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This show is about living a happier, healthier, and safer life. In every episode, you'll discover the latest tools, tips, and information to help you stay safe in your home, online, and while out and about in our risk-filled world.

Safe Living Today Stephen Carter

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This show is about living a happier, healthier, and safer life. In every episode, you'll discover the latest tools, tips, and information to help you stay safe in your home, online, and while out and about in our risk-filled world.

    Ripped Off by a Store or Online? Here's What to Do!

    Ripped Off by a Store or Online? Here's What to Do!

    Have you been ripped off by a store or online?

    In this episode you learn what actions you can take to get your money back from a brick and mortar or online company that sold you a shoddy product, failed to deliver any product at all, failed to honor their return policy, improperly billed your credit card, or that otherwise acted in an unethical or illegal way.

    Actions can include:

    - Use of the 3-day "cooling off" period for some purchases.

    - Consumer Protection Agencies at the local or State level.

    - Social media.

    - State Attorney General's office.

    - Better Business Bureau.

    - And more including why making purchases with a credit card rather than cash or debit cards offer major protections if there is a problem with the product or service.

    Resources mentioned in this podcast episode include:

    "How to Get Your Money Back After a Bad Purchase", from, "The Verge"; link https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/25/20982536/returns-refund-purchase-complaint-problem-broken-better-business-bureau-courts.

    Consumer Federation of America: link: https://consumerfed.org/press_release/nations-top-consumer-complaints-2/

    Host: Stephen Carter
    Podcast website: http://SafeLivingToday.com

    • 5 min.
    Consumer Product and Food Recalls 10-31 to 11-06-2019

    Consumer Product and Food Recalls 10-31 to 11-06-2019

    Learn primary product recalls as reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and primary food product recalls as reported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 31 October to 6 November 2019.

    For details on all product recalls as reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, go to https://www.cpsc.gov/.

    For FDA food product recalls go to https://www.foodsafety.gov/.

    For previous episodes and to subscribe at zero cost go to www.SafeLivingToday.com. Email host Stephen Carter at SafeLivingToday@gmail.com with comments or questions.

    • 6 min.
    Protect Your Residence During Crime Prevention Month!

    Protect Your Residence During Crime Prevention Month!

    Protect Your Residence During National Crime Prevention Month

    October is National Crime Prevention Month. Celebrated since 1984, after a Presidential proclamation, it’s a perfect time to assess risk and take action to enhance your safety and the safety of your family members.

    But where should you start?

    I suggest beginning with your home.

    Get a Crime Prevention Inspection From Police

    Whether you live in a house or apartment, contact your local police department on their non-emergency phone number and ask if they have a crime prevention unit. Most police agencies have specially trained crime prevention specialists who will come to your residence, conduct a security inspection, and offer recommendations to increase safety.

    Protecting Your House

    Here are some suggestions if you live in a house:

    Walk around your home and look for thick shrubbery near doors and windows where a criminal could hide. Cut shrubbery down and back as much as possible. The idea is to create open sight lines from your driveway and street so anyone near the house can be easily seen.

    Test your outside lights and replace any burned out bulbs. Are lights bright enough to illuminate doors and other potential areas of risk properly? If more light is needed, install brighter bulbs or add additional outside lighting. Ideally, all sides of your home should be illuminated. Keep lights on from dusk to dawn.

    If you have a ladder in your yard, bring it in. An easily accessible ladder is an invitation for a criminal to break-in through a second story window.

    If you have a patio door, secure it using what’s called a charley bar (available at virtually any hardware store) or by placing a wooden dowel in the sliding door track. You can also purchase a pair of locally activated door or window alarms for less than $25.

    Ensure you have and use a peephole or an outside camera for your entrance door. Have and use a security chain or take other precautions before opening the door to anyone you don’t know. Have a phone in hand when answering the door in case you need to call for help.

    Consider installing a home alarm. Many modern alarm systems are modular and wireless. Professional monitoring is available costing roughly $15 to $25 per month, but if that’s not affordable you can have an alarm sound locally if a break-in is detected. Many modern systems can be set to notify you through a smartphone app allowing video and audio connection.

    Keep doors and windows locked whether you are home or out.

    Protecting Your Apartment

    If you live in an apartment with a first floor outside entrance, all of the suggestions about securing a house will apply.

    If you live in a building with an interior entrance door, ensure the hallway leading to your door is well lit. Have and use a door peephole or video camera to monitor the area near your door. Use a security chain or take other appropriate precautions before opening the door to someone you don't know, even if your building requires an access card or code to enter the main lobby.

    Consider installing a modern modular wireless alarm if your budget allows.

    More Crime Prevention Tips

    Here are other Stay Safe blogposts focused on helping to keep you safe:

    Are You Practicing Safe Parking in Lots and Garages: https://www.frea.support/single-post/2019/03/18/Are-You-Practicing-Safe-Parking-in-Lots-and-Garages

    Are You as Safe as Possible When Walking in the World: a href="https://www.frea.support/single-post/2019/03/05/Are-You-as-Safe-as-Possible-When-Walking-in-the-World"...

    • 10 min.
    How to Avoid Danger When Walking on Campus

    How to Avoid Danger When Walking on Campus

    Safe Living Today Episode 30 Show Notes

    Episode Title: How to Avoid Danger When Walking on Campus
    It’s that time of year. Students arrive on campuses ready to dive into new academic and living adventures. 
    It’s also a time to remind ourselves how important it is to stay safe on and off campus.
    Whether you’re living in a college residence or you're a commuter, walking long distances to class locations and social happenings is a fact of life for most students. As fall turns into winter, more and more of those footsteps happen during the night.
    Here is a simple, easy to remember way to help you or loved ones stay safe when walking on or near campus.
    The SAFE Walking Method
    Think of the word, SAFE. Each letter in SAFE represents an aspect of the SAFE Walking Method.
    S - Scan the environment: Keep your attention on your surroundings and NOT on your cellphone. Have your cellphone turned on and easily accessible, but avoid looking at the phone’s screen. Avoid also listening to music or other audio that draws attention away from awareness of your surroundings. Nothing is more important than staying present as you notice the people, topography, and area activity as you’re walking.
    A - Avoid danger zones: Avoid dark, poorly lit areas during evening and nighttime hours. Avoid shortcuts taking you in back of buildings, near wooded or overgrown areas, or away from main roads and walkways. 
    If you’re in a parking lot, avoid walking between parked cars. Walk in the travel lanes if designated walkways aren’t available, being careful to watch for moving cars from the front, back, and sides. Pay attention to cars pulling out of parking spots. Drivers may not see you, so be attentive and stay safe.
    F - Friends: Get a little help from your friends! If possible, walk in a group. If there are others walking in the area try to stay close to people walking in the same direction. 
    E - Erect and Confident: Stand tall with head up as you walk erect and briskly in a confident posture. Criminals are drawn to people who appear timid, inattentive, or fearful.  Know how to activate 911 or other emergency number on your cellphone. Have keys, access cards, and your cellphone easily accessible. You don’t want to fumble through your purse or book bag looking for these items as you approach your destination.
    Other Safety Actions
    There are other actions that can help keep you safe. These include wearing a personal loud, shrill alarm easily activated if you sense danger, having a loud police type whistle, and having pepper spray easily available. 
    While these personal security products may be helpful in a threatening situation, it’s vital to practice using them before they’re needed in an emergency. This is particularly true for pepper spray.
    One More Vital Item: Trust Your Gut
    One really, really important additional item: Trust your gut. If you sense a threat, act on that internal “something’s not right” signal!
    These SAFE walking actions suggested in this post require only your awareness and attention. If you feel threatened, act immediately by calling for help or taking other steps to eliminate the threat and ensure your safety.
    Recapping Your SAFE Walking Actions
    To recap, your SAFE walking actions are:
    * Scan the environment.

    * Avoid danger zones.

    * Friends and Others Walking: Walk with friends and other people in a group if possible.

    * Erect and Confident: Assume an erect and confident posture as you walk briskly to your destination.

    Practicing SAFE walking on campus and in other locations will help you reduce risk and enhance personal safety.
    More Safety Tips
    For more tips on staying safe when on campus and public places, walking, or using parking lots...

    • 9 min.
    Are You Eligible for Money From the Equifax - FTC Settlement?

    Are You Eligible for Money From the Equifax - FTC Settlement?

    Recall there was a massive data breach of consumer records at Equifax in 2017. This breach affected 147 million Americans and a number of people in other countries.

    On July 22, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission announced a $700 million settlement with Equifax.

    Depending on whether you suffered a loss / identify theft or whether your records were stolen but there’s no evidence you’ve been a target, you may be eligible for compensation.

    There are a number of variables related to eligibility and compensation, so it’s vital to determine if your records are involved and what you may be entitled to.

    You’ll hear the big picture info in the podcast episode. You’ll also want to visit the news stories and websites listed below for additional details and instructions about how to learn if you’re eligible and how to submit a claim.

    All claims must be filed by January 22, 2020, so don’t delay.

    Note: if the articles and websites are not hot linked, copy the entire URL, enter the URL into the browser address field, and hit “Enter”.

    Relevant Articles and Websites:

    Yahoo Finance News / “USA Today” Article:

    “USA Today” Article: “What does Equifax's $700M settlement over its data breach mean for you?”:

    Equifax Data Breach Information and Submission Site:

    FTC Consumer Information About Filing:
    https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/ and, https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/refunds/equifax-data-breach-settlement

    • 3 min.
    7 Ways to Stay Safe for National Safety Month

    7 Ways to Stay Safe for National Safety Month

    7 Ways to Stay Safe for National Safety Month

    June is National Safety Month! In this episode, I’ll share seven simple, easy ways to enhance your safety and the safety of your loved ones.

    With June being National Safety Month, I’m recording this episode for two of my podcasts. Those are, “Safe Living Today” and “Weird and Whacky Holidays”.

    Of course, Living Safely is neither weird nor whacky. As a former Chief of Police, Security Director and leader of the Life Safety and Business Recovery group for one of the largest Financial Services Companies in the world, keeping people safe is one of my passions.

    A mindset of safety is a wonderful way to enhance your physical and emotional wellbeing. It also can save you money and help you avoid accidents that bring on pain and suffering.

    Here are my seven safety suggestions:

    1. June 1 is the beginning of the hurricane season in the Northern hemisphere. Now is a great time to stock up on non-perishable food and water so you can ride out an extended power outage. Plan on at least one to two gallons of bottled water per person per day. If you’re using well water, you’ll need additional water for the toilet I suggest having enough food and water to sustain you and your family for at least a week and preferably longer. There is a “Use by” date on water containers, so check and make sure the water is fresh. Act now to stockpile adequate food, water, a working battery or hand cranked radio, fresh batteries, and at least two working flashlights. If you have pets, ensure you have adequate food for them as well. For a more expansive guide on stocking supplies and preparing for disasters, I’ll have a link to an earlier “Safe Living Today” episode entitled, “Hurricane Irma - Prepare and Stay Safe” plus the link to an excellent guide prepared by the Red Cross and FEMA linked in the show notes. YouTube version of podcast: https://youtu.be/jePlA_S5Xl8. Red Cross - FEMA Guide: https://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf.

    2. Have a family meeting and go over fire safety procedures and escape routes. Remind everyone of the “drop and roll” method to snuff out clothes fires. Have a working fire extinguisher, working smoke detectors, and Carbon Monoxide detectors. If you’re using battery operated detectors, change the batteries. Even better, upgrade to the new long life detectors.

    3. Have a well stocked First Aid kit in your home and car. Ensure everyone in the family knows basic First Aid and CPR.

    4. Create a safety kit for your car. Flashlights, fresh batteries, a working battery or crank radio, blankets, water, and non-perishable snacks should all be part of your kit. Have cellphone charging cords in the car. If you have people with Android and iPhones, you need at least one correct cord for each type of cellphone.

    5. Ensure there is a working car jack, tire wrench, and spare tire in the car. Ensure all drivers know how to change a flat tire. Keep jumper cables in the car and ensure drivers know how to use them. I highly recommend having a portable battery charger capable of jumpstarting your car. You’ll find them on Amazon and other online retailers and they’re available at most auto parts stores as well. Remember to charge them every two to three months and then put them back in the car.

    6. Have a “Go Bag” ready that contains medications, copies important documents, and anything else you want to keep safe. Make sure you have copies of insurance policies, medical information, insurance ID cards, medical directives, drivers licenses, and Social Security cards.

    7. Look around your home or workspace and identify and eliminate any electrical, tripping, or other safety hazards.

    To summarize,

    Stock up on water and non-perishable...

    • 6 min.

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