Holiday Entertaining Safety Tips

Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means a greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.

Test smoke alarms and tell guests
about your home fire escape plan.
Keep children and pets away from
lit candles.

Keep matches and lighters up high
in a locked cabinet.

Stay in the kitchen when cooking
on a stovetop.

Ask smokers to smoke outside.

Remind smokers to keep their
smoking materials with them so
young children do not touch them.

Provide large, deep ashtrays for
smokers. Wet cigarette butts with
water before discarding.

Ensure you and your family are safe with a monitored fire and burglar alarm system from Advanced Security Systems.

Image used under license from Freestock.com

Security Beat: Avoiding Break-Ins this Holiday Season

What could ruin a holiday faster than an overcooked turkey or a canceled flight? How about thieves ransacking Christmas presents and other valuables during what’s supposed to be a magical time of year? That will surely put a damper on the holidays.

 

Recently, CNN reported that Californian’s can expect an 18 percent increase in burglaries during December, so many of our friends and family will experience this unfortunate event. But why are thieves more active during this time of year? After all, most of us have nice TVs and jewelry in the home all year, so why all the illegal activity around Christmas and the New Year?

 

A few reasons seem to stand out.

 

Leaving Clues for Thieves

Christmas trees are a beautiful holiday tradition, but they’re also advertising to burglars where they can find the gifts in your home. Keep them away from front windows if possible because if thieves are casing your neighborhood Christmas trees are a quick way of spotting who is likely to have expensive gifts in the home.

 

Obviously Empty Homes

Leaving for vacation often makes it seem obvious that your home is empty. Investing in timers for lights, motion-activated lighting outside the home, and exterior security cameras will deter would-be criminals. Consider setting a radio on a timer, so music plays during in the morning and evenings, further creating the impression someone is at home. If you live in an area where it snows, like the hills of Humboldt County, a snow-covered driveway can be a dead giveaway that no one is at home, so work out a plan to keep snow cleared.

 

Trash and Recycling Bins Reveal What You Got for Christmas

Big boxes with Samsung, PlayStation, and Apple emblazoned on the side are tell-tale signals that you recently got some great new electronics. Don’t let thieves know your house is newly outfitted with the latest and greatest gadgets by leaving these boxes on the curb where anyone driving past can see. Instead, break down cardboard so it fits in your recycling bin, or keep it in the house until you can remove it without leaving it out.

 

Valuable Packages are Left on Your Front Door

Adobe Digital Insights reported that shoppers spent more than $90 billion online during the 2016 holiday season and that figure is expected to rise 3 to 4 percent this year. All that online shopping means packages will be shipped all over the country, leaving easy targets for thieves on porches from coast to coast. A few smart tactics can prevent your package from being stolen.

-First, reroute the package if possible. If your workplace allows, have the package delivered there where a receiving department will sign for the package.

-If you’re shopping at online retailers with brick-and-mortar stores, consider having items shipped to the store where you can securely pick it up at your convenience.

-At the very least be sure to track your packages. Logistics companies like UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, and FedEx all offer free online tracking and many will send text messages to your phone once the package is dropped off.

-Insuring your package and requiring a signature for delivery can also cut down on the chance of theft.

 

What Else Can You Do?

A fully-functional alarm system, with glass-break sensors, motion detectors, and security cameras is both a deterrent to crime and the best way get immediate notification if something does happen at your house. You can also invest in shatterproof window film, driveway alarms, and patio door locks. Smart door locks, like SkyBell from security equipment manufacturer Honeywell, send a video of who’s knocking directly to your smartphone.

 

Other tips include hiding valuables out of view and being diligent about locking doors to both your home and car. Taken together, these tips can help keep you and your family secure and thwart would-be thieves from ruining your holidays.

Your New Home: How to Make Sure It’s Secured

Family Portrait Outside of Home

What’s on your to-do list when you buy a new home? For total peace of mind, you should be thinking about how you’ll protect your home. Securing your new purchase against burglary and fire should be the first things you check off your list.

Let’s review six quick steps to making sure your home is secure.

 

1) Make Sure Your Doors and Windows Are Secure

Did you know 32 percent of burglars simply walk through unlocked front doors? Get in the habit of locking your front door and don’t make the mistake of hiding a spare key in an obvious spot, like under the doormat. Seasoned burglars know just where to look for hidden keys. Make certain all the locks on your doors and windows are operating properly and consider changing the locks when you move in. At the minimum, rekey the locks or consider upgrading to a smart lock you can control remotely from your phone or tablet. Adding a professionally monitored security system with sensors on all doors and windows will provide even more protection. Contact Advanced Security Systems today for your free security consultation.

 

2) Get to Know Your Neighbors

Knowing your neighbors is one of the most important things you can do to protect your family and your home. When neighbors look out for each other, it’s much harder for burglars to case neighborhoods and identify easy break-in opportunities. Organizations like Neighborhood Watch and apps like Next Door (available for iPhone and Android) make it easy to stay in touch with those around you.

 

3) Think like a burglar

As you’re moving in, walk around your property and imagine “how would I get into my house if I didn’t have a key?” Look for low windows or other access points. Will you be leaving a window open for ventilation? That’s an easy spot for a burglar to enter your home. What about the unexpected? Is there an open skylight a burglar could get to by climbing a tree? Thinking like a burglar can help you spot these locations before the bad guys do.

 

4) Get Exterior Lighting

Motion-activated lights on the outside of your home are great deterrents to ward off burglars plus they make the home safer for you. Consider installing these by the front and back doors and the garage. You’ll decrease the likelihood of both break-ins and falls.

 

5) Keep Police and Fire Info Close at Hand

Be sure to have numbers for your local police and fire departments where you can find them at a moment’s notice—and where your kids can find them too. Keep a list on the refrigerator with important numbers, including neighbors, family members, and anyone else you might need to call in an emergency.

The days of a family phone in the kitchen are gone. In fact, more than half the homeowners in America have disconnected their traditional telephone lines. It’s important that everyone in your family know how to use your cell phone to make emergency calls. If you’re not comfortable giving total access, be sure your kids and spouse can use your phone to make a call in case of an emergency. Most modern phones allow limited access to emergency numbers from the lock screen.

 

6) Plan Ahead

Having a clear plan for how you’ll deal with a break-in can alleviate the stress should such an unfortunate event take place. That plan should include who to call (insurance agent, bank, credit card companies, etc.), a good home inventory with all your major purchases, and a file with any recent work orders.

Following these tips is a great way to make sure your home is secure. For total security, contact Advanced Security Systems today for your free security consultation.