Category Archives: Safety

10 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Rats

RatsRats are rodents found inside or outside the house. They appear from anywhere in search of food, water, and shelter. Rats can find your home a suitable place to dwell. Many people find them to be destructive, not only do they steal food, but they also contaminate food, devastate properties, bring plagues, and transmit many diseases. Because of these disadvantages that rats come with, it is essential to know of various ways to get rid of rats effectively. The following are some of the most effective methods for rat removal:

Clean House

Cleaning your house well is considered as the first and most effective way to get rid of rats effectively. You can clean by removing their sources of food and shelter as much as possible. You should cover remained dishes and pet dishes, keep the yard and home clean, close lids on the garbage cans. Proper hygiene will also help you know what is attracting rats in your house and know their hideouts.

Use Of Traps (Trapping)

Trapping gets rid of rats fast. It is done by taking a humane trap and putting bait like Peanut butter and cheese to attract the rat. As the rat tries to eat this, it will be caught in the trap.

You can then take it and throw it away from your home or in the woods so that it never comes back. A well-fed rat may not eat the bait used in rat traps. It will be wise to exhaust their food source before setting the trap or using rat poison.

However, we recommend only using poison as a last resort. As it poses a health risk to all of the predators that may decide to make a meal out of the poisoned rat. It could be a beautiful coyote, a wild fox – or even your own best friend taking his last woof.

If you do decide to use poisons – you will need to go the extra mile to ensure no other animals are harmed through ingesting the poisoned rat. Which means you will need to dispose of the rats properly in the trash.


Use Of Rodenticides

Poison baits should be used in areas where children and domestic animals cannot access them for protection against poisoning. Rat baits come in pellets, meal, and block forms. When the rat feeds on the bait, it dies of poison. It is essential to dispose the dead rats away from your house to avoid bad odor. The original rat poison is a chemical called Coumadin or hydroxycoumarin. The makers of rat poisons realized that one poison bite would make the rat ill and eventually die.

Black Pepper And Peppermint Oil

Capsaicin, an active compound in peppers produces a lot of heat. Amazingly, that heat becomes an amazing way of getting rid of rats. If you sprinkle, pepper where the rats reside it will make them leave because they cannot stand the heat. The pungent smell of pepper also makes it hard for the rats to breathe. Thus it threats their survival. Also, you can place cotton dipped in peppermint oil and put it strategically. It can be near your kitchen, dustbin, or an area that is likely to attract rats.


This is a natural remedy to get rid of rats fast. The smell of onions is odious to these stubborn rodents. Just slice an onion and keep it inside or near their holes. They hate the smell of onion and run away. This is an excellent home remedy.

Close All Openings And Dismantle Their Hideout

You can prevent rats from entering or re-entering your spaces, by closing any opening including vent holes and the smallest cracks. Sheet metal around pipe entrances and along door bottoms prevents rats from chewing through. You can fill gaps around pipes with cement to keep out rats. Take away any objects that rats can use as home or hideouts like old furniture and car bodies.


Mothballs can also repel rats. They are readily available in the market and are easy to use. Place a few in your attic to keep the rats away. Avoid placing these mothballs inside the house as it has a strong smell that is harmful to humans. Take proper care not to touch it with bare hands. It is advisable to wear protective gloves when handling these balls.


Sound not only hurts rats but also makes their ears bleed. Sound waves are said to be highly disruptive to the nervous system of rodents. One electronic sound repellent covers an area of 2,500 square feet per floor, significant coverage of all the areas within your house or residence. Garages, basements, and attics should be fixed with their own electronic sound repellent device.

Cow Dung

It is a stinky and dirty process but one of the best ways to prevent these rodents. Take some cow dung cakes and spread them in your attic or garden. When rats eat the cow dung, it will inflame their stomach and cause them to die. This helps get rid of rats outside the house.

Raising Natural Predators

A more natural method for eradicating rats is keeping a cat. It is natural to keep a cat and her kittens for long-term pest control. Most of the cats are excellent hunters and will tend to chase the rats away. The only problem is that cats create a territory and mark it with urine. Another setback is that rats reach some places in your home that are too small for a cat to squeeze in.

The menace of rodents can get disturbing especially when they invade your dwelling. The above methods can be used to get rid of them effectively.

garage door opens, kids, home security

Kids, Residential Garage Doors and Home Security

Sometimes even the most agile Heads-Up Dads discover they can’t have nice things stored out in their garage anymore because with so many kids playing on the property, they can’t keep their storage areas locked and safe from thieves.

the whole family on the driveway

Its a hard decision to tell kids they can’t play with the neighbors on the home property anymore, but a parents’ eyes can’t be everywhere at once. In more urban communities with high pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk,an unattended garage space can get pilfered in less time than it takes to answer a ringing phone.

When the neighbourhood kids run amuck about the property they frequently leave doors and windows wide open, and adolescent teens are especially prone to leaving the garage door open at night.

Prowlers Pounce on Open Garage Doors

Here in Toronto almost half the burglaries that police investigate occur in residential garages, and these numbers are rising. McKee Horrigan garage door installers report a 30% increase in ‘armoured doors’ sold over the last two years. The steel plated garage door is ‘custom build’ with extra metal on the front. Its almost impossible to cut through, and the frame can be additionally reinforced to prevent buckling if rammed by car or truck. Suburban thieves often work in pairs, prowling side streets looking for targets of opportunity. Unsecured or open garage doors rank high on their list. More sophisticated burglars might travel with binoculars in their car to spy valuables inside open garages from a safe distance. They like expensive tools and toys, especially bicycles they can ride away to a nearby rendezvous point.

Any Toronto residents reading this might remember Igor Kenk the local bike shop owner who both stole bicycles and bought hundreds of stolen bikes. The photo below is the grand cache seized by police, many of which were later donated to inner city youth. Not all of these bicycles were stolen while locked to parking stanchions; the most expensive bikes with composite materials in lightweight designer frames were often lifted from inside locked garages where the owner felt safe storing them between rides. .

Bicycles stolen from streets and open garages in Toronto

High tech alarms systems with IP cameras video surveillance are fine, but all too often security protocol starts and ends with the youngest members of the family.

Brian Mcleish the CEO of Guru Security in Toronto has a lot to say on the subject of home security and garage security as an extension of family discipline. He identifies a role for Heads-Up Dads as Security Boss.

Five Ideas To Help Keep The Family Garage More Secure

  1. Install a perimeter alarm system with magnetic contacts on garage side doors and windows that can be ‘armed’ at night at a panel in the house; this display should show open doors and windows at a glance. Most home alarm systems require all windows and doors to be shut and locked before the system will arm – be sure the array includes the garage door.
  2. Install motion sensors tied to flood lights on the outside corners of the garage and where they would be most effective on the property.
  3. Consider a possible security role for the family pet.
  4. Better utilize remote locking systems – most modern home security systems now feature remote locking devices which can give parents added control from inside the dwelling and when they are away from home. Parents can unlock the door for their teen when they arrive home from school. Also, if the child forgets to lock the door, parents can easily secure it, and check to see that its secure from inside their car or office.
  5. Security Protocol – The head of the household should create an easy to follow, easy to remember security protocol for the whole family.. Put a list of to-dos on the fridge and front door of the house. Designate the garage a ‘high security’ zone.

If the garage door doesn’t include an automatic close function, The Autocloser addresses the need to keep your garage door closed by automatically shutting your garage door if you inadvertently leave it open. The device attaches to most residential garage door openers and will automatically close the door after the user specified closing time has elapsed. The times can be set to 2, 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. Autocloser comes equipped with a disable button that will allow the door to remain open indefinitely.when required.

Keep Garage Flat Roof Safe From Sneaks With Sawsalls

Brian Mcleish posted a piece on Guru Security blog about keeping flat roofs safe where he showed how easy it is to cut through a modern flat roof with the right equipment. He posted a graphic courtesy of ToughRoof flat roof repair that shows how modern flat roofs are composed of layers of tar, plastic foam insulation and wood like chocolate layer cake, which is not so hard to slice through with a drill and Sawsall.(heavy duty jigsaw). The takeaway is simply ‘don’t forget the flat roof’ and put motion detectors and flood lights up there too if roof access is even remotely possible from the street.

The hardest part about keeping the family garage safe may be the delicate task of informing children that burglaries happen all the time and theft is more likely when bicycles, tools, and expensive toys are left lying about or within easy each inside an unattended open garage.

Toxic Chemicals in personal skin care products?


I have been doing a lot of gardening over the past couple of months and it has been great. Lots of fresh air, hard work and I am learning a lot.

It’s killing my hands though. Shovelling, digging, gettting dirty, washing, getting dirty. Washing again has taken its toll. I use a lot of moisturizers but it does not seem to make much of a difference. It feels good once I put products on, but as soon as my hands are back in the dirt and back into the tap water, dry as a bone and chafing. It occurred to me that maybe these moisturizers aren’t really doing such a great job after all.

After looking into some other more effective options for skincare products that might heal my busy, abused hands, I learned a lot that really surprised and alarmed me. Did you know, that most of the products you buy at the drugstore, or at the grocery store, contain a bunch of nasty stuff that is toxic and harmful to humans? The more I dug, the more I discovered how everyday personal care products are laced with stuff you would never want in your bloodstream if you knew it was there.

If only we knew about the hidden toxic chemicals that can be found in everyday personal care products… Chemicals that are cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting and allergy-inducing.

The presence of these toxins isn’t new:

They have been there all along.

We think it’s time to shed the light on the hidden, dangerous toxins that exist in body care products for men. But we need your help. We need you to roll up your sleeves and help us flag the products that you would like to know more about.

Cologne, bar soap, deodorant, shaving cream. These are all common products that we use everyday. Used by us, by our sons, brothers, fathers or husbands. On a daily basis, these products are rubbed and absorbed into our skin, with very lax regulations on the ingredients used to make them.

Environmental Defense

Environmental Defense is an organization that looks after us, fights for us and helps make the government take action on our behalf. Their new Just Beautiful campaign is all about testing products we use everyday to see just how safe they are to put on our skin. How safe are the personal products we use on our bodies? The answer: nobody knows. The cosmetic business is a deregulated wild west.

They would like to test ten common products that are part of the basic morning routine many men go through on a daily basis. And, reveal their findings to you.

As a parent myself with a young daughter and two small boys, I want to know whether the products I use daily are safe for me and for my kids. We thought you might too. With our children’s health in our hands, we need to ensure that we are taking each step we can to protect them – today, tomorrow and as they grow older. When we can’t do it for ourselves, its great to know that people like Rick Smith from Environmental Defence has got our backs. He did it already with Bisphenol A in Baby Bottles and now he is on the case searching for hidden toxins that we know are lurking in our everyday personal care products.

By identifying the ingredients hidden in these products, we can continue to push for stronger federal regulations and accountability. But, this research will not be cheap.

As each product is put through a series of laboratory tests to detect different chemicals, testing will cost $710 per product.

Can we count on you to help Environmental Defense make men’s personal care products safe from harmful chemicals? Will you make a donation today?

Each gift will help cover the cost of a product to be tested. And, what better time than to do it today!

How to heal your dry, chapped skin without slathering on harmful toxins?

If you are looking for some great options for effective skin care products that are all natural, non toxic and free from dark, hidden secrets there are options out there. They are just not as easy to find. One place you can look is Made From Earth Organics.

I have been using some of their products recently and I really love them. I have a couple of bars of lovely soap that gets me and my kids dirty hands clean without drying them to a chafe. I also use an amazing face wash that cools, cleans and refreshes after a long day without stripping your skin of its natural moisture. I am a chapstick guy who always travels with one in my pocket and another in my car. You will love theirs. Blows the drugstore variety off the shelf. The only problem is, now that I am addicted to these, I will never be able to buy a cheap and cheerful drugstore product again.

Do you have any questions, products you would like Environmental Defense to test or men’s grooming products you would like us to review and share with our audience?

Please feel free to comment below, email me directly or send us a tweet @HeadsUp_Dad

Yay—Summer is here!

Yay—Summer is here!, originally uploaded by HeadsUp_Dad.

Well, if you haven’t already noticed, summer is in full swing. Heat waves, power outages, traffic jams, highway construction, air conditioners, cold beer on the patio, burgers on the barbeque, weekends up at the cottage, beach time, camping trips, outdoor adventure, family fun, summer holidays! We have been waiting for this all year. Woo Hoo!

Get out there, enjoy the warm sunshine, beautiful weather, the beach, the cottage by the lake, your boat on the water, the golf course, the baseball diamond, the local pool, the back yard barbeque, wading pools in municipal parks, summer camp, canoe trips, sailing in the harbour, festivals and events, summer concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, the hiking trails, a road trip or a family adventure. Enjoy the company of friends, your family—and definitely, spend some time on your own.

Let your kids run loose in the park, ride a bike down a dusty road in the country, explore the ravine behind your house, wander the beach barefoot. All of these moments will create memories of summer that will last a lifetime. Soak it all in, write it down, take plenty of photos, shoot them on video and take time to just be.

Have tons of fun but be sure to put on plenty of sunscreen, keep an eye out for kids on the road, be safe around the water and keep your eye on the kids whenever they are playing in or around water. As much fun as they can be, and as great as they are a place to cool off, every year kids drown in back yard pools, lakes and rivers because somebody was not paying attention. Don’t be that guy.

Know what it looks like when someone is in trouble.

Most people assume that a drowning person will splash, yell, and wave for help; and why wouldn’t they? That’s what we see on TV. Without training, we are conditioned first to think of drowning as a violent struggle that is noisy and physical. In actuality, it is not.

The Instinctive Drowning Response represents a person’s attempts to avoid the actual or perceived suffocation in the water. The suffocation in water triggers a constellation of autonomic nervous system responses that result in external, unlearned, instinctive drowning movements that are easily recognizable by trained rescue crews.

Will you know it when you see it?

Characteristics of the Instinctive Drowning Response:

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary, or overlaid, function. Breathing must be fulfi lled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

For additional information, visit “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning” by Mario Vittone on the G Captain Blog.

For more information, tips and resources about survival in the water, check out On Scene Magazine: The Journal of U. S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue.

Have a great summer…

Check in often. We’ll be posting photos, stories, video and other illuminating stuff to amuse and maybe even inspire. Send us your summer stories. Send us your photos and links to your videos. We just may share them with the rest of the HeadsUpDad community.