DHS Home Page
Department of Human Services    Follow DHS on Facebook Follow DHS on Twitter Watch DHS Videos on Vimeo Connect with DHS on LinkedIn

Safety and Consumer Protection

The resources below are provided to help County residents stay safe in their homes and their communities.

Children and Families
Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities
Community
Children and Families

24-hour child protective services
Keeping children safe from abuse and neglect is the mandate of the DHS Office of Children, Youth and Families. Anyone who suspects that a child under the age of 18 years is being abused or is a victim of neglect may report his/her concerns by calling ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313 or the CYF Intake Office at 412-473-2000.

Anti-luring
Allegheny County’s Safe Start program uses the Charlie Check-First curriculum by Safety Kids, Inc. to help kids learn how to protect themselves and be safe in a variety of situations. By following the tips offered on the Anti-luring page, kids can prepare themselves, and caregivers can prepare the children in their care, so they know what to do if someone approaches and tries to lure the child into a car or asks him/her to go somewhere with them.  

Choose Your Partner/Caregiver Carefully
Choosing an appropriate caregiver for your child, including a care-giving partner, is one of the most important decisions a parent can make. Find ideas about things to consider before leaving your child in another’s care.

Dating abuse
Talking with teens about dating safety can help them avoid physical, sexual or emotional harm. Resources are available in English y en Español.

pdf.gif Dating Abuse: Talking to Your Teen  
pdf.gif Abuso en parejas adolescentes: cómo hablar con su hijo/a adolescente 

Gun safety education
ACHD reminds County residents that unintentional firearm deaths, especially involving children, can be prevented by taking simple precautions.

World Wide Web Icon ASK (Asking Saves Kids)
A simple question can save the life of your child or your child's friend. Learn more about ASK on the Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence website.

Produced by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, these gun safety brochures offer suggestions for staying safe when firearms are present in living quarters.  
pdf.gif Gun Safety - A Monster in the Closet is the Least of Your Concerns (English)
pdf.gif Seguridad con las armas de fuego - Un monstruo en el armario es en realidad su menor preocupación. (Español) 

Home-alone safety
Making decisions as a parent can be overwhelming. Deciding if your child is ready to be left home alone is a very important one. The information found by following this link will help you think about options that you may not have considered.  Remember there are places you can turn for ideas. Consider making decisions with the help of other people who care about you and your children.

pdf.gif Intervening to defuse a stressful child-parent situation
We are all responsible for the safety of children.  Find ideas about how to intervene in some common stressful child-parent situations.

Kids fire safety
Fires in homes are particularly dangerous for children four years of age and younger. With the United States in the middle of an especially cold winter, FEMA, the U.S. Fire Administration, and the National Commission on Children and Disasters, teamed up to call families and communities to action to keep our nation’s children safe. The link above presents simple steps that can prevent fires and protect children. 

pdf.gif Medical Information Form
In an emergency, it is easy to forget the most basic information about medical history, alergies and medication.  By competing this form for each household member and posting it on the refrigerator, first responders as well as family members can be assured of having current useful information when needed. 

Safe sleep for infants
Infants and children under the age of one year are particularly vulnerable when they sleep. DHS developed a Safe Sleep ActionAlert to help staff members, parents and/or caregivers of infants remember the best ways to ensure an infant's safe sleep. Our goal is to reduce infant deaths associated with unsafe sleep practices.

Soothing a crying baby
Babies cry. Sometimes their crying can go on for a long time. Caregivers may be stressed when the baby in their care keeps crying. This page has ideas about where to call for support and also ideas to help you soothe a crying baby.  The page also reminds caregivers NEVER to shake an infant. Shaking an infant can cause permanent brain damage and even death.


Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities

PDF Icon Adults with disabilities protection from abuse
There are now resources available to take reports of alleged abuse or neglect of an adult (18 to 59 years) with a disability. The disability may be physical, intellectual or related to mental illness. Callers may also report alleged abuse or neglect to Pa. Department of Public Welfare Adult Protective Services at 1-877-401-8835. 

24-hour older adult protective services
Protective services investigates reports of abuse, neglect (including self-neglect), abandonment and financial exploitation involving older adults. It also provides assistance to alleviate the risk of harm. To anonymously report a concern, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Elder Abuse Hotline at 412-350-6905 or 1-800-344-4319. A state hotline is also available at 1-800-490-8505.

pdf.gif Area Agency on Aging Carrier Alert (brochure)
U.S. Postal Service mail carriers are made aware of participating individuals who ask to have the appropriate service agency alerted if/when mail accumulates in their mailboxes, which can be an indication that there is reason for concern within the home. 

Area Agency on Aging Services for Older Adults
Provides information about the many services available to older adult residents of Allegheny County.

pdf.gif A Consumer Reference Guide for Seniors - How to Avoid Scams and Fraud
Prepared by the Pa. attorney general's office to help older adults identify predatory behavior before they fall victim to it.

pdf.gif Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors (2.1 MB)
Developed by a group of older adults who were unprepared for an emergency, this booklet provides practical and straight-forward suggestions for older adults and their loved ones to prepare ahead for unexpected emergencies. Published by the Red Cross.

Emergency preparedness resources for persons with disabilities
Materials developed by the National Organization on Disability to assist individuals with disabilities or special needs plan ahead for their well-being and safety during emergencies.

pdf.gif Medical Information Form
In an emergency, it is easy to forget the most basic information about medical history, alergies and medication.  By competing this form for each household member and posting it on the refrigerator, first responders as well as family members can be assured of having current useful information when needed. 

 SCAMS 

World Wide Web Icon Duquesne Light warns of telephone scam demanding payment
Duquesne Light does NOT request payment over the phone. Please take a moment to report suspicious calls to their customer service center at 1-888-393-7100.

World Wide Web Icon Senior Citizens Warned About 'Robocalls' For Medical Alert Equipment
The state Attorney General [has] issued a warning to older Pennsylvanians about a recent spike in so-called “robocalls” designed to deceitfully obtain billing information to charge $35 a month for purported monitoring services that may be unnecessary.

World Wide Web Icon Fraud Center
Operated by the National Consumer's League, this site provides information about common scams and how to avoid falling victim to them.

Grandparent Jail/Bail Phone Scam
Older adults are being targeted by persons claiming to be injured grandchildren in need of bail money immediately.  Commonly, a claim of a broken nose is the explanation given for the unfamiliar sounding voice.  This scam has cost sympathetic older adults thousands of dollars.

pdf.gif Medicare scam
Medicare WILL NEVER ask for your checking account number over the phone. 

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Scam
Letters from the "Senior Advisory Center" that offer to complete your Property Tax/Rent Rebate form for a $39 fee are part of a scam. Individuals may find the forms on-line and complete them free of charge. 

World Wide Web Icon Senior Citizens Warned About 'Robocalls' For Medical Alert Equipment
June 2013
The state Attorney General [has] issued a warning to older Pennsylvanians about a recent spike in so-called “robocalls” designed to deceitfully obtain billing information to charge $35 a month for purported monitoring services that may be unnecessary.

pdf.gif The $299 Rx drug plan is fake February 2013
Coersion and threats are common in this scam that offers a presciption plan or other health care items but requires the older adult to provide personal information such as checking account number or social security number. Victims or interested individuals can call 1-800-356-3606 to get more information.

 Utility Bill Scam
President Obama (the federal government) is not paying utility (electric) bills. Do not provider your Social Security number to anyone saying otherwise. Scammers are using email messages, social media messages and door-to-door contact to keep this scam going. Success stories are deceptive because payments are rescinded at a later date.

Special Needs Registry
Allegheny County residents with physical, mental health or intellectual disability may provide information to the Department of Emergency Services via the on-line Special Needs Registry. The voluntary information may then be shared with those responding to a home for a police, fire or medical emergency.

Telephone Services
Provides free, limited cellular telephone service to those who qualify.


Community

Allegheny County preparedness links
Compiled by the Allegheny County Department of Emergency Services, this page presents many links with helpful ideas about staying safe and planning ahead for dangerous situations.

Disaster preparedness
Being ready for an emergency does not happen by accident.  It takes planning and preparing.  This website gives ideas about making an emergency kit, developing a family/work plan and staying informed in case of fire, flood or other natural and man-made disasters.

How to Communicate During a Disaster
Tip sheet for the general public prepared by FEMA and the FCC suggests utilizing social media forums. 

Driving safety
Just Drive PA is a campaign originating with the Pa. Dept of Transportation that encourages drivers of all ages to focus on driving when behind the wheel. Traffic safety information can be found on the related website. 

Extreme cold and winter storms
Winter storms bring more than cold and snow. Frigid temperatures and heavy precipitation can knock out heat, electricity and communications systems and make roads impassable.  Learn how to plan ahead to make it safely through severe winter weather at this link. 

Extreme heat
Extremely high temperatures, often accompanied by high humidity, can be life-threatening for everyone, especially already vulnerable individuals: infants and young children, older adults and individuals with pre-existing health concerns. Learn how to plan ahead to make it safely through a heat wave at this link. 

Fires
House fires can spread quickly and take the possessions and lives of residents in a matter of minutes. Learn how to prevent fires and plan for recovery after a fire at this link.

Gun safety education
ACHD reminds County residents that unintentional firearm deaths, especially involving children, can be prevented by taking simple precautions.

Produced by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, these gun safety brochures offer suggestions for staying safe when firearms are present in living quarters.  
pdf.gif Gun Safety - A Monster in the Closet is the Least of Your Concerns (English)
pdf.gif Seguridad con las armas de fuego - Un monstruo en el armario es en realidad su menor preocupación. (Español) 

pdf.gif Medical Information Form
In an emergency, it is easy to forget the most basic information about medical history, alergies and medication.  By competing this form for each household member and posting it on the refrigerator, first responders as well as family members can be assured of having current useful information when needed. 

Scams 

World Wide Web Icon Duquesne Light warns of telephone scam demanding payment
Duquesne Light does NOT request payment over the phone. Please take a moment to report suspicious calls to their customer service center at 1-888-393-7100.

World Wide Web Icon Fraud Center
Operated by the National Consumer's League, this site provides information about common scams and how to avoid falling victim to them.

IRS consumer alert
An e-mail phishing scam has been identified asking taxpayers to complete an on-line application for a new refund. The e-mail contains an embedded link that will request personal identifiable information from the taxpayer. The email may also include official-looking logos. Do not be deceived. 

Personal debt/Walmart gift card Scam
Threatening phone calls related to paying off personal debt by purchasing Walmart gift cards have been reported. This is a scam.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Scam
Letters from the "Senior Advisory Center" that offer to complete your Property Tax/Rent Rebate form for a $39 fee are part of a scam. Individuals may find the forms on-line and complete them free of charge.

Utility Bill Scam
President Obama (the federal government) is not paying utility (electric) bills. Do not provide your Social Security number to anyone saying otherwise. Scammers are using email messages, social media messages and door-to-door contact to keep this scam going. Success stories are deceptive because payments are rescinded at a later date.