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Signs of life will protect homes from thieves


Published: Mon, March 20, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


Dear Readers: Spring break is here, which means, for some of us, a much-needed spring vacation! Home-safety experts say that when leaving your home for a trip, make sure the place doesn't look empty -- sometimes easier said than done! Here are some hints to help protect your home while you are away and give it that "lived in" look:
Set automatic timers in several rooms that turn lights on and off at various times. These timers also can be used for radios.
Park a car halfway up the driveway to prevent an unauthorized vehicle from being parked there, which would give a thief the means to unload the contents of your home and drive off virtually unnoticed.
Have someone pick up mail, fliers, newspapers or other deliveries. Don't let anything accumulate that would indicate you are away. If you don't have anyone to do this, visit USPS.gov to have mail stopped during your absence, and your newspaper should have a similar service.
Be sure the trash is taken out and the lawn is maintained as well. Set sprinkler systems and/or use a specially designed timer to turn on movable sprinklers once or twice during your absence.
Turn off your automatic garage-door opener. Someone just might be on the same frequency. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I work for the postal service, and sometimes we get mail that has been damaged. People put too many photos in an envelope, or it gets damaged in high-speed equipment. Also, someone broke into a mailroom at a trailer court and ripped open all of the mail, which I had to gather up and try to match to the envelopes. It was heartbreaking for me to see photos and not know where they were going!
Here is my hint: When mailing pictures, please take the time to put the name and address of where the picture is going to or coming from on the back of each photo. This also goes for parcels -- put your name and address inside the package. If it gets damaged, we can still get it to you. Janet W., Carbondale, Ill.
Dear Heloise: When we receive gift cards, it's hard to keep track of the balances on them. So, when I receive one, I place a piece of masking tape on the front of the card (opposite end of the magnetic strip -- Heloise), and as I use the card, I write the remaining balance on the piece of tape. This way, I always know what my balance is, and I don't waste time trying to find out. Karen Embrey, Fredericksburg, Va.
Dear Heloise: You've mentioned using an airtight diaper-disposal system for diapers and sanitary pads. In our home, it is used at least twice a day for adult disposable underpads -- it holds 14 to 18 pads. What a wonderful container for those with bladder-control issues. C.L., via e-mail
King Features Syndicate


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