Monday, October 20, 2014

13 Halloween Safety Tips


Before your kids hit the streets in search of treats, read these 13 tips from the Philadelphia Police Department to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe Halloween:
  • Make sure your children carry a glow stick or flashlight and wear bright or reflective clothing.
  • Always use crosswalks, never cross streets between parked vehicles or diagonally across intersections.
  • Make sure your children do not go inside stranger’s homes.
  • Avoid trick-or-treating alone, go with a friend or in a group. Younger children should be accompanied by a trusted adult.
  • Make sure your children know never to approach vehicles and to stay alert for suspicious incidents.
  • Check all candy before allowing your kids to eat them. Parents, discard any homemade or unwrapped treats.
  • Masks can impair or block your little goblin’s eyesight. Ensure that your children’s masks fit properly or consider using non-toxic makeup.
  • Only trick-or-treat at houses where the lights are on.
  • While driving through your neighborhoods, use extra care and drive slowly!
  • Consider attending or organizing a party in your home, school, or community center as an alternative to trick-or-treating.
  • Map your route before going out and have a plan for what to do in case you get separated.
  • Teach your children to draw attention to themselves if anyone should try to grab them. Tell them to make every effort to escape by walking, running, pulling away, yelling, kicking, or otherwise attracting attention.
  • Any and all suspicious activity should be reported to police immediately by calling 911.
Be careful. Be vigilant. Help ensure the safety of our children so that each one of us can have a happy and safe Halloween.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Participate in the Great NorthEast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management is inviting individuals, families and organizations to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” on October 16 at 10:16 a.m. in the 2014 Great NorthEast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill.

“During the East Coast Earthquake that rattled Philadelphia on August 23, 2011, many local residents did not know what to do,” said Samantha Phillips, Philadelphia’s Director of Emergency Management. “This earthquake drill is the perfect time to learn and practice how to safely react to an earthquake.” 

In the event of an earthquake, follow these safety tips:

  • DROP to the ground.
  • Take COVER under a sturdy table, desk or other piece of furniture.
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
If cover is not available, use your arms to cover your face and head, and crouch in an inside corner of a building. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors, walls and anything that could fall on top of you. Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. 

If you are outdoors, stay outdoors. Move away from buildings, street lights, and utility wires. Stay in the open until the shaking stops. 

If you are in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly and safely as possible. Stay in your vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, utility wires, bridges and overpasses. 

“In addition to participating in this drill,” said Phillips, “residents should sign up for ReadyNotifyPA Emergency Alerts from Philadelphia officials, so they can be informed and stay informed during any emergency in Philadelphia.” 

To sign up for ReadyNotifyPA emergency text and email alerts, visit, click on Philadelphia County and follow the sign up instructions,  or simply text PHILA to 411911.  

In 2013, more than 24.9 million people registered for ShakeOut drills worldwide. To register for the 2014 Great NorthEast ShakeOut, visit

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management at You can also follow @PhilaOEM on Twitter or find them on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Homeland Security: See It, Report It

Last week was Homeland Security Week, but the Philadelphia Police Department Homeland Security Unit is always seeking information regarding suspicious activity and they need your help. Forward any information to them, no matter how insignificant it may appear:
If you see someone or something suspicious that may cause immediate life-threatening danger, report it to the nearest police or security officer, or call 9-1-1.

A suspicious person may be someone who is:

  • In an unauthorized area;
  • In the wrong place or appears lost;
  • Dressed in oversize clothing that appears to be concealing something; and
  • Not wearing company ID in a facility where a visible badge is required
Suspicious activity may be a person who is:
  • Photographing, recording or sketching the exterior of a facility that would arouse suspicion beyond of a reasonable person;
  • Loitering and/or watching customers or employees;
  • Acting in a disorderly manner that alarms or disturbs others;
  • Demonstrating unusual interest in facilities, buildings or infrastructure beyond mere casual or professional interest;
  • Claiming to be a delivery person, contractor, law enforcement officer, reporter or service technician without proper identification;
  • Questioning individuals at a level beyond mere curiosity about particular facets of a facility;
  • Asking specific questions about key personnel;
  • Testing security interactions with or challenges to installations, personnel or systems that reveal physical, personnel or cyber security capabilities; and
  • Attempting to obtain or conduct training in security concepts or other unusual capabilities (military weapons or tactics).
Be able to provide a description of any potential persons involved. Avoid approaching anyone who appears outwardly dangerous or threatening.

A suspicious item or vehicle that may have:

  • Any unattended bag, box, container, luggage or package in a public or general area;
  • Tanks or bottles of chemicals;
  • Unidentified mist, gas, vapor or odor;
  • Liquids appearing to be leaking or seeping from suspicious items;
  • An unidentifiable object with visible wires, antennas, batteries, timing devices, pipes with the ends covered, etc.; and
  • Any visibly dangerous weapons or explosives.
Take note of the location of the suspicious item and vehicle license plate. Refrain from using any cellular or radio device within 50 feet of a suspicious item.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fire Prevention Week: Inspect Your Home with this Fire Safety Checklist

During Fire Prevention Week, use this checklist from the Philadelphia Fire Department to inspect your home with the goal of answering “YES” to each question.

Plan To Get Out Alive
  • Do you have at least one smoke alarm on each floor of your home?
  • Do you test your 9-volt operated smoke alarms weekly and replace the battery twice a year?
  • Do you test your 10-year lithium battery operated smoke alarms weekly?
  • Have you installed a carbon monoxide alarm within 15 feet of each sleeping area and are they tested weekly?
  • Does your family have a “Home Fire Escape Plan” with a pre-determined location to meet outside?

Plan To Be Fire Safe
  • Do you always make sure that matches and smoking materials are out before disposing of them?
  • Have you made “Take Smoking Outside the Home” a safety rule for your family?
  • Do you read the warning labels on all aerosol cans? Some propellants are highly flammable.
  • If you have a family member in your home using oxygen is smoking forbidden in the same room with the oxygen equipment?

Electrical Hazards
  • Are there enough electrical outlets in each room to avoid the need for multiple attachment plugs and long extension cords?
  • Do you have special circuits for heavy-duty appliances such as air conditioners?
  • Do you frequently check extension cords and appliance cords for wear?
  • Do you avoid draping extension cords and wire over pipes or nails?

Housekeeping Hazards
  • Do you keep your basement, closets and attic clear of combustible materials?
  • Do you keep paint, varnish and other metal containers tightly closed?
  • Do you properly dispose of unwanted hazardous materials such as paint and varnish?
  • Does everyone in your family know never to use gasoline or other flammable fluids for indoor cleaning?

Heating and Cooking Hazards
  • Do you always turn off portable heaters when you go to bed?
  • Do you refill the fuel tank of your portable heaters outdoors?
  • Do you make sure that every portable heater is a safe distance away, at least 3 feet, from combustibles, such as, bedding and furniture?
  • Are your kitchen ranges, and heating equipment arranged so that curtains do not blow over or near the stove?
  • Do you make sure food that is cooking is not left on the stove unattended?
  • Do you turn pot handles inward from the edge of the stove?

For Parents
  • Do you keep matches and cigarette lighters out of the reach of children?
  • Do you leave a responsible person with your children when you for out (even for a short time)?
  • Does your babysitter know what to do in case of a fire or medical emergency?
  • Do you keep burning candles away from children and away from combustibles?