It's not a pleasant thought, but have you ever considered what you would do if the wires in your home started smoking? What about if a stray dog was wandering down your street? These aren't commonplace scenarios, but it's helpful to have an idea of how to handle them should the situation arise.
...the wires in your home start smoking?
Call 911! You'll want the fire department on site in case the situation escalates. Do not touch the wall or outlet from which you see smoke or sparks, and have everyone in the home evacuate. Once the situation is handled, be sure to schedule an appointment for a certified electrician to inspect all wiring and appliances to avoid any future emergencies.
...you see a suspicious person in your neighborhood?
It can be tough to know when to report unusual activity in your community, but if something feels "uncomfortable or out of place," it's appropriate to take action. The National Sheriff's Association defines suspicious activity in these terms and as reason to call police. There are four general categories to consider when determining what to report:
- Suspicious activities, such as a stranger loitering around homes or parks
- People and vehicles, for example a car cruising the street repeatedly
- Illegal activities, like the sound of gunshots or fighting
- Unusual events or incidents and dangerous situations, including several cars coming and going from a house or strange odors coming from a car or home
...a stray dog is wandering down your street?
Call your city's non-emergency police department line. In many communities, police officers will be dispatched to pick up the animal and transport it to the city's temporary animal shelter. They will handle identification efforts from there. If you are able and feel comfortable confining the dog to a safe area
, this can help ensure the animal is safely and quickly brought in. However, if the animal is acting erratically, do not approach it.
Many communities also have Neighborhood Watch programs to ensure neighborhood safety. Phone apps such as NextDoor are also good resources to report and follow any activity going on in your immediate neighborhood.