The AC Daughtry Security Blog
A home burglary can be a devastating experience, but the impact can be lessened somewhat by ensuring your valuable possessions are kept safe. Burglary is a crime of opportunity, and a thief is most likely to steal items that are quick and easy to find. Though there's no guarantee that your items will be protected from a burglar, these stash spots will significantly better your odds.
While a thief would expect to find valuables in a living room or master bedroom, they are less likely to target children's bedrooms. Good places to hide valuables include inside or under a toy chest, among a pile of boxes in a closet or inside an inconspicuous toy that your child no longer plays with.
It may seem an odd choice, but the freezer makes for an excellent hiding place. Any items that are unlikely to be damaged by the cold can be wrapped in aluminum foil and plastic freezer bags and placed in the back of the freezer, preferably underneath other items. This is also a good option for protecting paper items in case of a fire.
The list of false containers that can be used as a safe is almost endless. Popular options include hollowed-out books, false cans of food or drinks, cleaning products or common medications such as Tylenol. These false containers are also easy to make at home, meaning virtually any item can be turned into a stealthy stash spot. Another related idea is a false wall outlet, which can be placed into a wall anywhere the required hole can be cut.
A house plant is unlikely to draw attention from a burglar, which makes it an excellent hiding place. Items can be wrapped in protective waterproof plastic, placed at the bottom of a potted plant and then buried under potting soil and the plant itself. Fake plants can also be used, but a real, growing plant produces an even more convincing appearance.
It may seem a bit gross, but that's the whole idea. A thief may tear a home apart, but they're very unlikely to go sifting through stinky, messy garbage. A trash can with a false bottom is a safe bet, but well-sealed items can be hidden under the plastic liner of a normal trash can in a pinch. Just be careful not to throw your items away when you empty the trash!
No matter how thorough the burglar, it's very unlikely they will be able to find a well-constructed hidden compartment. These can be located anywhere in your home, and they can be built directly into otherwise nondescript building components such as wainscoting, window sills or ceiling and floor panels. Common fixtures such as vents, drains and junction boxes can also be used to conceal hidden compartments.
Although hiding valuables can be an effective strategy, nothing is better at protecting your most important possessions than a high-quality floor safe. Along with a wireless home security alarm system from reputable home security providers, a bolted-down floor safe is as close to guaranteed protection as you can find. A thief will rarely have the tools or the time to extract a safe that is properly anchored to the floor, nor will they be able to open it.
The art of bringing a product to the masses and making a profit is something that many business owners must perfect over several years. This process takes a lot of time, and it's not uncommon for companies to forget about issues like security because all funds are put toward research, development and production. However, protecting those assets is essential in a world where security threats impact companies from many different angles.
Some of the most common security issues companies contend with today include data breaches, general theft, employee theft and vandalism. Each of these problems requires attention and needs to be considered in a comprehensive security plan. A company needs a strong cyber protection system, and it's also essential to consider the physical security of the company.
Dealing with Cyber Crime
Thieves today have an extraordinary number of options for hacking into important digital files. The loss of sensitive company data or sales information represents a significant danger for any company that uses computers. Since nearly all companies use computers, whether they have thousands of employees or just a few, engaging in active prevention against hackers is essential.
For companies that have more than 10 employees and must employ a central server for security, it may be a good idea to restrict access to this server to people who are on site. If a server isn't available to remote users, a hacker would need to break into the facility to get the information. For particularly sensitive data, a company might want to think about installing access control security systems to restrict access to the terminals.
Handling Physical Theft
No matter the reputation of an area where a business is located, it's important to consider the physical security installed. All businesses need to have a system of surveillance cameras to record the activities of everyone entering and leaving the facility. Not only do retail buildings benefit from visual surveillance, but office buildings, production facilities and manufacturing centers also benefit from video technology.
Today's alarm companies in NJ can install a series of wireless cameras along the most sensitive points of the building, which may provide essential support to the on-site security team as well as suspicious activity. Keeping recordings from the surveillance cameras is easy with digital technology. The storage space necessary to keep many days of footage takes up much less room than the old-style VHS tapes that might have been used by the average business a few decades ago.
Reducing Employee Theft
Companies are extremely vulnerable to employee theft. Most companies must keep track of their employees closely through access control security systems and surveillance technology. Although some businesses might try to stick to hiring honest employees, sometimes a bad apple gets through the interview process. Strong and comprehensive security features that protect the company from outside theft as well as internal crime help reduce the possibility of financial loss.
A business doesn't need be run like a police station, but it's important to make sure the security system in place is designed to keep everyone safe, whether they work for the company or not. Unfortunately, today's businesses must assume that every employee has the potential to steal, even if they seem honest and have worked at the company for decades.
All homes need to be protected with some type of security system and there are many modern features today that go far beyond the simple proximity alarms and old surveillance cameras that used to deposit footage on grainy VHS cassettes. Today's advanced security alarms may feature extensive surveillance opportunities and complete coverage and protection of the home. One feature that may be of particular use is a set of glass break sensors.
Glass Break Sensors Offer Needed Protection
These helpful devices ensure if a thief breaks a window to get into the home, the security system will sound the alarm. Glass break sensors tend to be valuable because they reduce the chance that a burglar will get past a security system. Many standard security systems activate when a door or window is opened. The system might not alert owners of a burglary if the thief breaks a window to enter the home and doesn't actually open a window or door.
Avoiding Windows Isn't the Answer
Some homeowners might assume windows are a type of vulnerability and might pass up a gorgeous view to keep burglars from getting in the house. Alarm companies today can install an incredibly advanced system with features like glass break sensors that will alert someone immediately if a window is broken or a door is opened without the system being deactivated.
Benefits of Glass Break Sensors
Glass break sensors are simple to install and may be appropriate for families who live in apartments or condos. Although most modern security alarms don't require a ton of wires, security devices that require almost no installation are a welcome advantage for apartment dwellers.
Glass break sensors are also particularly helpful in rooms where there are several windows. A line of windows that offers a great view shouldn't have to be a security problem. Placing glass break sensors on those windows helps increase the safety of the room even though it might feel like a vulnerable spot in the house. Surveillance cameras, in addition to the glass break sensors, should create a very safe space.
How Glass Break Sensors Work
A glass break sensor may be designed in one of two ways. One type of sensor is placed on the window, usually on the inside, and will detect when a window has been broken by the existence of shockwaves. These sensors will then route a signal to the security system to notify the security monitoring service of a breach.
Sensors may also be designed to listen for glass breaking. However, alarm companies in NJ don't always install these sensors since they can be set off by other sounds. A glass breaking on a television show could trigger an alarm that wasn't placed carefully, or that was particularly sensitive to noise. The type of home in which a family lives will usually dictate the type of glass break sensors that might work best.
Anyone who has an older alarm system in the home will want to inquire with alarm companies in NJ about the new devices on the market today that are easy to install and an inexpensive addition to a comprehensive security system. Glass break sensors are an exceptional feature of any security system.
If every home had a well-maintained fire extinguisher and the family members knew how to use it, many fires could be taken care of in the early stages before they turned into a blazing inferno. Knowing when a fire extinguisher can be used and when the fire is better left to professionals is equally important.
Ask for Help
The main reason so many people don’t have or use fire extinguishers is they never learned how to operate them. Once you’ve used one, they’re no longer intimidating, and you’d want one around the home just like any common tool. There are resources available to you, however, so ask for help. Fire departments will generally welcome the opportunity to show you proper fire extinguisher use, and if that’s not an option, you can call the service that provides your security alarms and monitoring.
Using a Fire Extinguisher (PASS)
In the event of a fire, stay calm, grab the fire extinguisher and remember PASS.
PASS is an acronym to help us remember the basic fire extinguisher usage steps:
• Pull the pin
• Aim the extinguisher
• Squeeze the lever
• Sweep from side to side
Keep in mind that pulling the pin doesn’t actually do anything; it’s a safety mechanism that once pulled allows you to activate the extinguisher. Aiming prior to activation is important, and you want to be sure that you target the base of the fire rather than the flames. Next, you want to squeeze the trigger slowly in order to ensure an even release of the agent. If you release the trigger, the discharge will end. Once the agent starts releasing, sweep the extinguisher from one side of the fire to the other untilthe fire begins to fade.
When to Act and When to Call
A human-operated fire extinguisher is one of the most powerful fire prevention systems around, but it requires the user to stay calm, assess the situation, make a decision and act in an efficient manner. In the event of a fire, you must quickly determine if it’s small enough to be controlled by an extinguisher and whether or not you’re physically and emotionally capable of executing the necessary actions.
You should call the fire department in the event of any fire, even the ones you’re able to control. The fire department can assess the situation and ensure that everything’s alright. Ideally, a second person should make that call. If not, then that’s the first thing you should do. When assessing the fire, you should also determine if there’s any potential toxic quality, and if so, you should simply leave the residence.
Owning and Maintaining a Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers can be labeled A, B, C, D and K, and some have combination labels, such as A-B-C. A indicates ordinary combustibles, such as cloth. B indicates flammable liquids, including grease. C indicates use for electrical fires. D is used for flammable metals, such as those typically found in factories. K indicates the extinguisher can be used on fires that involve vegetable and animal oils and is generally used in commercial kitchens. An A-B-C fire extinguisher is the most common kind for home use.
All fire extinguishers have gauges on them that indicate when they require replacement. However, it’s recommended that you physically test the device every six months. Each fire extinguisher comes with a manual that explains how to perform the hydrostatic testing on that particular unit.
Most consumers don't know what geotagging is, or how they are endangering themselves when they don't have the full story. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet or digital camera is at risk with geotagging in pictures that they post online.
What is Geotagging?
Every picture taken with a digital device has codes embedded in the meta data of the photograph. When it's uploaded to the Internet, emailed or texted to others, they can see that metadata with the right software programs or browser plugins. The metadata will include the GPS coordinates of the shot, the type of device used and the settings of the device.
Why it Benefits Customers
Customers can use geotagging in conjunction with some social media sites like Foursquare to take advantage of local deals and coupons while out shopping or dining out at restaurants. These sites encourage users to post their location and receive discounts.
Why it Benefits Businesses
The advantages for businesses is fairly obvious. If customers are advertising their location, it's free advertising for the business. If you're at a restaurant and receive a discount or deal, that will be broadcast to your friends and followers. That's exposure for the business.
Consequences of Broadcasting Your Location
When you tell your followers and friends where you are, it leaves you open to the people who might not be close friends and family. Many people have hundreds of friends they have never met in real life. They are people that you don't know, and you might not want them to know when you're in a vulnerable place.
If you're broadcasting the fact that you're out of your home, thieves will also know too. Many people use status updates, geotagging and messages to stalk someone before robbing them. Security monitoring in New Jersey doesn't involve only setting your security system. You need to think about your everyday actions in regard to your safety.
Instances of Security Breaches
The military has long known about the security concerns in regards to geotagging. A soldier who takes a picture with geotagging in place will embed their exact location into a photograph. It could broadcast the location of their unit and risk lives.
Turn off Geotagging
Every phone has the ability to shut down the geotagging feature. While it may seem farfetched, many thieves are gaining important information about their victims through social media. It's best to remain cautious and decide whether you want to broadcast your location or not.
Teenagers should be aware of the dangers of geotagging too. Shut down the geotagging on their phone, so predators cannot gain access to their location through photographs. Anyone who posts online should be made aware of the security risks.
A security system with home security monitoring in New Jersey will only help while you're in your home. If you're broadcasting your location while out at a restaurant, on a date or with your family, a stalker could do serious harm to you because he knows where to find you.
The holidays are upon us and shoppers are in full swing once again this year. The stores and malls in New Jersey might not be as crowded as you would expect, however, even though people are spending, shopping and checking out sales as frantically as they do at any holiday season. There is more elbow room at the mall these days because many, many more people are going straight to their computers to shop the on-line sales and beat the crowds.
Shopping online is generally a safe – and easy – way to get your gift-buying completed in time to put up your feet, sip some hot cocoa and relax before the holidays. It's a great way to comparison shop without having to use up gasoline driving all over town. But is shopping on-line safe?
Cyber stealing is at an all-time high, but much more so at this time of year when the Internet becomes bogged down with shoppers keying in their credit and debit card numbers and other vital information. Experts in security monitoring recommend that you use a credit card rather than a debit card when purchasing items on-line. Since a debit card is directly linked to your checking or savings account, a cyber criminal can possibly wipe out a huge amount of your savings. Also, you have a certain security system in place with a credit card in that you can dispute any suspicious charges to your account. Be aware of which account your PayPal account might be linked to when deciding to place an order on-line, also.
Experts in security monitoring advise shoppers to utilize web sites that are known to them. Be sure that the site is a legitimate one and not a fly-by-night site set up by a scam artist to get your financial information. Shop with on-line stores and brands you are familiar with or that have a good reputation. These companies will have a good security system in place to keep your payment information safe. Do not trust links embedded in emails in order to tempt you to shop at specific sites. Instead, type in the address of the company yourself to get to the store's site. Watch out for phishing e-mails of this type that will lead you to web sites that look very much like the legitimate store's site, but may be missing a word or have a different URL that seems correct at first glance. You can also copy and paste the link into your computer's browser rather than clicking on it and see where it actually leads you.
Check out this article for more information on how to stay safe and secure this season while doing your holiday shopping from inside the warmth and coziness of your own home. You can get some great deals on-line and enjoy the ease of having items delivered right to your front door, but you need to keep your eyes wide open. It would not be a pleasant holiday to discover your computer has been hacked or your personal identification information has been scammed.
Each year families gather together for holiday celebrations and parties, but even the safest of homes may become vulnerable to crime or theft during parties and gatherings. The obvious solution to a potential break-in or theft during a party is a security monitoring system. However, even the best home alarm system might require some updates with new technology to offer the best protection possible. Additionally, a safe party may also depend upon smart decisions that go beyond the security system to keep the residence safe during the holidays.
Statistics that Cause Concern
Most homeowners are aware that a home alarm system will reduce the chances that a home is burglarized, but the FBI estimates that residents of New Jersey were victim to a whopping 181,025 property crimes during 2009, the latest year for which comprehensive statistics are available. Additionally, the FBI reported 37,248 burglaries in 2009.
Interestingly, these numbers only represent the number of cases reported to law enforcement, so it's possible that there were many more property crimes and burglaries that simply didn't make it into the overall statistics because people decided not to report their issue with the police. A burglary or theft can occur at any time, but the increase in visitors and family that might be visiting during a party does require additional vigilance from a homeowner to keep everyone absolutely safe.
Simple Safety Tips
Some safety tips are easier to remember than others, but most are simple common sense strategies that don't take extraordinary effort. One of the most significant features of a safe home during the holidays is one where all the doors are locked. It might seem unfriendly to lock all the doors during a party, but a busy holiday gathering is exactly the sort of distraction a burglar needs to come into the house and steal something.
Another way to keep visitors and family safe during holiday parties is to keep the security monitoring engaged even when people are in the home. Many homes that have a security system will have a few wireless surveillance cameras in action. These devices should remain on during the holiday gathering to reduce the chances that an unseen burglar might get into the residence and steal something without anyone seeing the crime occur.
Simple Options Offer Significant Results
One of the defining features of a home that is safe from theft and crime during the holidays is a set of updated locks and basic security monitoring services. It doesn't take an amazingly advanced security system to keep burglars from trying to make off with the family's valuables. Not everyone needs to have multiple locked gates, guard dogs, and a security guard on the premises to have a safe holiday season.
Many burglars are impatient, and if a home has just a few standard security devices or strong locks, the thief won't waste his time and may move on to the next target. However, thieves know the weakest areas of the home and will exploit issues like weak locks in the garage or a lack of locking mechanisms on the windows.
Even if a family doesn't celebrate the holidays with tons of presents, burglars still tend to gravitate toward homes where there is a holiday or seasonal gathering because of the likelihood of items on hand that may be stolen. Visitors to the home mean that there will be more jewelry, cash, wallets, and valuable items accessible during the celebration, which is a huge draw for a thief.
If you own a wood burning stove, you'll probably be cozy and warm this winter, even if the electricity goes out. While others are scrambling to keep warm and pay high oil or gas heating bills, those with wood burning stoves can keep those costs down considerably. But warmth and comfort can sometimes come at an even higher price than oil or gas.
Here are a few key things to know about wood burning stoves:
1) Homeowners should know the safe ways in which to operate their wood stoves and take precautions when dealing with fire safety issues. Home security providers want to make homeowners more aware of the effects their wood burning stoves and fireplaces are having on the environment and the very air they breathe.
Yes, wood is found in nature and is a renewable commodity: more trees can be planted and grown. But when burned in the home, or even outside in the backyard, wood contributes to air pollution, its burning resulting in the production of fine ash and carbon dioxide.
2) While no one is telling residents that they cannot burn wood as supplemental home heating, there are other options that may help with the pollution caused by wood stoves. Home security providers urge homeowners to purchase a USEPA-certified stove or insert for the fireplace in order to offset air pollution problems.
3) If you are just getting ready to purchase a new supplemental heating source for your home, another idea is to opt for a pellet stove or a gas-burning stove. Many of these stoves are esthetically pleasing and also give off a lot of heat, just as wood burning stoves do, but without the accompanying air polluting factors. Heating your home with solar panels, wind turbines or landfill gas resources is even better for the environment.
4) Wood is probably the most esthetically pleasing home heating choice for many, and for good reason. Everyone loves a crackling fire on a cold winter day. You can cook on top of many wood-burning stoves and toast a few marshmallows. But for safety and air quality's sake, follow a few tips given by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/baqp/docs/cautions.pdf.
5) Remember to burn only seasoned wood, have a fire extinguisher at hand in case of emergencies, and do not burn anything that may release toxic chemicals, such as paint or glue, into the air.
6) The New Jersey home security experts at the NJDEP realize that, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there are a lot of trees down and wood is readily available for use. Keep in mind that wood must be seasoned for a number of months before use in order to be safely burned and it must be bone dry. You can keep your wood supply dry by stacking it off the ground, away from any possible rainwater. And keep all flammables far away from your wood stove, or any other stove appliance you may decide to purchase.
More information on wood fire safety and pollution can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/baqp/docs/cautions.pdf.
Winter storms can be extremely severe. There are usually days before a storm hits when the weather stations are talking about preparing for the storm. Experts in New Jersey home security recommend taking the opportunity to prepare for the storm before it hits.
Many areas are hit repeatedly with storms or have storm threats, and the residents stop being concerned and don't prepare like they should. This could be very dangerous. While most of the time snow itself isn't the cause of death, incidental deaths like those from hypothermia or car accidents are more likely. This is especially true when a blizzard hits for days with low temperatures and heavy snowfall. It can knock out electricity and heat to many homes.
When a blizzard is going to hit, it's essential that residents take it seriously and prepare themselves for the snow and freezing temperatures as well as the chance that they could be cut off from the rest of the world.
Preparing for a Blizzard
The first thing residents should do is head to the store to purchase supplies. Everyone should have an emergency kit with disaster supplies that include flashlights, batteries and water in case the power goes out during the storm. Rock salt, sand and snow shovels should be purchased if they are not already available at home.
If the home has an alternate source of heat like a wood stove, bring in or purchase firewood before the storm hits. Losing heat in the home can be extremely dangerous and many people die from hypothermia. Have blankets and extra clothing ready too.
Pets should be brought indoors during the storm. People should try to stay off the roads if at all possible. In the event of a strong storm, a state of emergency may be enforced, which prohibits people from traveling unless it's an emergency.
During the Blizzard
Staying warm and dry during the storm is essential. If the driveway and walkway must be shoveled during the storm, watch for signs of overexertion and take frequent breaks to remove wet clothing and warm up in front of a heat source.
To keep the pipes from freezing, run water through the faucets constantly. Running water won't freeze in the pipes.
Home security providers have a few tips for residents during a blizzard. They recommend having proper ventilation while running kerosene heaters to keep people safe from toxic fumes.
Home security experts are concerned about safety during a blizzard, so they want residents to conserve fuel but keep warm with plenty of clothing and blankets. They advocate closing off rooms that don't need to be heated.
After the Blizzard
The danger isn't over after the storm has stopped. Home security providers want residents to stay warm and protect themselves even after the storm is over.
When shoveling, take frequent breaks. Stretch before shoveling and watch for signs of frostbite in the extremities.
For signs of exhaustion and hypothermia or frostbite, this publication from Ready.gov will help. Don't ignore the warning signs of any of these deadly or dangerous problems.
Volatile temperatures, snowstorms, and freezing weather often mark the winter season. Keeping warm for many people means firing up a portable space heater. By using a space heater instead of running the central heating system, a homeowner can save money on electricity costs by heating only a small portion of the home. However, this efficiency does come with a price since space heaters increase the risk of fire in the home.
Risk of Fire and Portable Heating
There are a few different types of space heaters used in homes today, and each requires awareness and common sense for safe use in the home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that there were 53,600 fires in the United States in 2011 that occurred because of faulty heating equipment or careless use of items like space heaters. Additionally, the NFPA states that one third of all reported fires were caused by space heaters that were either stationary or portable.
Incredibly, over 80 percent of all deaths from home heating fires were caused by space heaters. With the potential for fires so high, its essential that the familys security system include working and up-to-date smoke detectors so that the family is made aware immediately of problems with a heater. Even when security monitoring alerts the family of fire, there are only a few minutes before a home might be inundated with smoke and fire.
Safety Tips for Heater Operation and Placement
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers several tips that may increase the level of safety a family can enjoy when heating the home with a space heater or portable heating source. There are tragedies every year because of improper heater usage that take the lives of hundreds of parents and children. Remember the following advice when heating the home with portable heaters:
- Never leave heaters alone while they're operational.
- Never sleep while the heater is on.
- Create space around the heater and move it away from flammable drapes and furniture
- Keep the security systems smoke detectors updated with fresh batteries.
Care and Maintenance of Space Heaters
When space heaters and portable heaters are used frequently, they may experience buildup of dust and contaminants. This buildup may increase the risk of fire, according to Underwriters Laboratories. Additionally, UL, the independent safety inspection company, recommends inspecting the cords of portable heaters on a regular basis, to ensure that there is no fraying and that an electrical fire wont occur.
UL also recommends that space heaters be plugged directly into wall outlets and not into extension cords. Over time, older space heaters and outlets may operate at reduced efficiency and cause further danger of electrical fire. Never use an outlet if it becomes excessively hot during use.
Heating the home with a small, portable sources of heat is an excellent way to save money during the icy winter season, but extreme caution and care must be exercised at all times while using such devices. Always ensure that the smoke detectors are hooked up to the security monitoring system and regularly check the condition of portable heaters. By following the advice of groups like the NFPA, a family can stay warm in the winter and reduce the chance that a space heater will malfunction and cause a dangerous fire.