Archive for April 5th, 2012

Tips On Avoiding Home Safety Risks

Now that you’ve weathered the winter, the door is open for you to focus on the maintenance of your home-not only the inside of your home but outside, too, making sure the house is safe and properly maintained. Doing this will help to prevent safety risks and costly repairs in the future. Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post, North America’s largest home inspection service, offers these suggestions:

Inspect the deck: Wooden decks can become damaged and corroded from the harshness of winter. See if nails or screws are popping up. Clean the deck and seal it.

Check electrical outlets and extension cords: Replace any loose-fitting plugs or frayed extension cords to prevent a fire hazard.

“Degrease” the garage: If the family car has been leaking oil or other fluids onto the garage floor all winter, now is a great time to clean it up. A greasy garage floor is slippery and potentially a fire hazard. Use nontoxic, nonflammable, biodegradable degreasers such as Simple Green. Pour the concentrate on liberally and scrub with a nylon brush. Cover the area with about an inch of kitty litter and let it sit for 24 hours. Sweep away the kitty litter for a clean floor at low cost.

Improve the yard with size in mind: Look to see how plants and trees have grown during the past year. They may be too large and could cause damage to the home’s structure. Leave enough space between the house and those baby shrubs you’re planting to allow 12″ between the plant and wall. This provides adequate ventilation and reduces the risk of future damage.

Clean the A/C: Use your garden hose to rinse off the evaporator coil fins on your A/C condenser unit.

Check the garage door: The garage door can weigh up to 400 pounds. Springs and balancing mechanisms can fail over time, which can cause great damage to the door and harm to people around it. Now’s a good time to take a close look at the springs.

To avoid safety risks and expensive repairs down the road, it’s always a good idea to get a complete home inspection from a reputable and established company such as Pillar To Post.

Inspect smoke, radon and carbon monoxide detectors: Test them and change the battery every three months or as needed. Be certain there is a detector on each floor of the home.

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Your Guide To Buying Security Cameras

Today’s technology has made setting up security precautions such as security cameras a cinch! You no longer need to be a millionaire to set up one. You could even install one yourself! Security cameras provide a means for its owner to watch over his or her propery from the safety and convenience of any area he chooses. This type of system is a great deterrent to thievery and unwanted entry. Most organizations that have sensitive items or are off limits to the general public employ these cameras to help keep their places safe.

Purchasing and implementing such a system may save your business from the terrors of illegal entry. Investment in such could save you a whole lot of trouble.

Before purchasing a system, you will want to consider the following factors.

Your needs
Study your needs. The type of security measures installed will depend on your specific security needs. For example how large is the area you would like covered? How many cameras will it take to monitor this area? You must make sure the security camera system you will purchase can accommodate enough slots for expansion.

Do you need audio too? Some camera systems have audio recording equipment as well so you can not only see what happens, but hear it as well. This is important in cases when you would like everything documented. However, this may be costly. Many establishments only require video records of their security.

Also, you must ascertain whether you need to have your security cameras record in color or black and white. Color cameras are, of course, more sophisticated and show a clearer picture. However, they tend to be pricey. Color cameras might also not work in low-light situations.

Consider the location of the cameras. Will the location be hard to set up a wiring system in? In that case, you may want to consider wireless security camera systems. However, these cameras must be in a place that is conducive to high quality broadcast. There must be no interference. They can, though, be moved around the area. They are a bit more flexible than their fixed-wire cousins.

Will the camera system be for outdoor purposes? Cameras that monitor outdoor locations need special weatherproof housings and may not be recommended for extreme temperatures and various elements. Also those that may be vandalized must be protected against such.

Also, you must take in consideration the lighting for an area. If your camera cannot record a scene due to bad lighting, you will end up with muddy images that won’t help in your surveillance activities. Choose a security camera that has a good sensitivity to light. Also, try to illuminate such areas with external lighting.

You must consider where the power sources will be located. Make sure they are well protected against the elements and from tampering.

Consider the available methods for recording the images. You may use a variety of backup media. And with the advent of computer storage media, even the use of hard disks, compact discs, and DVDs can prove to be an inexpensive way to store your data.

Installing a Security Camera System
Most home security cameras require little wiring, but installation differs according to model. Here are the basic steps:

1. Survey the area to be monitored. Follow the instructions/manual that comes with your security camera product. Install the camera at a proper distance from the area to be surveyed. Cameras vary in the distances from which they focus, so it would do well to pay notice to such.

2. Secure the camera using proper mounts, etc. Make sure that if the camera you are to install should not be moved, its placing should be secure and tamper proof.

4. Connect the camera to the monitor according to the manufacturer’s directions. Make sure the wiring is as hidden and as secure as possible. This will make it harder for vandals and thieves from damaging your wiring.

5. Fine tune your system. Make sure you optimize the images you receive from the camera. Set a maintenance plan and fail safe plans to employ in case your cameras break down.

6 Organize an archival system according to your needs. Backing up and recording your images are implemented here.

How Does A Fire Alarm System Work?

A fire alarm system alerts people in the building of a possible fire. They help protect those inside by notifying them that they need to evacuate for safety. Most fire alarm systems will also automatically notify the nearest emergency personnel so they can take care of the fire. Fire alarms can be triggered by smoke detectors, heat detectors, or manually.

They are generally set to detect levels of smoke or heat that may indicate a fire. There is a loud bell that sounds to alert those in the building. This may also come with lights that blink in case of someone who is hearing impaired. There are many models of fire alarm systems on the market. Research for which one is best can be done on the Internet or by doing a search in your local area for manufacturers. Many fire alarm systems come bundled with intruder alert systems for maximum safety and protection of your home. There are two costs to a system. The cost of the equipment can either be purchased or leased. The system will need to be installed which may also add a one-time fee. Systems start at approximately $20.00 for basic models and range up to $2,000.00 for more sophisticated models. For home use, a basic system with monitoring is usually sufficient. These will range anywhere from $100.00 to $300.00. Because the system will alert the local fire department, there is also a monitoring fee generally paid monthly. These are typically inexpensive and cost approximately $30.00 per month. The one time expense of the equipment, installation, and the regular payments for monitoring are a valuable investment. Considering the costs associated with fire damage or the tragedies of losing a life in a fire, the investment is well worth it. It is important to know what to do in case the alarm goes off. Fire drills are helpful in ensuring everyone in the family knows what to do. Practice this at least annually. If there is a small fire, one person should be in charge of using a fire extinguisher while the others leave the area.

For a larger fire, everyone should immediately evacuate the premises and gather at a predetermined location. Once everyone is there, a count should be taken to ensure everyone is out safely. A fire alarm system should be tested annually to ensure it is working properly. Notify the fire department of this before testing so they do not come out needlessly. False alarms are often charged to the consumer to account for the time wasted. A fire alarm system is a valuable investment. It can help provide safety and security to your family and home.

Home Security How to Spot Suspicious Activity

In part nine of this series on home security, I am going to giver you a list of things to watch out for to help in spotting possibly suspicious people, its surprising how regularly we miss rather obvious signs that should put us on our guard. 1. Somebody going from house to house, this is particularly suspicious if, once a few homes have been visited, one or more of the people go into a back or side yard.

It is even more suspicious if another remains in the front when this occurs. It may be that they are looking for a house to burglarize, or there could be a burglary in progress. 2. If somebody is waiting around in front of a home this becomes very suspicious if you know the homeowners are away. The individual you can see may be a lookout for a burglary that is in progress inside. 3. Everyone seen forcing an entry into a home. This is clearly suspicious at anytime and in any circumstances immediately dial 911 or 999 if in the U.K. 4. If you see anybody who does not live in the home, going into the yard, it is possible that a burglary is being committed. 5. Someone running away particularly if something valuable is being carried, they may be leaving the scene of a crime. 6. If you see somebody showing strange mental or physical symptoms, they may be injured or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 7. Anybody moving property may be considered suspicious in some circumstances. Perhaps if it is late at night or if the item is not wrapped, it is possible that the article has been stolen. 8. A large number of comings and goings from a particular house, this may not be suspicious, unless it occurs on a daily or very regular basis, especially during late or unusual hours when it could signify vice or drug related activities. With all of the above situations you must use your common sense, in the majority of situations there is a perfectly innocent explanation for what you see but if you are not certain dial 911 or 999 in the U.K. and let the police investigate. Roger Overantout

The Necessity of Spy Electronics

When most people think of electronics, they think of audiovisual devices like cameras, computers, TVs, and recorders.

Spy electronics also encompass all of things. The main difference is that while all of the above items are mainly used for entertainment purposes, spy electronics are meant to be used in surveillance. These electronics can be very technologically advanced, and some of them can be so well disguised that others do not even realize that they are being watched or listened to. Spy electronics are necessary to make the whole surveillance profession work. After all, if you do not have recording equipment, or equipment to recover the recordings, then it is no good. You cannot perform effective surveillance. Additionally, electronics in places like command centers and control rooms are what coordinate the efforts of individual pieces of electronic equipment and they also direct the surveillance efforts. In today’s world, the professional needs electronics to be an effective bounty hunter or private investigator. Spy electronics are not only necessary for people like PIs and bounty hunters. The military makes extensive use of these things. Indeed, their electronic spy devices include things like unmanned spy planes and prototypes for other high tech equipment. Police and government intelligence agencies also make heavy use of spy electronics. Wiretaps and the equipment to listen to what is heard fall into the category of electronics. Other forms of surveillance, such as cameras and other listening devices are also necessary. Other spy electronics that also perform useful functions include TVs and other screens that display information and computers that keep track of tracking devices and maps. Additionally, computers can direct remote cameras to find new angles and they can also record information and display it a way that is more useful to the user.

There is no doubt that computers are becoming very important pieces of electronic equipment that can be used for surveillance purposes. Without spy electronics, the possibilities for evidence and intelligence gathering, whether for national security or for your divorce case, would be much more limited. Technology has made it possible with a variety of advancements to find out just about anything that you might need to know to help you maintain your quality of life. And it is all made possible with information gathered and analyzed with the aid of spy electronics. (c) 2005 Copyright This article is about: Spy Electronics.

Preventing Fire Damage in the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in your house as it contains many hazards and a high potential for unintentional fires. Frying Pans and Deep Fry Pans Using a thermostat controlled fryer is a great way to prevent deep fry pans fires. Avoid fat and grease build up on the stove or pans because fat and grease can easily catch fire. Oven and Stove The oven and range must be cleaned often to prevent grease and food from catching fire. Be careful when you cook and keep pot handles away from the edge of the stove.

Don’t wear long sleeves that can hang over the stove and catch fire. Always look on the oven when it is on and don’t forget to turn it off when not in use. Place flammable fabrics, such as towels, away from the gas or electric range. Be careful with flammable liquids such as cleaning materials. Appliances The most important safety rule for appliances is to use only appliances that have been tested and approved by a testing facility. Avoid overloading electrical outlets and check for worn or broken wiring on a regular basis. If you find defects be sure to make necessary repairs immediately. It is also very important to keep appliance cords on the counter to prevent them from, accidentally, being pulled down. Microwave Ovens A very common mistake regarding microwave ovens is the wrong assumption that items, heated in the microwave oven, are not as hot as items heated in a regular oven or a mini oven. Keep in mind that even though the container does not heat, the content does. Be sure all the vents are cleared of obstructions and that the microwave oven has an adequate clearance for air circulation.

Never place aluminum foil or other metals in a microwave oven.

Did you ever think that Exit signs could protect your premises? They can if they just happen to be the type that has some covert hidden cameras hidden in them. Who would ever think that an exit sign had a camera? They come wireless, too, so that you can place them anywhere that they are needed. Of course, if wireless won’t do, you can get the wired versions as well. Either way, keeping that door under surveillance without anyone else knowing it, becomes a simple matter. Another nifty way to conceal covert hidden cameras is to use the ones that are placed inside an emergency light that actually works. These little beauties even automatically switch from color to black and white in low light situations, and their range is up to one thousand feet. So the power has gone out in your store, office or home, and some sneaky, unethical person decides to take advantage of the situation to steal something. With an emergency light covert hidden camera, they might as well smile and say cheese. Okay, so you really aren’t interested in covert operations, but you are a single woman living alone or with another woman for a roommate. It is ten o’clock at night and some one knocks on your door. Would you just answer it without knowing who was there? Not if you are smart you won’t. There are covert hidden cameras that fit into a standard peep hole in your door. With an amazing 170 degree viewing angle, you no longer have to take a chance by opening the door to a perfect stranger, who might just be a thief, rapist or killer looking for easy prey. Having peep holes that are actually covert hidden cameras could give you the peace of mind that you have been looking for.

How To Get Rid Of Raccoons

Many of you know that raccoons are known to adapt very easily to a changing environment that is why many people have problems with the damages caused by these creatures. Raccoons have inherited a bad habit: they vandalize garbage cans, fish ponds and also your very own kitchen pantry due to the fact that many houses ( especially in United States ) have a pet door which for a raccoons is like an invitation. Besides this, raccoons invade attics, chimneys, porches and other similar locations, not to mention that the cities and suburbs offer these creatures a developed underground roadway system for those intelligent animals who use these storm sewers.

These raccoons not only invade your privacy but also they cause damage, for example, they can get into crops or just by simply occupying your chimney they make annoying little sounds that eventually will drive you crazy.

The first thing you should do is to find out if you are truly having problems with raccoons because many people have the tendency to affirm that raccoons are the one’s to blame for the damages but in reality, the one’s who should be blamed for causing these problems are dogs, cats or other “friendly” animals. If you don’t have the possibility to observe these animals directly the best thing you could do is to identify their tracks. In order to do this you should use the following : flour, nontoxic powders and also cornstarch, these will help you to check out footprints on hard surfaces. A useful tip : raccoons which use chimneys or attics usually begin to make noise when it is getting darker and they stop doing this in the morning, when the sun makes its appearance. The sounds that raccoons make when they are moving can help you detect them more easily. Also, if you hear purring noises then you should know that young cubs are present. Usually, you will hear these noises when their mother comes back to the den. A wise thing you could do if you have problems with raccoons is simply wait; in other words, many of the problems made by raccoons ( for example: occupation of a building ) resolve themselves within a few weeks or if you are lucky, in a few days.

If cubs are also causing you problems then you should know that they won’t leave your attic until they are nine weeks of age because until then, they can’t take care of themselves so they won’t venture in an unknown environment where they will be helpless. When it comes down to chimneys and attics if yours is uncapped then raccoons will probably use it for denning but also for giving birth and raising cubs. If you assume that after a while they will leave, the best thing you should is that you might try using some harassment techniques so that you could “hurry” their departure. Also, you might as well leave the attic lights on or place a radio tuned to a talk-show and leave it a high volume. Once you are certain that you got rid of all the raccoons, the first thing you should do is install an approved chimney cap so that in the future, raccoons won’t be able to invade your privacy. A very important note is that you shouldn’t use fire or smoke to make the animals come out of the chimneys because by doing so, you will most likely kill the youngsters as they aren’t able to evade on their own. When it comes down to yards and gardens, in order to discourage garbage vandalizing you should place cans at the curb when the day of garbage pick-up has arrived. Another thing you could do is that you should secure the lids using bungee cords or weights. Don’t forget that raccoons are often attracted by birdseed and suet and they usually cause a lot of damage to garden fruits and also vegetable gardens , especially corn and grapes. Garden vandalizing will often occur when the foods are ready to be picked so you should be more attentive during those periods. All in all, raccoons can cause a lot of problems so some safety precautions should be taken in order to avoid these problems which can become very annoying if ignored for a longer period of time.

A Smoke alarm or smoke detector have saved thousands of lives. Smoke detectors are your first line of security against fire and can reduce the chance dying in a home fire. Even though they can be a nuisance when you burn toast, An inexpensive household smoke alarm detector can mean that every member of your family gets out of a burning house alive. Prevention and deterrence should always be a front line method of avoiding home accidents. What they are? A smoke alarm is basically an electrical circuit that gets interrupted by particles. A fire sends miniscule particles into the air, when these tiny particles reach the smoke detector they interfere with the electrical circuit and alert a microchip. A smoke alarm’s microchip is programmed to send a signal to set off the alarm. Where to Install? • Install the smoke alarm near bedrooms – high on a wall or ceiling. • Don’t install them near air vents. • Replace detectors that are more than 10 years old.

• For the best fire protection install both an ionization smoke detectors. One is for fast burning flames and another one for smoldering fires. Types of Smoke Detectors: There are plenty of options available for you to select the best smoke detectors for your home. They are Battery Operated Smoke Detectors, 120V AC Hardwire Smoke Detectors, Combination Smoke Carbon Monoxide Detectors, Ionization/Photoelectric Smoke Detectors, Smoke Detectors with Relays, Heat Detectors, Photoelectric Smoke Alarms, Strobe Light Modules-For Hearing Impaired and Wireless Smoke Alarm. What suits as best? Ionization smoke detectors respond first to fast flaming fires. Whereas, Photo electronic smoke alarms respond first to slow smoldering fires. Photo electronic models are best suited for living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens. This is because, these rooms often contain large pieces of furniture, such as sofas, chairs, mattresses, counter tops, etc. which will burn slowly and create more smoldering smoke than flames. These alarms are also less prone to nuisance alarms in the kitchen area than ionization smoke alarms.

How to Choose Guard Dogs for Home Security

There are various burglary alarms and home surveillance systems available, designed to help you protect your home. Although they are good in their own rights, nothing compares to an old fashioned guard dog. Guard dogs have been used for generations – to help people protect their homes and their belongings. For many years, guard dogs have helped to scare off burglars and thieves. Although most have gotten used to dogs now days, nothing fends off a thief more than a vicious dog grabbing his ankle and clamping down. Almost all guard dogs have serious bites and can seriously injure a burglar. Guard dogs are trained to protect one’s home – and they will do so no matter what. When you get a guard dog, you should always make sure that you let him know who is safe to be around your home.

You don’t want the dog to be vicious towards everyone, as friends and family are certainly allowed to be around your home. Most guard dogs are left outside of the home, with some deciding to keep them indoors. Indoor dogs are great, as they will instantly catch a burglar the second he decides to break into your home. If you plan to keep your guard dog indoors, you should always have a supply of food and water available, as he will be there when you aren’t. You will also need to give him access to an outdoor area as well, so he can use the bathroom. A fenced in yard is an ideal place for a guard dog to go outside, as he can come and go as he pleases. Sometimes, a burglar will try and sneak around the back entrance – which is where giving a guard dog outside access can really come in handyBefore buying the dog, you should always carefully research the species and where you plan to get your dog from. Police dogs or dogs that have been trained for protection are ideal, as they already know how to defend things. Dobermans and Pit Bulls are great for protection as well, simply because they are well known for being very vicious. If you carefully research your options and get your guard dog from a reliable source, you shouldn’t have much of anything to worry about. You should never get your dog from a lesser known or poor source, as the dog may be poorly trained or not in good health. A guard dog can be a great addition to any home – providing you get a dog in good health and more than capable to fend of burglars.

Securing your home in case of emergencies such as thieves and other intruders is a good idea, no matter whether you live in a stand alone home or an apartment. One of the easiest ways to protect your premises is to use surveillance cameras, strategically placed around your home based on the amount of space you have. These systems can be purchased with as many cameras as you might need, and are available in wireless or wired formats. For most home surveillance equipment users, wireless models will be the way to go. They are easy to hook up and easy to mount, and you will cut down on the amount of floor space used by tangle-prone wires. The signal for wireless cameras will be sent to a receiver, which will be hooked up to whatever equipment you are using to monitor the premises. How many cameras you buy will depend, of course, on the size of your home or if you have anything of particular value in a specific room. If you want maximum security, you will want to mount cameras on the entrances to your living space, including the windows, as well as the garage and driveway, at a minimum. Additional rooms containing valuable equipment or pieces of furniture should also have a mounted camera for added security.

All the security cameras in the world are useless, of course, without a monitoring system. You need to decide if your security camera system is to be utilized in the prevention of theft or to assist in the recovery of property. Most thieves and other criminals will be deterred by the mere sight of a camera on the premises, despite movie depictions of crack shot take-outs of security cameras. The mere presence of the camera, then may serve to protect your home. If maximum security is what you require, then you or someone you know will need to be monitoring your system throughout the day. Larger homes of wealthy families may be able to employ security guards around the clock, but for most of us the purpose of the surveillance equipment will be to aid in recovery. Make sure that your monitoring equipment is always on and that you either reset the tape manually or have the system set to reset itself. Home surveillance equipment can do nothing to prevent loss of property on its own. Without proper utilization and monitoring, your surveillance equipment is only a drain on your resources.

Take the time to install your cameras properly, checking the angel to make sure they cover all of the points of entry or objects you want watched to a high degree in terms of parameters.

Cameras which track motion or otherwise can swing to encompass a wide area are great options, although they may give the location of the camera away. Again, however, it is important to remember that most ne’er do wells will be deterred from their sinister purposes towards your property by simply being aware that the cameras are there.

What is CPTED? The official book definition is «the proper design and effective use of the built environment that can lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime and an improvement in the quality of life.» It is simply a goal to reduce opportunities for crime that may be inherent in the design of structures or in the design of neighborhoods. In other words, make your home or neighborhood unappealing to burglars and thugs. Cities and Counties throughout the country are adopting CPTED ordinances requiring site plan reviews with crime prevention in mind. Law enforcement officers who are specially trained in CPTED are now working closely with Planners, Architects, City Officials, and Educators to ensure the proper design of structures, schools, and neighborhoods. These experts know how the design and use of the environment can control human or criminal behavior and reduce the fear of crime. They used natural means such as landscaping to deter criminals. Access control, natural surveillance, different aspects of lighting and its effects on human behavior, all deter crime. Many landscape specialists incorporate CPTED into their layout design of landscapes.

Each of the following CPTED strategies are low cost guidelines that they apply to reduce the fear and incidence of crime and improve the quality of life. 1. Natural Access Control guides people entering leaving a space through the placement of entrances, exits, fences, landscaping lighting. Access control can decrease opportunities for criminal activity by denying criminals access to potential targets creating a perception of risk for would-be offenders. Walkways landscaping should direct visitors to the proper entrance away from private areas. The design should create a perception of risk for would-be offenders. Walkways should be installed in locations safe for pedestrians keep them unobscured. 2. Natural Surveillance is the placement of physical features, activities people in a way that maximizes visibility. A potential criminal is less likely to attempt a crime if he or she is at risk of being observed. At the same time, we are likely to feel safer when we can see be seen. The landscaping should be selected and installed to allow unobstructed views of doors windows. The front door should be at least partially visible from the street. Shrubs bushes near windows should not restrict full visibility of the property. Sidewalks all areas of the yard should be well lit. 3. Territorial Reinforcement is use of physical attributes that express ownership such as fences, signage, landscaping, lighting, pavement designs, etc. Defined property lines and clear distinctions between private public spaces are examples of the application of territoriality. Front porches or stoops should create a transitional area between the street the home. Property lines private areas should be defined with plantings, fences or retaining walls. Use thorny plants along fence lines and under windows to deter access by intruders. 4. Maintenance is a well maintained home, building or community, and creates a sense of ownership. A well kept area tends to make someone feel like they will be observed by neighbors or business owners as it is obvious people care about the area. Keep trees shrubs trimmed back from windows, doors walkways. Keep shrubs trimmed to 3 feet prune the lower branches of trees up to 7 feet. Use exterior lighting at night keep it in working order.

Keep litter trash picked up the yard neat free of items that might attract theft.

Putting Together a Home Earthquake Kit

If you live in an area prone to seismic activity, it’s vitally important that you have an earthquake kit in your house or in your car so that you’ll have emergency supplies if you need them. Even if you don’t live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, you might want to create a basic disaster survival kit to be used in case of tornados or other types of natural disasters. Ideally, your earthquake kit should contain enough supplies for you and your family to survive for a period of up to three days. Beyond the basic considerations of food and water that are physically necessary for survival, you will also need a few additional items to help you make it through the aftermath of an earthquake.

One of the first things that you’ll need is some sort of light source in case the electricity has been knocked out in your area. Since you’re going to want to make sure that your light will work when needed, your best bet is to choose an LED flashlight or lantern since they have a drastically reduced energy usage and will keep a charge longer in storage than most standard flashlights. Test any LED flashlight that you have every few months to make sure that it still works, and if you’re using an LED lantern that has multiple lighting modes then you should take the time to test every one of its modes. Another essential piece of equipment is a multi-purpose tool that has knife blades, pliers, screwdrivers, and even saw blades and can openers in it. Be sure to store your multi-purpose tool with your LED lantern or LED flashlights so that you can find it quickly once you’ve located your light source. You’d be amazed at how useful a multi-purpose tool can be after an earthquake, and you may even find uses for it that you’ve never considered. Also in your earthquake kit should be a fully-stocked first aid kit so that you can treat any injuries that might have occurred during the earthquake. Make sure that you have common items such as blankets, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer with your first aid kit so that you can cover basic needs and provide warmth and sanitation for anyone who is suffering from shock as well. Other useful things to include in your earthquake kit include enough money or traveler’s checks to be able to meet any monetary needs that you might have in case the banks are closed due to the earthquake.

You should also have a safe with copies of any important documents that you don’t want to be lost or damaged in an earthquake, as well as clean clothes for both warm and cold weather so that you and your family won’t be forced to wear the same clothes for several days in a row. Make sure that you check the expiration dates on any food or medicine that you keep in your earthquake kit, and change out any stored water that you have every few months. This will prevent you or your family members from getting sick due to expired food or stale water. Preparing an earthquake kit is an important activity that should be done as a family to ensure that everyone knows how to use the items inside and where to find it if an earthquake occurs. Being prepared for a disaster may very well save a person’s life. ~Ben Anton, 2008

Home Security Monitoring Protecting the life blood of your security system – The Phone Line Security systems use the home telephone line to transmit alarm signals to the central monitoring station. This is accomplished by connecting a 4-conductor wire between the security panel and the main phone company’s box.

It is very important that the connection is made the right way to achieve what is called line seizure. It ensures that a dial tone is available for the security system to call out on . Without line seizure a burglar could cause a busy signal by calling the home or by taking the phone of the hook. This would keep the company providing your home security service from receiving any signals. The alarm technician is supposed to connect the incoming telephone line to the security panel first and then feed the home phone line from the security panel. You should double check to see if this has been done Have you recently changed to phone service to VOIP? A call to the alarm company is needed to check the phone connection to the security panel. Many times the cable company will disconnect the phone connection to the security system and attach it to their equipment. The homeowner doesn’t realize there is a problem because there is no apparent change to the phone service. Another tip to keep your home security service working. If you upgrade your Internet connection to high speed DSL there may be a compatibility problem that can prevent your system from dialing out. To remedy this problem you can pay your alarm company a service call fee to come to your home and install a DSL filter. While using your existing phone line is the most cost effective way to notify the police it does leave your home vulnerable if your phone line is cut Burglars use this vulnerability to help cover up the crime. When the homeowner returns their initial shock turns to anger when they realize how easy the home security monitoring was defeated. The good news is that there is a solution available. Install cellular-backup equipment to your alarm system and never worry about a cut phone line again! Adding this equipment to a home security system turns your outdated monitoring method into a ultra secure system like many banks and large business.

Once installed your burglar alarm will use your phone line as your primary means of notifying the authorities but if your phone line is cut then the company monitoring your home security system will be notified through the cellular network. Who knows the burglar may get overconfident and stay in your home longer giving the police an opportunity to catch them. Most security companies will charge an additional fee for monitoring a home alarm system using cell-backup on top the normal monitoring fee. Although the fees can get expensive it is well worth the peace of mind you will have knowing you and your home well protected. Check your insurance policy to see if there is a discount given for home security monitoring. The bottom line is the phone line is the lifeblood of your home security service, you should test your system on a regular basis and make sure you notify the alarm company if you make any changes to your telephone service

Burglar alarms are not the be-all and end-all of home security. There are plenty of other things you can install in your home that will help to stop a burglar from gaining entry – and many of them are very simple and inexpensive. The key is to secure the possible points of entry. This means that doors should be made of strong, solid material (definitely not plastic or glass), be properly secured to their hinges and have tamper-resistant locks. Ideally, you should have an extra deadbolt that you put on at night, made from very strong metal. Windows should be made from toughened glass, preferably double-glazed, so that they are almost impossible to break. Although window locks are relatively uncommon, they help greatly with security, and you should consider installing them. If your house has windows in a position where they can be easily and discreetly accessed from the street, such as basement windows, you should consider putting metal bars on them. It is also important for your garden to be secure, as far more burglars enter through the back of your house than the front. This means that your fences should be high and have some kind of anti-climbing measures (spikes or anti-climb paint can work well). If you don’t like fences, get big hedges instead.

Another thing to consider is getting a dog – surprisingly effective against burglars, who don’t generally want to mess with dogs if they can avoid it. For this strategy to be more effective, put up a ‘beware of the dog’ sign. Smaller dogs are not so great for this because they are not generally scary – something like a big German Shepherd works best, not only because of their size, but because of their strong guard instincts that cause them to be hostile to strangers.

Peace of Mind Using Bug Detectors

Have you ever wondered if your home or business is as secure as it should be? Have you ever been plagued with the suspicion that someone was listening into sensitive conversations, business meetings, or just outright spying on you? With the various types of bug detectors available on the market today, you can not only find out if your suspicions are true, but give yourself the peace of mind you require that comes from insuring that your environment is bug free. For example, there are bug detectors that can warn you if your local telephone has been tapped. Whether it was done legally or illegally, it can detect a tap regardless of where it has been placed even if it is at the telephone company’s central exchange. You no longer have to wonder whether or not someone is listening in, even if it’s “Big Brother”. Other types of bug detectors, like a CM Pro Sweep kit, are the perfect way for a person to do a basic countermeasure check, thus insuring the security of their home or business. They can also use these bug detectors to start their own business providing security sweeps to customers on a regular basis.

Other types of bug detectors are so versatile that they can detect and pinpoint the location of virtually any type of electronic surveillance equipment, regardless if it is hidden on a person’s body, in a room, or on a telephone, and that includes hidden tape recorders and video transmitters.

What better way to insure your own peace of mind that you are bug free?

Telephone Bugs That Call You

When making use of telephone bugs, it can be very frustrating to be constantly checking, only to find that you missed a call. You have a busy life. Other things to do, other clients to work for, a life to live. You can’t just be sitting there trying to play hit and miss with telephone bugs.

This is where the new generation of bugs comes in. It is possible to use a bug that will actually call you when a phone call is made. That way you need not miss a conversation that you cannot afford to miss. Traditional bugs require that you listen to the transmissions or call in to see if a call is being placed. Additionally, some telephone bugs only allowed you to hear one end of the conversation. Neither of these things is very savory, nor do the provide help to you as you frantically try to listen in at just the right time. Additionally, many transmitters run the risk of being found as they transmit the signal out. With telephone bugs that call you, you can listen to both ends of the conversation, and receive notification when a call is placed or received by your subject. The first telephone bugs that work in this manner are bugs that look like cell phones. You plug them in to share the same line as the regular phone, and they look like they were forgotten or like they are charging. These phones can be programmed to silently ring your preferred number whenever the home phone goes off.

And it is set up so that when you pick up to listen in, you are listening as if you were on another phone in the house (just like mom and dad did when you called home from college).

You hear both ends, and neither party is the wiser. Other telephone bugs that can be programmed to call you are more high tech cell phones. You give the phone to the subject (or have your client do so) and then you wait. These phones work like regular cell phones. The person talks normally and receives calls normally. But every time he or she uses the phone (place or receive) the phone dials you and lets you know. No matter which product you choose, you don’t have to miss a call when you are called by your telephone bugs. (c) 2005 Copyright www.spyassociates.

com. This article is about: Telephone Bugs.

Home Security Tips

There are few things more important to people than the security and protection of their homes and families. When it comes to securing your family you don’t always get a second chance.

Lives can change forever in only a split second. Take the time now to take make sure your family is safe and secure in your home in the future. There are several simple low cost things you can do to make your home more secure from robbery and theft and give your family peace of mind. Home Security Tip #1 Install adequate lighting outside every entry way. You can pick up motion sensor activated lights at most department and hardware stores for under $20.00. These can be set to cover a fairly large spread. It is recommended that you install lights outside every doorway to the house. If there is a side of the house that tends to be very dark it might be a good idea to install a light there as well to prevent concealment in the shadows. Home Security Tip #2 If you have a privacy fence around your property this can give the feeling of security but this is not necessarily the case. Security fences can actually provide a safe opportunity for a thief to work his way into your home. Once inside the perimeter of the fence the thief can work on entry to your home without being seen by neighbors or people passing by.

Install motioned sensor controlled security lights outside within the fenced area.

If there is a gate to the fenced in area make sure if has a secure locking mechanism. Home Security Tip #3 Install deadbolt locks on every door leading to the outside. The types of locks which have a key in the door knob will not successfully secure a door against a thief or criminal. Home Security Tip #4 Criminals are less likely to enter through a window because of the noise that breaking glass tends to make. Nevertheless, keep all windows locked at all times. One of the best ways to secure your windows is with glazing. Glazing protects windows against breakage. Home Security Tip #5 A home security alarm system, which is monitored 24 hours per day, can provide peace of mind around the clock. Alarm systems are always on duty and never sleep. If you shop around you can often find specials which include free equipment and installation in exchange for a two or three year commitment. If you decide to have an alarm system installed go with a company with a solid history that you can count on. Be sure to test your system on a regular basis. Monitored alarm systems will also sometimes reduce your yearly homeowners insurance premiums.

This savings alone might pay for the alarm system. By taking these simple steps you can decrease your chances of being the victim of a crime while providing your family with a greater sense of security.

Home Security: Do It Yourself Home Security

In the last year that the Bureau of Justice released Crime Statistics (2004) –77% of all crime was property related –On average nearly 17 % of all crime domiciles were violated by a burglar –In 85% of burglaries, the offender gained entry into the house or other building. Ask any expert in the field and they will tell you that 90% of all burglaries are preventable.

So if the odds are so good that it will happen to you and it is such a preventable event-what is it you have to do to stop the burglars? I am so glad you asked. Sometimes the best home security is implemented when you are the one making the assessment and any corrective action – a do it yourself home security plan. Here are home security tips to think about that will definitely discourage or flat out stop a potential intruder from entering your house. It is not an all inclusive list but one that if followed will certainly go a long way toward making your home more secure.

1.Take a critical look at your house from the outside.Is your house well lit? Are there hiding places near doors and windows? If you can spot a potential weakness in your home’s “look” you can bet a professional burglar can exploit it. Remember that light is a burglars’ enemy-darkness a friend. 2.What could slow down a burglar from entering your home?Simple home security devices such as locks on doors(deadbolts are best) and windows, bars, grates-items that are visible from the exterior of the house will not only act as a deterrent but slow down an intruder should he decide to try to enter.

The more time it takes to break into a home, the more discouraged a burglar will become. Time is the enemy of the burglar. 3.How noisy can you make it if someone gains entry?Noise is also the enemy of the burglar. There are many home security alarms activated by doors or windows opening or by motion. The sound of a barking dog, real or recorded, are very effective and will scare most burglars away. Lights, noise and time-they are the three biggest enemies of an intruder. If you implement these home security tips to fortify your house you may well avoid a lot of potential break-ins. But there are some other things that will help as well. –Move valuables away from outside view.Don’t risk tempting someone. Consider putting small valuables in Diversion Safes. –Start or join a neighborhood watch.Strangers usually stick out in a neighborhood and should be reported immediately to police. –Make your house look occupied when you are gone.Burglars are much less likely to consider a house they feel is occupied.

Lock your doors and windowsEven when you are gone for a short period of time. Summertime presents a huge temptation to leave doors or windows open. Don’t give in to the temptation. I have seen so many garage doors open only one or two feet to let the heat out-just enough to let a burglar in. Many police departments as a public service will offer advice on how to make your home more secure. Call for availability in your area. There are several simple things you can do to make your home less prone to intrusion by a burglar. Start with an assessment on how to make your home well lit, more secure, and in the event of an entry-how to make it very noisy. Light, time, and noise are the enemies of the professional burglar.

Bug Detectors Help Stop Unwanted Spying

Does your work entail government secrets, sensitive information, new products not yet copyrighted, or investigative procedures? Then you probably need to invest in some of the different types of bug detectors available. There are several types of bug detectors on the market today that do a variety of things. One such device is a sound masking system that introduces sound into the perimeter of the environment.

By introducing sound into the perimeter instead of the entire area, which would cause people to raise their voices, thereby defeating the purpose of the audio blanket, this device will prevent eavesdropping regardless of where the bug has been placed. Other types of bug detectors can ensure telephone line security. They are designed to locate electronic wiretapping and eavesdropping devices and stop them in their tracks. These special bug detectors can also detect computer hackers, telephone line employees and government agencies, who are trying to intercept your computer, telephone and fax communications. They can even detect video tape recorders. Then there are bug detectors that can tell you if someone is using their cell phone to monitor your conversations. These bug detectors can flash a red light, give off an audio alert warning, and prevent the monitoring by cell phone from such agencies as police departments, prisons, security firms, etc. Some bug detectors can find the presence of small video cameras by telling you that they are there, and then by quickly finding the location of the camera, and have a detection range of two to fifteen feet. There are even some bug detectors that can warn a person of both audio and video bugging devices that are located on the premises. Whatever your needs in audio and video bug detectors, there is a device on the market that will work for you.

Home Security Tips

Is it just me, or do we spend more time worrying about the safety of our computers these days than the safety of our own homes? You’ve got firewalls and virus protection for your CPU, but have you changed your door locks since you moved into your house? Do you have ladders, tools, and other things lying around your yard that a burglar could use to break a window and access your home? Do you have an alarm system you never arm? Windows you leave open? Doors left unlocked? When was the last time you walked around your house and, thinking like a burglar, considered just how easy it would be to break in? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Let’s take a look at some smart security tips that can help make your home safer for you and your family. And guess what? Most of them are easier to implement than the security software loaded on your computer. First off, remember that in general burglars will avoid occupied houses. That doesn’t mean your family is always safe when they’re home, however. There always exceptions to the rule, and you shouldn’t assume that nothing can ever happen just because someone is there. If a burglar breaks in while you’re not there, your belongings are at risk. If a burglar breaks in when your family is home, your family is at risk as well. Now that I’ve got you thinking, let’s look at some measures you can follow in order to minimize the risk of being targeted.Keys: Don’t hand out keys to friends, even if they’re trustworthy. Make sure you know the location of all your house keys all the time. Never use hide-a-keys or leave the key under the doormat, above the door, in a flowerpot, or anywhere outside the house. You may think you’re being clever, but guess what? Burglars know all the tricks.

It’s their job to (however despicable).

Also, it’s a good idea to keep your car keys and house keys on a different ring if you ever use valet parking or leave your keys with parking lot attendants or even at a repair garage.Don’t let strangers in the house: Adults have no problem telling this rule to their kids, but they don’t realize it should apply to them too! Home security means being cautious. Even before you open the front door to accept a package, you should ask for photo identification. This goes for anyone you don’t recognize. Don’t assume someone is «legit» just because they are wearing a uniform or driving some company’s truck (these things can be stolen). If somebody comes to your door and asks to make a phone call, offer to make it for them, but don’t let them some inside. If someone looks like they’re injured, call 911, but don’t open the door. When you walk away to make that call, lock the door behind you; you don’t want to leave the door unlocked and unmanned. A chain on the door helps insure people can’t force their way in while you’re home.Locks: Keep your doors and windows locked, even if you’re at home. Get your children into this habit, too.

It’s too easy to forget an open window when you leave the house, and that provides an easy way in for burglars. Don’t assume a second story window is out of reach for a thief. They’re good at finding ways in.Don’t be predictable: If you always leave home at the same time every day and return at the same time, thieves can easily memorize your routine to take advantage of the times you’re not at home. Work is work, and you probably can’t change those hours, but if you always go to a class or the grocery store at the same time, try to make yourself less predictable. You can also consider automatic timers for your lights and electronics, to make it seem when someone is home, even when they’re not.Valuables shouldn’t be on display: I know you want to show off your hard-won plasma TV, but if somebody can look in your window and see your wallet, credit cards, purse, jewelry, or fancy electronics in open sight, they’re going to be tempted. A computer or television placed in front of a ground-floor window may make an easy target. Likewise, electronics placed across from a window are easily visible, too. In a similar vein, don’t leave your garage doors open for the world to see all the cool stuff you have in storage. Lightweight items could be snatched away quickly and easily.Be mindful of your trash: Just bought a new entertainment system? There’s no need to tell the world about it. A bunch of empty boxes out by the curb is an open invitation to would-be burglars. Instead of putting boxes out in plain sight, cut them down, and stuff them in trash bags. Also be wary of identity theft. Never put personal identification information in your trash until it’s been shredded.Be alert: Try to be aware of your surroundings on a day-to-day basis, even in your own neighborhood. This doesn’t mean walking around like a crazy paranoid person; just get in the habit of watching for suspicious activity.

Paying attention to the simple things can make you and your family much less of a target. Burglar alarms and home security systems are great investments, but common sense prevention is the best way to stay safe.Further resources:Home SecurityHome Security News

A layman’s guide to home security

The world today has a plethora of advanced technological means of protecting their valuables be it jewelry, an expensive electronic gadget, piece of art, or antique that you have paid a fortune to make yours! However, with all good things, there is something bad and security systems are no exceptions! This means technology too can fail! Looking at the brighter side, like I said all your hard-earned valuables could be protected today without your having to worry 24/7 whether your favourite diamond ring or antique Chinese vase is no more yours when you get back home after a hard day at work! However before you embark on a search for the best security system for your home, you need to do a reality check.

Your best option is to ask your family and close friends – people you trust, about their security systems if they have one. Take a note of all the problems they may have had with their security systems since they installed them. This will help you to cross-question all the security firms that you visit and hence clear your doubts too! Another important consideration is how much are you ready to shell out to secure your home, now I do not mean just buying the equipment required because the expenses do not end here. If you want a complete security system, you also have to consider paying the security firm that is going to monitor all the events while you are away! Now to give you a lowdown on the options available to you, One you can go in for a do it yourself kit, but again I suggest this option only if you are confident of setting up the system and of coarse also if you want to save on costs. However if you goof up, you are obviously going to be spending a lot more then you thought of saving in the first place! Second, you can visit a security firm who will give you a customized system according to your requirements and budget, they also monitor all the events 24/7, and you will be charged for these daily services. For the best firm in the market and of coarse one in your area you can you can search on the internet or again ask friends and family. To understand the technical jargon in layman terms you can read on. In terms of location, you have: Perimeter alarms As the name suggests such alarms are usually used to stop the intruder at the boundaries of your property. They are fairly simple in design, why? The answer is simple; because while guarding a perimeter your aim is to stop the intruder outside and hence will want to sound an alarm if somebody crosses the boundary because if they are inside the your property your alarm was ineffective! Simple switch circuits are very effective for such purposes.

Good examples of these are the open circuits and closed circuit alarms explained later on in the article. Building alarms Now if the intruder has managed to bypass or deactivate your perimeter alarm then you need to protect your house too meaning the inside of the building! Again, there are various ways to do so such as use body heat to detect the presence of somebody inside the building and sound an alarm on detection or vice versa i.e. radiate energy from a source and monitor its reflection, if interrupted the reflection changes and you can sound an alarm. If you want an extensive and detailed alarm system, you can put up a surveillance system with hidden cameras, which of course will cost you a fortune but it is worth it if you have a fortune to protect! In terms of circuits, you have: Open circuit When the intruder completes the circuit by his action of intrusion, he triggers the alarm. For example, a button embedded into the doorway or magnetic switch embedded into a window will trigger an alarm if the door or window is opened. Closed circuit In such a system, the electric circuit is complete when the door or window is closed and hence if an intruder opens the door the current path is broken triggering an alarm. Now both these systems – open and closed circuit are very naпve in their designs and hence have to be controlled using a control box so that the intruder cannot deactivate the alarm easily! In terms energy: Active Systems This means you have a source that emits either radio waves or ultra sonic rays into the room and records the reflection of these rays when they travel back; now if somebody comes in the range of these rays their reflection pattern changes and this can be used to trigger an alarm.

Passive Systems These systems use a detector/sensor to sense a rapid change in infrared energy in the room. What this means is, that when a human enters the field of the senor there is a rapid increase in the level of heat, which is sensed by the infrared sensor; this in turn sends a message to a controller, which in turn sounds a combination of alarms set by the user. Therefore, if you are looking for an entire home and property security you can go to a professional who will do the installation as well as monitor your home or office for you. Otherwise, you can opt for a do it yourself kit advisable for those who are technologically inclined or at least those who can follow instructions! Finally buying a safe to protect your valuables from fire or theft is an essential part of sound home and business security. With a wide range of safes available there is something to suit everyone.

Fire Risk Higher in Multifamily Buildings

Multifamily residential buildings are at a greater risk for fire because they contain more kitchens, furnaces, hot water heaters and other elements that can pose opportunities for a fire to start.

A «balanced» building design is necessary to protect multifamily units from fire, according to experts at the National Concrete Masonry Association. Fire safety in multifamily housing is influenced by the design of the building; its fire protection features; the quality of and materials used in the building’s construction; the building’s contents; and overall maintenance. Balanced design comprises three elements: detection, suppression and compartmentation.  Detection: Accurate, early warning is the first line of defense. Detectors that respond to light smoke are important. Each dwelling unit should be equipped with detectors in all sleeping rooms and adjacent areas, and on each level of the building, including the basement. Detectors should be wired into a continuous power supply. Smoke detectors are vulnerable to lack of maintenance or faulty power supply, so they should be maintained and tested regularly.  Suppression: Suppression methods, such as automatic sprinkler systems, control a fire at the point of origin. While not designed to extinguish a fire, sprinklers have been shown to be effective in controlling a fire until it can be extinguished.

Automatic sprinklers are vulnerable to system failures due to inadequate maintenance and inspection or inadequate water supply. Sprinklers are not intended to control electrical and mechanical equipment fires or fires of external origin, such as those from adjacent buildings, trash fires and brush fires.

Compartmentation: Compartmentation limits the extent of fire by dividing a building into fire compartments enclosed by fire walls and fire-rated floors and ceilings. Compartments minimize the spread of toxic fumes and smoke. They also provide safe areas of refuge when evacuation is not possible. Floor and wall elements forming the boundaries of each compartment should have a fire resistance rating of at least two hours and should be constructed of noncombustible materials that are capable of preserving the structural integrity of the building throughout the duration of the fire.