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Hands On Safety

SafetyCast 11 It’s the Most Taxable Time of the Year

Show Description

This month, George, Meaghan, and Leslie welcome Brad Martin, a tax preparer for United Way, to the show to discuss the best tips for finding a reputable tax preparer, what can happen if you don’t, and the pros and cons of doing your own taxes.

Don’t feel comfortable doing your own taxes? Here are some resources for finding someone to help you for free. Check out VITA, a free tax prep program through the IRS, call 2-1-1 locally to get in touch with the United Way’s call center to find local tax preparers, or check out the My Free Taxes website to either find a preparer or get assistance while doing your own.

If you do want to do your own taxes, the following resources are useful tools that also work with screen readers for blind users.
Tax Slayer
Turbo Tax
IRS Free File

And finally, if you want to go with a paid preparer, here are some things to keep in mind to make sure you have a reputable person.

A good preparer will…
Ask you a lot of questions about your finances
Will explain your return and make sure you understand it
Give you a copy of your return
Charge based on the form used, not a percentage of your return
Many other tips can be found on the web. Here is a good place to start.
And because we can’t forget our Canadian friends… contact the CRA in Canada to see if there are similar programs in your area.

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Hands On Safety

SafetyCast 10 Do You Consent

Show Description

In the last few months there has been a movement in the blindness community to bring sexual abuse and harassment to light and take steps to put an end to it. On this episode, Leslie, George and Meaghan welcome Laura Millar, a researcher and teacher of sexual health for people with disabilities, and Bobbi Pompey, a living skills instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Fransisco, to discuss consent and boundaries, not only in relationships but in our everyday interactions as well.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault or would like more information, visit RAINN or call 1-800-656-HOPE. To find more information on this movement in the blindness community, search for #marchingtogether on Facebook or visit the Blind Survivors Support Collective on Facebook. The support collective can also be contacted by email at blindsscollective@gmail.com. You can also find more information on the Marching Together movement and the NFB’s Safety and Support task force on their website. To get more information the “Navigating Consent” classes for survivors and transgressors, check out the Navigating Consent website.

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Hands On Safety

SafetyCast 9 Shop Til You Drop

Show Description

With the holidays fast approaching. Meaghan, George, and Leslie discuss methods for keeping yourself safe while shopping in stores and online. They discuss the added need to be aware of and practice safety protocols during COVID 19 as well as how to look out for such things as; porch pirates who try to steal your packages, online scams, and your social media exposure. For more information about online shopping safety, visit the FBI’s 12 Days of Online Safety Tips. If you do become a victim of cyber crime, the FBI asks victims to report cybercrime immediately to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center or the local FBI office. For tips on protecting your home and yourself during the holidays, check out the Washington Metropolitan Police Department’s page.

We would like to take this time to wish a very heartfelt Happy Holidays to all our listeners and we look forward to bringing you more new shows in the new year. We are taking the month of December off, but you can look for our next show to be released on February 6th. Again, Happy Holidays and stay safe.

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Hands On Safety

SafetyCast 8 Its A Date

Show Description

Dating is tough enough without adding an extra element of danger. On this episode, George, Meaghan, and Leslie discuss what you need to be aware of to protect yourself in the dating world, specifically when it comes to online dating and managing your online profile.
assault and harassment are never acceptable and are never the victim’s fault no matter what you were wearing, drinking, or whom you were with. The National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) and online.rainn.org is here to listen and provide resources, and is anonymous, free, and available 24/7.

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SafetyCast 7 Spam Likely

Show Description

On this episode, Leslie, George, and Meaghan discuss scams; types of scams, how to protect against them, and how to report them. Since they couldn’t possibly cover everything in one show, here is more information on the various types of scams. You can also find information specifically about imposter scams that appear to come from the US government here. This is also a census year in the US, be aware of people impersonating census takers. For more information on what to expect, check out the Census Bureau page.

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Safety Cast 6 College Rules

Show Description

Meaghan, George, and Leslie discuss navigating college life, and important safety tips for using ride share services. Some of the most important tips covered in this episode are: limiting distractions while walking at night, letting others know where you are going , signing up for campus security alerts, getting to know your neighbors, and researching your campuses safety resources, such as call boxes and escort services. For a more comprehensive list, check out this article from the college express website.
Although use a ride share service such as Uber or Lyft can be a great option for getting home safe, there are some important things to remember when scheduling your ride. Confirm that you are getting in the correct vehicle buy asking your driver’s name and who they are there to pick up. Never give them your name or ask, “is your name…?” It is too easy for a impersonator to lie and tell you that’s who they are. If you are able to visually confirm the driver by their picture or the make and model of their car, it is always a good habit to get into. We can never stress strongly enough how important it is to let others know where you are or where you are going. If you do get into a vehicle and feel unsafe, you can always share your ride through the ride share app or via text message by sending your location. Never feel ashamed to make up an excuse to get the driver to drop you off in a public place if you feel that you need to get out of the car. This may also be a good time to use some of those safety apps discussed in our second show, “calling for Help” and in Meaghan’s review.

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SafetyCast 5 What Next

Show Description

As a follow-up to the previous show, Leslie, Meaghan and George discuss options for continuing to stay safe after the storm or disaster. They talk about issues such as keeping documents safe in various formats and keeping food for as long as possible. The team also discuss ways to let other’s no you are safe, finding local and national resources, and getting counseling.
To register with the red cross that you are safe, text “safe” to 78876, or to register and look for people go through the Red Cross’s Safe and Well Center. You can also reach them by calling 1-800-733-2767.
Local resources for caregivers, the elderly and people with disabilities can be found through ElderCare or by calling 1-800-677-1116.
If you need disaster assistance, you can apply through a local FEMA agency which can be located through FEMA’s disaster assistance finder or by calling their help line at 1-800-621-3362. And to get more information you can find videos covering a variety of disaster topics in FEMA’s media library.
And finally, if you need counseling to assist with emotional stress due to a disaster, SAMHSA has a 24/7 crisis hotline which can be accessed in the U.S. by calling 1-800-985-5990 or you can text “TalkWithUs” to 66746. Canadian residence can find assistance here.

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SafetyCast 4 Calm Before the Storm

Show Description

Now that we’re in the midst of hurricane season, Meaghan, George and Leslie discuss what you need to know to make a plan to prepare for dealing with bad weather, and other forms of natural, and man-made disasters. What should be in your packing list? What kind of things should you consider when making your plan?

The team also discussed apps and other resources for getting real-time information during severe weather and other disasters. The American Radio Relay League provides information for finding amateur radio operators, local HAM clubs, and becoming a licensed operator. 5-0 Radio is an app that gives listeners access to local police and fire scanners and HAM Radio repeaters. Downloading the app is free, but there is an option to upgrade for $5.00. The U. S. Federal Emergency Management Administration, FEMA has a wealth of resources on their website which can also be access through their iPhone and android. And finally, the American Red Cross also has apps for iPhone and android for emergencies. It includes links to their entire suite of emergency weather apps and first aid for people and pets.

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SafetyCast 3 Situational Awareness

Show Description

George, Meaghan, and Leslie discuss what it means to not only be aware of your surroundings, but aware of your situation as well. Through stories of their own experiences, and the experiences of others, they talk about trusting your instincts, using your senses, and having the right mindset. George describes the Cooper Code, a method he uses to help his students develop their situational mindset before, during and after a situation and talks about evaluating a situation with the 5 W’s and how.

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SafetyCast 2 Calling For Help

Show Description

Leslie, George and Meaghan discuss setting up the fastest ways to contact people in the event of an emergency and providing medical information for first responders. Leslie demonstrates setting up Emergency SOS settings in iOS and talks about the settings for the Apple Watch app. George demonstrates adding emergency contacts for android users. The team also discusses setting up medical ID information, fall detection on the Apple Watch and third-party apps. Some of them listed as the Top 5 apps to keep you safe. For more details about the apps discussed, read Meaghan’s review.

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We want to hear from you, so please send an email to feedback@handsonsafety.net. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. . Soon, you will also be able to find us on the web, for resources and other safety related topics.