Perks of working with safety, public health and security experts — very cool gift tips

I have to admit that I LOVE gift guides. In the last month, I’ve perused gift guides for Him, handmade gifts (for purchase), modern gifts for pets, Oprah’s Favorite Things and guides for the perfect cooking-fitness-tech-whatever gadgets, to name a few.

If, like me, you’re still shopping, my colleagues at Indiana University Public Safety and Institutional Assurance have offered some great suggestions — in various price ranges – for gifts that make thoughtful picks any time of the year.

Mark Bruhn

Mark Bruhn

Nothing says “I love you” like an escape ladder or weather radio (both as low as $30). Mark Bruhn, associate vice president for PSIA, recommended these because they can be used to escape fires and prepare for severe weather.

Kim Milford, executive director of Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC), recommended some help remembering all those passwords – or better yet, an app that remembers for us. With apps such as the premium version of LastPass, all passwords can be stored in one place, improving security because of the ability to use more complicated, difficult-to-remember passwords.

Diane Mack

Diane Mack

Diane Mack, university director of Emergency Management and Continuity, offered survival-themed gifts, some of which are pragmatic while others are educational and entertaining: First aid kit (from $10 up); a DIY Go-bag survival kit; Large battery charger for a vehicle (most over $100); and books about survival, such as “The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead” (for adults) and “The Boys’ Book of Survival (How to Survive Anything, Anywhere)”. She also recommended survival-themed playing cards to help keep this useful information at loved ones’ fingertips: Wilderness Survival Playing Cards ($6), Urban Survival Playing Cards ($17), and The Don’t Die Out There! Deck of playing cards ($6.30).

Mike Jenson, Director of University Environmental Health and Safety, would like to have a functional Ebola vaccine for a holiday gift (price unknown). His gift suggestions include a food thermometer ($2 and up) because they can help prevent foodborne illnesses; safety glasses, which can help prevent eye injuries during all types of household chores; and an oil drain pain to aid in proper disposal of motor oil.

Crank-powered flashlights ($10 and up) make good gifts, according to Doug Booher, director of University Events Management.


Sara Chambers

Sara Chambers, chief privacy officer, recommends Radio Frequency ID blocking wallets ($17 and up) to protect from electronic pickpockets. She also recommends cross-cut or micro-cut paper shredders for home. They provide extra security by shredding personal documents in such a way that it’s almost impossible to put them back together ($30 and up).

Tom Davis

Tom Davis

Tom Davis, chief security officer at IU, also recommended a service to protect private information from cyber thieves and to simplify the use of passwords (prices at 1Password vary). He also recommended a personal data storage device such as this small number (under $20,) to secures data using hardware encryption and password protection.

Here’s a tip from the author – I find my portable battery charger for my cell phone and tablet extremely useful, so it’s a gift that appeals to middle-aged women like myself and teens like my son, who also asked for one for Christmas. They come in different storage amounts, prices, shapes, colors and sizes. Mine has two USB ports so that I can charge both of my devices if needed.

For folks in Bloomington, here’s an IU Bloomington-themed gift guide from InsideIU, IU’s official news source for faculty and staff.

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