Archives May 2018

How to Keep Your Business Safe Both Inside and Out

Keeping your business safe both inside and out is one of your major concerns as a business owner. Everything in your business, including your data and employees, is precious and you need to do your part to protect them. Here’s how.

According to Business 2 Community, you should think before you send any information digitally. This may seem like an obvious thing to avoid, but it’s actually a fairly common mistake to make. Owners might send their tax information to their accountant or send their credit card number over a text message. These pieces of information can easily be accessed by the wrong people if sent virtually.

A recent survey shows some 87% of small businesses experienced a security breach in 2012 alone. This means it’s not just large companies with huge profit margins that face cyber attack. Since the attacks are so common, another way to protect your information is to be wary of public Wi-Fi connections. Anything that is sent via the public connection can be accessed by anyone logged onto the same network. If you’re out and need to use a Wi-Fi connection, think about using a Virtual Private Network instead. It’s a really easy way to make sure your information stays protected.

Along with thinking about your data, it’s important to protect your employees and office building. DuPage Policy Journal says May is “Building Safety Month”, so what better time to think about protecting your building than now? Every month, check all of the smoke detectors in your building. You should have one on every level and in every room of your space, so if you don’t have those installed, take the time to do so. While you’re at it, install any necessary carbon dioxide detectors as well. Your employees will feel safe knowing that they have an alert system ready for any emergency.

If you have a lot of employees that come in and out of your office every day, chances are you have a parking garage available for their use. Because of this, it’s important to make sure it’s protected, too. Install bright LED lighting throughout the garage to make your employees and others feel safe if they’re using it when it’s dark out. In fact, in many areas throughout the United States, the law requires parking garage lighting to be used 24 hours per day.

For many business owners, hurricanes and other natural disasters may be a concern. The Caller Times says it’s so important to be prepared for anything that comes your way. Have a plan in place and share it with your employees. That plan can include emergency contacts, an evacuation route, and what to do if a natural disaster hits while everyone’s in the building. If all of your company’s information and important documents are saved on your computer’s, consider backing them up to the Cloud or an external hard drive.

There are so many ways to protect your business both inside and out. Take the proper steps, like the ones listed above, to keep everything and everyone safe from harm’s way.

Texas Ranks 8th For DUI Fatalities In U.S., Austin PD Says

Memorial Weekend is just a few weeks away, and according to FOX 7 News, Texas now ranks eighth when it comes to the highest number of DUI fatalities in America.

Each day in the U.S., people drive drunk almost 300,000 times, but fewer than 4,000 are arrested, and with Memorial Day just a few short weeks away, the Austin Police Department is doing its best to deter motorists from getting behind the wheel when they’re intoxicated.

An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before the first arrest, and researchers continue to cite Memorial Day weekend as one where deaths from drunk driving skyrocket and are “four times higher.”

As a result, between May 24th and June 10th, a No Refusal Weekend policy has been set in place. The initiative has been implemented every weekend in Austin so far this year, and the Austin Police Department cites it for “bringing down the number of fatalities caused by intoxication in Austin.”

Each year, Austin PD says, there are between 5,000 and 6,000 DWI arrests in the city. This No Refusal Weekend policy means that police officers can legally draw blood forcefully from drivers that will not agree to participate in a sobriety test.

While ValuePenguin says Austin’s DUI fatality rates are lower than Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, Fox 7 News also cited the numbers for DUI deaths in the previous two years.

“In 2016, there were 30 deaths. In 2017 – there were 24. This year (2018) APD couldn’t get us those numbers due to pending toxicology,” writes Destiny Chance.

Detective Michael Jennings, who is a member of the Austin Police Department’s DWI Unit, notes that the rates of those who drive under the influence of drugs are also increasing. He says that even if the drugs are prescribed legally, he says that the number of intoxication-related fatalities “needs to be zero,” which his force is working to reach every single day.

“I think a lot of times people aren’t making a conscious decision saying they’ll go out and hurt or kill somebody that’s not what it is. But I think they make bad decisions of getting in the car,” said Jennings.

Beth Powell, program director for the East Texas office of MADD, shares similar sentiments.

“A DUI is 100% preventable; it’s just a decision not to put your keys in the ignition and drive,” Powell recently told the Longview News-Journal. “It would be better to make someone frustrated or irritated by taking their keys, if you’re sober, than to be sorry that you didn’t.”

3 Smart Tips To Keep Senior Drivers Safe This Season

Spring is here, and now that the days are getting longer, more and more senior citizens may be going out to drive. There’s no denying that growing older comes with certain changes in our physical and mental abilities, and in order to stay safe, there are a number of quick and easy steps seniors can take. Here are just a few of the top safety tips from pros for safe and successful senior driving.

Be Aware of Effects From Medications

Whether you’re taking a prescription medication or something that’s sold over-the-counter, there could be side effects associated with its use. With this in mind, it’s important to take the time to read the label of each and every medicine you start taking to inform yourself of potential side effects as well as how to take the medicine properly.

“Certain medications can affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle. For each of the medications you have been prescribed, be sure to read the label carefully. If it states that you should not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking the medication, DO NOT DRIVE. If there is nothing on the label, BUT you feel as though your mental or physical abilities are altered when taking the medication, contact your doctor and report the effects you’re feeling. He or she may encourage you to find alternative transportation while taking the meds,” writes

Furthermore, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor if they may be able to adjust the dosage of a prescription to make it easier and safer for you to drive.

Use Technology

If you’re worried about struggling with vision impairment when on the road, consider getting a vehicle equipped with the technology to help. Backup cameras are becoming increasingly popular for those who want to be able to see their blind spot any time they’re in reverse. Similarly, a dashboard camera could be a helpful device to record an accident and use as evidence if you ever need to make your case. The global dashboard camera market, in terms of revenue, was valued at US$ 1,458.2 Mn in 2013 and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.3% during the period from 2014 to 2020. Don’t underestimate the benefits of using vehicular cameras and other related technology to your advantage.

Take A Mature Driver Course

If you feel like your skills could use some improvement, consider signing up for a mature driver course to review some basic safety tips and procedures. You can relearn some essential defensive driving techniques that could keep you save and even prevent a serious accident. These refresher courses are also designed to educate mature students about updated state-specific laws, so you can stay safe on the roads for years to come.

By 2030, older adults (seniors) will account for roughly 20% of the U.S. population. Knowing how to stay safe on the roads can help you stay independent at any age.

From Homebuilding to Retail, Shipping Containers Are Extremely Versatile

Currently, there are roughly 17 million shipping containers in the world, but only six million of them are actually being used for various purposes (exports, storage, etc.). That means approximately 11 million shipping containers are not being used at all — that trend is starting to change.

People around the country are finding creative and new ways to take advantage of these unused storage containers. Whether it’s for retail purposes, agricultural production, artistic projects, or more, there are dozens of ways these constants can be utilized.

According to Tucson News Now, 13 retail and dining establishments are opening in early May inside a formation of shipping containers. The MSA Annex is a shipping container concept that has been in the development stage for seven years.

One of the featured new retail shops, Transit Cycles, will have a physical store that’s more than 160 square feet large.

“I just like that they’re different. I like the aesthetic,” said Duncan Benning, owner and manager of Transit Cycles. “I like how the space looks. To be able to kind of pull all those things together just made it that much more appealing.”

Each individual container as part of the MSA Annex has been fully repurposed with each owner’s creativity and vision in mind.

“These are real, solid buildings,” added Kira Dixon-Weinstein, executive director of Mercado San Augustin and the developer of the new shipping container retail project. “You look at the walls and the lights and the exit signs and the air conditioning. There’s nothing temporary feeling about them at all.”

A lot of those shipping containers can even be constructed into homes for people around the country. Although the majority of newer roofs are constructed (at least supposed to be built) in order to withstand weather loads of 15 to 30 pounds per square foot, shipping container homes can be just as durable as metal roofing, providing quality protection and shelter for individuals or families.

The Gainesville Sun adds that Terri McFarlane, who calls herself an “artistic MacGyver,” constructed a durable and affordable home out of seven previously unused shipping containers.

“I’m looking forward to having an upper story, basement, a deck to sit on with neighbors and the decorative touches I want in a sturdy home,” she said.

McFarlane started her shipping container home building project last fall on her eight and a half-acre hilltop property in Citra Pines, alongside a few of her friends, a local architect, and a general contractor. She expects her new home to be fully completed by June.

She purchased the containers from Ocala Container.

“About 95% of the containers we sell are used for storage and 5% for shops and homes,” said Jordan Raney, owner of Ocala Container. “Terri is by far the most ambitious (builder) we’ve seen so far and we’re excited.”

Finally, after multiple classroom brainstorming sessions over the years, a new vertical farming shipping container becomes a reality in Arizona.

According to Arizona Sonora News, University of Arizona professor Joel Cuello created a shipping continuer unit that produces leafy green vegetables.

In 2010, there weren’t any vertical farm storage units. Now, there are at least 1,500 around the globe.