Have you considered cameras, video, or a new alarm to protect what you value most? Sonitrol’s video and audio verification technology sets us apart from your typical alarm company, making us a leader in the security industry. Using verified intrusion methods, with live audio and video, our 24/7 monitoring team can determine if someone is attempting to break-in to your property. This innovative process ensures fewer false alarm dispatches, faster police response times, and allows our operators to provide critical details to responding law enforcement in real time, helping them catch more would-be intruders. Currently, Sonitrol’s documented apprehension record is 181,000 and counting. To learn more about our state-of-the art video and audio alarm offerings, contact us for a free security assessment of your facility at (800) 444-1191.
It is National Fire Prevention Week, and it is important to discuss fire prevention measures and safety tips with your loved ones, friends, and co-workers.
Here are some safety tips to consider:
- Install smoke alarms throughout your home and business, test them once a month, and if they are not working, replace the batteries. An early warning from a regularly tested smoke alarm can save lives.
- Have a plan. Talk with your family, especially younger kids, about what to do if a smoke alarm goes off. Make sure you each know at least one or two ways to escape from every room in your home in the event of a fire. Do practice fire drills, and know where to meet up outside, for example, the mailbox. Have escape plans at your place of work, too. Practice getting out in less than two minutes.
- In the event of a fire, “Get out, and stay out.” Only professional firefighters should enter a building that is on fire. Don’t go back inside.
- Have a monitored fire system that will dispatch the fire department. Sonitrol’s fire detection integrates with all of our products and services for your home or business. Just like our alarm monitoring services, our Central Station team monitors smoke and heat detectors, sprinkler systems and pull stations. Our operators can differentiate between an intrusion alarm and a fire signal and will immediately dispatch the necessary emergency personnel to your facility or home. Our professional service team will install, maintain, and inspect your system regularly. Call us today for a free assessment at (800) 444-1191.
A new security system customer asked an installation technician this question. The technician shrugged his shoulders, because he had never thought about it, and said, “I guess, you don’t.”
Choosing a company to provide you with security, should not be a “click of the mouse” decision. These people will not only be securing valuables, but irreplaceable personal mementos and possibly your loved ones. Your decision should come with some background knowledge on the company. What kind of research should you do before making this choice?
1. How long has the company been in business?
The last thing you want to invest in, is a “fly-by-night” company to provide security at your home or office. Most state websites offer a business entity report. These reports can tell you whether the business is registered in the state, and for how long. Simply type in your state’s abbreviation followed by .gov in your browser bar.
When you get to your state’s website, search for business entity and then type in the company’s name. Companies who have longevity, usually have experience backed by excellent customer service and are a community landmark for a reason. The Better Business Bureau is also another good source of information to research a security provider.
2. Who do they hire?
A natural assumption would be that all security providers run a background check on their potential employees. After all, the consultants and technicians come into your home or place of business, see all your valuables and where they are located. As a customer, you must trust that the installers will “hook up” your system properly. Then there is a monitoring crew, which you will probably never meet, watching for alarms and dispatching the proper authorities. If your provider is serious about keeping you safe, they will choose to spend the extra money to find upstanding citizens to add to their team!
3. Who will help you after you sign the agreement?
Naturally, we would assume that when someone sells us a product, the company that employees them, will be responsible for helping with any after sale issues or questions. Often larger security companies use independently owned, smaller companies to push their product. These companies come and go and their mindset is to sell, sell, sell. Once the account is sold, you never hear from them again. Another company will then install and service the system. Confirm that the same company that sells the security system, will be responsible for installation, monitoring, and servicing the system. This may save you a ton of hassle if you need to speak to someone regarding “after the sale” questions or issues.
If you have questions or you would like a free assessment on a fire and security system, contact us.
Finding a daycare provider is one of the most important choices a parent will make for their child. Parents look for daycares, that are close to their home and employment while creating an educational and healthy atmosphere for their children.
If you have chosen to tackle this mountain of responsibility and become a childcare provider, you understand that this is much more than just a babysitting job. Along with the regular business items like obtaining the proper licenses, dealing with payroll and paying taxes, there is also the responsibility of being a nurturing caregiver to several children, who all come with their own little personalities and quirks. With all this responsibility how can installing a fire and security system help your business?
– A simple security system will keep your daycare secure from would be burglars at night. But what can it do for you during the day? Sometimes, big people problems, come with the little people you have in your care. Just recently the IndyStar reported a domestic dispute that erupted in the front yard of a daycare. If a situation arises and it is difficult or impossible to use a phone, a properly installed panic button when pressed, will have police dispatched to your location immediately. With a verified audio system, panic alarms allow operators to hear exactly what is going on inside your daycare and relay important information to first responders.
– From the one room daycare, to the largest learning facility, all buildings should be equipped with a fire detection system. A monitored system will not only alarm if a fire is detected, but allow the caregivers to focus on the children while central station operators dispatch the fire department. Carbon monoxide levels can also be monitored with these systems to alert the occupants to leave the premises immediately and central operators to dispatch help. Annual fire testing can be added to provide the state or city fire marshal with their required documentation.
– Nanny cams and hidden cameras have become big news for catching criminal acts committed by home providers and day sitters. But you are very careful in how you hire your employees. So how can cameras help at your facility? Accountability becomes very clear when there is a camera running, both to workers and parents. And with the advancements in technology, you can instantly view these cameras on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Everything that happens at your facility can be caught on camera and reviewed at a later date. You can be everywhere, even if you can’t be there.
– The importance of limited accessibility to a daycare is a primary concern. The big problems discussed earlier are an unfortunate fact of your business. An access system can actually lock out these problems before they get into your building. Authorized users can be issued key fobs which can be programmed to open doors within certain hours. Key fobs and access cards can also be deactivated immediately if it becomes necessary to prohibit entry into the building. Online management is also available to report user entry with a date and time stamp. Controlled building access; at your fingertips.
Whatever the size of your facility, fire and security systems can provide peace of mind and allow you to successfully manage all aspects of the security of your building.
If you are looking for a provider, make sure to check state inspection and violation reports. In Indiana and Kentucky, these reports are available for online viewing.
Sign says: “Up to 5 devices for free!”. What does that mean?
Common advertising for fire and security systems will give you a price on up to 5 devices. What “devices” do they mean? More importantly, will you be covered with just 5 devices?
– When a system is armed this sensor will detect sounds over a certain decibel and activate allowing a central station to hear what is going on inside the building. It also activates when a panic button is pushed. This audio activation, will not only alert your central station to dispatch the police, but also allow them to relay important information that they hear to assist in apprehending the criminals before they leave the building.
– This special system, known as Videofied, is endorsed by the National Sheriff’s Association and utilized in many law enforcement facilities. When the system is armed, movement is detected, video is relayed to a central station to verify criminal activity. Because central station operators can see what caused the movement, it decreases false alarms due to animals or other non-threatening movement.
– Whether you have a people door, overhead doors or sliding glass door, you will probably have these devices installed on all doors. When you activate your system, either in away mode or occupied mode, these door devices will be armed. A break in the contact will alarm your system and notify your central station of unauthorized entry. Unfortunately these little devices are also the main source of false alarms. Make sure when arming your system, that all doors are secure, everyone is out of the building and when the system is on “occupied” mode, everyone refrains from opening a door. Your law enforcement will appreciate your attention to this detail!
– If you have a home, you should have a number of these installed. You should also be testing them twice a year. These devices can also be connected to your security system and monitored. If a fire occurs in your business or home, these monitored devices can alert central station to dispatch the fire department immediately.
– There are a variety of heat detectors. For a home, you may put a heat detector in the kitchen instead of a smoke detector, just in case someone “burns the biscuits”. Heat detectors for a home, would be sensitive to quick rise in temperature or when the temperature reaches a certain level. Other applications such as auto body shops may have heat detectors to detect a higher temperature before activation.
– These are common devices used in homes and businesses. When armed, they will detect various movement. Pet friendly detectors can be installed if your pet is under 80 pounds and is not up near these devices. These need to be placed away from vents, plants or other forms of inanimate movement. Otherwise, your local law enforcement may be dispatched on your fax machine!
Glass Break Detectors
– Another commonly used device, these will detect the sound of breaking glass. However, if you have heavy window treatments or wood blinds, these devices may not activate your system.
Now that we know our devices, which five would you choose? I am going to use my house as an example:
I have three doors, in a two story house with lots of windows. My boys have accessed my second story from the ground (Spiderman re-enactment), so I know the bad guys can too. I need my three doors covered. But with easy access to the second story and several windows on the ground floor, I really can’t choose 2 more devices to keep me covered! I also have sky lights which provide yet another form of entry into my home. Just in the intrusion, I need a minimum of 9 devices (3 door contacts and 6 audio devices). This doesn’t include any fire protection. This also doesn’t include all the automation discussed in the advertising material.
Before you invest in a security system, have your business or home evaluated by a professional security consultant. Choose a company that guarantees that if they miss an alarm, they will reimburse your losses over and above your insurance company’s claim. A true provider of security will be willing to put their money where their security system is!
If a fire were to break out in your home tonight, how would your family react?
Planning for the worst case scenario is not what daddy and mommy want to think about. In our world, we want everything to be perfect; safe for our family. Besides, you don’t want to scare the children unnecessarily, right?
No one wants to scare the children. But according to the NFPA an average of 366,600 house fires occur each year in the United States. Children need to be prepared if a fire breaks out in your home. When teaching your children, stress the importance of the scenario, but make the lesson a game also. The more memorable the lesson, the better prepared your children will be in a fire emergency.
1. Smoke detectors
– Since we all change the batteries in our smoke detectors once a year (right?) have your children help you. Explain what a smoke detector is used for, other then a dinner bell (like at my house). Test the siren so your children can hear what sound it makes. If the siren goes off in the middle of the night, the sound will become a warning, not simply a strange noise coming from downstairs that must be investigated!
2. Escape routes
– Everyone in the house must have at least two escape routes, especially on a multi-level home. Have a drawing of your home and use colors to draw each individual’s escape route. Then physically walk them through each escape route.
3. Remind children of other do’s and don’ts when escaping the home:
- Touch a closed door first and never open a hot door!
- As you are exiting the house, close doors behind you.
- If you must go through smoke “Get Low and Go!”
4. When outside:
- NEVER re-enter the home.
- Have a central meeting place away from the home, like a light post or mailbox for everyone to gather.
- Having a monitored fire system will ensure the fire department has been dispatched. However, if you need to call the fire department, do so from a neighbor’s house.
Foresight is better than hindsight! Go over your family’s exit strategy at least once a year so that everyone knows what they need to do! Share your family’s fire and safety plan with our readers in the comments below:
So you are thinking of installing a security system in your home. Perhaps something in the news has brought you to this decision. Maybe a neighbor just had a break in, or even worse, it was your home that was burglarized. You want something that is cost effective, high quality and built to fit your needs. Finding a good alarm monitoring service is an essential part of a great security system. Here are some points to ponder:
Why get a monitored system?
The other day, my daughter and I were walking through our usually quiet neighborhood, when we heard the shrill sound of a siren going off. We didn’t know where the siren was coming from or why it was sounding, so like most people when they hear an alarm, we shrugged it off. If this was a home alarm, it went off for a good 5 minutes. We never saw a police presence in the area. Even if we had called 911, I know that my call goes to the city dispatch and must be transferred to the sheriff’s department. Then add the time it will take for a police officer to find the location due to our vague directions and the end result will be that the criminals will be long gone before officers arrive.
A monitored system can increase police response time in several ways. First, when an alarm sounds, the monitoring station, called a central station, will immediately make a direct call to the responding department of law enforcement and dispatch police. No need to wait for the neighbor to hear your siren, come outside to investigate, run back in the house, dial 911 and wait to be transferred to the correct dispatcher. A good security provider will have trained operators, not just a dispatch center, who will remain calm and know what information is necessary to help prepare law enforcement to respond to your alarm. And let’s face it, during a burglary every minute counts!
But what if the unthinkable happens and you are home when someone attempts to enter your residence? Adding a simple device to your system, called a panic button can help. How? By pressing a panic button, your alarm becomes a verified alarm! A verified alarm tells police that someone has seen or heard criminal activity in progress and to respond quickly. Just recently a newly installed customer had someone kicking in their front door at 1:30 am. The culprit wasn’t in the house yet, so the alarm was not activated. However, the resident pressed the button and the police arrived before the intruder was able to enter the home. Add audio feed and when you press your panic button, operators hear what is happening. They can then relay important information to law enforcement to help apprehend criminals quickly.
Fire and carbon monoxide monitoring
Let me start by saying ALL HOMES SHOULD HAVE SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS. According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death in house fires. Carbon Monoxide poisoning kills on average 170 people per year from non automotive products including furnaces, ranges, and water heaters. A security system can monitor your home for fire and carbon monoxide detection. A smoldering fire in a home, may not wake occupants or be visible to the neighbors. Carbon Monoxide is colorless and odorless and will kill before the occupants are aware of it’s presence. But a monitored system will detect unsafe levels, and signal operators to dispatch the fire department. If you are unconscious or unable to use to the phone, help is on the way.
Whatever has brought you to the decision to look into a security system, we only ask one thing…take the time to GET A FREE ASSESSMENT before you decide on your system and a provider. Don’t trust the person on the telephone to make the assumption as to what you need in YOUR home. A security system will not only be protecting your valuables but the things you value..your peace of mind and the safety of your family. We feel you and your family are worth the time it takes to visit and build your security system correctly!
“Don’t burn down the house honey!” – 4th of July Fire and Safety Tips
Special thanks to our technichian, Steve Weiss for the information in this blog!
If on the fourth of July you have a significant other who:
- Insists that his fireworks display is the best in town
- Causes you to double check and restock your medical kit
- Buys fireworks from “a friend” because they are bigger and better than “the other ones”
- Causes you to get the direct phone number to the local fire department and save it into every phone in the house
- Comes home grunting like Tim Allen and bragging about his secret Atomic Glow, Gimmy Shimmy, Nukes of Hazard fireworks
…This blog may be for you.
It’s that time of year for the sparks to fly! While there are many professional fireworks displays, some “do-it-yourselfers” feel the need to amaze the family. If this has been you in the past, here are some things you may want to think about.
Unfortunately, thousands of 4th of July celebrations end in hospital visits. A special study conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 65% of all fireworks injuries were sustained during the 30 days surrounding Independence Day. May of these injuries were to children and teens. Fireworks injuries were highest in children ages 5 – 19 years old an adults ages 25 – 44.
Consumer Grade doesn’t automatically spell safety
It seems like fourth of July celebrations on TV, always show the pretty little girls skipping through the park with the bright sparklers. But did you know that sparklers burn at 1200 degrees? Three burning sparklers together equal the heat of a blow torch. And while many agencies work to ensure public safety by issuing strict guidelines for producing fireworks, a “consumer grade” label does not automatically guarantee an injury free celebration. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 90% of all emergency visits were due to consumer grade fireworks.
Complacency equals automatic disaster
My husband was a combat engineer in the army for 16 years. His job included clearing roadside explosive devices, destruction of enemy ammunition…basically he blew things up for a living. The people he worked with, were trained explosive experts. Listening to him speak, their biggest threat was when someone “got careless”. Fireworks are no exception. Being distracted (or ignorant) while igniting an explosive device, which is the definition of a firework, will cause damage and more importantly injuries. More than half of all reported fireworks injuries in 2011 were the result of misuse or unexpected ignition of consumer grade products. Of these injuries 49% were sustained to the hands and fingers and 17% were to the face and eyes. When setting off fireworks, there is no such thing as being “too careful”.
Fireworks Tips and Safety
The best advice from the NFPA is to leave the firework’s displays to the professionals. However, if you decide to stay at home with your own fireworks display, here are a few tips to keep you are your family safe:
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden house available to use immediately
- Never use home-made or commercial grade fireworks
- NEVER allow children to play with or ignite fireworks
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket
- Do not shoot fireworks off in a glass or metal container
- Light fireworks and move away quickly
- Do not place your body or body parts over fireworks when lighting
- Never pickup or try to ignite unspent fireworks after a fireworks display
- Pour water on all spent devices after a display
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person
So, celebrate smart this year! And Happy Fourth of July from team Sonitrol!
Thursday night at 6:34pm, Sonitrol operators received a fire alarm at our customers building and immediately dispatched the fire department. Within 15 minutes the fire department was on the scene and the smoking hot laminator had been apprehended. The laminator had been left on after hours and set off the alarm. Loss to customer – one laminator.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) every year in the United States, 70,000 – 80,000 workplaces experience a serious fire. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries says that between 1992 – 2007, 3% of all workplace fatalities were contributed to fires and explosions. Many of these fires can be prevented.
For instance, in our incident above, an “end of the day” walk through of the building could have prevented this alarm. Make sure things like, laminators, floor heaters and any candle warmers are turned off. Walk through the plant, and listen for machinery that may still be running or look for lights that indicate a piece of machinery that is still on.
Training your employees to follow good fire and safety habits is another way to reduce the possibility of a fire.