Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Barbara Staib, President of Safe Home Products, is an expert on child safety, emergency preparedness, pet training and even pest control. She has personally helped thousands of customers since SHP started in 1999. Here you can find Q&A with Barbara to foster safer, healthier and simpler living.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Recovery Time Between Alcohol Breath Tests on AlcoHawk Pro Model 11000?

Question about the AlcoHawk 11000 by Q3 Innovations.

Q: "What is the recovery time between tests with this product? How many
tests can be done in a five minute period?" Jason.

Answer: The answer is 4 tests in 5 minutes since we recommend waiting 1 minute between each test performed using the AlcoHAWK® unit. The AlcoHawk Pro or unit uses a semiconductor oxide sensor and meets DOT Standards as a breath alcohol screener. A single 9 volt battery can power about 300 tests.

Some AlcoHawk features:
  • Warm-Up Time: 20 Seconds
  • Blowing Time: 5 Seconds
  • Response Time: 3 Seconds
  • Digital Display: 3 Digits in numeric readout.
  • Operating Temperature: 10-40° C
  • Detection Range: 0.00 - 0.40% BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration)
  • Air Sample: 5 Seconds
  • Sensor Accuracy: 0.01% at 0.10 % B.A.C.
  • Calibration: Required Periodically. (Send to manufacturer or to designated recalibration facility)

  • Thank you for your question.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Saturday, June 13, 2009

    Which Personal or Pro Alcohol Breathalyzer Should I Buy? Am I Liable If Someone Drives Drunk?

    Question about alcohol blood level breathalyzers for personal use.

    Q: "I want to buy a personal alcohol blood level screening device for tailgate parties and home parties. I want to be able to serve alcoholic beverages and avoid problems with friends or family inadvertently driving under the influence. What units do you suggest? If someone "blows" a significant number on the breathalyzer and insists on driving, am I still liable?"-Tom

    Answer: Please consult an attorney or law enforcement person in your state about liability issues related to alcohol you furnish to adults. Remember, criminal charges are filed every day for adults serving alcohol to minors and incarceration is not unusual.

    The Alcohawk breathalyzer units we sell were originally developed after a University of Iowa law student interned with a DUI lawyer and realized that an affordable breathalyzer could help prevent persons from driving drunk. Do remember that alcohol levels can continue to rise even if the person blows a legal limit into an alcohol-screening device, eventually pushing alcohol levels over the legal limit. There are now some Alcohawk units that are DOD certified and used by law enforcement for helping to determine if a person is over the legal limit.

    Currently, there are three main types of Alcohawks:
    1. Alcohawk 1: a single test unit that uses crystals to indicate the Blood Alcohol Concentration. These are inexpensive: better to buy a reusable one if you plan to screen multiple persons. Currently about $5 each.
    2. Alcohawk Elite, Precision and Slim: portable, reusable, extra mouth pieces available (mouthpieces can be sanitized). Prices range from about $60 to $125 at this time. Some are DOT (Department of Transportation) Conforming.
    3. Alcohawk PT500 Professional: visual and auditory alerts. About $200.
    • Adjustable Blowing Time (Professional Kit Only): The AlcoHAWK PT500 is the first AlcoHAWK that allows to adjust the blowing time from 3 to 8 seconds. The blowing time may be adjusted for testing subjects with poor lung capacity, such as a smoker, or for testing subjects with a large lung capacity, such as a high-endurance runner. This makes the AlcoHAWK PT500 ideal for accurate and reliable testing of a variety of individuals.
    • Easy-to-Read LCD Display: The AlcoHAWK PT500 offers a large, easy-to-read LCD display to make the unit the most informative and understandable AlcoHAWK Series product on the market.
    • Pressure Scan Sensor: Ensures that the user blows with enough force to start a test and also ensures that they continue to blow through the unit throughout the entire test.
    • Sensor Recognition Technology: This DOT/NHTSA conforming Breath Alcohol Screener uses new PT Core â„¢ Fuel-cell Sensor Technology which enhances accuracy over the traditional semi-conductor sensors.
    • Warning Level Indicator: The AlcoHAWK PT500 features an audible and visual warning when a subject's BAC surpasses the adjustable BAC alarm point.
    How fast can someone metabolize alcohol and be safe to drive? When I was a certified addictions counselor working for the Department of the Army, the accepted criteria was that a healthy 150 pound man could usually metabolize one drink, defined as 12 ounces of beer, 6 ounces or wine or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits in about one hour. To be safe to drive, the recommendation was to wait one more hour. A woman's physiology differs: metabolism takes longer due to less water (more fatty tissue) in her body to "dilute" the alcoho: a 150 pound woman is more effected by even one drink. Whether you drink on an empty stomach or have eaten a full meal changes metabolism as well. Drinking and eating actually slows down the metabolism! And how healthy your liver is or is not is another variable.

    A wise host or hostess serves alcoholic beverages to adults in a manner that encourages prudent enjoyment of the beverages, perhaps cocktails, beer or wine with dinner and coffee or tea with dessert. Depending upon your group, having a breathalyzer on hand and "trying it out" may be quite acceptable. One customer last fall bought one for tailgating parties at the U. of Texas: his mature group of friends encouraged that action.

    The fear is that immature adults or teens might use the unit to see how high a number can be blown before the person passes out, etc. People do die from alcohol poisoning, i.e. when the breathing response is effected and/or the person goes into a coma-like state.

    Thank you for your questions. We hope this introduction to breathalyzers has been helpful.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Saturday, March 7, 2009

    Are Dog Life Vests Necessary for Boating Safety?

    Question about the Dog Life Vests for boating.

    Q:" I adopted a 40 lb. Lab mix from the animal shelter. I like to spend my week-ends in the summer boating. My friends say she needs a life vest. I thought dogs were natural swimmers. Is this really necessary? If it is, what do you suggest?" Thanks Joe.

    Answer: I, too, recommend a life vest. Our 40 pound pound puppy loved to ride in my Dad's boat on Crooked Creek in Western Pennsylvania. Crooked Creek was 200 to 400 feet wide in most places. Sometimes, Rinty jumped into the water when the boat slowed for passing boats, swimmers, etc. Usually he swam to shore and raced us home along the bank except when the bank was steep or he swam in circles. Getting a wet 40 pound dog into the boat was a struggle: sometimes we waited until he was exhausted to drag him in.

    Most dogs enjoy boating. The problem comes when the dog jumps or falls into the water and the shore is distant or it takes time to return to get your dog. A doggie life jacket keeps the dog floating if she is tired or injured from the jump and makes it easier to pull her into the boat.

    Life jackets are sized according to the weight and girth of the dog. So you have sizes extra small (dogs up to 15 lbs.), small for dogs 15 to 19 pounds, medium for dogs 20 to 50 pounds, largefor dogs 40 to 70 pounds and extra large for dogs over 70 pounds. Measure the girth to determine the size if your dog falls into several size categories.

    The bright orange color let you see her better in the water. Do consider if you have the physical strength to pull a dog from the water. Dogs are prone to struggle making the task harder.

    We recommend the life jackets with a grab handle to help pull the dog from the water. The Kyjen are made of tough 600 denier nylon fabric with adjustable chest and neck Velcro flaps. There are quick release buckles and a Neoprene belly band to help keep your dog warm in the water.

    Hope this helps with your situation. Remember the importance of restraining a dog when in a moving vehicle of any kind. We recommend dog car seats with restraints for smaller dogs and car seat vests for larger animals. Both have safety straps that attach to car seat belts.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    How Do Window Guards Prevent Theft Through an Open Window?

    Question about John Sterling security window guards, Max Guards, Fixed Guards and Swing Open Guards .

    Q:" Hi I am in need of some expertise here. I am interested in window guards to prevent theft through an open window. If I was to purchase this item ,how do they prevent theft on windows that are open?" A US Navy Chief Gunner Wife.

    Answer: The security window guards that we sell are mounted on the inside of the home, apartment or other building. Guards can be mounted to protect only the window opening or the entire window. There are three styles: fixed, removable and swing open. The fixed are not for escape: in some places they are banned and in others they are required in non-sleeping rooms for safety. The Max guards remove completely from the mounting bars. The swing open units do just that.

    The two kinds that open have a hole for either a clip or a lock so they cannot be opened from outside the building. The bar spacings vary from 3.5 to 4 inches so a hand could get between the bars but removing anything of any size would be difficult. And removing the clip or lock would be difficult to impossible from the outside. The bars are made of steel. The diameter/size varies from a round bar to the angle type bar of the MAX guards.

    Please go to our website to figure out which size or sizes of guards would protect your windows. If you have questions, please send us your window measurements and types of windows and we'll guide you.

    Thanks for your question.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Does the Snoozer dog seat connect to a car seat?

    Question about the Oversized Lookout I Dog Car Seat, NO Drawer.

    Q: "Does the Snoozer dog seat connect to a car seat?"

    Answer: Yes. To connect the Snoozer, take your seat belt/harness and hook it over the back of the dog seat in the grooves. Connect the dog's harness to the restraining strap (included with the car seat) which attaches to the car seat belt.

    Thank you for your question.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Can the Life Hammer Break Out Office Building Glass?

    Question about the product: Original Life Hammer Escape Hammer (Orange Product Code: : SM-IN-LH002

    Q: "Could this product be used in a ground floor office building? We would like to have these available in our office to ensure persons an exit in an emergency. We would likely mount this devise on the wall. Would this product be able to break double paned glass? do you have other products that can perform this task for us. Thank you for your assistance. Lisa "

    Answer: We contacted the USA master distributor for his input. Here is his response:

    "The LifeHammer is designed to break safety glass or tempered glass for autos. However it can be applied to other purposes if the type of the glass / windows have the same characteristics. Your client should first try to find out about the glass they use (from the builder or from the fire department of the city)."

    We hope that this helps.


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    Sunday, June 22, 2008

    Is there a more powerful power dome for emergency power outages?

    Question about the Product: Wagan 400W Power Dome Portable Power Source Generator Product Code: : WA-2354

    Q: "Is there a more powerful unit other than this one here. I live in Northern Ontario, Canada and the winters up here can be very brutal. Last year I was taken to the hospital with hypo thermia. I got hypo thermia while I was inside the house that I was renting. Something to run the radio and lights a little while later would be nice."

    Answer: A power inverter or portable power pack like the 400 watt one is not what you need. You need to purchase a generator that runs on either gasoline or propane. Our experience with the gasoline generators is that they run about 4 to 5 hours before running out of fuel when run at full power. Depending upon the size, you could at least operate an electric heater or an electric blanket or electric throw plus a few other appliances. A 5500 watt gasoline run generator would power your furnace motor so if you heat with natural gas, you'd stay warm. At 50% power, these units are supposed to run 10 to 12 hours.

    Hope this helps. Thanks for your question.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    Can a Life Hammer Break Laminated Glass?

    Question about the product Original Life Hammer Escape Hammer (Orange)
    Product Code: : SM-IN-LH002

    Q: "Does the original Life Hammer work on laminated side windows? Another similar product does not and I don't know if my windows are laminated ?"- Renee

    Answer: I appreciate your bringing this question to us. It was my understanding that tinted safety glass was the material used in automotive side windows. The Life Hammer will break safety glass but not laminated glass like that in windshields. I contacted the manufacturer. This is what the company president suggests:
    • Contact your dealer to learn if you indeed have laminated side windows made from the same material as your windshield. He states that typically only luxury vehicles have this option unless you have opted this as an upgrade to your vehicle.
    • Tinted side windows are usually safety glass with a laminated film. A Life Hammer will break out this type of window.
    Nothing will break out laminated glass. There are some interesting discussions about the pros and cons of laminated and safety glass for side windows that you can find on the internet. Go to and hunt for laminated-glass-in-car windows. One person said it took him 5 minutes with a special saw to saw through a laminated side window.

    My summary of that discussion is that safety glass allows for escape from a car without undue force or time while laminated windshield type glass side windows means that getting out is nearly impossible. There was a 31 million dollar legal decision against Ford due to a roll over accident in 2003 where the occupants of a 2000 Ford Explorer were not wearing seat belts and were thrown from a vehicle with side windows of safety glass. At the time, 99.9% of the cars through the 2000 model year had side windows of safety glass.

    I hope you found this as interesting and terrifying as I did! I don't know if you have electric windows but I do only on the front windows of my 2003 Windstar van (the dual rear doors slide but the windows don't open.). I plan to contact Ford and learn what material my windows are made from.


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    Sunday, July 4, 2004

    Do the XP3 Hornet Deer Repellers Need Special Cleaning?

    Question about the SM-XP3-V120 Hornet V-120 Electronic Sonic Deer Avoidance System

    Q: "I am interested in installing a Hornet on my motorcycle. Air activated devices need to be clean in order to function correctly. Since this device is electronic, is there any special cleaning involved? Other then not getting water in it when washing, does the barrel need occasional cleaning?" John

    Answer: Instructions say the unit is water resistant and not affected by normal weather conditions. The manufacturer cautions is to avoid direct high pressure water spraying into the intake barrel.

    Thanks for your question.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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