Monthly Archives: January 2015

Let’s talk WINTER TIRES

By | Auto | One Comment

After years of justifying that my well thread all season radials were good enough for the winter roads, I finally decided to invest in a set of winter tires this year.

For the money, it was a wise move and it made a world of difference in my driving experience.

When you consider that winter tires lengthen the use of our summer tires, the cost difference is not that great.  A combination of snows and summers should last about 4 years on average vs just summer/all weathers with same mileage, about 2 years.

The majority of Ontario drivers understand the importance of snow tires for safer driving, but only about half actually install them on their own vehicles, according to a recent survey commissioned by Centennial College’s School of Transportation.

Among just over 800 Ontario drivers surveyed online, 79% said that snow tires create a safer winter driving experience, with 87% also understanding that all-wheel drive vehicles also require the special tires.

Still, only 53% of drivers in the province actually install snow tires, the survey suggests.

A slightly higher percentage of women install the tires (55% compared with 52% of men). That’s despite a higher percentage of women (47%) than men (28%) saying they get nervous and stressed about winter driving.

Forty percent of men also say they are confident in their winter driving skills, compared with only 16% of women surveyed.

Overall, 44% of drivers between 18 and 34 say winter driving makes them stressed, compared with only 31% for those 55 and older.

“The vast majority of Ontario drivers know they should use winter tires but only half do so,” Stephen Leroux, a Centennial College automotive professor commented in a statement on the survey results. “This truly is a conundrum for all road users.”

Several Ontario insurance companies now give discounts of up to 10%, if your car is equipped with winter tires from November – April of each year. Isn’t that another good reason to get them installed?

What to Do if Your House is Broken Into

By | Home | No Comments

Despite your best efforts, a burglar may still penetrate your home. If you return to find that your house has been robbed:

  • Don’t stay – Always think of your safety first
  • Never confront a burglar or block the exit route
  • Go immediately to a neighbour’s home or nearby location and phone the police

13 Things to Do Before Going on Vacation

By | Home | No Comments

If you are going on vacation, it is especially important to make your home appear inhabited. To fully protect your home you will need to enlist the help of trusted neighbours, family and friends. Here are some things that you can do:

  • Stop all mail delivery.
  • Arrange for a neighbour to cut the grass or shovel snow.
  • Cancel all deliveries during the time you will be away.
  • Maintain normal lighting patterns by using electronic timers.
  • Ask a neighbour to put one of their garbage bags in front of your house on collection day.
  • Leave a radio on, with a timer if necessary to simulate normal use.
  • Ask a neighbour to park in your driveway.
  • Arrange for neighbours to pick up flyers.
  • Don’t talk about your vacation plans with strangers or service people.
  • Use your work address on your luggage tags so a potential burglar won’t know where your empty house is.
  • If practical, remove valuables from your home. Small valuables should be stored in a safety deposit box.
  • Lock garage door.

Note: Before you leave, you should tell someone you trust:

  • That you will be away
  • How long you will be absent
  • Whether or not you will have a house sitter
  • The number where you can be reached

17 Tips for Outside Your Home

By | Home | No Comments

There are many things that you can do to the exterior of your house or in the yard to deter burglars and make it more difficult to force entry.

  • Keep your shrubbery cut back so that it doesn’t block windows and doors.
  • Secure window air conditioners from the inside.
  • Illuminate as much of your property as possible.
  • Exterior doors should be solid, not hollow. Metal doors provide the best protection against forced entry.
  • Use a fencing style that would not conceal a burglar’s activities. Remember if you can’t see out, others can’t see in.
  • Secure any glass that is less than 40′ from a door lock. Either coat exterior glass with an acrylic or polycarbonate to strengthen, or replace with laminated or tempered glass.
  • Door hinges that are on the outside should have a non-removable center pin that can’t be tampered with.
  • Install deadbolt locks.
  • Dogs are great deterrents to burglars. Even a strategically placed “Beware of Dog” sticker can make a burglar think twice. Of course, vicious dogs are never a good idea. If your dog bites someone, you might find yourself in court. A dog that barks is better than one that bites.
  • Place hinged security bars over basement windows. Remember to keep the key nearby for emergency exits.
  • Pin sliding patio doors together when closed. Another easy security step is to drill a hole in the upper track and insert a screw that extends out into the runner to prevent the door from being lifted up and out of its track.
  • Ensure that a burglar cannot access the roof from high trees or a ladder left outside.
What NOT to Do
  • Don’t put up a nameplate outside of your house with your full name. A burglar can use this information to look up your number in the phone book and call to see if you are home.
  • Don’t leave a note on the door or in the mailbox telling a friend/family member that you aren’t home.
  • Don’t leave spare keys in an obvious place such as the mailbox or under the front door mat. This makes it very easy for a burglar to rob your house quickly without forcing entry.
  • Don’t leave cash and handbags in view in your home.
  • Don’t leave any doors unlocked when you are at the other end of the house or in the yard.

3 Quick Tips for Inside your Home

By | Home | No Comments

The goal of indoor crime proofing is to secure your premises, and to make them appear occupied at all times. Here are a few simple tips:

  • Secure your premises.
    • Close blinds and curtains at night so that a burglar can’t scope your belongings.
    • Lock all doors and windows before leaving.
    • Lock windows so that they can’t be opened from the outside. If they can’t be locked, you can pin them by drilling a hole through both window frames and inserting a bolt or metal pin. The pin must be easily removable for emergency situations.
    • Home burglar alarm systems are a great deterrent. Even if you have an alarm system, don’t neglect the other security measures available to you. An alarm provides an extra layer of security, but is no replacement for good common sense. Alarm owners should still do what they can to make sure their home is not an attractive target for thieves.
  • Make your home look occupied at all times.
    • Use timers to maintain normal lighting patterns.
    • Leave a radio on when you are away from your home for short periods of time.
  • Protect your valuables.
    • Consider marking your valuables indelibly (engraved) with your drivers licence or social insurance number.
    • Take an inventory of your home with a videotape and/or photographs.
    • Keep jewellery and negotiables in a safety deposit box or an unlikely place (i.e. Not your bedroom).

Crime Prevention Tips

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Burglary is always a crime of opportunity. Here are some interesting facts you should know about burglary:

  • Studies show that most burglars attack during the daytime when dense bushes and trees protect them from view, and the building appears unoccupied
  • One-third of burglars enter from the basement
  • One-third of burglars force entry through a window or door
  • One-third of burglars gain access from an unlocked/open door or window

To best protect your home, look at it from a burglar’s perspective. What are the vulnerable parts? If you take a few simple and inexpensive steps to make sure your home is not an attractive target, you’ll greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

Slip and Fall Loss Prevention Tips

By | Business/Commercial | No Comments
  • Inspect the interior of your premises on a regular basis for unsafe conditions that could lead to a slip & fall loss. Maintain a daily log of when the inspection was done, what conditions were noted and what corrective action was taken.
  • Floors should be kept clean and in good repair at all times, with loose or defective flooring being replaced immediately.
  • Ensure that aisles are kept clear and free of fallen merchandise or stock. (e.g. fruit, vegetables, clothes etc.)
  • During periods of inclement weather, all entrances should have mats or rugs to help keep the floor clean and dry. Damaged mats should be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Non-slip wax should be used on floor surfaces, where required.
  • Water and other spills should be mopped up immediately and a Caution-Wet Floor sign should be posted.
  • For surfaces that are consistently slippery, specialized non-slip epoxy coatings or non-skid flooring materials may be used.
  • For spills involving oil or other industrial materials, absorbent non-combustible cleaning materials should be used.
  • Ensure that all entranceways and aisles are clear of obstructions and/or promotional displays.
  • Inspect the exterior of your premises on a regular basis for unsafe conditions that could lead to a slip & fall loss. Maintain a daily log of when the inspection was done, what conditions were noted and what corrective action was taken.
  • Any damage to stairs, sidewalks and pavement should be repaired as soon as possible, with signs and barriers posted, until such time as repairs are completed.
  • A snow and ice removal program should be implemented and adhered to, with a single individual having responsibility for the program.
  • Have the appropriate equipment, tools and materials available for use by your staff, in the case of a weather related emergency. e.g. shovels, salt, sand etc.
  • Professional snow removal contractors should be contracted to plow, sand and salt your parking and walkway facilities. Ensure that the contractor keeps a comprehensive log of the work performed.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and ensure that melt water is directed away from sidewalks and walkways. Check that exterior lighting is adequate and check on a regular basis for malfunctioning light fixtures.
  • Establish and maintain a daily garbage removal program, whereby the walkways and sidewalks are swept and the debris removed on a regular basis.

Retail Loss Prevention Tips

By | Business/Commercial | No Comments
  • Never store combustible material, such as cardboard or paper, near heaters or electrical equipment and remove combustible waste on a regular basis.
  • In sprinklered buildings, keep stock more than 18 inches below the sprinkler heads, so as not to interfere with the system’s effectiveness in the event of a fire.
  • Avoid overloading of electrical outlets, particularly in older buildings equipped with fuses instead of circuit breakers.
  • Keep all of your stock off the floor, stored on skids, shelves, or racks.
  • Make sure the front, rear and interior of your business premises are well lit, particularly when closed for business.
  • Arrange the interior layout of the store so that the till area is clearly visible from the exterior of the building.
  • Limit the amount of cash in the till by using a safe or money-limiting device.
  • If your store is open long hours, consider the installation of closed circuit television cameras and hold-up alarms.
  • Make regular bank deposits, but vary the timing of the deposits and the route taken.
  • Install anti-shoplifting devices and surveillance equipment or keep high priced merchandise under lock and key in display cases.
  • Ensure that life and safety features such as fire alarms, exit signs and emergency lights are operational and serviced as per applicable fire code specifications.
  • Do not block exits with stock or equipment. Ensure that all exit doors are unlocked during store hours.

Repair Garage Loss Prevention Tips

By | Business/Commercial | No Comments
  • Establish, post and strictly enforce a rule forbidding customers from entering the service bay area. By establishing a clean, safe waiting area for customers, you will significantly reduce the possibility of “slip and fall” types of losses. An added benefit is that customers will not disturb your mechanics while they are working on vehicles.
  • Ensure that you always get signed customer work orders that outline the authorized repairs. This will eliminate any disputes as to the work that was authorized by the customer.
  • When preparing a customer’s work order, all completed repairs should be listed along with all recommended repairs declined by the customer; the customer should sign-off the work order. Including declined recommendations in the work order could protect you from a potential liability loss.
  • Make sure that the front, rear and interior of your business premises are well lit, particularly when closed for business.
  • When overnight storage of customers’ vehicles is necessary, they should be stored inside if possible. If outside storage of vehicles is required on a regular basis, the area should be well lit, adequately fenced and padlocked overnight.
  • Establish a key control procedure with employees to limit access to customers’ keys. Keys should be kept under lock and key, within your office premises. This will reduce the accessibility of keys to potential thieves and vandals, reducing the possibility of customers’ vehicles being stolen or vandalized.
  • Limit the amount of cash in the till by using a safe or money-limiting device. Make regular bank deposits, varying the time of deposits and the route taken.
  • Ensure that you maintain accurate inventory records for all stock, including tools, automobile parts and miscellaneous retail items. In the event of a theft loss, accurate records will make it easier for the insurance adjuster to settle your claim fairly, quickly and equitably.
  • Obtain driver abstracts for all employees on a regular basis. This will help you to determine which employees should be test-driving customers’ vehicles.
  • Establish guidelines for employees as to when and who is permitted to test drive customers’ vehicles.
  • Ensure that test drives follow a predetermined route, in areas that have relatively light vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This can significantly reduce your chance of suffering a loss with a customer’s vehicle.

Commercial Vehicles Loss Prevention Tips

By | Business/Commercial | No Comments
  • Be SELECTIVE when hiring drivers for your vehicles by obtaining pre-employment checks on all employees. Your vehicles should be suitable for the type of work you do and the relative experience of your drivers. A safety conscious driver, with a clean driving and operating record, is the key to reducing the risk of personal injury to the driver and passengers as well as any damage or injury to others.
  • Drivers should NEVER pick up hitchhikers or allow anyone who is not authorized by the OWNER, to ride in the vehicle.
  • Proper MAINTENANCE improves road safety and should be completed by experienced and qualified mechanics. Regular maintenance schedules and records should be kept to prevent accidents caused by unexpected mechanical failures.
  • Inspect your vehicle every day against a standardized checklist. Keep your vehicle equipped with a flashlight, good spare tire, jack and flares in case of emergencies.
  • Proper USE of vehicles extends the life of your vehicle as well as preventing damage to the property of others. Drive on well-maintained and well-travelled roads. Travel at speeds that are not in excess of the posted speed limit. Properly secured loads prevent your load from spilling on the roadways causing damage to others. Improper loading or overloading leads to load shift and/or upset or rollover. Vehicles should only be used for their intended purpose.
  • Always lock your vehicle and take the keys with you, even if it is only for a few minutes.
  • Never leave the engine running while your vehicle is unattended.
  • Safeguard your keys – NEVER keep your vehicle keys or business keys on the same key ring and NEVER attach identification tags to them.
  • Valuable items exposed to view are an invitation to thieves, e.g. log books, delivery schedules, cash, cheques. Drivers should NEVER reveal the contents of their vehicles, their loads, their destination or leave their loads unattended.
  • Deliveries should not be made unless the receiving party signs them for.
  • Parking in well-lit areas is important for personal safety and for the protection of your vehicle and cargo. Keep your vehicle in a locked garage or protected location when not in use.
  • Choose your anti-theft devices carefully. There are many types of anti-theft devices available to protect your vehicle and cargo. Choose the mechanical device, alarm or electronic immobilizer that is best suited to protect your vehicle and cargo.