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Have a Safe Valentine’s Day!

home security monitoring

A romantic candlelit dinner and the roar of a fire often accompany Valentine’s Day, but many focus on making an evening as romantic as possible and forget simple safety needs. Before you invite the significant over for a wonderful evening or surprise your wife with a lovely dinner, however, take a few moments to review these special Valentine’s Day safety tips.

Sizzling Romance

Something as innocent as a backyard heat lamp that keeps the porch warm during an intimate dinner may become a fire hazard if it’s not secured properly. Likewise, those tapered candles that flicker around the room could catch fire when placed too close to flammable items.

In your zeal to create the most romantic atmosphere possible, don’t forget the following fire safety rules:

• Never place candles near flammable sources.

• Make sure the fireplace is clean if you haven’t used it recently.

• Secure all sources of flame or heat, so they won’t tip over.

• Stay in the kitchen while cooking and never leave appliances alone.

Though you’ll likely be distracted by the love of your life, try to remember basic kitchen safety guidelines such as keeping loose clothing and hair away from the burners, and keeping hot grease away from water.

Love = Security

Surprising your loved one with a Valentine’s Day sojourn is a wonderful way to show you care, but if you’re going to be gone for a few days or overnight, make sure your home is protected. Whether you reside in a simple apartment home or live in a magnificent mansion, some type of home security monitoring is advisable.

For example, a small apartment might benefit from alarms that alert you when a door opens where you’ll get a signal sent to your smartphone or the security company will call you. Single-family structures with yards and garages may benefit from CCTV installation that can keep an eye on the exterior of the residence. You don’t want to return from your Valentine’s Day cruise to find that all your electronics have been stolen.

E-Romance

Buying your lover’s chocolates or flowers online is a real timesaver for busy spouses, but before you go searching for gifts on the Internet, make sure your computer is secure with virus protection software. Also, protect your credit card information by purchasing only from reputable websites and sites with an https:// in front of their Web address.   

Millions of people buy gifts online but there are also a lot of ways to get scammed. If something seems strange or off, there’s a good chance that there’s a scam involved. Remember these simple online rules:

• Make sure websites are legitimate

• Update your virus software regularly

• Don’t reveal too much about yourself online

Don’t let security issues prevent a wonderful Valentine’s Day experience. Paying a little attention to safety and security will help ensure this special day is romantic and not catastrophic.

What To Do After a Burglary

Despite the increase in home security monitoring by homeowners today, the number of burglaries and attempted thefts in the U.S. has remained exceptionally high in recent years. The FBI suggests that 2012 saw over 2.1 million burglaries occur in that year alone.
home security monitoring
Although strong residential security systems will cut down on the potential for crimes of opportunity, all homeowners should know what to do in case of a burglary, however unlikely. Homeowners tend to put a lot of emphasis on keeping burglars out, but they don’t always have a plan for what needs to happen after a break-in.

Grab the Phone First

A full-scale burglary may look like a tornado whipped through the home and tossed everything on the floor. It’s difficult not to become emotional in such circumstances, but it’s important to keep a level head and grab a phone to call the police.

Sometimes, evidence of a burglary might be apparent before a homeowner even steps over the threshold of his home. In such cases, it’s best to call the police immediately before entering the home. The burglar could still be at work inside the residence, and entering the home could impact the integrity of evidence.

Find a Camera and Call the Insurance Company

Whether a person has renter’s insurance and lives in an apartment or owns a home and has standard homeowner’s insurance, calling to make a claim should be a top priority. Remember, insurance companies often request a police report, so talking to the police first is recommended.

Take pictures of the damage after the burglary, so you will have a permanent record of the crime. Remember to take close pictures of any actual damage as well as pictures that feature the entire room or areas where items were stolen or broken.

Tip: Take pictures of the home and all valuables before a burglary occurs. A visual record of items stolen may be the best tool law enforcement has to recover stolen property.

Repair and Update the Security System

Thieves commonly disable security systems on their way into a home. Broken surveillance cameras might be a sign that an upgraded wireless system might be needed. Older cameras with wires are easily disabled while new cameras are tiny, efficient and wireless.

Sometimes, a burglar will find a way into the home that the homeowner never considered. No window or door is safe from possible intrusion. Make sure every potential entrance is protected. Consulting with a security professional should help eliminate vulnerabilities in the home’s security.

Making Sure it Doesn’t Happen Again

Home security monitoring from a remote company helps reduce the likelihood that a thief will be able to loiter in the home and look for valuables at his leisure. A security company will be able to let the homeowner know that a break-in is in progress and will also be able to notify law enforcement of the potential crime.

Are DIY Home Security Systems Effective?

As a homeowner, finding ways to save money on the budget is important. However, delving into a do-it-yourself home security systems might not be the best way to save a few dollars. New technology makes security systems less expensive today, and professional equipment ensures the home will be protected in case of an emergency, break-in or disaster.

security alarm monitoring
Upgrading and Maintenance of the System

The newest security toys on the market always seem like they’re going to do the best job of protecting a home and family, but even the shiniest new equipment will dull with age and become ineffective. Worse, some security devices are all show and don’t actually provide the type of protection advertised on the box.

Most basic do-it-yourself kits don’t come with all the helpful bells and whistles of a professionally installed system. Basic store-bought systems that have features like battery backups, redundancies and smoke detectors usually pack a hefty punch to the wallet. The final price of a DIY system might end up being around the same as what a professional company would charge.

Security Monitoring and Homemade Systems

A security system of any type is helpful. Without security monitoring, however, the system won’t alert a homeowner of a problem except under special circumstances. If a homeowner is away often, he might not realize the home has been burglarized until he comes home to find the back door has been busted, and all the electronics have been swiped from the living room.

Security alarm monitoring will notify a homeowner any time there’s a problem in the home and will be able to send word to emergency personnel that a fire has broken out and that help is required at the residence. Without the benefit of monitoring services, a homeowner might not be able to call the police until hours or days after a break-in.

Consulting with a Security Professional

One of the valuable features of talking with a representative from a home security monitoring company is that he will be able to provide tips on where to place certain devices and what items might be needed for a safe environment. Security professionals will recognize “blind” spots in the surveillance system and may be able to recommend other types of devices like glass break sensors and motion sensor lights.

Smart Security Options at Home

In addition to installing a complete home security monitoring system, there are some simple habits a homeowner and his family may adopt to ensure a safer home life. For example, an alarm system is much more effective when the doors and windows are kept locked on a regular basis. Additionally, installing strong locks like deadbolts also improves the effectiveness of the security alarm monitoring system.

Although a do-it-yourself alarm system might offer some protection for the family, these simple security options aren’t the best way to protect the home. The knowledge of a professional and advanced features of a professional system offer the highest level of safety in any home.

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Home Security Monitoring and Holiday Party Safety

The holiday season is upon us and people are out and about getting ready for the festivities. Holiday parties are on practically everyone’s list either as hosts or guests. However, this time of year is also a peak crime season. Taking advantage of home security alarm and monitoring while routinely locking doors can prevent most crimes of opportunity during the holidays.

Opportunistic Criminals

Most crimes are ones of opportunity. They are committed by thieves wanting to illegally gain from others with the least amount of risk to themselves. Holiday parties usually have guests filling up driveways and parking on streets. More than one home in the neighborhood may have a holiday party the same evening. It gets dark earlier providing cover of night for criminal activity, and people sometimes forget to lock their doors and keep their valuables out of sight.

This is equally true for homes and automobiles. People routinely leave valuable items such as cell phones and GPS units in plain sight in vehicles while forgetting to lock doors. Some partygoers may be asked to leave keys in their cars in case the vehicles need to be moved. During a party, guests coming and going leave home doors unlocked. This allows open access for thieves to quickly steal valuables seen through windows.

Whereas breaking a window of a home or vehicle to grab valuables may bring unwanted attention, an unlocked door is like an open invitation to thieves. Since most criminals are opportunists looking for an easy score, deny them the privilege by keeping doors locked and never leave keys in a vehicle. The holidays are also a peak season for vehicle theft.

Holiday Party Security Protocols

Tell guests to lock their car doors. Tell them that the doors of the home are also to remain locked. Advise them to stick to using one entrance to go in and out, and have someone monitor that door. Use the home security monitoring system on chime alert so that a sound is triggered at the alarm panel each time a door or window is opened. Investigate a chime when it is not caused by the designated entry and exit door being opened.

Security alarm and monitoring systems that include surveillance cameras at front doors are great for identifying who is there before opening doors. Home invaders take advantage of situations where guests are coming and going. Parties where known guests are permitted to bring friends unknown to the homeowner are a greater risk.

Be sure to check every door and window before retiring to bed to make sure that none have been accidentally or even intentionally left unlocked. There has been more than one party where a guest has set up the home for a later burglary attempt days after the party ends.

Advertise Home Security Measures

Since most burglars and home invaders are looking for targets that are going to provide the least resistance, prominently display yard signs and decals that announce that the home is protected with an active home security and monitoring system. Though it is tempting to show off the Christmas tree through the open curtains of the living room window facing the street, opt to keep the curtains drawn to deny prying eyes a look at the goodies inside the home.

Be certain that every bulb in the motion detector lights is functional. Check the point of view of any surveillance cameras. Trim back any hedges or other vegetation that block a clear view. Have the angle of view adjusted for any cameras where views may have been altered due to windy weather. Proper planning for home security leads criminals to bypass the protected home for an easier target elsewhere.

​Careful Candle Use and Home Security Monitoring Keep Families Safe

Once a vital source of lighting in centuries past, candles today are a beautiful part of holiday celebrations, but their use does present an increase in fire danger in the average home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests that emergency fire crews respond to thousands of home structure fires each year because of accidental fires started by candles. These fires result in hundreds of millions of dollars of property damage and significant loss of life, as well as hundreds of injuries.

Danger in the Bedroom

At least a third of all candle fires start in the bedroom, and these fires cause a significant percentage of the injuries, casualties, and damage associated with candle fires. Most candle manufacturers recommend that candles shouldn’t be burned any more than about four hours at a time. Falling asleep with a nearby candle may allow a candle to burn for many more hours and increase the potential for fire danger.

Removing Sources of Flammable Materials

The United States Fire Administration suggests that over half of all the fires started by candles occur because a flammable item was placed too close to the candle. There are many flammable materials in the average home, such as mattresses and bedding, which are often too close to a candle that burns on a bedside table and catches fire while an unfortunate victim sleeps.

Candles should never be placed close to anything that may burn, like curtains, bedding, or holiday decorations. Placing a candle on a clean surface that is well away from flowing and flammable materials like curtains is essential for reducing the chance that an uncontrolled candle fire might start. Highly flammable materials can create a swift fire that barely gives the home security monitoring alarms a chance to notify home occupants that a fire has started.

Never Leave Candles Alone

Using preventative measures is a much safer way to use candles than leaving it up to the smoke detectors and the security alarm monitoring service. By the time the smoke detector starts its siren, the family might have less than a minute to exit the home, and if there are children or elderly residents in the house, successful evacuation could be almost impossible.

The National Candle Association (NCA) suggests that someone should be in the room when a candle burns. If everyone must leave the room, the NCA recommends that all candles are extinguished and never left alone to burn. Even if a candle is placed well away from flammable sources, fire is an unpredictable element and may not behave as expected.

Reinforce Security Measures

With the increased use of fireplaces and candles in the winter holiday season, homeowners should check the home security monitoring devices regularly. The NFPA data suggests that around two-thirds of the home fires that caused a death occurred in structures with no working smoke alarms or smoke detectors on the premises.

Installation of these devices is a vital method for reducing the chance that a candle fire might begin and make it impossible for a family to escape. After a smoke detector starts ringing, an occupant has only a few minutes to evacuate before issues of smoke inhalation and fire make escape impossible. A security alarm monitoring company can easily install detectors in every vital spot in the home to keep the family safe from an accidental candle fire.

A Safe Thanksgiving with Home Security Monitoring

Gathering around the table at Thanksgiving with a huge meal of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce is a wonderful way to catch up with family. Families often crowd into the kitchen to help with the meal, and it’s essential to make sure that everyone is aware of basic safety habits for safe cooking. The Electrical Safety Foundation International suggests that at least 2 out of every 5 fires in the home start in the kitchen, so Thanksgiving dinners must be prepared with care.

Dress Right for the Occasion

Any member of the family who might be working with the stovetop or oven (or any place where there might be flame and heat) needs to make sure his or her sleeves aren’t too loose. The cold weather outside often inspires warm clothes, but the Red Cross suggests that loose sweaters and jackets are a fire hazard in the kitchen.

Pay Attention to the Appliances

A full Thanksgiving dinner is often a juggling act that requires the use of many appliances in the kitchen. Leaving the array of burners, ovens, and microwaves alone is never a good idea. Make sure at least one person is in the kitchen at all times and shut down burners on the stovetop for absences longer than a few minutes.

Use Smart Habits on the Stovetop

If all four burners on the stove aren’t in use, employ the back burners before using the front burners to reduce the chances that a child might come into contact with a hot burner. Although the kids might have been warned about proper kitchen behavior, it’s helpful to take extra precautions.

Keep a Clear Space

Keeping the kitchen clean during a Thanksgiving dinner is usually an impossible task, but it’s important to make sure that items like potholders and napkins don’t present a fire hazard during cooking. Keep the counters as clear as possible of dishtowels and anything else that might catch fire if it’s placed next to the stove. Don’t forget to keep holiday decorations away from the stove.

Update Security and Safety Systems

All families should have a security alarm monitoring system that includes smoke detectors installed on every floor of the home and in the kitchen. Check the batteries on the smoke detectors before putting the turkey in the oven. A home security monitoring system can’t let the family know of fire if the smoke detectors aren’t operating.

Check the Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is a must inside the home. However, it’s not enough to hang an extinguisher on the wall close to the stove. Ensure that all adults who might be in the kitchen during the holiday know how to operate the fire extinguisher.

Talk to Kids About Safety

Sometimes it’s best to send the kids outside into the backyard to play during food preparation, but for older children who might want to help with the festivities, a talk about burns, fires, and kitchen safety is an essential conversation. Any member of the household who isn’t yet a teenager shouldn’t be anywhere near the stove and burners.

Taking steps to ensure safe habits during cooking, as well as testing the security alarm monitoring system to make sure the smoke detectors work, will reduce the chances that a fire may start without the family being aware of the emergency.


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