Individual & Family Safety Tips

Excessive Weather

Excessive Cold

  • Never use an extension cord with a space heater; it increases the risk of fire.
  • A gas range or oven cannot be used to heat a living area; they can produce deadly levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep trash and combustible storage away from your furnace or other heating system; have your furnace checked regularly by a qualified expert.
  • Do not attempt to thaw frozen pipes with an open flame; use hot water or warm towels. Keep windows and doors secure from cold drafts to protect inside pipes near walls; let water trickle slightly during bitter temperatures to reduce chances of frozen pipes.
  • Dress warmly in layers; always wear a hat; keep clothing dry; mittens keep hands warmer than fingered gloves.
  • Drink warm, non-alcoholic beverages; alcohol causes the body to lose heat more rapidly.
  • Avoid overexertion in cold weather; this adds strain on the heart.
  • Be alert for the warning signs of frostbite; a momentary stinging pain followed by numbness. Do not rub the affected area; apply warm, moist towels; if skin begins turning blue-purple, go to a hospital emergency room.
  • Hypothermia is when the body temperature falls below 98 degrees. Symptoms include uncontrollable shivering, dilated pupils and mental confusion. Keep victim warm while seeking medical attention.
  • Check on neighbors, friends and loved ones during a cold emergency. Make sure they have enough heat, food and other necessities.

Heat Injuries & Vulnerable Populations

Heat can kill!

And it does not take a “killer heat wave” to do so. Temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous, especially when the humidity is high. Exceptionally hot weather can place a burden on the heart and blood vessels, which are key to the body’s cooling system. This is known as “heat stress.”

Who Is At Risk?

Everyone is at risk and if you aren’t normally in an “at risk” population please remember that some medications (antibiotics for example) may make you more susceptible to the heat. Please consult your physician if you are on any medication.

Everyone is at risk, however, people over age 65 are more likely to die from heat-Your chances of experiencing heat stress are increased by:

  • A weak or damaged heart
  • Hypertension
  • Circulatory problems
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Infection or fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Drinking alcohol
  • A previous stroke
  • Skin disease/sunburn
  • Being 65 years or older

Signs of Heat Stress & Stroke

Early Warning Signs Of Heat Stress

The following symptoms are mild signs of heat stress. Unless these symptoms persist, there is no need for alarm. Just get out of the heat, drink some water and cool down your body for a while once you notice them.

  • Physical and mental changes
  • Lack of energy
  • Mild discomfort
  • Lack of appetite

More Urgent Signs Of Serious Heat Stress or Heat Stroke

If you experience any of these symptoms, call a doctor or seek medical attention immediately.

  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Throbbing headache
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Excessive weakness
  • Severe mental changes
  • Breathing problems
  • Vomiting
  • Dry skin (no sweating)

How To Stay Cool

Planning Ahead Is Key

Looking for solutions to the heat when it’s already hot and everyone is also scrambling may cause the best options for you and your family to be unavailable. Discuss your “heat wave” plans with your children, other relatives, friends and neighbors. Be sure they know what you plan to do, where you might relocate if needed, and any medical condition or other concern you have regarding the heat.

If you have a medical condition that may be affected by high heat or humidity, be sure to seek advice from your doctor, especially regarding any medication you may take.

Don’t Assume Everyone Is OK or Even Doing What They Need To Do

  • Phone family and friends
    Telephone your children or other relatives, friends, and neighbors to let them know how you feel.
  • Check on your neighbors
    Call and check on your friends and neighbors to make sure they are okay.

Tips For Preventing & Reducing Heat Stress

Remember, if you are experience more urgent symptoms, you should call a doctor immediately. Appropriate preventative measures are not the same things you should do when trying to intervene in heat injury already occurring.. The following are key ways to prevent heat related stress or to reduce minor stress symptoms only.

  • Spend as much time as possible in cool surroundings: If you have air-conditioning use it. If your home is not air-conditioned, here are common public places that are air-conditioned:
    • shopping mall
    • theater
    • senior center
    • public library
    • any police facility for temporary shelter
  • Slow down and take it easy: Relax and take it easy, especially at the beginning of the hot weather season when your body is less prepared for the heat.
  • Fans for cooling: Fans can help cool you off, if they blow the hot air out of your room and draw in cool air (window and ceiling fans are great for this). However, fans can actually harm you if they blow very hot air at you. This may cause your body temperature to rise.
  • Cool baths and showers: Cool baths and showers provide great, fast relief from the heat.
  • Appropriate Clothing: When in your home, wear as little as possible and when out of your home wear a hat and clothing that protects your skin. Loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing is more comfortable in hot weather.
  • Drink plenty of liquids, but not alcohol: Don’t trust your thirst. Drink twice as much as it takes to satisfy your thirst. But remember, alcohol actually dehydrates the body.
  • Watch what you eat: Avoid hot foods and heavy meals. They add heat to your body.


Holiday Shopping

This holiday season should be a time of great joy as we celebrate and share gifts with those close to us. Unfortunately, it can be a time when crime becomes more prevalent. These “Holiday Safety Tips” are offered to help make your holiday season a safe and happy one. Please take some time to read them and share them with your family and friends.

  • Be alert: Walk confidently, with your head up, and stay in well-lighted and well-traveled areas. Pay attention to people walking in front of and behind you. Pay particular attention when you are in crowded areas, such as buses and trains or malls and stores that are filled with other shoppers. Places with large crowds are favorites for thieves and pickpockets.
  • Purses & Bags: Keep it in front of you and close to your body. You can do this by covering the flap or clasp with your hand or forearm. Never leave your purse in a shopping cart or on a counter while you pay for your purchases. When using public washrooms, use extreme caution–try to avoid putting your purse on hooks or door handles. Remember not to carry open-weave bags or purses without zippers or flaps. Those items are easy marks for pickpockets. Keep your purse with you at all times.
  • Wallets, money clips and change purses: If you carry a change purse or wallet, keep it in your front pants pocket or in the inside breast pocket of your coat. Always be alert when opening your purse or wallet.
  • Keys: Never carry keys in your purse or other bag. In the event of a purse or bag snatching, the thief will have your address and keys to your home. Keep your keys in your pocket if it is possible.
  • Go in a group: Try to shop with friends or relatives. Not only is there safety in numbers, but shopping in a group will give you a chance to catch up on things and renew friendships.
  • Be discreet: Never carry large amounts of money. Whenever possible, use credit cards or checks instead of cash. When using credit cards, make sure that only one credit slip is printed with your charge card. Also, be sure to tear up any carbons that may be used to complete the transaction. Credit card fraud can ruin your holiday season. Thieves and pickpockets are more likely to be attracted by expensive clothes and jewelry. When you are out doing your holiday shopping, dress comfortably and casually.
  • Secure your car when parking: Cars can be an easy target for criminals. Park your car as close to your destination as possible and in a well-lighted area. When you do your shopping, remember to store your packages in the trunk of the car and not on the back seat. Also, if you take packages to the car but plant to return to the store or mall, drive your car to a new location within the parking lot. Criminals can be on the lookout for unsuspecting shoppers who sim ply drop their purchases into the trunk and then return to keep shopping.
  • Stay alert when returning to your auto (or home): Have your keys in your hand, ready to open the door. The few moments you save may keep you from becoming a crime victim. Before entering your vehicle, carefully check the front and rear seats and floors for anyone that may be hiding there. Lock your doors immediately after entering the vehicle.
  • Secure your home: When you are out shopping, leave some lights on at home. You may also want to let a neighbor know that you will be out of the house for a short time, so they can watch your house for you. If you plan to be away for a longer period to visit friends or family over the holidays, make sure to tell a neighbor or friend who can keep an eye on your house. Have them check periodically to make sure packages that may have been delivered while you were gone aren’t sitting on your porch.


Halloween can and should be a day of fun for the children and families of our city who wish to take part in the custom of Trick-or-Treat. By practicing come basic safety tips, outlined on this page, you and your children can enjoy a safe and enjoyable Halloween!

  • Costumes: Having the right costume is important to your children. Having the right type of costume should be a priority for you. Try to ensure that your children’s costumes are light colored so that they are easily visible. If you have to use dark colors, place reflective tape in several parts of the costume — across the back and on the front and sides to ensure that no matter what direction they are facing, your children can be seen.
  • Masks: Stay away from masks. Most masks will restrict a child’s vision. A good, fun and inexpensive alternative is face paint. If you are taking a group of children trick-or-treating, have everyone meet at your home a half hour before you plan to leave so the children can paint each other’s faces.
  • Company: Young children should never trick-or-treat without an adult. If you can’t accompany your children, make sure they go trick-or-treating with an adult or responsible young adult you know well. It’s always safer to go out with a group of family and/or friends.
  • Location: It makes sense to visit homes in your neighborhood and even trick-or-treat only at the residences you are familiar with. You should not enter a home to receive a treat: just stay on the porch or sidewalk outside the door. Also, never enter any abandoned building, deserted area or enclosed place. Tell your child never to approach cars or accept treats from persons in a car. Some communities and community organizations host Halloween parties as a safe and fun alternative to trick-or-treating door-to-door.
  • Timing: Try to confine your trick-or-treating to the daylight hours. If you, as parents, work during the day and can only take your child out in the evening, limit your visits to homes with porch or outside lighting.
  • Be A Good Pedestrian: Walk, do not run! Always wait at the curb and look both ways before crossing the street! Cross the street at the corner and do not cut in between parked cars! Obey all traffic lights! If you are driving on Halloween, make sure to use extra caution and be alert for any children who may be on the street!
  • Treats: Allow your child to accept only treats that are wrapped. Be sure to throw away any fresh fruit, unwrapped candies, open candies and any treat that looks suspicious. When giving treats, consider small toys, non-toxic bubbles, or sugar-free treats. Remember, some children have to follow certain dietary restrictions which prohibit them from eating the traditional treats we offer on Halloween.

Home Security

Doors, Windows, Locks and Keys

  • All doors that lead to the outside should be metal or solid-core, 1-3/4 inch hardwood. Most hollow doors can be easily broken through.
  • Each door should fit in its frame with no more than 1/8 inch clearance between the door and frame. A metal lining on the inside of an exterior door can prevent drilling, sawing, or kicking through.
  • Make sure all doors to the outside have good locks — deadbolt locks with a minimum 1-1/2 inch bolt. Make sure locks are also installed on screen and storm doors, garage doors, cellar doors, patio doors, and any other door that leads to the outside (including second-floor patios or decks).
  • Always use the locks you have, on both your home and your garage. Lock up every time you go out, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Almost 50 percent of burglars enter homes or property through unlocked doors or windows.
  • Locks on doors should be placed at least 40 inches away from windows, glass panels, and other potential openings such as mail slots. Make it hard for a burglar to reach in and unlock your door. Or install double cylinder, deadbolt locks that need to be opened with a key from the inside as well as the outside.
  • Door hinges should always be on the inside and designed so that hinge pin cannot be removed from the outside.
  • Never hide keys outside, such as under a bush or in a flower pot. Burglars know where to find “secret” hiding places. It’s much better to leave a key with a trusted neighbor.
  • Don’t place identification tags on your keys or key rings; if you lose them, you give potential burglars help.
  • Secure sliding glass doors with commercially available bars or locks, or put a wooden dowel or broom handle in the door track. Burglars look for sliding glass doors because they are the easiest to open.
  • Secure roof openings and exhaust systems.
  • Make sure windows, especially those at ground level, have good locks-and always use the locks you have.
  • The center thumb-turn locks on many standard windows can be easily pried open or reached through a broken pane. For especially vulnerable windows, install key locks or consider installing grates or grilles (but make sure the devices can be easily detached to allow quick escape during a fire or other emergency).

Shrubbery & Lighting

  • Make sure all porches and other possible entrances are well lit, with at least 40-watt bulbs. A well-lit house is far better protected than a house without lights.
  • Overgrown bushes, tree limbs, or landscaping can provide cover for burglars. Trim them to the height of porches or windows.

Other Rips

  • Always lock up ladders and tools. Don’t give a burglar the resources to break into your home.
  • Window air conditioning units should be bolted to the wall to prevent them from being easily removed from the outside.
  • If you have recently purchased a television, stereo equipment, or other household item, do not throw the empty boxes in the garbage. This is a sure sign and strong temptation for burglars. Rather cut them up and bundle for recycling with labeling not viable.
  • Turn the ringer on the telephone down low. If a burglar is around, he won’t be alerted to your absence by a ringing phone.
  • If you are out during the day or on vacation, use an automatic timer to turn on lights and a radio at different times of the day. It is an easy way to disguise the fact they you aren’t home.
  • Have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers every day while you are on vacation. Have a neighbor use your garbage cans occasionally. During the winter, arrange to have snow shoveled.


Using Public Transportation

ou should always remain alert when riding public transportation. Here are some tips for remaining safe:

  • Plan your trip. If necessary, call NJ Transit (1-800-772-2222) for night-time schedules for your bus or train.
  • “Call backs” are a good idea. Advise a family member, friend, or co-worker of your travel route and time. Call them when you arrive safely.
  • Have your exact fare ready before you leave home, the office, or a store. This way you won’t have to fumble for your money at fare box, or display extra cash.
  • Use the busiest, best-lit stop possible both to get on and get off a bus or subway. If you must wait, stay near the attendant’s stand or in the best-lit area available.
  • Find a seat on the aisle if possible. This allows you to observe everything around you, and to avoid getting “boxed in” against the window.
  • Sit near the driver or operator, if possible, but avoid sitting right next to the door. Thieves may try to snatch jewelry or personal belongings from people near the door and then exit quickly.
  • Don’t let yourself doze off on a bus or subway, or become too engrossed in a book. It can make you an easy target.
  • Keep your purse, shopping bag, backpack, packages, or other belongings in your lap, on your arm, or between your feet. Do not leave them on an empty seat.
  • Avoid displaying expensive looking watches, rings, necklaces, or other jewelry. Don’t invite trouble.
  • Be wary of noisy passengers arguing or causing a commotion. This could be staged to distract you while others are trying to steal your valuables.
  • Observe the behavior of those around you. If you feel uneasy or threatened, change your seat or alert the conductor of driver.
  • Minimize the chances of losing your property by avoiding crowded buses and train cars.

Banking & ATMs

Automatic teller machines (ATMs) have revolutionized the personal banking industry, providing unprecedented ease and convenience. But they have also created new opportunities for thieves and robbers. Here are some tips to keep you and your money secure while conducting all types of banking transactions.

  • Never walk away from the teller’s window or an ATM with cash still in hand. If you are going to count your money, do so at the window or the ATM. Then take the time to put your money in your wallet and to put your wallet in an inside pocket or pouch before leaving.
  • Be aware of your surroundings while making transactions at an ATM. If you feel uneasy, end the transaction as quickly as possible and leave the area.
  • Look around before entering a secured ATM center. Never hold the door open for someone else entering an ATM location. You could be letting in a possible offender.
  • If someone follows you into an ATM center and you feel uncomfortable, leave right away.
  • Avoid using ATMs at night.
  • Fill out deposit slips before beginning your transaction and not in plain view. Complete your transaction quickly.
  • Use your body as a shield when making a transaction at the bank teller or the ATM.
  • Keep your Personal Identification Number (PIN) private. Never affix it to your card or keep a copy in the same wallet as your card.
  • Take all receipts with you. You don’t want to let a potential criminal know how much money you have withdrawn or how much you have in the bank.
  • Avoid large cash withdrawals.
  • When making an ATM transaction from your car, be aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes and ears open, and keep car doors locked.

General Public Situations

Here are general tips for staying safe in a variety of situations, including walking, jogging, shopping, or riding elevators:

  • Stay alert at all times and tuned in to your surroundings, wherever you are. The wearing of headphones while walking or jogging can reduce your level of alertness.
  • Plan your route in advance, and vary your routes whenever possible.
  • Get to know the neighborhoods and neighbors where you live and work. Find out what stores and restaurants are open late and where police and fire stations are located.
  • When walking or jogging, use busy streets, and avoid shortcuts through deserted parks, vacant lots, and unlit passages.
  • At night, walk or jog only on streets with plenty of light and traffic, and avoid walking alone if possible.
  • Walk on the part of the sidewalk close to the street and away from shrubbery, trees, or doorways.
  • Stand tall and walk confidently. Don’t make it obvious if you are in unfamiliar territory.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave right away and get help if necessary.
  • Don’t carry large sums of cash. If you do carry cash, do not display it in public.
  • If possible, carry only identification, phone numbers, and the credit cards you will need. Keep a list at home of credit cards and other important material you would need to replace in case of loss.
  • Separate your house keys from your car keys. Women should keep their keys in places other than their purses. That way, if your purse is snatched, you will still have your keys.
  • Keep names and phone numbers of relatives or friends on your person, in the event of an accident or emergency.
  • Consider carrying a whistle or other noisemaker, and sound it loudly if you are accosted or feel threatened.
  • Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas. Thieves often work in pairs. One may bump you or cut you off, while the other is picking your pocket.
  • A good purse is one with a flap that folds over the opening and fastens at the bottom, and often has an interior zipper. The easiest purse for you to open is also the easiest for a pickpocket to steal from.
  • Purses should be carried close to the body, under an exterior garment, and slung across the body. Flaps should be secured and turned toward the body at all times.
  • Wallets should be carried in an inside coat pocket and cash in a front pants pocket. A rubber band tied several times around a wallet can increase friction and make it easier for you to notice if you are being pickpocketed.
  • Avoid wearing excessive jewelry. In particular, keep necklaces and bracelets inside your clothing.
  • Don’t discuss personal information with strangers.
  • Before entering an elevator, look at the persons already in the car. If you are uneasy, wait for the next elevator.
  • If a suspicious person enters an elevator and you are uneasy, then get off right away.
  • If you notice a person in an elevator has not pushed a floor indicator button, do not get off at your floor. Go back to the lobby and report the suspicious activity.
  • Stand near the control buttons. If threatened or attacked, sound the alarm and push several floor buttons if possible.

Children & Families

Safety Tips For Kids To Follow


  • know your telephone number, address, and your parents’ full names: for example, Mary or Joe Smith… not just “mom” or “dad.”
  • let your parents know where you are and who you are with. Play with friends, and remember, there is safety in numbers.
  • tell your parents who your friends are and where they live… especially new friends and adults you meet.
  • tell your parents if someone talks about sex or love.
  • tell your parents if someone touches you or asks to take pictures of you. Secrets about bad touches are bad secrets. Tell your parents, teacher, doctor, or some other adult you trust if someone asks you to keep a bad secret.


  • accept rides from a strangers or get in their car.
  • open a door to a stranger… Never open the door to anyone when you are home alone.
  • give information over the phone to someone you do not know.
  • tell anyone you are home alone.
  • go into a person’s house without your parent’s permission.
  • play in isolated places.

Preventing Child Abduction

Around the country, thousands of children are reported missing each year. Some children are found and returned, others return home on their own. Some of our children are never found or returned.

There is nothing that devastates parents, friends, and a community more than a reported child abduction or attempt kidnapping of a child. Child abduction is not only committed by a stranger, it could be committed by someone they know and trust, like a parent.

New Jersey Statutes

New Jersey Statute (2C:13-1 ET SEQ.) defines child abduction in a number of ways. Generally, child abduction involves concealing, detaining or removing a child from where he/she is found by means of force, threat or deception, without the consent or knowledge of the child’s legal custodian and/or in violation of judicial process. This may, for example, involve the violation of a custody order by a parent; the luring of a child under age 18 into a motor vehicle, structure or isolated area for a non-lawful purpose; or the removal and concealment of a child for payment by a person with no legal right to.

What Parents Can Do

  • Know where your child is at all times.
  • Never leave a small child alone at home or in a car.
  • Make sure your child knows his or her full name, address and telephone number.
  • Make sure your child know where you work, and that telephone information.
  • Know your child’s friends and where they live.
  • Teach your child about strangers. Tell him or her to never talk, take candy, or go with a stranger without your consent.
  • Make sure your child knows never to get into a stranger’s car.
  • Tell your child that if approached by a stranger, run and scream.
  • Let your child know that no one has a right to touch any part of his or her body that a bathing suit would cover.
  • Inform your child to report to you, a police officer or school authority, anyone that exposes his or her private parts to them.
  • Report to the police immediately, if your child informs you that they were lured or assaulted by a stranger

What Children Can Do

  • Never go to a friend’s home without informing their parents where they are going and when they will return.
  • Never talk to strangers.
  • Never take candy or gifts from strangers.
  • Never wander off when they are with their parents.
  • Move away from a car or van that pulls up next to them, if they do not know the driver.
  • Scream and run away from any stranger that calls them to a vehicle or attempts to touch them.
  • Be suspicious of any stranger asking for assistance.
  • Try to remember what the stranger looks like, as well as the vehicle and license plate number.
  • Immediately inform parents or police of any strangers that attempt to call them to a car or van.

What the Community Can Do

  • Be aware of all strangers in their neighborhood, especially if they pay undue attention to a child.
  • Write down information about strangers in your neighborhood.
  • Write down information about strange vehicles in their neighborhood.
  • Call 911 immediately if someone is screaming or being chased by anyone. When calling the police it is very important to give the call taker an accurate description of the suspect along with any vehicle used.

Key Details For Police Reports

Even if you do everything right, bad things can still happen. It’s essential to give police the best descriptions possible when reporting anything for any reason.

Suspicious Vehicles

Try to note the following information about a suspicious vehicle:

  • Make and Model
  • Body style
  • Color
  • Number of Doors
  • License Plate Number
  • Any damage or anything unusual about the vehicle
  • Where the vehicle is located or direction it was headed.

Suspect Descriptions

General Description:

  • Sex and race
  • Estimate age, height, and weight
  • Build (fat; husky; medium; slim)
  • Hair (color; texture; style; length)
  • Eyes (color; shape; are the eyelashes and eyebrows heavy or light)
  • Complexion (color; pores; pockmarks; acne; bumps)
  • Facial Hair (clean-shaven; beard; mustache; goatee)
  • Peculiarities (large or small nose; large or small ears; marks, scars, deformities, voice, speech, how they walk or talk, etc.

Clothing Description:

  • Hat (color; style – e.g., cap, fedora, hood; any printing on the hat)
  • Coats (color; style; length; any printing on the coat or jacket)
  • Shirt/Blouse (color; design; sleeves; collar; any printing on it)
  • Pants: (color; style; length)
  • Socks: (color; pattern; length)
  • Shoes: (color; style)
  • Accessories: (sweater; scarf; gloves; tie)
  • Jewelry: (watch; rings; bracelet, earrings)
  • General Appearance: (neat; sloppy; clean or dirty)
  • Oddities: (clothing too large or too small; patches)