The AC Daughtry Security Blog
Those fires also inflicted $438 million in property damage and caused 126 deaths, in addition to 953 injuries. Candles cause about 3 percent of home fires each year, but in December, candle fires rise to 11 percent. Holiday revelers should consider the following safety tips for using candles in their winter decorations.
- Never leave candles burning overnight or in bedrooms.
- Make sure candles burn in open areas away from flammable items.
- Consider using flame-free candles that mimic the real thing.
When a New Jersey home security company installs a new system, make smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors a part of the installation. Home security providers can easily connect these devices to the home's safety system, so the fire department can be notified swiftly in case of an emergency.
For homes that already have security providers, test the smoke detectors before the holiday season starts. A New Jersey home security system can't keep the family safe if the smoke detectors are dead and unable to alert the family that a holiday candle caught the tree on fire.
Holiday Decorations and Candles
One of the biggest sources of danger for December candles is the use of holiday decorations near an open flame. Trees, papery decorations, tinsel and wrapped presents are all significant sources of fuel for a candle fire. Holiday decorations are a festive part of the season, but they also don't mix with candles and open flames. Maintain a wide berth around burning candles and avoid placing them close to decorations.
Candle Operation Safety
Although it may seem like a simple practice to light and use a candle, there are some essential precautions to observe when using candles in the home. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that candles should be placed on secure surfaces where there is no chance of them being knocked over. Creating a wide berth for candles to burn doesn't do any good if the candle falls over and catches the carpet on fire.
Electrical Safety Foundation International reports that holiday decorations catch on fire due to candles at least 50 percent of the time. If a home is crowded with decorations without an inch to spare, it's usually best to avoid burning candles entirely. If candles are a must-have for holiday celebrations, place a family member on "candle watch" to ensure they are never left unattended.
The National Candle Association also suggests that candles should never be burned with a wick that's more than 1/4 inch long, and candleholders should always be used when candles are burned.
Using candles safely isn't difficult, but fire safety awareness is a vital part of enjoying a holiday season where the only fires a family sees are in the fireplace.
Emergency preparedness is a year-round project. However, cold and icy weather presents some additional challenges to keeping the family safe. To prepare for winter, homeowners should winterize their appliances and equipment, test security monitoring systems and plan for winter-based disasters.
Create a Warm Sanctuary
Freezing weather and snow may cause the temperature in a home to drop swiftly, which could make the heating system work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. Additionally, cold weather may damage sections of the home that aren't properly winterized.
Taking the following precautions will reduce the impact of winter on your home:
- Inspect vital heating machinery like the water heater
- Upgrade windows to storm windows to reduce cold air transfer
- Wrap or insulate pipes to prevent freezing and cracking
- Allow faucets to drip during extremely cold weather
In addition, shut water valves off before a storm arrives to prevent flooding due to burst pipes. Shutting the water off requires a wrench, so keep one handy.
Security Protection and Defense
During an extended power outage, the risk of home invasion and burglary increases. Ensuring that security monitoring in New Jersey is active during a harsh winter storm is essential for keeping the family safe from criminals who might try to take advantage of bad weather. Consider the installation of a backup generator for the security system, so protection will remain active even during bad weather.
The property's security alarm can be connected to the backup power source to keep the home protected. Power outages that cause a lack of street lighting might make it easier for a thief to move around the neighborhood undetected and break into homes. It may be appropriate to own different generators for home security and family comfort or survival.
Evacuation and Survival Plans
It's not uncommon to see the power go out for a few hours during the winter, but following a few simple safety rules can keep everyone safe when the lights go out.
It's important to keep a list of all emergency numbers along with backup batteries for a mobile phone, so communication doesn't become an issue with a dead smartphone.
Having a variety of safety kits on hand, like first aid kits or food-filled survival kits is a good idea during every season, but having these items on hand during a lengthy power outage may offer significant aid to a cold family shivering in a powerless home. If possible, avoid using cooking sources with an open flame to cook food indoors when the power is out and never try to use charcoal to cook indoors.
Keeping the family safe during exceptionally cold weather takes planning for the arrival of winter storms and snow. Make sure that steps are taken to reduce the chances a home may be damaged during icy weather and increase the viability of the security system even if the power goes out.
The winter holiday season is the time when families often gather around the fireplace to open presents and reconnect with each other. Unfortunately, the season is also one of the peak times for home fires to occur. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, one-third of Americans use fireplaces and other fuel-sourced appliances to heat their homes or cook foods. With more people staying indoors and entertaining during this time, it is necessary to be aware of fire hazards and utilize home security providers. Here are ways to keep your family safe this holiday season.
Check Fire Alarms and Smoke Detectors
Every room and hallway of your home should have a working smoke detector. One of the most common mistakes households make is failing to check the batteries on smoke and fire detectors. Batteries should be tested monthly and changed at least once a year. If you have trouble remembering to do this, consider installing long life smoke alarms.The batteries in these alarms can last up to ten years. Advanced models of smoke alarms can also be linked to your existing home security system, so that if a fire does occur, the system can alert the fire department immediately.
Maintain Your Fireplace and/or Wood Stove
Whether you use your fireplace frequently or only for special occasions, make sure that it is inspected yearly by a certified specialist. Debris and creosote can build up in chimneys, leading to fires and dangerous smoke. Clean your chimney regularly to prevent clogging and ensure that fuels can burn clean.
Ensure Proper Ventilation, Proper Fuel Usage, and Safe Disposal
Before lighting the fireplace, remove any obstructions from the chimney or flue. Make sure all ventilation grates or air inlets are open. When using your fireplace, use dry, seasoned firewood only. Improper fuels such as lighter fluid, cardboard, paper bags, or trash increase the risk of home fires.
When burning wood in the fireplace, always keep the glass door open to allow flames to combust fully and prevent creosote from building in the chimney. Installing a mesh grate around your fireplace is helpful to allow air to circulate the flames while also preventing embers from flying and catching fire on nearby objects such as holiday decorations. When done using the fireplace, allow ashes to cool completely before attempting removal. Even seemingly lukewarm ashes have the potential to rekindle. Dispose of them through a container separate from your indoor trash can and be sure to douse the ashes with water before sealing the container.
Fireplace Use and Holiday Decoration
Holiday decorations should be kept as far away from burning fireplaces as possible. Live trees contain pine resin, a highly flammable natural component. Similarly, avoid placing low-hanging tinsel, wreaths, and gift boxes near heat or flames. Outdoors, keep holiday roof displays and lights clear of the chimney pipe and stack firewood at least thirty feet away from your house.
Utilizing these tips as well as updating smoke alarms through home security providers are key to lowering your risk of fires. Contact us as your New Jersey home security for more ways to ensure that your family has a safe holiday season.
The holidays are a very important time of year when it comes to both residential and commercial security because ‘tis the season for crime rates to skyrocket. It’s important for all of us to recognize that this additional crime isn’t limited to the homes or stores in our local area. In fact, as New Jersey shoppers take to the Internet more and more each year, it’s become increasingly important that we turn our attention to the online risks in order to provide full protection for our families.
1. Buy Smart
Perhaps the biggest risk to your protection online is identity theft, and what you may not realize is that the vast majority of known identity thefts are passive. In other words, most victims simply hand over their sensitive information to the criminals, and this usually happens because a consumer makes a purchase at a fraudulent site or follows an opportunity through a deceptive email. This time of year, be particularly wary of offers and always ensure that you’re shopping with a known entity that has a secured website.
2. Click with Care
Internet fraud is a big concern and most Web fraud occurs because a surfer clicks through a deceptive link in an email or on a webpage. It’s important to note that links can be labeled in a way that disguises their true destination. Often, the easiest way to ensure that a link is what it represents itself as is to copy it and then paste it into the URL bar of your web browser.
3. Be Budget-minded
Post-shopping regret is very common during the holidays because it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and spend too much. To avoid this, establish a budget and shopping list before you ever sit down to buy. As you make purchases, track your expenses, and this will let you buy for everyone without taking on unnecessary debt.
4. Maintain DigitalReceipts
The law affords you many rights when it comes to consumer protection, but in order to take full advantage of them, you need to have the receipts. Due to the nature of online shopping, however, it’s very easy to forget about them. Many e-shops archive and provide you later access to them, but don’t make that assumption. As soon as you’ve made a purchase, print out that invoice and put it in your records.
5. Cover Your Digital Tracks
Earlier we mentioned passive identity theft, but we shouldn’t ignore the possibility of active identity theft. When it does happen, it usually occurs because the thief is able to follow digital footprints. The easiest way to cover your tracks is to do all of your shopping using a web browser with a privacy mode. Internet Explorer offers InPrivate, Google Chrome has Incognito mode, and Firefox and Safari have private browsing.
Protecting your family online is a crucial and it is a growing concern as online shopping becomes more prevalent. The would-be thieves will always go where the money is. Fortunately, the security tools and measures online are very good, and it’s difficult for a thief to target and steal from an individual who takes basic precautions. Online security really comes down to strong common sense and good surfing habits.
Encouraged by their friends, teenagers sometimes sneak out of their homes and create mischief and mayhem. They are a force of nature that may difficult for parents to control. Balancing the teen's need for freedom and autonomy with a parent's need to keep the child safe requires a careful approach to the home alarm system and the rules put in place to guide the teen's behavior.
Talk Frankly with the Teen
When a parent discovers that his or her child has been sneaking out, it's essential to respond appropriately without overreacting. Make it clear that the rules of the house are there for the teen's safety and aren't there to make his life difficult. The home's system of security monitoring can't protect the teen if he sneaks out of the house.
Ensure that the teen understands that visiting with friends and staying out after dark aren't prohibited but that it is the teen's responsibility to let his parents know about plans, as well as where the teen might be for the evening. Explain that keeping parents apprised of the teen's whereabouts is just common sense and isn't just required of teenagers. All members of the household should be subject to this rule.
Create Transparency in Rules
The rules of the house that require a teen to check in whenever he might be going somewhere should apply to all members of the home. Parents can be great role models for this activity. When mom calls the house to say she's stuck in traffic and will be late she demonstrates that such behavior is courteous and important for family safety.
Create a Hard Copy of Rules
A teen has a certain level of personal responsibility when it comes to appropriate behavior, and setting the ground rules may be helped with a hard copy of the rules a parent expects his teen to follow. Creating a contract of sorts that the teen has to sign will confirm that the teen is aware of expected behavior.
These rules might contain extra restrictions based on whether a teen has been caught sneaking out or disarming the home alarm system to slip out of the house unnoticed. Those restrictions can be loosened over time as the teen regains the respect and esteem of his parents.
Don't Be Afraid to Be Strict
If a teen does not respond to frankness regarding the rules of the house and continues to disobey, stronger measures may be taken to keep the child safe. Placing heavier restrictions on a teen's social life might be required as well as using security monitoring to check in on the teen, in addition to keeping the home safe. Modern security systems may be accessed through a smartphone, and parent can see if their teen is at home by checking the system.
The discovery that a teen has been disobeying the rules of the house and sneaking out to be with friends is difficult for parents. This is especially true when they've operated under the assumption that the child would never try something dishonest. Ensure clear communication and a balance of freedom versus protection so as to encourage a teenager's respect for his elders and his own safety.
More and more often we hear about teens who break into people's homes and throw wild parties, trash the residence by smashing walls, deface the home with graffiti and set fires. Depending on the damage and the cost to repair, the vandalism could be a misdemeanor or a more serious charge. Companies that do security monitoring in New Jersey want to keep your home safe from vandals and explain that there are many reasons for vandalism by teens.
Reasons for Vandalism
There is no one reason for teens to vandalize a home. They do it out of boredom, peer pressure, anger or revenge. Some see it as a way to participate in art when they post their graffiti on the wall of a home or building. They see it as a method for expressing themselves.
Many parents see the act of vandalism as a prank that deserves a punishment within the family, not through the legal system where it will remain as a blotch on the teen's record. Often teens who indulge in vandalism are seeking attention or need discipline. If the teen has damaged property, there may be a broader reason for the vandalism and parents have to investigate in order to fix it.
The consequences depend on the dollar amount of the damage, the rage and intent behind the act and if the teen shows any remorse over his or her actions. This is often the point when those involved discuss whether the teen was involved in a childish prank or criminal activity.
If the vandalism resulted in less than $400 in damage, the teen might not have to spend time in a juvenile facility. The teen may be able to pay a fine, work on restitution, or do community service. A few months in a juvenile facility can be ordered even if the damage isn't severe if the judge feels the teen shows no remorse or seems to need further assistance. Family counseling might be ordered for the entire family.
Felony charges are obviously more severe. If the damage costs more than $400 to repair, it's considered a felony. In this case, the teen will most likely spend time in a juvenile facility, have to pay restitution and be on probation after leaving the facility. The judge makes the final decision on criminal consequences. Parental involvement is key to deciding the punishment.
Parents of teenagers can prevent vandalism by providing their child with other activities to keep them from becoming bored or giving in to peer pressure. Sports, artistic activities or community programs might be able to help keep a teen out of trouble.
Empty homes are a beacon for teens who are looking for a home to party in or destroy. When leaving on vacation, make sure you have taken precautions, so your home doesn't appear to be vacant for an extended period of time. Teens don't want to be caught if they think the homeowner will be back soon.
The best way to avoid vandalism is with a security system. Teens will scatter at the first sound of an alarm. Companies that provide security monitoring advocate a security system that is hooked to the alarm company so they can provide a response to the alarm.
Some homeowners feel like they do not need to go to the trouble of installing monitored security alarm systems in their homes. This is a mistake that can lead to unfortunate consequences. Home security systems installed by reliable New Jersey security companies offer many benefits and added protection. If you're considering a monitored system, the following benefits may help you with your decision.
Rapid Response from Law Enforcement
One of the greatest benefits homeowners receive from a monitored system is the rapid response time it ensures – no matter the emergency. A monitored system is watched 24 hours a day by the home security company, which will contact the authorities as soon as an alarm is triggered—whether it's a burglar alarm, a fire alarm, or a CO2 alarm. This rapid response time keeps homeowners and their families safer. It also increases the chances that thieves will be caught when they break into a home.
Fire Protection Even When the System is Off
One of the most important reasons to get a home security system installed is to protect your home from fire. When you are not home and the home security system is not on, it is worthless if it is not a monitored home security system. Security systems that are not monitored will not inform anyone if a fire breaks out when they are off.
On the other hand, monitored home security systems will always protect a home in case of fire. Even if alarm systems are not activated, they will still inform the security companies if a fire breaks out. New Jersey security companies will then be able to instantly notify the fire department, which will ensure that firefighters can arrive on the scene quickly to battle the blaze.
Most insurance companies will offer huge savings on their clients' home insurance rates when they have installed a monitored home security system, helping to offset much of the cost. This is because installing one of these systems drastically lowers the danger of the home suffering a burglary or fire damage. When the home is monitored by a security company at all times, it gives both the homeowner and the insurance company greater peace of mind.
Monitored systems also offer the opportunity for deeper safety measures. For example, many monitored security systems are paired with a panic button. This way, when homeowners feel threatened by danger, they can push this button that will instantly alert the home security company of the situation. The home security company will then alert local law enforcement, ensuring that help is dispatched immediately. This allows homeowners to summon help in a dangerous situation even if they are unable or it is unsafe to reach a phone.
Protect Your Home
As you can see, there are many benefits that a monitored security system offers homeowners. You owe it to your family to keep them as safe as possible. Make sure to consult with a home security specialist to further discuss installing monitored security alarm systems for homes.
Unfortunately, homeowners should be aware of the very real threat of home security scams. Whether you’re considering home security alarm installation or you already have an existing provider, beware. Scammers will seem like legitimate representatives, but don’t let them play to your fears. The first step to protecting yourself from these ploys is to be able to identify them. Following are some of the methods scammers use to exploit homeowners.
Red Flag #1: Company Changes
One of the most common scams that companies employ is to pretend that they have bought out your current New Jersey home security company. In this case, a representative from the “buyer company” will show up on your doorstep to discuss the company changes and have you sign a new contract. These representatives are from real companies and will lie to lock you into two contracts from two separate companies at the same time.
If you are approached by a door-to-door salesman who claims to be a representative of a company that has bought out your current home security company, verify that the salesperson is telling the truth by calling your current provider.
Red Flag #2: Unexpected Visits
If someone shows up at your door claiming to be with your existing provider, but did not have a scheduled appointment with you, you, it should raise a red flag. Ask for credentials and have them wait outside while you confirm their visit with your company. Use the phone number you have on hand, not the one on the information the salesperson gives you as they could be providing you with a false number.
Red Flag #3: Unbelievably Low Prices
It is sage advice to always be wary when something seems too good to be true. One of the ways that these scam artists get people to sign home security contracts is by offering them prices that seem incredibly low. The prices are often low for the first couple of months, but that is just an introductory rate. When the full rate kicks in a few months down the road, customers will be paying through their teeth for their home security system.
The best way to avoid this is to always read the fine print in a home security contract before signing anything. The home security company has to disclose everything in the contact, and you can avoid receiving a big rate hike in the future by always reading every line of the contract to check for rate hikes. Don’t feel pressured; take the contract with you to read and tell the sales person you will contact him or her when you’ve reached a decision.
Red Flag #4: Hidden Fees
Another way that alarm companies can fool you is with their expensive hidden fees. One of the most common hidden fees they include is for home security alarm installation. Be especially leery of contracts that offer cheap monthly payments; these companies often make up for the offset in hidden fees and poor quality services.
Again, the best way to avoid this is to always read carefully every line of a home security contact before signing anything. Reputable home security companies will not try to hide these rate hikes and fees in their contracts, but it is still important for homeowners to always thoroughly read every section of any home security contract before signing.
Red Flag #5: High Pressure
If it feels like a salesman is pressuring you to sign a home security contract quickly, red flags should be raised. A reputable New Jersey home security company will never pressure customers to sign a contract. Beware of “limited time offers” that require quick, poorly thought out decisions.
As a general rule, never let a stranger into your home, especially if their presence is unexpected. Even if they are the “real deal” representatives from reputable security companies understand the rules of home safety and security and shouldn’t mind having a discussion outside of your home. Verify the identity of any door-to-door salesperson with the company they claim to represent and don’t make any commitments on the same day. If you suspect you’ve been a potential target or a victim of a scam, immediately contact you’re the authorities and your existing home security provider if you have one.
Important Tips for Home Security
No matter how the safe the neighborhood is in which you live, your home can always become the target of a burglar. On average, a burglary happens every 15 seconds somewhere in the United States. When you encounter a shocking figure like that, it is clear that you need to take steps to protect your home and yourself from being victimized by thieves. If you want to make your home as secure as possible, follow these home security tips.
Protect your home and family from burglaries, by installing an audible alarm. Home security providers can install an alarm system in your home that will help to keep you safe from thieves. If a thief does try to break into your home, the audible alarm will scare them away in a hurry. New Jersey home security firms also monitor alarms in their clients’ homes, informing the police to send out officers the moment that an alarm is triggered.
Beware the Dangers of Facebook
Lots of people like to share their travel plans on Facebook. They want to let their friends and family know when they are going on an exciting vacation. This is a perfectly natural impulse, but the trouble is that it is very dangerous to do this. Thieves can easily monitor Facebook and other social media sites to look for victims. If you let the world know that you are away from your home on vacation, then thieves will have an open invitation to ransack your home. Home security providers recommend that you keep your travel plans off of social media websites to avoid alerting thieves to the fact that you are away from your house.
The Hidden Key Trick
Many people are still using the old trick of hiding their keys under the doormat or a rock. This is never going to fool a burglar. No matter how secure you think your hiding spot is, you can be sure that a determined thief will be able to find it. You should avoid hiding your keys to keep thieves from gaining easy access to your home. Instead, you should leave a spare key with your neighbors. That will allow you to get into your home if you get locked out, but it will also keep thieves from getting into your home while you are away.
Let There Be Light
Thieves love to work under the cover of darkness. They find targets that do not have lights on to be much more enticing. One of the best ways that you can protect your home from break-ins is to always keep lights burning around your home. New Jersey home security experts recommend that you install motion-activated lights on the exterior of your home. When these lights are activated, they will scare away any burglars who are foolish enough to enter your yard.
If you follow these security tips, you will find that your home is much more secure and protected. . This will keep your home, family, and valuables as safe as possible.
When deciding to install a home security system, be sure to choose from security companies in New Jersey that offer video surveillance and have extensive training on where to mount and aim cameras. Siting a surveillance camera is a critical part of the technology and proper siting can also act as a crime deterrent.
According to a recent Yahoo Homes Article , there are many reasons these security systems, including the cameras that come with them, are key to protecting your home.The article points out that burglars are constantly looking for "soft targets," making it increasingly more important to lock down your home.
Mount Most Cameras to be Seen
Most of the video surveillance cameras installed at a home should be in plain sight. Visible cameras are a visible warning to potential thieves, vandals and intruders that they are being watched. Use hidden cameras for the purposes of monitoring the activities of nannies, babysitters, cleaning personnel and any workers, vendors or utility personnel that may have access to your home.
Choose Locations Out of Reach
Keeping cameras out of reach prevents them from being disabled by such methods as cutting cables or using spray paint or tape to block the lens. Cameras within reach can be approached from a blind spot and disabled. It would be much more difficult to avoid the lens of a camera that requires a ladder to reach. Cameras mounted higher also present a wider field of view.
Absolutely Have a Camera at the Front Door
The front door of a home is the primary access point used by home invaders and other criminals. This is one location where it is good to have the home security alarm installation company install both a visible and hidden camera. The visible camera catches the attention of criminals and deters their plans. The hidden camera should be placed for the best view to acquire facial recognition footage for home owners to use when deciding whether or not to answer the door and for authorities to use if needed.
Mount Cameras to Monitor Other Entrances
The most effective security companies in New Jersey are experienced at getting the best video surveillance coverage using the smallest number of cameras. Whereas a casino is likely to have thousands of cameras installed, a home is most likely going to have only a few. Still, all entrances should be monitored. Depending on the layout of the home, one camera may be able to monitor more than one entrance. Pan, tilt and zoom capable cameras can have their positions and fields of view changed from a remote control inside the house. Some cameras can track and follow movement detected within their fields of view.
Monitor High Risk Areas
Vehicles, boats, barbecue grills, furniture and other items kept outdoors as well as detached garages and storage sheds are prime targets for criminals. Cameras should be used to constantly monitor and record any activity near such objects and in these areas. Modern cameras are capable of seeing in total darkness out to a long distance depending on the power of the infrared emitters used to invisibly light up the night.
Most cameras made today are tiny, weatherproof and fit in with most any design scheme or decor. They are also much less expensive and more capable than their older generation counterparts. Most anyone can recall seeing blurry surveillance footage and images used in news reports attempting to catch a criminal, but cameras today are available in full color in resolution great enough to work with facial recognition software. Also, the video surveillance footage is now stored on digital video recorders using computer hard drives instead of obsolete videotape. The good news is that all of this advanced technology is available and affordable to home owners.