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From Breathlyzers To Personal Safety Companions – Five Worthwhile SmartPhone Apps

Our smartphones are becoming smarter and more helpful almost by the day, it seems.

We’ve identified several apps that we believe will aid our readers in making informed decisions about their health and  safety.

  1. BACTrac:   Transforms your Smartphone into a breathalyzer. Open the app and get your estimated Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in seconds.  Can also be accessed remotely so that you can monitor young drivers and or family and friends.  Comes in a police grade model too.
  2. Doctors On Demand:   A doctor who is with you always – everyday.  Available when you are and without the hassle of the waiting room. Connect in minutes with board-certified doctors and therapists over live video.
  3. Eye Que: Your personal vision tracker.  The affordable way to test, track and correct your eye sight.
  4. First Aid:  If there’s an app that can save a life, the First Aid mobile app from the American Red Cross is it. With expert advice for everyday emergencies, you’ll be prepared to handle anything life throws your way. Or, you might just save someone else’s life thanks to the First Aid app’s step-by-step instructions.
  5. Companion: For many of us, walking home alone at night is a dangerous but unavoidable part of life. The free Companion app sends a live map of your walk home to the loved ones you assign to act as “companions.” Companions don’t even have to download the app; they are texted a link to a GPS-enabled map that will allow them to see where you are on your trip home. If your headphone gets yanked out, your phone falls to the ground, or you start running, the app will ask you if you are OK or if you want to call the police. If you don’t respond within 15 seconds, the app will notify your companions that something is amiss.

We’ll post more articles on helpful apps as they are developed.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, be safe.

 

Are You Letting Criminals Into Your Home? Vetting Your Service Person Before He Comes Through Your Front Door.

repairman

Think of all of the repair people who have entered your home.  Did you know them personally?  I doubt it.

Over the course of the past decade, legislation has been introduced – and often passed – to limit an employer’s ability to request a job applicant’s criminal history.  Admittedly, every speeding ticket you’ve received is in some database somewhere and can be found, but how do we as a society balance minor infractions with the right to privacy?  I’m not sure where the balance of publicly available data lies but I do know that every time we let a stranger into our home, we have exposed ourselves to potential danger.  That’s a practical assessment, not fear-mongering, but caution should be second nature to us all.  Unfortunately, life bears out the need for proactive security measures as we sadly witness from the below tragedy:

From the local ABC station:

An exterminator has been found guilty in the murder of a young pediatrician and researcher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

35-year-old Dr. Melissa Ketunuti had graduated from Stanford University medical school, worked in Botswana and spent about five years at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a physician and researcher.

37-year-old Jason Smith was found guilty of murder and related offenses Wednesday. Police say he was the last person known to have visited her home.

It happened in a row house on the 1700 block of Naudain Street in January of 2013. Police say Smith from Levittown, Pa. ended up strangling Ketunuti and setting her body on fire in the basement.Shortly after he was arrested, Smith gave police a lengthy confession.

He told them Ketunuti confronted him in the basement and started questioning his work. He said he eventually became enraged and started choking her.

One such tragic incident is horrible enough but we all know from news accounts of the many instances of homicides, rapes, theft, etc. that have stemmed from letting strangers into our homes.   Giving strangers access to our homes can hardly be avoided as everyone, sooner or later, will have the need for a repair, delivery or pest removal.  We hope and trust that the stranger has been vetted but why would leave such critical background information gathering in anyone else’s hands or go on faith that the repairman is a good guy – or woman. Also, as more concierge services such as Magic emerge to help us in our busy lives, we’re removed another step from clearly being able to identify service or delivery people coming into our homes.  (Magic operates via text.  Customers text 83489 with a request – for anything from pizza delivery to an electrician service call – and Magic agents coordinate delivery/service via partnered companies.  The service calls are still in beta mode.)

Referring back to the homicide of Dr. Melissa Ketunuti,  in the below video, our friend and renowned security expert/analyst, retired law enforcement and black-belted martial artist, Steve Kardian of Defend University – a women’s self-defense institute in NY, outlines several basics of home security when admitting a service person past the front door:

1. Hire from a reputable and known company.

2. Request the full name and, as is now possible, a text photo of the operative coming to your home.  Check this info against a government photo i.d. – not the company i.d.  Of course, s/he has a government I.D. – didn’t s/he drive to your home?

3. Have someone else in the home with you during the repair appointment.

4. If you can’t have another adult with you during the service call, video and audio record the repair person, transmitting in real time to a remote pc or trusted person. (Many service people may object but remember, this complete stranger now has access to you, your family and your home. Tough.)

5. Run your own criminal background check on the repair person.  (Steve suggests various services such as Intelius that perform criminal history searches.)

In any and all cases, as Steve emphasizes, listen to your instinct.  You should be uncomfortable with a total stranger in your home.  Protect yourself as best possible – that is your only true obligation.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

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