Cybercrime Awareness

In this new time of working from home and ordering everything online, we really need to make a conscious effort to protect ourselves from cybercriminals. There are specific measures we can take to protect our computers and devices from intruders. But sometimes, a little knowledge and awareness go a long way. Here is how to protect yourself from cybercrime.

 

What is cybercrime?

Before we get into how to protect yourself, let us start with some simple definitions. Cybercrime is any type of illegal activity that takes place online. Cybercriminals commit these crimes by targeting computer or device networks. The crimes can range from email password hacking to identity theft, resulting in stealing money or sensitive financial information. Cybercrime can also include things like cyber-stalking, harassment, and online bullying.

How do I protect myself from cybercrime?

There are several different things you can do to protect yourself from cybercrime. Our top recommendations include:

  • Use a full-service internet security program. Professional software that provides internet security protection can give you peace of mind while you are spending extra time online. It protects against malware, ransomware, and viruses while protecting your financial info when you shop or complete baking transactions online.
  • Use strong passwords. This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised how careless some people can be with their online passwords. Do not use the same password for multiple sites. Make your password at least ten characters long and always use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Manage your social media account settings. There are probably more security settings on your social media accounts than you realize. Ensure you are keeping your personal and private info out of the wrong hands by limiting what you share publicly.
  • Strengthen your home network. Use a strong encryption password and a VPN.

 

By having a little cybercrime awareness, you can help protect you and your family’s personal and private info online.

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

As we head into the colder months, it is time to take stock of our homes and identify tasks that need to be completed before winter fully begins. Harsh temps can wreak havoc on houses and their components, but with a little preparation, you can ensure your home will make it through the cold safely. Here are some fall home maintenance tips to prep for the colder weather.

 

Clean Those Gutters

Cleaning your gutters while the weather is still mild is just good planning. Clear gutters make room for melting snow and ice that will inevitably come this winter. You do not even need special equipment or gear. A stable ladder, gloves, and an old plastic spatula work perfectly.

Check Your Fire Detectors

You should be checking your fire alarms every six months, but if you have not lately, now’s a great time. Change the batteries and do a test on each one. Also, make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector for each level of your home.

Store Your Outdoor Furniture and Equipment

Although most outdoor furniture is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, they will last longer and keep their look if they are stored for the winter. The same goes for items such as bikes and sports equipment. Make sure your garage or shed has ample space to pack everything up safely.

Change Your Furnace Filters

You should be changing your furnace filters monthly. However, fall maintenance is the perfect time to do a pre-winter change and give your furnace a cleaning. Many furnace companies have tune-up and cleaning specials around this time of year, so give one a call if you want a more professional treatment.

Test Your Winter Tools

No one wants to wake up to the first real snow of the season to a broken snowblower. Check your winter tools in the fall. Also, make sure you have a snow shovel, a container of gas, and bags of rock salt. Being prepared makes unexpected snowstorms easier to handle.

 

Use these fall home maintenance tips to get ready for winter.

Hurricane Preparedness

It is important for New Jersey residents to always be prepared for a potential hurricane or tropical storm. Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself and your home for a hurricane.

 

Pack a Disaster Supply Kit

Having a disaster supply kit all packed and ready to go in the event of a hurricane, tropical storm, or flash flood is always a good idea. Use durable duffle bags with a canvas or waterproof material and pack them full of the essentials you will need if a bad storm hits your area. Here is what to pack:

  • Drinking Water – You will need at least one gallon per person per day—the CDC recommends storing at least three days worth of water when preparing for a hurricane.
  • Food – Have at least three days worth of non-perishable food like cans, boxes, and pouches. Do not forget a can opener!
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistle
  • Plastic Sheets and Duct Tape
  • Wet Wipes
  • Garbage bags
  • Phone Chargers
  • Battery Powered Charger
  • Cash
  • Plastic Utensils and Dishes
  • Writing Materials
  • Pain Killers like Ibuprofen
  • Baby Formula and bottles (if applicable)
  • Hand Soap
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Extra Clothes
  • Blanket

 

Prepare Your Home

There are some easy things you can do throughout the year to prepare for the next storm. These things will make it easier to secure your home when a storm warning is announced.

  • Check the seals on your doors and windows and repair if necessary
  • Shutter all your windows
  • Install heavy-duty bolts to all your doors
  • Upgrade to impact-resistant doors and windows
  • Check and upgrade the sealing on your roof
  • Fix broken shingles and tiles on your roof
  • Install metal roof straps
  • Trim tree branches within 10 feet of your house
  • Keep your gutters clear

 

By implementing these simple ideas and steps, you can make sure you and your family are as prepared as possible when a storm is heading for New Jersey.

Backyard Playground Set Safety Tips

Having a backyard playground set is an excellent opportunity to get the kids outside in the fresh air and sunshine. It can be a great asset to your home, as long as all safety precautions are considered. Here are some backyard playground set safety tips for all homeowners.

 

Professional Installation

Many homeowners opt to build their own playground sets. While this is an option, we recommend only taking on this task if you have professional carpentry or construction experience. Several things could be missed if you have never built something like a playset before, and corners should not be cut when it comes to kids’ safety. There are plenty of companies and individual carpenters that can install your playground for you. A quick internet search should be able to drum up local companies available for the job. Be sure to check reviews, references, and that they are fully insured beforehand.

Adult Supervision

While the point of installing a background playground set is to give your kids more freedom to play in the safety of their own backyard, parental supervision is still necessary. This doesn’t mean you have to be right on top of the playset, but be sure to have them within eyesight. Accidents can happen quickly, so children must not be left entirely on their own while playing on a playset.

Periodic Maintenance

While most home playgrounds are designed to last for years, it is important to periodically check them for damage or necessary repairs. Every month or two, go out and check the playset for cracks, loose screws or nails, or damaged equipment. Make sure you tell your kids to alert you to any broken components and that they should never play on damaged equipment. If your playground is wooden, applying a sealant once a year could prolong its life by several years.

 

Using these safety tips will ensure you have a fun, safe playground for your kids to play on for years to come.

What To Do When You Notice Water Damage In Your Home

Discovering water damage in your home is more than just an inconvenience. It could lead to expensive repairs and possibly unsafe conditions for your family. The important thing to remember is not to panic. Take a deep breath and read on to know what to do when you notice water damage in your home.

 

Safety First

Depending on the severity of the water damage you discover, you may need to vacate that area of your home. Avoid being in areas with sagging ceilings, dripping pipes, slippery floors, or contaminated water.

Identify the Source

This can sometimes be tricky, especially if you were not aware of any leaks or flooding prior to discovering the water damage. But if possible, you should always try to identify the source of the water. A small leak can sometimes be the sign of a much bigger problem, so finding it and contacting the proper companies to have it repaired can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. If you cannot find the source of the leak, contact a professional plumber right away.

Remove Valuables

If the area is safe to enter, be sure to remove any valuables in the room to prevent more damage. This does not just mean things with monetary value, remove anything that has importance to you like photo albums or family heirlooms as well.

Remove Rugs and Furniture

If the water damage is on or near the floor, remove all rugs, carpet padding, and furniture. Mold can develop quickly, so the sooner you move everything, the better.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Once you have done everything you can to protect your home, contact your insurance company about your damaged property. They will want as much detailed information as possible, including pictures.

 

Water damage happens, so it is essential to know how to handle it. When you are prepared, you can get through the situation calmly and safely.

New Jersey Boardwalk Breakdown

There are so many boardwalks to enjoy this summer in the state of New Jersey. Here is a breakdown of some great ones.

 

Point Pleasant Boardwalk

This popular boardwalk is about one mile long and features many family-friendly attractions. Whether it’s a visit to the Aquarium, one of the arcades, or the famous Sweet Shop, Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is worth the trip.

Asbury Park Boardwalk

The Asbury Park Boardwalk is world-famous for its eclectic boutiques, colorful nightlife, and live outdoor music. This boardwalk is about 1 mile long and offers something for everyone.

Seaside Heights Boardwalk

The Seaside Heights boardwalk is the main attraction in town. A little over 2 miles long, this family-centered boardwalk features Funtown Pier, arcades, and plenty of restaurants.

Atlantic City Boardwalk

At a little over 5 miles long, it is the heart of the town. Filled with unique attractions that have been bringing in tourists for over 150 years, the AC Boardwalk is not just about casinos. Several different piers feature family-friendly rides and games. There are several unique shops where you can purchase the best Salt Water Taffy in the world.

Ocean City Boardwalk

Running about 2.5 miles long, the Ocean City Boardwalk has been a popular tourist attraction since the early 1900s. Rent a bike and explore the many unique shops and cafes. Do not forget to catch a glimpse of the beautiful beaches while you are there too!

Wildwood Boardwalk

The just under 2-mile long Wildwood Boardwalk was called “America’s last really great honky-tonk boardwalk at the shore” for a reason. You can find classic rides and old-fashioned amusements. Its five piers are chock full of family attractions and restaurants where you can get your fill of traditional boardwalk favorites like fries, funnel cakes, pizza, and seafood.

 

Plan to visit one or all of these great Jersey Shore boardwalks this summer!

What to Do in a Car Accident

Car accidents can be terrifying, and it is easy to get flustered afterwards and not know what steps to take. Reading about what to do in a car accident can give you some sort of peace of mind, so that if you do happen to be involved in a vehicle accident, you’ll know what to do.

 

Check Yourself for Injuries and Call 911

Check yourself first before checking anyone else in the car. If you can move freely and safely, slowly get out of the car and call 911. However, if feel pain and suspect you are seriously injured, remain in the vehicle, call 911 and wait until medics arrive.

Get Out of the Car

If you can move safely, get out of the car and go to the side of the road or sidewalk. If your car is safe to drive, and you are not injured, you should try to get it out of the way of traffic before exiting.

Exchange Information

If the accident involved other drivers, it is important to exchange information. Getting information does not mean anyone is admitting fault. In fact, you do not need to discuss that at all. Just ask for information. Here is what you should collect:

  • Full Name and Contact Info
  • Other Driver’s Insurance Company and Policy Number
  • Other Driver’s License Number and License Plate Number
  • Type, Color and Model of Vehicles Involved
  • Location of Accident- Be as Detailed as Possible
  • The Names and Badge Numbers of the Police Officers at the scene

Take Pictures

Using your smartphone or a camera, take several pictures of the accident. Include as many details as you can by taking pictures of the cars involved from different angles, close and far away. If you have any visible injuries, take pictures of those as well.

Notify Your Insurance Company

If possible, call your insurance company and begin filing your claim while you are still at the scene of the accident. This way, you can make sure you have everything they need.

Pool Safety Tips

Owning a pool is a big responsibility, but it can also bring a lot of fun and happy memories. If you own a swimming pool or are thinking about installing one, here are some pool safety tips to keep you and your family safe this summer.

 

Never Leave Children Unattended

An accident can happen in the blink of an eye. It is important to remember to NEVER leave children unattended in a pool, for any reason, not even for a few minutes.

Teach Your Kids to Swim

If you have young children, teach them to swim right away. Kids can learn to swim as early as babies, so it is never too soon to teach them. While floaties and swimming toys can help keep kids afloat, you should not rely on them to keep your kids safe.

Install Proper Barriers and Fences

Your town or county might have specific rules and regulations for homeowners with pools, so be sure to check for specifics. All pools should be enclosed, with gates and alarms, if possible. Covers should also be used in the offseason.

Learn CPR

If you own a pool, it never hurts to be as prepared as possible. Take a CPR class and know what to do in a pool emergency. Older children and teenagers can be taught CPR as well.

Make Sure All Visitors Follow Safety Rules

Having friends and neighbors over to swim is part of the fun of owning the pool. However, it is important to make sure that anyone that visits your pool area is aware of your rules and follows them. Check to see if each visiting child can swim and supply floaties, life jackets or swim wings if necessary.

 

Following these pool safety tips will keep you and your family and friends safe so you can enjoy your summer. Happy swimming!

How to Protect Your Pets in the Summer

The summer heat can be harsh. The bright sun and high temperatures are not only rough on us, but they can also be extremely hard on our pets. When it comes to our furry friends, it is important to keep them as safe as possible during the warmer months. Here is how to protect your pets in the summer.

 

Water, Water Everywhere

The most essential thing pets need in the heat is access to fresh water. So if you usually have one water bowl available to them, add a couple more during the summer. Make sure there is one or two inside, where they can easily reach it, and at least one more outside. Check them frequently and fill up when necessary. You can even throw a few ice cubes in their outdoor water bowls to keep them nice and cool longer.

Never, Ever, Leave Your Pets in the Car

The temperature inside a car in the summertime can rise to 175 degrees in minutes. Even if it is only 75 degrees outside, your car’s temperature can reach well over 100, and very quickly. For this reason, never bring your pets with you when you are running errands if you plan to get out of the car without them. Even if you keep the windows down, do not do it. Not only could it be deadly for your animal, but it could also result in legal trouble for you.

Keep Paws Off of Hot Asphalt

If something is hot or painful to the touch for you, your dog or cat will feel the same thing on their paws. Try taking your pets for walks during cooler times of the day like early morning or sunset. If you have to take them walking during the day, try to stick to areas with plenty of shade or grass.

 

Using these simple tips will allow you and your pets to stay safe and healthy during the hot summer.

New Jersey Community Honors Medical Heroes at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

While we all work together to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, it is always great to hear some good news! We are seeing some of the best in humanity come out in a time like this to either make donations or just do whatever they can to make people smile! There was a great story that happened in Somerville, New Jersey where people did something incredible to show their support for medical professionals at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

It looked like a parade outside of the hospital as hundreds of people from the local area coordinated a unique way to show their appreciation for the hospital workers (all while keeping a safe social distance of course!). In conjunction with the local Elks chapter, a very well and safely planned support group was organized to make a “visit” of sorts to the hospital. People held signs with messages of a simple “Thank You” to signs that called the hospital workers “Heroes”.

Hospital workers can feel overwhelmed on a normal day, let alone during a pandemic like this one. It is important for people to show their support in as many ways as they can to give them a well deserved “pat on the back” and let them know that they are appreciated. Through this very brief visit, these citizens were able to clearly communicate these sentiments in an incredibly creative way.

The heroes working in these hospitals said they were extremely grateful for the support from the local community. Whether it is through something like an impromptu parade or even just a thank you letter, they are recognizing the amount of overwhelming support from other people. It is just another example of how the best in humanity comes out in a time like this!