Are you planning to welcome trick or treaters to your home this month? Here are some suggestions to prepare your property for safe Halloween fun.
1. Clean your walkways.
Jack-o-lanterns are cute, but they are also tripping hazards. Remove decorations and all clutter or debris such as toys, yard tools or twigs from your sidewalks, steps and walkways.
2. Clear the yard.
Ideally, kids will stay on the walkway and front porch as they retrieve their candy. However, you will want to clear your yard so curious and excited kids don’t trip on any toys, branches or yard tools.
3. Repair broken sidewalks and steps.
Inspect your entryway and steps carefully. Then repair any broken stepping stones, loose railings or other hazards.
4. Install lighting.
Your front porch light is turned on to welcome trick or treaters, but you may also need additional lighting to ensure safety. Solar-powered walkway lights or a string of lights can illuminate your walkway and porch.
5. Change your location.
Instead of making kids walk up your long driveway or steep steps, stand or sit in a location that’s easy for them to access.
6. Lock doors and windows.
On trick or treat night, your attention is focused on your front door. Lock all the other doors and windows in your house so no one can gain access to your home while you’re out front. Remember to lock your garage and car, too.
7. Secure valuables.
Move your grill, mower and other valuables to the shed or another secure location. With this tip, you prevent potential burglars from adding your home to their future target list.
8. Protect your pets.
Some kids are scared of animals. Also, pets can become startled and bolt or bite when they see strange costumes or dozens of noisy kids. Always secure your pets so they and the kids are safe.
9. Extinguish candles.
Open flames pose a fire hazard. As an alternative, try battery-powered bulbs, or install Halloween-themed covers on your flashlights.
10. Consider allergies when choosing candy.
Many kids are allergic to nuts or dairy. Place a teal pumpkin on your step to show trick or treaters that you offer safe alternatives like books, stickers or toys.
11. Update your property and homeowners’ insurance policies.
Despite your best efforts to promote safety, someone could be injured while on your property (ask about Personal Umbrella Insurance – a surprising low annual cost for protection). Be sure your property and homeowners’ insurance policies are updated and include adequate coverage.
Trick or treating is a fun family activity. As you give out treats this year, follow these safety tips. They secure your property and reduce your liability risks.
October, Adopt a Shelter Dog month, is a great time to add a dog to your family. Be careful which breed you adopt, though. Insurance companies use data from insurance claims and public health studies to create a high risk dog breed list, and your homeowners insurance premiums can increase based on the type of dog you adopt. You can save money when you choose a dog that’s not on the high risk list.
Working Breed Dogs
Agile, powerful and intelligent, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and Siberian Huskies are also fiercely protective. If they’re not trained properly, these breeds could be potentially dangerous, especially to young children and small pets.
Loyal and protective, American Pitbull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers have been bred to hunt. These traits mean they can become aggressive and tenacious if they’re cornered or frightened by one of your family members or guests.
Police departments, military personnel and ranch hands appreciate this breed because the dogs are intelligent, hard-working and powerful. They’re also suspicious of strangers and won’t back down, which makes them a challenging breed for inexperienced owners to handle.
Independent and strong Chow Chows are often kept as companions. These fluffy dogs can be aloof and stubborn, though, and should only be adopted by experienced dog owners.
Wolf Hybrid and Presa Canarios dogs exhibit strength and protective characteristics. However, they can also be unpredictable and quick to attack, making them potentially dangerous breeds. Friendly and docile Great Danes are listed on the high risk list, too, because of their size.
A dog adds fun and companionship to your home and family, and adopting a shelter dog is socially responsible. Before you choose a new pet, though, consider whether or not it will increase your homeowners insurance cost. If so, you may choose a different breed or reduce your home insurance premiums by installing a dog fence or raising your deductible.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) occurs annually in October. Started in 2003 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and private sector sponsors and nonprofit collaborators that form the National Cyber Security Alliance, this annual event promotes cybersecurity and recommends resources for online safety. You, your family and/or your company can make several preparations this month.
Host an Educational Event
Begin planning an open house, expo, lecture, or other educational event that focuses on cybersecurity. Depending on your company, you may decide to focus your educational efforts on information that will benefit senior citizens, college students or families. For example, your IT specialist could present advice that helps consumers avoid cybercrime, or you could show customers how to implement security protocols on their electronic devices. Get creative as you prepare to raise cybersecurity awareness during an educational event.
Cybersecurity training should occur year-round, but your employees may be especially receptive to security tips during a month that’s focused on raising awareness. Take advantage of this annual opportunity to discuss topics like choosing secure passwords, securing electronic devices used for work and managing email safety. Or choose a different topic based on your unique needs.
Focus on Different Weekly Topics
This year, NCSAM includes four weekly topics. In summary, those topics include:
- Online safety at home.
- Training for a cybersecurity career.
- Ensuring online safety at work.
- Safeguarding critical infrastructure throughout the nation.
Your company can prepare to discuss these weekly topics during your events, through customer newsletters and on social media.
Utilize Your Social Media Influence
If your company has a large social media following, you have a powerful platform to raise awareness for cybersecurity. You can write blog posts that outline the importance of cybersecurity, share information about how to join the cybersecurity workforce or detail the ways your business protects data. Also, prepare infographs and other visual aids that discuss online safety tips.
Partner with Other Companies
Like NCSAM was started through a collaboration, your company can partner with other businesses as you increase cybersecurity awareness. Share the latest cybersecurity information, create resources that educate the public about cybersecurity or host an online safety seminar together.
Check your Cybersecurity Insurance Coverage
Cybersecurity insurance protects your business in many circumstances. Review your needs with your insurance agent as you ensure you have the correct amount of cybersecurity insurance for you and your company.
As your business prepares to celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, consider taking these steps now. They give you the tools you need to raise cybersecurity awareness among your employees, customers and community.