Child Safety Tips

safetymattersWe all have to be careful when we are out in the community. But kids can face some special problems. So insure that your kids are aware of the following tips, for their safety.
Kids should be careful if strangers:

  • Try to give them candy or money.
  • Ask them to get into a car or take a ride.
  • Try to follow them.
  • Hang around the playground.
  • Try to touch them in an inappropriate way.

Instruct your child to run, scream and draw as much attention to himself/herself as possible. Getting other peoples attention, in the area, will most often stop the inappropriate act, and may allow your child the time needed to reach safety.
Take the time to have your child fingerprinted, photographed and collect information from your child in he event that your child should become missing. The Okeechobee County Sheriffís office can assist you with this by providing fingerprinting for your children. The Sheriffís office participates in several events throughout Okeechobee yearly, simply stop by and say hello.
Maintain current photo and vital information on your child. Once your child becomes missing, it is then too late to try and gather the information. This should be done ahead of time to avoid mistakes in an emotional state of mind.
Encourage your child to play with other children. Itís not only more fun itís safer. Make certain that they understand that they should play where someone can see them, never in deserted buildings or alleyways.

Teach children to "Play it safe"

  • Never play in wooded areas, a parking lot or new construction.
  • Never play or walk alone. Keep a friend with you to avoid being approached by strangers.
  • Never leave doors or windows unlocked when they are home alone.
  • Never put your childís name on the outside his/her clothes or backpack. A child will respond to a stranger if called by name.

Bicycle Safety

  • Always wear a helmet. Itís the law!
  • When in a group, always ride single file.
  • Stop, look and listen at every intersection.
  • Stay on the sidewalk, bike path or near the curb.
  • Walk your bike on busy streets.
  • Never hitch a ride by holding the bumper of a car.
  • Use caution when cars are pulling out of the driveway.
  • Parked cars are dangerous. Watch out!
  • Know and obey all road signs and signals.
  • Make sure your breaks work well.

The Okeechobee County Sheriffs Office provides bike safety education for parents and school groups. Contact the Crime Prevention Unit at (863) 763-6064.

Handgun Safety (Child)

Every year, children are killed needlessly in handgun mishaps. Avoid tragedy by teaching your child the following safety rules.

  • Leave the area immediately if a handgun is found. DO NOT touch it or pick it up! Report the gun location to a parent or trusted adult immediately.
  • A gun is not a toy and can kill you. DO NOT take chances. If you can't tell if a gun is a toy or the real thing, leave the area and inform a parent or trusted adult.

Handgun Safety (Parents)

Owning a handgun is a serious responsibility. Know the applicable laws; store and maintain your weapons properly and safely; and most importantly, secure your weapons from theft and misuse. Here are a few important guidelines to follow:

  • Child proof your weapon by removing the magazine, all bullets and securing the trigger lock or removing the frame from the slide.
  • Store your handgun in a safe place. If you have children, it is extremely important that you keep your handgun out of harms way in a locked storage box.
  • Treat your handgun as though it is loaded at all times. In addition, check it thoroughly before and after every use to make sure it is not loaded. Never store a loaded gun or dispose of ammunition in garbage.
  • Handguns and ammo should not be stored in the same place.
  • Handguns should be wrapped in moisture barrier paper or silicone cloth. Newspaper, socks or leather holsters are unsuitable, since each of these attracts moisture. Follow the manufacturerís recommendations.
  • Always test and clean your guns alone. Clean your handguns after every use following the manufacturers directions.
  • Check your handguns monthly to make certain it is functioning properly. If your gun requires repairs or modifications, use a qualified gunsmith. Never attempt to make repairs yourself.
  • Remember, Florida law dictates that the gun owner is ultimately responsible for the weapon.

Traveling safety guide

When traveling for business or pleasure, please read and observe the following public safety guidelines and have a safe and enjoyable trip!

  • Never leave bags or valuables unattended ñ especially at the airport, car rental office or hotel check-in points.
  • Make certain that you know how to reach your destination before traveling around town. This is particularly important if you are traveling in a rental car. If you become lost, stop at the nearest public place and ask for assistance.
  • If you are staying at a hotel, keep your valuables in the hotel safe deposit box, not open in your room.
  • Woman should carry their handbags in the front and keep them close to their bodies.
  • Do not stop on the roadway if you are tapped from behind by another vehicle or come upon a stranded motorist. Travel to the nearest public area and call the police to report the incident.
  • Keep your car doors locked at all times and use travelers checks or credit cards in place of cash whenever possible.
  • If you are approached by a suspicious stranger while stopped at a traffic light, blow your horn.
  • If another driver, indicating that there is something wrong with your car, flags you down in traffic, do not pull over to make an inspection. Travel to the nearest public place and call for assistance.
  • Keep valuables locked inside of the trunk of the car at all times. Do not leave them visible on the seats.
  • When using an ATM, choose one that is located in a well-lit, public place. While making your transaction, be sure your doors are locked and you have the keys in your hand. Never leave the engine running or count your money while at the ATM.

Securing Your Business
Robbery Prevention Tips

  • Do not cover your display windows with posters. Keep them free of clutter to improve visibility in and out of the store.
  • Make certain that all sections of your business are visible from the central cashier area.
  • Keep higher priced merchandise in the center of your store, not near the entrances.
  • Do not leave ladders or tools outside of your business.
  • Do not leave boxes or materials piled up near your exterior walls or on your property. If stacked near windows, they can be used to gain access inside.
  • Spot-check the exterior of your business. If any areas are shadowed or poorly lit, install additional lighting.
  • All businesses use some type of ventilation system. If your vents are large enough to be used as crawl space, use 16-gauge metal mesh to cover each duct.
  • Never park company vehicles near walls. Robbers can easily climb on them to access high windows or hide behind them.
  • Do not place cash registers near the store entrance.
  • Install a hold-up alarm system and train your staff on how to use it.
  • Keep a spare key in your storeroom for emergencies and make sure all employees know how and where to find it.
  • Keep cash to a minimum.
  • Vary your route to the bank when making deposits.
  • Keep your safe locked at all times.
  • Train your staff in robbery and theft prevention.
  • Complete a thorough background investigation on each employee, including reference and credit checks.
  • Designate a crime prevention leader who will take responsibility each day for securing your business at closing time.
  • Assign at least two tenured staff members to opening and closing your business.
  • Report suspicious persons in or around your business to the police immediately.

Call the Okeechobee County Sheriffís Office or your local police department for a security inspection of your place of business.