Although children look forward to tricks, treats, and ghoulish garb, Halloween can be fraught with fright for parents, with candy given to their kids by strangers and a legion of masked and costumed trick-or-treaters at the door. However, following a few safety tips can ensure safe fun for kids and candy-givers alike.

The activities below focus on Halloween, which is celebrated in the last week of October. The efforts throughout the month generate enthusiasm for crime prevention so it can grow stronger and become more widespread.

To ensure that trick-or-treaters, you, and your house stay safe, remember the following tips.

  • Clear your yard and sidewalk of any obstacles or decorations that may be hard to see in the dark, lest someone go bump in the night.
  • Keep your house well lighted, both inside and out; you wouldn’t want to miss any particularly good costumes, would you?
  • Ask your Neighborhood Watch or local citizen’s group to haunt (patrol) your community.
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your police or sheriff’s department.

To make sure even the scariest costumes are safe, keep the following in mind when buying or designing one.

  • Try makeup instead of masks; it’s more comfortable and doesn’t obstruct vision the way masks can.
  • Check to ensure that costumes are flame-retardant so that young ones are safe around jack-o’-lanterns, candles, and other flames.
  • Keep costumes short to ensure that the only trip taken is the one around the neighborhood.
  • Look for brightly colored costumes, attach reflector strips to costumes and bags, and remind trick-or-treaters to carry glow sticks and flashlights.
  • If a costume involves any sort of fake weapon, make sure that it is made of a flexible material such as cardboard or foam. Or, avoid the whole problem of weapons by challenging your child to design a costume that is scary without one.

Keep in mind the next few tips to make sure your trick-or-treater’s night in the neighborhood will be safe and fun.

  • Older kids should trick-or-treat in groups; kids walking around alone are never as safe as those in groups, and especially not at night. Younger kids should be accompanied by a parent or trusted neighbor.
  • Review the route for trick-or-treating beforehand and set a time set when kids should be home. Also, have a plan if your child gets separated from his or her friends or from you.
  • Remind your children not to enter strange houses or cars.

After a successful and safe night around the neighborhood, remember that the treats still need scrutiny before anyone eats them.

  • Remind your children not to eat treats until they’ve come home. To help ensure this, feed them a meal or a substantial snack before they go out.
  • Check all treats at home in a well-lighted place. Be especially wary of anything that is not wrapped by the factory or that is no longer sealed.
  • Remind kids not to eat everything at once, lest they be green even without the makeup.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is Delaware’s largest full-service independently-owned security and fire company, serving thousands of customers throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

When an organization is ready to bring its video surveillance system up to the most current standard, that should mean upgrading from its outdated analog video technology. What’s the next step? Managed services. Progressing to managed services is the key to making sure video is always available, stored in an offsite server with airtight encryption. Here are some reasons why many businesses choose to make the shift.

IT departments are limited.

Even at the most robust organizations, many IT departments simply don’t have the bandwidth to support hundreds of hours of video storage. That’s when managed services can step in, with video management software that controls all video from a central location offsite. With video surveillance as a service (VSaaS), all the footage is stored in the cloud and the costs are scaled up and down according to the needs of the organization.

Scalability = Cost Efficiency

That scalability of managed services enables costs to be better managed by the organization. High quality IP cameras have experienced a dramatic cost decrease thanks to the mainstreaming of managed video surveillance services, and the subscription-based services are a great way to manage costs. Paying per camera can make building a video surveillance budget simpler and maximize every dollar – and if the budget doesn’t allow for a total replacement of the analog system, a cost-effective hybrid may be possible.

With video surveillance as a service (VSaaS), all the footage is stored in the cloud and the costs are scaled up and down according to the needs of the organization.

Near-Instant Gratification

Video surveillance in the cloud allows for near-instant gratification, as live video footage is viewable on not only a computer monitor, but virtually any connectable device including a mobile phone. Because the camera is only triggered by motion detection, the days of combing through hours of footage to find the clips that are needed are over. Instead, clips are easily searchable on demand. There is also the option to set up notification alerts when motion is detected, so managers can take a look immediately.

To find out more about managed video surveillance services in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, contact Security Instrument.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous residential and commercial security options. We serve thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

October is a time when fire awareness is emphasized, as it marks the final month of fire season for many areas and fire crews are already training for next year. How does this affect homeowners? Wildfires may not threaten homes, but house fires are always a possibility. Test your knowledge of house fires with these facts from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Most Common Room for House Fires

It may not come as a surprise that the kitchen is the most common room for house fires. More than half of all house fires start in the kitchen; it’s the space where food is cooked on open flames, placed in hot ovens and heated in high voltage microwaves.

To reduce the risk of kitchen fires, keep the oven and stove top clean – and always, always keep flammable items like dish towels and pot holders away from the heat. As for the microwave: Only use containers that are microwave safe, keep aluminum foil and other metals out of the microwave, and never plug in a microwave with an extension cord.

More than half of all house fires start in the kitchen; it’s the space where food is cooked on open flames, placed in hot ovens and heated in high voltage microwaves.

Other Common Rooms for House Fires

Bedroom fires can happen too, accounting for 6% of house fires. The cause of many bedroom fires is the flammable mattress, which is combustible and should never have candles or lighters sitting nearby. Even if a mattress is newer and sold as “fire safe,” it’s not safe to burn anything near them.

Fire risks are also present in the living room, as a variety of fire sources are present: fireplaces, chimneys, cords, lighting, and more candles. Combine these with flammable furniture or curtains, and that’s a recipe for a house fire. Keep candles away from flammable items, practice safe plug-in of all your electronics, and have older lighting re-wired if necessary. The fireplace and chimney should be cleaned when residue builds up to 1/8th of an inch inside; a professional cleaning is recommended.  

How Your Security System Can Help

Your home security system can be your best assistant in house fire prevention. With a smart home security system, you’ll receive a smartphone alert if smoke is detected in the home – and, your smartphone notification will say what room the smoke is coming from. The security operators monitoring your alarm will reach out to you immediately and make sure help is on its way to your home. After getting up to speed on house fire awareness, Delaware homeowners can contact Security Instrument to inquire about home security monitoring services.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous residential and commercial security options. We serve thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

Perhaps even more than residents of single family rental homes, tenants of apartment and condo properties tend to be concerned about building security. It’s understandable, considering there are streams of neighbors moving in and out year-round, all of whom have their own visitors frequenting the property.

Considering this reality, security should be a top priority of condo and apartment HOAs. Unfortunately, security is often one of the go-to line items that associations cut when looking to reduce costs. This is a bad idea, as it can put tenants and the entire property at risk of being victimized – and the end result is liability for the management and ownership. When security is a major concern, condo and apartment managers should consider the following electronic security measures.

Video Surveillance

Residents don’t just feel safer when cameras are installed throughout the property; they are safer, because people who may intend to do harm are less likely to do it if they know monitored cameras are watching. The key word is “monitored,” which we’ll address next. But first, let’s talk about the placement of cameras. They should be mounted in common areas like courtyards, laundry rooms, basketball courts, walking trails, playgrounds, pools and roof decks. They can also be placed in locations that show stairwells, both on and underneath the stairs. But why should they be monitored? Let’s discuss.

Monitored Cameras

Monitoring is the service that maximizes the effectiveness of any electronic security system, and that certainly includes security cameras. Viewing video footage after a criminal incident has occurred can help law enforcement identify the criminal, but it does nothing to stop the crime from occurring. If cameras are monitored, then the central station can alert the building’s management (or the live security guards on site) right away so they can intervene. Without monitoring, cameras are only there to give residents a false sense of security.

Access Control Systems

Electronic access control is no longer just for big city high rises. In today’s high risk security climate, access control systems are ideal for housing communities of all sizes. Condos and apartments can place access control systems at the manager’s office, playground, pool, laundry room and other amenity areas – but they can also be used in buildings where a lobby must be entered in order to gain access to residences. This can replace a doorman, or supplement the efforts of any live security guards. The access control system can be integrated with the video surveillance system so that the timestamp of access control can be corresponded with the video taken at the same time.

These are some of the most important elements to include in condo and apartment security systems. Delaware residents interested in learning more should contact Security Instrument for a complimentary consultation.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous residential and commercial security options. We serve thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

Everyone’s favorite time of year is here; we love the crisper air, the color of the leaves, and the anticipation of the holidays coming up. What most of us don’t love about fall, though, is going back to “real life” after a leisurely summer. And if you own a vacation property, there’s the added burden of figuring out how your summer home will stay secure for the next few months while you’re away. After all, every resort town has its prowlers looking for homes to rob in the off-season – and you want to make sure they don’t succeed at breaking into yours. How do you do it? The answer is smart technology. 

No, this isn’t the same as the futuristic appliances you only see at the showroom of home and technology expos. This is smart home technology that powers home security systems. It’s designed to be more accessible than the devices you see in showrooms, because its ideal users are families like yours. It features:

Cameras that Connect

Home video surveillance has come a long way; it’s no longer just for the affluent. Today’s smart tech security cameras are for families who want their homes, including primary residences and vacation homes, to be secure at all times – no matter how many valuables are (or aren’t) stored inside. After all, your home is your sanctuary and your vacation home is your home-away-from-home.

These cameras can connect to your alarm system, so that the motion sensors and glass break detectors will work alongside your cameras to detect intruders and alert the monitoring center. And of course, they’ll alert you as well via your smartphone security app. The cameras connect to your alarm, and they connect to you.

Professional Security Monitoring

If you’ve ever owned a monitored home security system, you know the value of being able to talk to a live security operator when the system is triggered. With a vacation home, the system is even more valuable because the monitoring center can send law enforcement to your vacation property while you’re away. You’ll be notified, of course, but you don’t need to go to the property unless you want to. If your vacation home is hours away by car, that’s a pretty welcome convenience!

Protection from Other Hazards

Not all threats to a vacation home are caused by human intruders. Other threats are environmental: carbon monoxide, flooding, freezing and fire. If you receive an alert that any of these threats are present at the vacation home, you’ll be able to act immediately.

See how valuable smart tech security can be – not just for your primary home, but your vacation home as well? To get more details on these systems, contact Security Instrument.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous residential and commercial security options. We serve thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.