Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Tag: Safety

2017 Halloween Safety Tips

Carved pumpkins line the sidewalk, patiently waiting to greet your little Darth Vaders, unicorns and pirates alike, lighting the way through the festive night. The doorbell rings and an assortment of candy fills each bucket and bag. We are less than a week away, and there is more to plan than what shoes will look best and if there are enough treats to go around. Great Plains Communications wants to make sure everyone has a safe Halloween with some tips from Safe Kids Worldwide.

Have a Safe Walking Plan: Children’s excitement level is often escalated on Halloween as they see the sweet potential in each house, no matter if it is across the street or down the block. Help them to remember to look left, right, and left once more before holding the hand of an adult and crossing the street. Also, don’t forget to put down any electronic devices as you cross, and choose spots further away from the street to stop and take pictures.

Find Creative Ways to Add Safety Precautions to Costumes: Have your kids use fun metallic stickers or reflective tape on their candy bags, it could be a fun way to personalize their goodies and help them be seen by passing drivers. Glow sticks could be another fun way to brighten up the nighttime walk!

Be a Cautious Driver: Just because you are not in costume, does not mean you are not a large factor in Halloween safety. As a driver, make sure to eliminate any distractions inside the car and be especially alert in residential areas. Allow extra time to look for kids between parked cars and at intersections. Typical trick-or-treating hours are between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., so buckle up and stay alert for all the little witches and skeletons walking the streets.

For more tips, check out the Safe Kids Worldwide website and remember that Great Plains Communications hopes you have a fun and safe Halloween! Let us know what creative safety tricks your family uses each year in the comments section on our Facebook page.

More Ways to Protect Your Internet Security

Recently we posted an article about Top Ways to Protect Your Internet Security.  Here are a few more ways to make sure that your online experience stays safe.

Beware of outdated versions of Adobe Reader/AcrobatAdobe Reader, the most popular program for reading PDF documents, comes pre-installed on most computers.  However, vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat (another program for reading files) are a very popular way for viruses to get into your computer.  Make sure that you have the latest version, with the most up-to-date protection, at all times.   Updating is easy since Adobe searches for updates automatically and will prompt you to run updates on the program.  If you do want extra help, check out our online PC support options.

Don’t click on pop-ups that claim your computer is infectedIn our last post, we advised that you get to know your anti-virus software.  Knowing how your computer is protected will help you avoid programs known as “scareware”, which  can pretend to be anti-virus programs who have detected hundreds of viruses on your computer.  They offer to “clean” your computer if you purchase the full version of the program.  The thing is, your computer wasn’t infected to begin with and you are effectively paying to get rid of one virus pretending to be real software.

If you see one of these programs appear on your screen run a scan with your actual anti-virus program.  Whatever you do, don’t give the program any credit card or other personal information, as these programs will send the data right back to the scammers and put your identity at risk.

Logging into an account from a link received in an e-mail, IM or other suspect sourceThe risk you run by logging into your online accounts (banking, social media, etc.) from an e-mail link is that you could be taken to a fake landing page set up by a scammer to take your personal information.  When in doubt, go to the log-in page directly by typing the URL in yourself and log-in from there.  (If you ever have trouble remembering your passwords, check out our earlier blog post Say Goodbye to the Frustration of Forgotten Passwords)

The benefit of keeping a landline

According to a recent report by the CDC, 17% percent of consumers no longer have a landline telephone choosing to only use cellular telephone service.  While a cellular phone may be acceptable most of the time, there are occasions when keeping a landline makes sense.

If your power goes out – If you lose power for more than a day, not an odd occurrence in many parts of the country with tornadoes, blizzards and other extreme weather patterns, your main sources of communication are likely to be unusable.  Cell phones and computer devices will run through their batteries rather quickly and once the batteries die, you may be left without a way to communicate to the outside world.

A simple landline accessed with a corded phone will remain reliable without electricity.  When emergency situations take place, it’s also possible for cell towers to become overwhelmed and  unable to place calls.  This is especially true in areas that are highly populated or have very few (maybe even only one) towers around.

If you don’t get cell reception in your kitchen or bathroom – If you choose to only use a cell phone, make sure that every area in your home has cell service.  Should you be injured in your home and unable to move to an area with better cell service, it could severely decrease your chances of receiving timely help.

On a related note, it was customary to have multiple phones spread around the home.  Given that most cell phone users only use one device, it’s important to make sure that your mobile device is nearby when in accident prone areas including the kitchen and bathrooms.

If you leave a dependent at home for any length of time – If you have kids or elderly persons who are left alone for any period of time, it’s a good idea to have a land line.  Children aren’t known for their sense of innate responsibility and with their heavy usage patterns they can easily drain a cell phone battery.  Having a landline means that even if their cell phone is no longer usable, they can reach you or other emergency contacts if needed.

If you have any questions about adding landline services, you can contact our Customer Response Center at 1-888-343-8014.