SECURITY TIPS

 *   Always request a room on an upper floor, if possible.
When traveling on business or pleasure with your family, it may become necessary to stay overnight in a hotel or motel. Criminals do not want to be trapped on an upper floor inside a high-rise hotel.

 *   If you are a woman traveling alone or with small children.
Take advantage of car valet service, if available to avoid the parking lot. After checking in at the desk, ask the bellman or desk clerk to escort you to your room.

 *   Audible alarm sirens can prevent home invasion...if they are set.
Alarm systems can be designed so that perimeter door and window sensors are activated while the home is occupied. The alarm can be set to instantly go off upon unauthorized entry.

 *   Having a family and neighborhood plan is essential.
If you develop a home security plan and talk about it with your family and neighbors, the chances of acting appropriately and getting help are greatly improved.

 *   Park In Well Lit Areas
To reduce your risk of being carjacked, always park in well-lit areas, especially if you plan to arrive/leave after dark.

 *   Use Valet Service
To reduce your risk of being carjacked, use valet parking or an attended garage, especially if you're a woman driving alone.

 *   Use only bank ATM machines in well-lighted, high-traffic areas.
ATMs inside busy supermarkets are considered safer. Don't use ATM machines that are remote or hidden such as being located behind buildings, behind pillars, walls, or away from public view. If anyone suspicious or seemingly dangerous approaches, terminate your transaction and leave immediately, even if it means running away and leaving your ATM card in the machine.

 *   Most complaints regarding theft, damage or loss involves the contents of luggage.
Savvy travelers will make a written inventory of items in their luggage and photograph it in case of loss. Carry important items like medication, eyeglasses, and expensive jewelry in your hand luggage.

 *   Travel with sturdy plain-looking luggage.
Expensive looking luggage may be targeted for its perceived contents. External bag tags should not list your full home address and telephone number. If they do, sophisticated home burglars will know that you are on a cruise and will not be home soon.

 *   Don't give out personal information
on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet (through email or online forms, or any other manner) unless you have initiated the contact or are sure you know who you're dealing with.

 *   Practice good home security.
Secure personal information in your home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having service work done in your home. Securely store extra checks, credit cards, documents that list your Social Security number, and similar valuable items.

 *   Don't advertise to burglars that you're away from home.
Put lights on timers, temporarily stop delivery of your newspaper, and ask a neighbor to pick up any items that may arrive unexpectedly at your home. If traveling out-of-state, most state law enforcement agencies provide road-and-highway information; check to see what conditions they report before leaving. Inform a family member where you will be and when to expect you back; give them your route if they don't know it.

 *   Keep a close eye on your children while shopping.
Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they ever get separated from you in a store/mall, and be sure they know their first and last name so they can tell someone who they are.

 *   Shop with friends or relatives if possible.
There is safety in numbers. As you shop, be alert in crowded places. Among pickpockets' favorites are revolving doors, jammed aisles, elevators, and public transportation stops. Carry the day's most expensive purchases closest to your body.

 *   Using debit or credit cards is much safer than carrying a lot of cash.
If the vendors you will visit don't take cards, consider obtaining traveler's checks which, unlike cash, can be replaced if lost or stolen. Visit ATM's only at well-lighted and populated locations; visit during daylight hours if possible.

 *   Sign up for the "National Do-Not Call List"
To avoid telephone solicitation to the extent possible. If solicited by telephone despite being on the list, simply hang up - it's your phone.

 *   Designate a Driver
When attending a party, always designate a non-drinking driver. If you are the host of a holiday gathering, be sure there are non-alcoholic beverages available for guests who are driving. This will help prevent robberies or something much worse.

 *   Enroll in a First Aid & CPR course.
Although these tips can help prevent an emergency, it is also important to be prepared should an emergency situation arise. To enroll in a first aid or CPR course, contact your local American Red Cross (in the white pages).