Emergency Preparedness: Never Too Early or Too Late to Plan

Hurricane

Large Hurricane Getting Ready to Hit Land

With Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy hitting much of the east coast a couple of weeks ago, followed last week by a strong Nor’ Easter that hit most of the same areas, it’s a good time to remember that all homes and autos should have an emergency kit.

In the western parts of the country, many areas experienced (and some still are dealing with) wildfires. And, no matter where one lives, floods, earthquakes, and/or tornadoes unfortunately also are real possibilities.

Here is a list of things, many taken from FEMA.gov and www.Ready.gov, which has lists of what an emergency preparedness kit should include, as well as pointers to prepare for and deal with for hurricanes, earthquakes. and tornadoes. (Other pages discuss everything from floods  to wildfires to landslides and hurricanes.)

As we were preparing for Sandy, we noted (as we did last year when wrote about hurricane preparedness), FEMA and many state emergency management agencies are adding solar flashlights, emergency lights and solar chargers to the list of things that can help.  While it’s true that you can’t always depend on the sun, it’s also true that you won’t always be able to depend on gasoline for generators, as far too many people have learned over the past couple of weeks. Continue reading

Tips for Safer Online Shopping

This post is the opinion of the author

This post reflects the author's opinion and does not necessarily represent the opinion of any entities with whom she is now or has been associated.

Shopping online is safer today than ever before, even though crooks continue to try to find ways to hack into systems, intercept your transactions or emails, and use “phishing” techniques to gather private information from you.

If you do shop online or over the phone, there are some things that you can do, and things to look at carefully, to make far safer.

Start with Your Computer Habits

Yup.  The weakest link could be your own computer and security habits (or lack thereof.)

All of the things discussed below aren’t much use if you don’t have good firewall and security software on your own computer.

Some of the most common brands are Norton™ by Symantec™ or McAfee™ Symantec, along with proprietary software, are used by many banks, financial institutions and payment processors including the largest banks in the United States.

Continue reading