The holidays are here, and that means it’s time for an annual review on holiday fire prevention. There are even some ways you can work alongside your home security system to have a safer holiday season. But to start, check out these startling facts regarding holiday fire risks:

  • Thanksgiving is the most common day of the year for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving when much of the food prep for Thanksgiving is being done.
  • U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving in a single year.
  • By far and wide, unattended cooking is the leading factor in cooking fires and house fire-related deaths.
  • Cooking equipment is involved in almost half of all reported house fires and house fire injuries annually, and it is the second leading cause of house fire-related deaths.

Source: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Holiday Fire Prevention Advice

Taking these facts into consideration, the NFPA instructs people to:

  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stove top, whether it is gas or electric.
  • Stay in the house when cooking in the oven, and open the oven often to check on the progress.
  • If using a turkey fryer, always fry outdoors. Never fry a bird indoors, and never fry it while it’s frozen (this is a major fire risk unto itself).
  • Keep the floor clean; toys, decor and gifts piled up throughout the house can be fire risks and obstruct exits.
  • Keep natural Christmas trees watered, and make sure all trees (natural and artificial) are at least three feet away from any heat source (including lights, candles and heating vents).
  • Make sure trees are not blocking any exits in the home.
  • Use the correct lights for the area you are illuminating, whether it’s indoors or out.
  • Replace any lights with broken or loose bulbs; do not use lights with broken cords.
  • Never use real candles on or near a tree.
  • Always turn string lights and other electrical decorations off before leaving the house or going to bed.

Following these holiday fire prevention tips can help your family to enjoy a safer, more memorable holiday season. To discuss using your home security system to make the season even safer, contact Security Instrument. We will be glad to answer your questions.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with both commercial and home security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

The garage may not get a lot of notice, but if you are fortunate enough to have one, the garage is a vital part of your home-life. It keeps your car safe and out of the elements and keeps larger and lesser used items safely tucked away, among many other uses. Whether your garage is for storage, used as a man cave, or is home to your teen’s garage-band, there are some good reasons to make getting a smart garage door the next really smart thing you do.

1 Smart Garage Doors Improve Your Safety

There is one huge problem with regular garage doors– forgetting to close and lock them. That is a pretty big deal since over 70% of Americans use the door from the garage to the house as their primary entrance. When you couple that with the knowledge that most burglars make their entrance through an unlocked door, it is a small mistake that can lead to catastrophe. The smart garage door solves this problem by using geofencing and your location as a trigger to automatically close the door when you leave or close it behind you when you get home. This means that even if you have a million other things on your mind, the garage door still gets closed and the home is secure.

2 You can Control Access

Whether a neighbor needs to borrow a tool, a package is getting delivered, or the kids use the garage to house as their preferred entrance when getting home, a smart garage door lets you both provide and control access.Not only can you open the door remotely as needed, you can also provide unique access codes with expiry dates. This eliminates the need for physical keys so you never compromise your home security.

3 Set Up Alerts

A smart garage door can also help increase your security through alerts. Each time your garage is accessed, or each time someone tries to access your garage it sends an alert to your phone through the smart garage door app so you can check on the activity. You can know who got home through unique codes, or know if someone not authorized is trying to gain access. If it is also connected to security cameras, you can tap in to see the activity.

4 Trigger Other Actions

There is no place like home and a smart garage door makes your security system home even better. If your smart garage door is connected to other smart devices, it can serve as a trigger for other actions. By using geofencing, it can trigger the lights to go on or signal temperature adjustments when you draw near or lock the doors (aren’t you glad you got those smart locks?) and arm your system when you leave.

About Security Instrument

Since 1960, Security Instrument has worked diligently to earn a reputation for delivering quality by using state-of-the-art technologies, highly trained and qualified technicians, and providing the best 24/7 support and monitoring services.

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.

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.

You love your family’s dog – who doesn’t? He’s loveable, delightful and lives to please. But is seeing him enough to frighten away someone trying to break into your home? Often – and, unfortunately – the answer is no. Here are some reasons why.

His senses are not always reliable.

Dogs have been blessed with senses we can only dream about – hearing, smell, taste – and they can also be very good at sensing the existence of threats. Unfortunately, that last sense does not apply to every dog. Some breeds aren’t great at knowing when danger is around the corner, and expecting those pets to be “guard dogs” just isn’t fair.

What would be fair to your pup would be to use a professionally installed and monitored home security system instead. It contains motion detectors, glass break detectors and other technology that works together to alert you when someone is forcing entry into your home. At the monitoring center, your system is being monitored by security professionals so that help will be dispatched the moment your alarm is triggered.  

He’s not connected.

No, this isn’t a joke about what dogs he knows in the neighborhood (although that would be amusing!). It’s actually about this fact: No matter how enthusiastic he is about protecting you, your dog isn’t connected to the monitoring center. But your home security system is, and that means one of our trained security professionals will answer whenever a signal occurs. Like your dog, they’re always in your corner – but in addition, they have a 24/7 connection to emergency responders.

Your pet might be your best friend, but he shouldn’t be expected to be your home’s guardian. To take the next step and learn more about home security, Delaware homeowners can call 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.

We’re in the thick of the storm season, making this the perfect time to talk about environmental protection with the help of your security system. Whether it’s a thunderstorm or bonafide hurricane conditions, harsh weather is risky weather. It can get unsafe outside, and homeowners need all the help they can to secure their homes and families.

Help for Protecting Loved Ones

Your smart home security system can indeed help. With real-time weather alerts that come straight from the National Weather Service, we send notifications to your security panel and smartphone so you can get ahead of what’s about to happen outside. Ideally, it will give you time to make sure the whole family’s safe in the house or another shelter location. Likewise, you’ll receive an alert when these weather conditions have passed.

Help for Protecting Homes

First, you want to protect your family; next, you want to protect your home. Smart home security systems protect both. Your home can be spared the damage that comes with leaky roofs, frozen pipes, and other byproducts of severe weather. The features that enable this are the low temperature alerts (to alert you to impending freezing) and water detection (to alert you to possible flooding on the floor). With the low temperature alert, you can heat the basement near the pipes to keep them from freezing, with the goal being to prevent the pipes from freezing. With the water detection, you can avoid paying thousands of dollars to repair flooded rooms in the home.

Environmental protection isn’t just for the outdoors; it’s for inside the home as well. To learn more about a smart home security system that provides this, contact Security Instrument for a free home security consultation.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous home security options, including security systems for senior citizens. In Delaware Valley, Security Instrument serves thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

It sounds unbelievable, but 30% of burglaries in the United States occur when a criminal gained access to a home through an open door or window. Many Americans forget the role that windows play in securing our homes – but whether windows are new or old, whether they are locked or not can make a big difference for home security.

The newer the windows, the easier they are easier to open – and the older the windows, the more likely the homeowner is to neglect their upkeep. But there’s a solution for both these scenarios: connecting windows to the home security system, so they can be protected from home invasion no matter how new or old they are.

Window Sensors: A Sentry from Home Invasion

When sensors are placed on windows throughout the house, this connects them to the home security system. If the homeowner has armed the system while everyone is gone for the day or sleeping at night, then the sensors will trigger the alarm if a window is being tampered with. The same sensors can be placed on the exterior doors of the home: front door, back door and garage door. When all entry points to the home are connected, it’s like having a round-the-clock guard protecting your home from invasion.

Help for Forgetful Homeowners

People are busy, and homeowners are the busiest people of them all. Not many people take the time to walk around the house and make sure windows are locked; with standard, unconnected windows, the home could be unsecured via an unlocked window for days, even weeks.

Sensor-connected windows are designed to prevent that from happening. The contact sensor placed on the window is connected to the home security system, so that if a window is opened while the system is armed, the alarm will be triggered. Of course, sensor contacts should also be placed on the front and back doors to afford them the same protection.

More Benefits with Smart Home Protection

If the security system features smart home protection, then there are even more benefits. The smart windows and doors – in addition to lights, locks and even the thermostat – can all be controlled via the home security mobile app, which homeowners access with their smartphones. Of course, the security system is controlled this way as well; that means a homeowner can turn off lights, set back the thermostat, lock the doors and windows, and arm the security system with a single tap of their mobile app. It’s simple to create a “scene” command on the app that does all these things at once.

To learn more about this easy-to-use smart home technology – or, to discuss door and window sensors designed to prevent home invasion – contact Security Instrument for a complimentary home security evaluation.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous home security options to prevent home invasion. In Delaware Valley, Security Instrument serves thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

It’s Older Americans Month – and while we should hold concern for our older loved ones year-round, the season of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a great time to think about their home security. If you are considering an upcoming home improvement project for a beloved parent or grandparent, a security system for senior citizens is a great idea. What sets a home security system for seniors apart from other electronic solutions is the unique way it addresses their safety needs while also connecting parts of the home to electronic sensors. This functionality allows loved ones to stay on top of what’s going on in the home without infringing on the senior’s privacy. Here are some examples of ways it can work.

Security Systems for Seniors: Possible Features

If you are an adult child or caregiver seeking out a security solution for senior citizens, keep an eye out for features like:

· Sensors that can be placed in key parts of the home – like beds, refrigerators and medicine cabinets – so you will know when those places are being used, and can intervene if they are ever not being used

· A quiet connection to the system, such as a smartphone app you can discreetly look at anytime

· A notification feature that sends you emergency alerts when necessary

· Built-in intelligence that memorizes the activity in the senior’s home, so it can detect any unusual activity that may happen

Connecting Lights, Locks and Thermostats

For additional security, other elements in the home can be connected to the security system as well. Seniors can be even safer when their lights and locks are electronically connected to the security system; this is an option that enables their loved ones to program lights to come on and go off at certain times of day, and allows keyless entry into the home with a simple number code (which means no more lost keys for anyone!). Even thermostats can be connected, which means heating and cooling can be turned on and off remotely by caregivers from the smartphone app. If cameras are part of the home security system, seniors’ authorized loved ones can watch live video feed from the app as well.

To look into the options we offer in security systems for senior citizens, contact Security Instrument today. We look forward to helping you and your loved one.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous home security options, including security systems for senior citizens. In Delaware Valley, Security Instrument serves thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.