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When you purchased those smoke detectors you so responsibly installed in your home, did you notice a similar-looking detector for carbon monoxide? If you have any products or equipment in or near your home that burn fuel, you might want to pick up a few carbon monoxide detectors too.

Unlike smoke or natural gas, carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, but it is just as poisonous. In the U.S., between 150 and 200 people die annually from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning produced by malfunctioning furnaces, ranges, water heaters, space heaters, fireplaces, charcoal- or gas-fired grills and engine-powered devices such as portable generators.

Even more lose their lives when CO accumulates after people leave their cars running in garages. And every year, thousands of people wind up in emergency rooms for treatment as a result of CO poisoning.

Prevention involves following these basic safety procedures.

  1. Install all appliances following the manufacturer’s instructions as well as local building codes – generally by qualified professionals.
  2. Unless you have the proper knowledge and skill as well as the appropriate tools, do not service fuel-burning appliances yourself.
  3. If your home has a fuel-burning heating system, have it serviced and inspected annually by professionals. Be sure to include chimneys and flues.
  4. Operating a portable generator or another gas-powered tool in or near an enclosed space can trap CO, leading to potentially lethal levels of the gas. Open doors and windows do not provide enough ventilation.
  5. Never use camping stoves designed for outdoor use only in an enclosed vehicle, tent or building. Some of these products may be designed to work in enclosed spaces, but they will specify that on the packaging and provide instructions for their safe use.
  6. Never burn charcoal in any kind of enclosed space such as a building, tent, or vehicle.
  7. Never leave a car running in a garage, even if you have the door open.
  8. Don’t use gas appliances such as ovens or clothes dryers as space heaters for your home.
  9. If you use a natural gas or propane oven, don’t cover the bottom with aluminum foil the way you can with an electric oven. You can block the oven’s combustion flow, producing CO.
  10. Re-check all gas appliance vents, heating vents or chimney flues after any home renovations. These can easily be blocked by forgotten tarps or debris.
  11. Install carbon monoxide alarms in hallways near every sleeping area and in living areas in the neighborhood of fuel-burning appliances. The recommendation is one alarm installed in the hallway outside every bedroom. Make sure the alarms aren’t blocked by furniture or window coverings. CO alarms should not be installed in kitchens or directly above any fuel-burning appliances. Test alarms regularly and replace following the schedule recommended by the manufacturer.

Signs and Symptoms of CO Poisoning

Initially, CO exposure has symptoms that resemble the flu without any fever. These include headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Further exposure can lead to vomiting, mental confusion and loss of muscular coordination. The end result is loss of consciousness and finally, death. The exposure levels and duration can affect the severity of the symptoms.

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms unexpectedly, don’t wait for the CO alarm to go off to confirm it. Leave your home immediately and call the fire department on your cell or at a neighbor’s home. If they find evidence of high levels of CO, be sure that you and any family members who were exposed see a doctor immediately, letting him or her know about the CO exposure.

The Best Way To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Finally, have all of your appliances checked for problems before re-using them. If one or more CO alarms go off in your home, leave immediately with all family members and pets. Call 911 and do not re-enter your home until the emergency specialists have ensured you that it is safe. Even a few minutes can lead to loss of consciousness and death if the exposure is high enough. Do not use the problem equipment again until a qualified service technician checks and repairs it.

We Can Help – Contact Us Today.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is an easily avoidable risk, yet every year too many people succumb to it. Like wearing a seatbelt, you may never need a CO detector, but why take a chance? By following these few simple steps, AND installing a carbon monoxide detector by a qualified professional security company, you may become a lifesaver for the ones you care about most.

Every year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) devotes the third week in October to National Fire Prevention Week. The theme for this year is “Prevent Kitchen Fires,” with fire departments throughout the country holding local community events designed to educate the public on preventing fires in that busy area of the house. Here are some valuable tips they will be sharing:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you’re cooking on the stovetop. If you are frying, grilling, broiling or boiling food, you must be in the room to make sure your food doesn’t burn. The safety concern is not only for burned food, but for smoke in the air and the pan catching fire.
  • Stay in the home when you’re cooking in the oven. If you are baking, roasting or braising food in the oven, you don’t necessarily need to be in the kitchen, but you do need to be in the home – and you definitely need to use a timer to prevent any fire risks.
  • Keep your smoke alarm on while cooking. Some people are tempted to remove their smoke alarm batteries when cooking certain dishes. But whether you are baking cookies or frying up bacon, your smoke alarm should stay on. Disabling it could put your family at risk of harmful smoke inhalation.
  • Keep your kids and pets safe while cooking. Young children have been known to burn themselves on front burner pots and pans. Teaching them not to touch is good, but putting things on the back burner to remove the risk is better. Pets should also be kept at least three feet from the stove.
  • Keep flammable items away from the stove. Avoid cooking with loose-fitting sleeves. Hanging sleeves can easily catch fire. As for necessary items like potholders and kitchen towels, they should be safely to the side on the counter – not the stove.

These are just some of the tips that fire departments want citizens to know when it comes to preventing kitchen fires. If there is a National Fire Prevention Week event going on in your community, we encourage you to attend. Search #NationalFirePreventionWeek on Twitter to find an event near you!

About Security Instrument

To learn more about a remote access solution that leverages your lights to the fullest for the sake of security, contact Security Instrument today. We will be glad to answer your questions about your lighting control and smart home security options.

Most of us think we have some idea of how burglaries happen. The burglar watches the home for signs of occupancy and when the coast is clear, they break a window or kick in a door and proceed to carry off your jewelry and electronics. The problem with that picture? Many times the burglar does not have to pick a lock, break a window or kick open a door, they just turn a knob and walk in completely undetected.

It’s Worse Than You Think

Of the 1,420,000 burglaries reported in the US in 2014, 504,000 -35.2% were categorized as unlawful entry, where the burglar did not have to force entry but simply walked in. When it comes to prosecution, it can make a big difference. What makes it most disheartening to the resident is that it was an error that could have been avoided.

Pro Tip: When you use contact sensors on your doors and windows, you can check their status via your smart phone security app and take care of the problem.

 

Where Security Slips through the Cracks

Life is busy and checking every window and door each time we leave the house can be a bit laborious. Even when we do check, there is usually another family member that comes along to open what we just closed. That is, of course, if we even remembered to do that as we rush out 10 minutes late for just about everything. It happens, but all it takes is it happening once to give the burglar all the opportunity needed to make off with an average of $2,250 worth of valuables per incident.

Smart Security Picks Up the Slack in a Big Way

While forgetting is normal and human failure to be expected, smart security is the big but simple fix. Here’s how using smart, connected devices, smart security, and home automation technologies can reduce the chance of unlawful entry burglary.

  • You’re immediately alerted if you leave a door or window open. When you use contact sensors on your doors and windows, you can check their status via your smart phone security app and take care of the problem. If it is a smart garage door left open or a smart lock left unlocked, you can even close the door and lock the smart locks from your phone.
  • Your doors can lock automatically. If you use geo-location and triggers, you can have your doors all lock when you leave the house.
  • The system can be armed automatically. Also using geo-location and triggers, you can have the smart security system lock the doors then arm itself when you get a predetermined distance from your home.

About Security Instrument

Don’t leave your door wide open to crime. Founded in 1960, Security Instrument Corp. specializes in smart security and associated monitoring services. Professionally engineered systems backed by unmatched professional support.

Delaware has a lot to offer and in the summer months, the state swells with vacationers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC and other nearby areas. If you own a vacation home, the season probably brings to mind home security and ensuring your guests feel protected. In addition to being an important rental attraction, home security and home automation can serve you and your vacation home all year.

Protecting Guests and Providing Convenience

One of the most important factors in having a rental home is making it as attractive as possible to potential renters and increased safety and convenience top the list of desirable features. Simple niceties such as having the lights come on when motion is detected can make a renter’s visit memorable when it comes to planning their next visit. Conveying the appearance of a well-secured property not only tells potential criminals that the home is not an easy target, it tells renters that you pay attention to details and care about their wellbeing.

Pro Tip: Simple niceties such as having the lights come on when motion is detected can make a renter’s visit memorable when it comes to planning their next visit.

 

Increasing Security is For You, Too

Burglars target vacation homes frequently because these homes are often unoccupied for extended periods of time. While they may not contain the types and quantity of items of a fully occupied home, burglars know that it still contains plenty of valuables they can turn for a quick and easy buck.

Home security systems make vacation properties less attractive to thieves, some polls reveal by up to 60%.  Of course, when those homes are occupied they are even less attractive. Smart home technologies address security needs on both fronts and keep away troublemakers by making the home look occupied. Using Z-Wave technology to set up customized lighting scenes, to turn on, dim, and turn off lights at varied intervals owners can make it look like someone is in the home.

Security Systems Also Provide Weekday and Off-Season Oversight

Having a vacation home can be a source of enjoyment, but worrying about the property when you are away can steal the joy. This is because so many things can go wrong in the blink of an eye and since you are not at the property you may not be aware of a problem in enough time to correct it before it causes major and costly damage. That is enough to cause anyone stress.

Fortunately, there are smart affordable solutions that keep homeowners in the know, 24/7. The ability to check-in on the home at will with remote video is a huge benefit, so you know the status of the home and any activity. As the seasons change, there are additional benefits that can alert you to problems and protect your home from common damage causing problems, such as leaks and frozen pipes. Features like flood detection, temperature monitoring, and generator supervision address many of the issues vacation homeowners face.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is Delaware’s largest full-service independently-owned security firm serving thousands of customers throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. We understand the needs and challenges of vacation home ownership and work with clients to accommodate their schedules for installation and service.

Chances are good that you, like many people, have a smoke detector in the home. But there is a lot about fire protection that most consumers do not know, and that lack of knowledge can lead to not protecting our families and homes adequately.

Knowing your stuff can be the difference between life and death in a home fire, so we have developed a short quiz so you can test your knowledge, and then act on what you know.

 

How many smoke alarms does the average American home need if the home is 2 stories and 3 bedrooms?
A: 1 alarm
B: 2 alarms
C: 5 alarms
D: 14 alarms

According to the national Fire Protection Association, homes should have smoke alarms installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and one on every level of the home including the basement. So, a 2-story 3-bedroom home needs at least 5.

How often should you replace smoke alarms?
A: Every 2-4 years
B: Every 5-7 years
C: Every 8-10 years
D: Every 15-20 years
In practice, most American replace the smoke detectors every 15 years on average. The correct answer however, is C, as most detectors have a lifespan of under 10 years.

How many minutes do you have to escape a fire safely?

A: 3 minutes or less
B: 4 to 5 at most
C: Nearly 10 minutes before it becomes consumed
D. 12-20 minutes
30 years ago, you had 30 minutes to get out of a home alive. Today you have about 3 minutes. This is due to the tighter envelop of today’s energy efficient homes as well as the highly caustic and flammable materials used to make todays products and furnishings compared to the natural fibers of the past.

Do most homes in the US have an adequate fire protection including smoke detectors?
A: Yes
B: No

According to the NFPA, Americans need 100 million more smoke alarms to be fully protected. This is based on actual visits to US homes where it found smoke detectors either missing or not working.

Do smart smoke detectors impact response times?
A: Some
B: Not really
C: Significantly
In a study conducted by the USFA and CPSC, along with the Naval Research Laboratory the reduction in alarm times due to smart technologies greatly increases response times to fire emergencies.

The odds of dying in a house fire are reduced by how much with a working smoke detector and monitored system?
A: 15%
B: 25%
C. 45%
D: 50% or more
Research shows that the odds of dying in a fire are reduced by at least 50% in homes with working smoke detectors and reduced further when the system is monitored. The sooner the warning, the faster you and emergency personnel can act.

Home Security Installations In Delaware Since 1960

Smart smoke detectors are one of your most valuable tools in protecting your family from fire. Our professional sales and installation team offer no obligation consultations on home security and automation systems. Call us at (800) 244-2261.

A burglar is out for one thing: to find a home that is easy to enter. If your home appears too difficult or the risk of being caught is too great, they will move on to the next house. It does not take a lot to make your home appear intimidating to burglars – in fact, it is very simple. Unfortunately, too many homeowners ignore these super simple security tips that could significantly reduce the likelihood their home is robbed in the future.

Everybody loves a top 10 list, so here’s our checklist for living safely!

10 Simple Home Security Tips That You Can Use Today

  1. Locking Doors and Windows – Before you leave your home or go to bed, lock the doors and windows of your home. If you have a home automation system, use your computer or smartphone to remotely lock your doors if you forget to do so before leaving.
  2. Use a Home Security System – A home security system is your best defense against burglaries. There are numerous systems available that can be customized to your home and budget. Your local home security company can help you choose one. Simply installing it is not enough – you must also activate it!
  3. Check the Locks – Locks need maintenance just like every other area of your home. Be sure to install deadbolt locks on outside doors, use the right locks on sliding doors and secure dog/cat entrances when you are away.
  4. Occupied, Even When Vacant – Regardless if you are home, your house should appear occupied. That means turning lights on at night and having them turn off with a timer (if you will not be home in time to turn them off).
  5. Reduce Shrubbery – One thing burglars look for is how easily they can hide around the perimeter of your property. Cut back shrubs and trees, especially those near upper levels and windows, so that burglars have nowhere to hide.
  6. Secure Your Garage – Your garage has an entrance into your home, and it’s a common target for burglars.  Secure your garage just like you do your home. Park your car in the garage too, if you can, as this will make it harder for burglars to tell when you are home and when you are out.
  7. Lights – Use exterior lights and schedule them to turn on when the sun sets. Use motion sensing lights for dark areas on the lawn too.
  8. Mail – If you go out of town, stop your mail delivery or have a neighbor pick it up for you. Mail that builds up in the box tells burglars right away that no one is home.
  9. Outdoor Wires – Make sure the telephone lines and electrical wires are not easily accessible by burglars. Burglars will usually attempt to disarm security systems by cutting these.
  10. Change the Locks – If you lose your house keys, move into a new home or have someone move out of your home, change the locks on the doors.

Protecting Delaware With Professional Home Security Since 1960.

Protecting your home can be easy with the above tips. Learn more super simple ways to keep your home safe by contacting your home security experts at Security Instrument. Our professional sales and installation team offer no obligation consultations on home security and automation systems. Call us at (800) 244-2261.