poker to break it apart.
  • Never put garbage, plastic, or charcoal — or anything else that isn’t firewood — in a fireplace.
  • Keep small children and pets away from a fireplace.
  • Make sure a fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

How to Select Firewood

Firewood is an area where you can have great influence over how well your system performs and how enjoyable your experience will be. Quality, well seasoned firewood will help your wood stove or fireplace burn cleaner and more efficiently, while green or wet wood can cause smoking problems, odor problems, rapid creosote buildup and possibly even dangerous chimney fires.

A few minutes spent understanding firewood will be time well spent, so please read on for general background information, as well as how to buy wood and store wood.

Seasoned Wood
All firewood contains water. Freshly cut wood can be up to 45% water!, while well seasoned firewood generally has a 20-25% moisture content. Well seasoned firewood is easier to start, produces more heat, and burns cleaner. The important thing to remember is that the water must be gone before the wood will burn. If your wood is cut 6 months to a year in advance and properly stored, the sun and wind will do the job for free. If you try to burn green wood, the heat produced by combustion must dry the wood before it will burn, using up a large percentage of the available energy in the process. This results in less heat delivered to your home, and literally gallons of acidic water in the form of creosote deposited in your chimney.

Wood is composed of bundles of microscopic tubes that were used to transport water from the roots of the tree to the leaves. These tubes will stay full of water for years even after a tree is dead. This is why it is so important to have your firewood cut to length for 6 months or more before you burn it, it gives this water a chance to evaporate since the tube ends are finally open and the water only has to migrate a foot or two to escape. Splitting the wood helps too by exposing more surface area to the sun and wind, but cutting the wood to shorter lengths is of primary importance.

There are a few things you can look for to see if the wood you intend to purchase is seasoned or not. Well seasoned firewood generally has darkened ends with cracks or splits visible, it is relatively lightweight, and makes a clear “clunk” when two pieces are beat together. Green wood on the other hand is very heavy, the ends look fresher, and it tends to make a dull “thud” when struck. These clues can fool you however, and by far the best way to be sure you have good wood when you need it is to buy your wood the spring before you intend to burn it and store it properly.

Storing Firewood
Even well seasoned firewood can be ruined by bad storage. Exposed to constant rain or covered in snow, wood will reabsorb large amounts of water, making it unfit to burn and causing it to rot before it can be used. Wood should be stored off the ground if possible and protected from excess moisture when weather threatens.

The ideal situation is a wood shed, where there is a roof but open or loose sides for plenty of air circulation to promote drying. Next best would be to keep the wood pile in a sunny location and cover it on rainy or snowy days, being sure to remove the covering during fair weather to allow air movement and to avoid trapping ground moisture under the covering. Also don’t forget that your woodpile also looks like heaven to termites, so it’s best to only keep a week or so worth of wood near the house in easy reach. With proper storage you can turn even the greenest wood into great firewood in 6 months or a year, and it can be expected to last 3 or 4 years if necessary.

Buying Firewood

Firewood is generally sold by volume, the most common measure being the cord. Other terms often employed are face cord, rick, or often just a truckload. A standard cord of firewood is 128 cubic feet of wood, generally measured as a pile 8 feet long by 4 feet tall by 4 feet deep. A face cord is also 8 feet long by 4 feet tall, but it is only as deep as the wood is cut, so a face cord of 16″ wood actually is only 1/3 of a cord, 24″ wood yields 1/2 of a cord, and so on.

Webster defines a rick simply as a pile, and truck sizes obviously vary tremendously, so it is very important that you get all of this straight with the seller before agreeing on a price; there is much room for misunderstanding. It is best to have your wood storage area set up in standard 4 or 8 foot increments, pay the wood seller the extra few dollars often charged to stack the wood, and warn him before he arrives that you will cheerfully pay only when the wood actually measures up to an agreed upon amount.

Another thought concerning getting what you pay for is that although firewood is usually sold by volume, heat production is dependent on weight. Pound for pound, all wood has approximately the same BTU content, but a cord of seasoned hardwood weighs about twice as much as the same volume of softwood, and consequently contains almost twice as much potential heat. If the wood you are buying is not all hardwood, consider offering a little less in payment.

· IF YOU SUSPECT (OR KNOW) THAT YOU HAVE A CHIMNEY FIRE:

o Call the Fire Department by dialing 911.

o Never try to remove burning logs from your fireplace. Use water or a fire extinguisher to put them out. Fire extinguisher is best. Be careful with putting water on the fire. On one hand, the steam created with a glass or two of water may put out the fire – or at least cool it down significantly. However, there is a possibility that the sudden cooling could crack any glass door/screen, or cause damage to mortar or other components. Ask a certified fireplace inspector or consult your factory stove / fireplace manual.

o If you suspect a chimney fire, get everyone out of the house immediately and call the fire department. If you can do so safely, put out any fire in the stove or fireplace and close the damper. (Some fast-burning chimney fires produce dense smoke and flames shooting out the top of the chimney, often accompanied by a rumbling sound inside the chimney. Slow-burning chimney fires are much harder to detect but can also cause serious damage to the chimney and, possibly, to the house.)

o If you suspect that you have had a chimney fire, do not use the fireplace again until a chimney sweep has checked it for any hidden damage.

Information provided by Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com


Seeing My World through a Safer Lens Videos

Earlier this year, CDC asked the question “What does injury and violence prevention look like in your community?” in the form of a video contest open to everyone.

They received 25 entries and among them they’ve selected a winner in three different categories:

  • Professional Safety
  • Student
  • General Public

Fortunately, you don’t have to agree with the judges. You can view all 25 entries and judge for yourself.


Bear Safety – Be Bear Aware

Bear Safety Tips-Be Bear Aware

What You Need to Know About Bear Safety

With bear attacks on the rise lately across the country some in Arizona, Colorado, Alaska, Montana and Washington state. Bears have been spotted coming into towns in Raton, Las Vegas, Springer, Santa Fe, Ruidoso and Clayton. Also, with our continued drought conditions here in New Mexico Black Bears are coming into more urban areas looking for food and water. Bear attacks are still very rare but can occur if you are faced with a hungry one or mother protecting cubs. So this alert gives you some basic Bear Safety awareness tips in case you come across a bear. The best thing to do and know is your Bear basics. First know your bears.

Know Your Bears

Can you tell the difference between a black bear and a grizzly bear? Check out the main differences so you know what you’re dealing with.

Grizzly Bear

· Color: Range in color from black to light blonde. Mostly medium to dark brown in color. The long hair usually have a lighter tip, hence they look “grizzled”.

· Size: Average 350-500 lbs. larger grizzlies can reach 800 lbs!

· Height: Stand around 3.3 ft; 6.5 ft at shoulder.

· Shape: Look for a distinct shoulder hump.

· Face: There’s a depression between the eyes and end of nose, and they have short, round ears.

· Claws: Very long (2-4 in)

· Prints: Minimal arc in toes, toe imprints are close together, and the claw leave long, visible marks.

Black Bear

·Color: Range in color from black to light blonde. Many black bears have a lighter patch on their chest, and reddish-colored bears are common in the west.

· Size: Average 110-300 lbs. large males can reach 400 lbs and be larger than a female grizzly.

· Height: A little smaller, from 2.5-3 ft at shoulder. Around 5 ft standing.

· Shape: No hump like the grizzly.

· Face: A straight line runs between the forehead and end of nose. They have larger, pointed ears.

· Claws: Shorter (around 1.5 in)

· Prints: Look for a large toe arc, toe imprints will be father apart, and the claws usually don’t leave an impression.

Campground and Picnic Area Precautions

· Never cook or store food in or near your tent.

· Hang food and other items with strong odors (i.e., toothpaste, bug repellent, soap, etc.) out of reach of bears. Hang items at least 10 ft above the ground and. If no trees are available, store your food in airtight or bear-proof containers.

· Change your clothing before you go to sleep; don’t wear what you cooked in to go to bed and be sure to store smelly clothing along with your food/smelly items.

· Keep the area clean. Be sure to wash dishes, dispose of garbage, and wipe down tables.

· Burn garbage completely in a hot fire and pack trash out – don’t bury it.

· Food Cache – All you need is 100 feet of light line, a small weight to attach to the end of it (a plastic bag with a rock in it works fine), and food bags that you can tie to the line. Youll never have to climb a tree again!


1.
Select 2 trees at least 20 feet apart. Throw the weighted end of the rope over a branch about 17 feet above the ground.
2. Tie the line to the trunk of the first tree. Throw the weighted end of the line over the branch of the second tree. 3. Attach your food bag to the middle of the line, and pull it up and adjust so it is centered, at least 12 feet above the ground. 4. Tie the other end of the line to the second tree. To access food, just let it down. To re-cache it, pull it back up.

Backcountry and Trail Precautions

· Don’t surprise bears. If you’re hiking, make your presence known. Make noise by talking loudly, singing, or wearing a bell.

· If you can, travel with a group. Groups are noisier and easier for bears to detect.

· Keep in mind that bears tend to be more active at dawn and dusk so plan your hikes accordingly.

· Stay on marked trails and obey the regulations of the area you’re hiking/camping in.

· If you’re hiking in bear country, keep an eye out for tracks, scat, digs, and trees that bears have rubbed.

· Leave your dog at home!

If You Encounter a Bear

· Remain calm and avoid sudden movements.

· Give the bear plenty of room, allowing it to continue its activities undisturbed. If it changes its behavior, you’re too close so back away.

· If you see a bear but the bear doesn’t see you, detour quickly and quietly.

· If a bear spots you, try to get its attention while it is still farther away. You want it to know you’re human so talk in a normal voice and waive your arms.

· Remember that a standing bear is not always a sign of aggression. Many times, bears will stand to get a better view.

· Throw something onto the ground (like your camera) if the bear pursues you, as it may be distracted by this and allow you to escape.

· Never feed or throw food to a bear.

If a Bear Charges

· Remember that many bears charge as a bluff. They may run, then veer off or stop abruptly. Stand your ground until the bear stops, then slowly back away.

· Never run from a bear! They will chase you and bears can run faster than 30 mph.

· Don’t run towards or climb a tree. Black bears and some grizzlies can climb trees, and many bear will be provoked to chase you if they see you climbing.

· If you have pepper spray, be sure that you have trained with it before using it during an attack.

If a Grizzly Bear Attacks

· Play dead!

· Lie face down on the ground with your hands around the back of your neck.

· Stay silent and try not to move.

· Keep your legs spread apart and if you can, leave your pack on to protect your back.

· Once the bear backs off, stay quiet and still for as long as you can. Bears will often watch from a distance and come back if they see movement.

If a Black Bear Attacks

· Be loud, waive your arms, and stand your ground.

· Fight back! Be aggressive and use any object you have.

· Throw an object like a camera or something to get the bears attention to investigate it instead of you.

· Only if you are sure the bear attacking is a mother who is protecting its cubs, play dead. Otherwise, NEVER PLAY DEAD WITH BLACK BEARS! They will bite and claw at you as to investigate what you are and if it is something to eat!!

·

If you have pepper spray, use it. Begin spraying when it’s within 40 ft so it runs into the fog. Aim for the face.

The Polar Bear:
If you are traveling to the Alaska or Northern Canada regions be Polar Bear Aware. The polar bear is the most deadly of all. While his normal food is seal, they have been known, for centuries have been known to attack humans. Until the introduction of firearms, the native people of the north have lived in fear of them. Many early explorers have told horror stories of polar bear attacks. These bears are known to stalk and hunt humans. If you are in polar bear countries carry a firearm or avoid the area.

Bear Pepper Spray – Don’t leave home without it in bear country

What you don’t know CAN hurt you if you’re carrying the wrong spray.

Bear pepper spray is an important, last-resort defensive measure for anyone who spends time out of doors in Bear Country. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about this product and its proper use.

It’s absolutely essential to avoid confusing “bear spray” or “bear pepper spray” with other pepper spray products. Many people mistakenly purchase and carry one of the numerous personal defense or law enforcement pepper sprays designed for use against other humans rather than bears. The products are definitely not the same!

For defense against bruins, be sure you only purchase and carry bear spray products that meet EPA standards and are clearly labeled “for deterring attacks by bears.” Carrying the wrong product can create a false sense of security and put you at risk when it doesn’t perform as needed during a bear encounter. You’ll find a link to a list of products that meet EPA standards a little further down this page.

In addition to the above information, Chuck Bartlebaugh, Director of the Center for Wildlife Information, offers the following recommendations for minimum standards for bear pepper spray:

  • Spray distance of 25 feet under optimum conditions. (Factors such as wind, moisture and the age of the canister itself can all reduce the effective distance of the product.)
  • Minimum spray duration of 6 seconds;
  • Minimum net content of 7.9 ounces or 225 grams.

What you need to know about carrying and using bear pepper spray

Bear experts offer the following additional recommendations:

  • Bear spray should be carried in a quickly accessible location such as a hip or chest holster. If faced with a charging bear, you don’t have time to start digging in your pack. In your tent, keep the spray readily available next to your flashlight.
  • Bear spray should be used as a deterrent only in an aggressive or attacking confrontation with a bear. These products are only effective when sprayed as an airborne cloud and make direct contact with the eyes and nose of an approaching animal.
  • These products are not a repellent and should never be applied to people, tents, packs, other equipment or the surrounding area. Research at the Alaska Science Center found that the residue from the spray may actually attract bears, even several days after the product was used!
  • Keep a firm grip on the canister and aim slightly down and toward the approaching bear; many people tend to aim too high, which could allow the bear to run under the cloud of spray;
  • Don’t forget that a bear can run at speeds up to 35 miles per hour. Try to spray early enough so the bear, if charging, runs into the widest bear pepper spray cloud and has time to react to the product. If possible, spray when a charging bear is still 30 to 40 feet away.
  • Each hiker or other backcountry user should carry his or her own bear spray. You may meet more than one bear, or if you’re part of a group and only one person is carrying spray, Murphy’s Law says that person will be too far away to help when a bear poses a threat to another group member.

As with all trips, be sure to research where you are going and what wildlife is in the area. Preparation and knowledge is the key to ensuring a safe trip for you and yours. Keep an eye out for bear warnings and always talk to a ranger if you have questions or concerns.

By communicating Plateau Team Safety, we can make a difference!

Information provided by Mark Madsen, NM Dept of Game and Fish, Center for Wildlife Information and National Park Service

Today’s post comes to us courtsey of Ken Oswald Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com


OSH Small Business Guide from CDC

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has just released a “Small Business Resource Guide” designed to “help small business owners and managers deal with occupational safety and health concerns.”

Acknowledging the fact that 89% of workplaces have fewer than 20 employees with limited funds and resources, this resource guide is intended to be practical and comprehensive without requiring a major output on the part of small business owners, either in the way of finances or time.

The Resource Guide Sections are:

This is not something that was slapped together by the CDC just to say that they are addressing the issue. The is a serious resource with a whole lot of “stuff” including checklists, free software, Publications, training material, regulations, manuals, and a whole lot more.
Each one of the above links will take you to a host of pages with an absolute tons of material that’ll keep someone in your business busy for a while sorting through what pertains to your company and what doesn’t.

If you were to purchase this material is would cost you several thousand dollars so take advantage of work that’s been done for you and take advantage.

Enjoy!



OSHA’s Combustible Dust Page

In the wake of severe criticism about the delay of a set standard on combustible dust (See https://nationalsafety.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/csb-chides-osha-on-combustible-dust-standard/), OSHA has recently redesigned and restructed their Combustible Dust web page.

Divided into seven sections to reflect the natural progression from little to no knowledge of the issue to rulemaking by OSHA and other resources, the site provides a ton of information.

Acknowledging that they still have ways to go before OSHA does state that “OSHA has begun the rulemaking process to develop a combustible dust standard for general industry”.

While there is still a long way to go on the issue of combustible dust, this is a great place to start for anyone who needs to find out more and get educated.


(Click on the above image to go to the OSHA combustible web page)


10 Steps to Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls in the Workplace

10 Steps to Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls in the Workplace

Slips, trips and falls are a serious concern in the workplace. In fact, falls make up approximately 20% of all workplace injuries. They result in an average of 11 days away from work, and nearly $40,000 in costs per incident.

 

Download this free whitepaper, 10 Steps to Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls, to learn how to keep your employees safe and keep your facility in compliance with OSHAs standards for safe walking/working surfaces.

In this whitepaper, youll learn:

  • How to assess your potential for slips, trips and falls
  • 10 ways to improve your facilitys floor safety
  • Tips for facility marking and inspection
  • And more!

This guide is available on the Brady Website at: http://www.bradyid.com/bradyid/downloads/downloadsPageView.do?file=10_Steps_To_Prevent_Slips_Trips_Falls_Guide.pdf


Auto Theft, Auto Break-ins and Identity Theft

The problem of auto theft is nearly a crime epidemic with the economy getting worse, thieves become more and more desperate. The following tips on reducing auto theft and avoiding having your car stolen

Top 50 Ways to Prevent Auto Theft

Common Sense Is Your Best Defense

1. Lock your vehicle, close all windows and sun roof, and take your keys.

2. Never hide a second set of keys in or on your vehicle. Thieves know all the hiding places.

3. Dont leave valuables in plain view. Items left in the open attract thieves.

4. Dont leave important documents such as bank statements, credit card bills/statements or other personal information in your vehicle. Thieves can use this information to steal your identity and access your bank and credit card accounts.

5. Never leave the registration or title in your car. If stolen, this makes it easier for the thief to dispose of your vehicle. Keep it with your drivers license or on your person.

6. Park in well lit areas with plenty of pedestrian traffic, or when possible, in attendant lots. If you have to leave your key with an attendant, leave only the ignition and door key.

7. Never leave your vehicle running unattended. Vehicles are commonly stolen at ATMs, convenience stores, etc.

8. Always use your emergency brake and leave your transmission in park (standard transmissions should be left in gear) when parked. Also, turn the wheels toward the curb. This makes towing your vehicle more difficult. Thieves use tow trucks to steal vehicles.

9. If your vehicle is rear-wheel drive, back into your driveway. Conversely, if your vehicle is front-wheel drive, pull forward into your driveway. Always use your emergency brake. This makes towing difficult.

10. If you have a garage, use it. When parked in a garage, lock the garage as well as your vehicle and close the windows.

11. Remove the electronic ignition fuse, coil wire, rotor, distributor, or otherwise disable your vehicle if you are leaving it unattended for an extended period.

12. Dont become complacent because you drive an older vehicle. Parts from older vehicles are in great demand. In older vehicles, replace T-shaped door locks with straight locks.

13. Engrave expensive accessories and major parts with your VIN or personal identification number. This aids police in tracing stolen items.

14. If your vehicle has an alarm or other anti-theft device, use it.

15. Drop your business card, address label or other information inside your vehicle doors. This will identify you and where your vehicle was titled and registered.

Investing In Vehicle Protection

16. In high theft areas, do not rely on just one anti-theft device.

17. Stolen vehicles are more easily traced when Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) have been etched on each of the windows. It also makes your vehicle less attractive to a professional car thief.

18. Ignition kill switches halt the fuel supply.

19. Visible steering wheel locks prevent the steering wheel from being turned.

20. Floorboard locks disable the gas or brake pedals, thus preventing the use of these pedals.

21. Gearshift locks disable shifting of the transmission.

22. Tire or wheel locks prevent the vehicle from moving.

23. Hood locks prevent thieves from gaining access to your security system and battery.

24. Armored collars around the steering column deter thieves from breaking into the steering column to get to the ignition wires.

Electric Security Systems

25. Audio alarms emit loud warning sounds when the doors, hood or trunk are opened.

26. Vehicle tracking systems, which are installed in your vehicle, are activated when your vehicle is stolen. These systems alert the police to the location of your vehicle for quick recovery.

Beware Of “Hot” Used Car Deals

27. Be suspicious of any deal that seems too good to be true.

28. When buying from a private individual, make sure the title and registration match the name and address of the person selling the vehicle.

29. Be cautious of a seller with no fixed address, place of employment, phone number or who only has a mobile phone or pager number.

30. Beware of a loose dashboard. It may indicate the VIN plate was replaced.

31. Thieves may remove the VIN plate and replace it with one from a similar wrecked vehicle. Be sure the VIN plate on the vehicles dash is present, secure and has no loose rivets. If the VIN plate is scratched or bent, tampering may have occurred. All 1970 and newer autos produced in North America have stainless steel rosette rivets with six petals and a hole in the middle. They are difficult to scratch with a knife. If in doubt about plate authenticity, check with a law enforcement agency.

32. The VIN on the dash must match the VIN on the registration, title and federal safety inspection sticker on the drivers door.
33. Make sure the federal safety inspection sticker located on the door or door jam is securely in place and none of the numbers appear to have been tampered with.

34. Check the engine identification number with the VIN and the federal safety inspection number on the driver door to ensure a match.

35. An excessively loose ignition switch may indicate tampering. Check the switch for chisel or pull marks.

36. Be wary of fresh paint on a newer vehicle. This may indicate an attempt to change the vehicles identity.

37. Check the inspection and license plate stickers to be sure they are current and issued by the same state.

38. Titles, especially from other states, and many registrations cards can be altered or counterfeited. Therefore, demand the title and registration card before paying and look them over carefully for apparent alterations. Also, make sure the title matches the registration.

39. Question the seller if the registration was recently issued on an older vehicle. This may

indicate the car was stolen in another state and fraudulently titled.

Carjacking

40. As you approach your vehicle be alert, have a plan of action and have your keys in your hands. Check around, under and in your vehicle for suspicious individuals. Immediately leave the scene if you have any suspicions.

41. If confronted, avoid verbal/physical confrontation — do exactly as you are told. If at all possible, never leave in the car with the carjacker.

42. Remember, you are more important than your vehicle, purse, wallet or any other valuables. Give them up and get out of harms way.

43. Once the thief leaves, immediately contact law enforcement. Be ready to provide a complete description of your vehicle, license plate and the suspects.

44. Once in your vehicle, lock your doors and keep the windows up while driving.

45. Leave room to maneuver around other vehicles when coming to a stop and be wary of people asking for directions or handing out fliers.

46. If bumped from behind and it seems suspicious, call the police from your car or move at a slow speed to a well lit, well populated area and immediately call the police.

Prevent Motorcycle Theft

47. Park in a well lit area or park with a group of other motorcycles.

48. Lock motorcycles together using a quality lock and chain or secure bikes to an immovable object when possible. Use a dual-lock system — a fork lock and a wheel lock.

49. Keep your vehicle registration and insurance information on your person. Secure your valuables. Dont leave jackets, helmets or any other valuables on your motorcycle.

50. Check on your motorcycle periodically.

If your car or items were stolen from your car you need to protect from Identity Theft

How do thieves steal an identity?

Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifying information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. For identity thieves, this information is as good as gold.
Skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to get hold of your information, including:

1. Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.

2. Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.

3. Phishing. They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.

4. Changing Your Address. They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.

5. Old-Fashioned Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records, or bribe employees who have access.

6. Pretexting. They use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.

How can you find out if your identity was stolen?
The best way to find out is to monitor your accounts and bank statements each month, and check your credit report on a regular basis. If you check your credit report regularly, you may be able to limit the damage caused by identity theft. Unfortunately, many consumers learn that their identity has been stolen after some damage has been done.

· You may find out when bill collection agencies contact you for overdue debts you never incurred.

· You may find out when you apply for a mortgage or car loan and learn that problems with your credit history are holding up the loan.

· You may find out when you get something in the mail about an apartment you never rented, a house you never bought, or a job you never held.

Take steps to respond to and recover from identity theft as soon as you suspect it.

Contact the FTC, place a alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the situation online at www.ftc.gov or call 1-877-438-4338. Or at

Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Get your free credit report once a year at www.annualcreditreports.com

Make it more difficult for thieves to take your personal property and identity. A great deal of Identity Theft prevention is Awareness it is an effective weapon against many forms identity theft. Be aware of how information is stolen and what you can do to protect yours, monitor your personal information to uncover any problems quickly, and know what to do when you suspect your identity has been stolen. Safety first, Safety Always!

Information from FBI, FTC and Clovis Police Dept

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com