Home Security System & Tracking Your Teenage Children

Parenting teenagers comes with a host of challenges. If your teenager tends to sneak out, come home late at night, or you suspect they hang out with the wrong crowd, you’ll want to keep a closer watch on them. A lack of privacy can strain the parent-child relationship. But smart home security devices can help parents look out for their kids, because:

  • Peer pressure can lead adolescents to make the wrong decisions.
  • Your teen’s best friends may not be people you want in your home.
  • Knowing what’s happening at home can avoid wild parties and protect your family.
  • If your teen is coming home from school, you’re working late, or they’ll be out at night, you’ll have some peace of mind.

How a Home Security System Keeps Your Teenager Safe

Your home security needs depend on the behavior of your child. In general, you’ll want a security system that protects your property day or night. The following home security tech can provide protection and help prevent safety issues.

  • Door and Window Alarms: Receive an alert when someone enters or exits your home. Some alarms require entering a code on a panel to enable and disable them; there are also remotely controlled systems, so your teen cannot control the door alarm.
  • Security Cameras: Outdoor security cameras provide the surveillance needed to monitor what your teenager is doing. An adolescent may find this invasive. However, it enables you to track them and protect them from danger. Cameras are also a good preventative measure if you suspect illicit behavior.
  • Motion Sensors: With motion detection, there’s a greater degree of flexibility. Your teen won’t arrive home or leave undetected, while you can know where they are in the house at any time and leave some rooms off-limits.
  • Video Doorbell: A secure solution, a video doorbell is less invasive than a camera pointing at your child. You can even see when your kids get home or who they invite via your smartphone.
  • Automated Features: Modern alarm systems let you arm and disarm them from your phone or set a schedule. They can alert you if your child is late or forgets to lock the door. Even give your kid their own passcode so they can get in the house when you’re not home.

Additional Solutions to Keep Your Teen Safe

Other tech-age tools you can consider include:

  • GPS Vehicle Trackers: If your teen has just started driving, you can monitor their location, speed, and braking and acceleration habits.
  • Parental Control Apps and Software: Use the app to control the content your teen can access as well as their location, which can ensure they’re safe if late when coming home from school.
  • Online Browser Controls: Install software that manages what your teen can access on the internet. These controls can also protect your child from tech-age threats like phishing and malware.

More Advice on Tracking/Protecting Your Teenager

Alarms are helpful and the sound of one can be useful in an emergency or when you have a misbehaving teen. But to maintain your relationship, including your teen in security plans can streamline communications and reduce stress. Letting your child know how you monitor them can encourage them to be honest. And, collaborating with other parents helps to extend the same measures to your teen’s peers, so there are fewer conflicts of interest.

Is Monitoring Your Teen the Best Strategy?

Close monitoring can backfire psychologically. But it can help catch your teen in a lie or let you call out sneaky behavior. Let them know you’ll follow up through the home security system. When things happen, you can have conversations about how to solve the problem and encourage your child to think about what they did wrong. For behaviors like stealing and sneaking out, you can take more urgent measures, so security technology can help you act in your child’s best interests.

Boost Your Home Security, and the Safety of Teenagers, with Boyd & Associates

Boyd & Associates offers video surveillance and smart video systems, as well as alarm systems and 24/7 monitoring services, that can help keep your teenage children safe. To learn more and request a free quote, call us today at 805-321-6664.

History and Timeline of the Home Security System

The concept of the home security system is nothing new. An intrusion door alarm was invented in the early 1700s. Much like today’s security systems, it alerted homeowners of potential intruders. It was invented by Tildesley, an English inventor who linked a set of chimes mechanically to a door lock. There were other early inventions, but home security was nowhere near as advanced as today’s smart home systems.

Early Advancements in Home Security

Milestones in home security systems enabled people to rely less on guard dogs and startled animals or mechanical equipment that wasn’t always reliable. Some important names in the evolution of security alarm systems include:

  • Augustus Russel Pope: In 1853, Pope developed a prototype electro-magnetic alarm system in Boston. The battery-operated system activated when an electrical circuit was closed as a result of a door or window opening. A flow of current would cause the system’s magnets to vibrate and cause a hammer to strike a brass bell. Additional components kept the bell ringing even if a window or door was closed after the alarm was activated.

 

  • Edwin Holmes: Although not the talented inventor Pope was, Holmes bought the rights to his invention and founded the first electrical alarm system company. He was also a master at advertising, targeting a general public that was skeptical about electricity in the 19th Holmes published the names of his prominent “burglar alarm telegraph” customers in New Yorker magazine and created a brand out of the system. He even connected his customers’ alarm systems to a central control station using the New York City telephone network.

 

  • Edward A. Calahan: Calahan further developed this concept and helped form the American District Telegraph (ADT) in 1871. It divided New York City into districts connected to a central monitoring station. This was the first alarm system that could alert homeowners of a burglary and notify police and fire services simultaneously. Calahan’s emergency call boxes became standard for emergency and messenger services. His company later expanded to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago.

Video Surveillance and Fire Safety Emerges

While video surveillance technology existed in the 1940s, it didn’t become mainstream until the 1970s. The images were grainy at first, but users could see images of visitors on a television monitor. An early advancement was made in 1966, when nurse Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the first home video security system. It was the first time a remote control could be used to open a door.

During this same era, fire alarm technology evolved. Canadian researchers conducted a study in 1962 to examine the life-saving potential of heat and smoke detectors. They found that fatalities from residential fires could be reduced by 8% using heat detectors and 41% with smoke detectors.1 Between 1975 and 1998, smoke alarms attributed to a 50% drop in fire deaths in the U.S.

In the 1980s, security became a large part of home automation technology, as automated garage doors, infrared controls, and fiber optics became mainstream. These systems became more affordable in the 1990s. Today, automated home security systems are commonplace and controlled via familiar devices, including smartphones.

Security, Monitoring, and Automation with Boyd & Associates

Boyd & Associates offers complete burglar alarm, fire and life safety, and alarm monitoring systems. In addition to home automation services, commercial intrusion detection, access control, and video surveillance systems are also available. To learn more about the latest in automated home security systems and services, contact us at 805-321-6664 today!

Source:
  1. McGuire J, Ruscoe B (1962) Value of a Fire Detector in the Home, Fire Study No. 9. Division of Building Research, National Research Council of Canada, p 12

5 Tips for Planning Your Security Budget

Businesses face all kinds of security risks. Still, security planning can strain an already strapped budget, leading many companies to cut costs starting with their security infrastructure. Planning your security budget appropriately can avoid this; regardless of the percentage of your budget that goes towards security, it is how you allocate your resources that matter most.

 

  1. Perform a Risk Assessment

Evaluate the risks to your business, its data, and facilities. Whether you’re looking at technology assets or the physical security of your office, it’s important to realize just what types of security threats you need to protect your business from. Also, look at the resources you have available. Is your office or facility in a vulnerable location? Are your entrances properly guarded? What types of incidents have occurred in the past, and is your company located in an area prone to specific threats?

 

  1. Choose the Right Security System for Your Business

Once you identify how your business needs to be protected, you can determine the type of security system required and allocate the budget for it. But you need to consider factors such as who has access to your building, whether there are more effective ways to monitor your staff, and if indoor or outdoor security (or both) are needed. Whether your business has one location or is distributed across multiple sites can determine the best security solution as well. You can also enlist a reputable security systems provider to perform an on-site assessment and make suitable recommendations.

 

  1. Encourage a Culture that Embraces Security

Getting everyone involved can improve security from within. This means providing awareness training to employees and rewarding those who comply with your company’s security program, such as reporting incidents in a timely manner. A study by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) found investing in a security culture helps improve company reputation and trust among customers. Increased revenue was another effect observed, so you can see how planning your security budget can go a long way for your business.

 

  1. Hire and Train Security Professionals

Finding, hiring, and training the right people can help you get more out of your security budget. It also helps to train people in your organization. Recruiting your existing employees saves time; plus, they’re already knowledgeable about your business and likely its security needs. You might find someone who didn’t consider a security career before, but who has the right skills.

 

  1. Invest in Business Security Services

If your building’s security needs improvement, an outside security provider may be the best place to look. They can provide an on-site assessment and make recommendations for securing your facility. Building security assets such as video surveillance, alarms, patrols, and even remote monitoring can be provided at a cost that fits your budget.

Video surveillance is the leading trend in security because it now includes high-definition video, audio, and playback that can be accessed remotely. However, there are many types of security cameras and working with a provider can help select one that meets your business’s needs.

Trust Boyd & Associates for Your Security Needs

We are leading experts in video surveillance, intrusion detection, and access control systems. Patrol services are available and provided by experienced security officers. Trusted for business and home security and automation, Boyd & Associates can work with you to choose the right security assets and plan your security budget. Our specialty is total security, enabled by industry-leading expertise and the latest technologies. To learn more, call 888-919-3326.

Business Fire Safety Tips

Fire safety in the workplace should not be taken lightly. To ensure your office and employees are protected, focus on prevention, response protocols, and training. Even a small fire can cause enough damage to shut down your business for good. These tips can help you prevent such an occurrence, starting with prevention.

Preventing an Office Fire

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, cooking equipment causes more than a quarter of all office property fires. Other leading causes include electrical distribution and lighting equipment, heating equipment, smoking materials, and electronic, office, or entertainment equipment. The following preventative measures can improve fire safety in your office:

  • Install fire extinguishers in kitchenettes, cafeterias, and other at-risk locations and train all workers in using them.

 

  • Avoid overloading your electrical outlets and make sure the number of prongs between the plug and outlets match.

 

  • Make sure all electrical equipment has been rated by Underwriters Laboratories or another nationally recognized laboratory.

 

  • Avoid cluttering your workspace, which can add fire to fuel and block access to emergency exits and electrical control panels.

 

  • Maintain machinery to prevent it from overheating and generating friction sparks, which can ignite fires.

 

  • Store flammable chemicals only in well-ventilated areas and use extreme precautions in potentially explosive environments (and pay attention to labels and Material Safety Data Sheets).

 

  • If space heaters are permitted, use only devices with thermostat controls and store them away from flammable materials.

Establish Workplace Protocols

Your company should have a fire plan in place. It should outline the steps employees should take in case of a fire, including calling 911, appointing a fire prevention officer familiar with all escape routes and meeting points, and conducting regular fire drills. A fire evacuation plan should be posted in multiple locations (and include elevators). Evacuation protocols for disabled employees should be available.

In addition, your business should:

  • Install a sprinkler system: The National Fire Protection Association has said when properly installed and maintained, sprinklers can be 95% effective. Sprinklers are the best way to stop a fire from spreading.

 

  • Replace old wiring: Frayed wires, broken connectors, or cables with damaged insulation should be replaced right away. Also, avoid cluttering wires and plugs around a single outlet and don’t install more than one extension cord per outlet.

 

  • Leave room for appliances: For devices like computers, coffee machines, and others that heat up, leave enough room for them, and let them cool down. Make sure they’re kept away from paper, cloth, and other combustibles and unplug them at the end of the day.

First aid kits should be available where hazards are most likely to occur. Also, all employees should be made aware of where each first aid kit is.

Employee training should involve all workers knowing how many doors, machines, or desks are between their work area and the closest exit. The locations of alternative exits and fire alarms (and how to use them) should be known as well.

Smoke and Fire Alarms

Smoke detectors are required by law, which also identifies how they should be installed, placed, and monitored. The most effective alarms also detect carbon monoxide. For even more protection, use a 24/7 monitoring service that dispatches emergency personnel when necessary. Boyd & Associates can provide complete security that includes hardwired or wireless fire protection systems and 24/7 alarm monitoring. Our UL Listed Monitoring Station can send help whenever an alarm is triggered.

For more information, contact our sales team at 888-343-2852, or reach out to our business support department online.

Top 6 Security Trends to Watch in 2020

Cybersecurity issues now threaten personal and corporate data. And, there is no sign of hacking attacks slowing down. With more devices being connected and more information available through digital channels and devices, digital security is of utmost importance. New trends to fight security risks are emerging and here are the top ones to watch in 2020.

1. Expansion of Video Security

Traditionally one of the most useful security assets, video provides real-time coverage of incidents and emerging threats. There are really no limits here. For example, food processing plants and other manufacturing facilities will continue to use video for training, regulatory compliance, and to prevent food recalls and other issues. Video coverage of harsh environments, such as oil and gas facilities, helps reduce the need for personnel in hazardous areas.

With video data, information can be used for everything from real-time situational awareness to providing forensic coverage. Nonetheless, the increasing use of video in smart homes has given rise to privacy concerns. Security companies must have internal controls over who can access feeds. Organizations must adhere to privacy laws such as those that have been introduced by the EU, which govern the use of applications that involve the collection of video and other data on people and assets.

2. Cloud-Based Security

Developing cybersecurity protocols is critical, especially for servers, digital video recorders, IP cameras, smart sensors, and other network-connected devices connected to the cloud. This applies to organizations reliant on CRM systems such as Salesforce and home users who leverage Dropbox and other storage services.

The cloud-security platform industry is already predicted to top $460 million, as it can scale to various requirements, provide greater intelligence and protection, and reduce costs.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Taking video and data analytics to the next level, software manufacturers are beginning to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to improve analytical capabilities. Facial recognition is one example of a technology being used to more efficiently detect potential threats. Given the vast amounts of data and growth in devices such as intelligent sensors, using AI to analyze video and other data makes sense.

4. Passwordless Authentication

Consumers have been familiar with password protection since the first Internet services became available. But new authentication methods have emerged. These include hardware tokens, biometric authentication such as fingerprint readers, and knowledge-based authentication such as security questions based on personal details.

5. Mobile Access to Security Devices

Physical security has become more dependent on mobility and this trend is expected to continue. It includes access to security devices from browsers and smartphones. There are now many mobile apps for managing video cameras and receiving automatic alerts. Permitted users can even grant or restrict access to facilities and individual access points.

6. Convergence of Physical and Digital Security

This has been discussed for decades. But tracking users throughout a building had been difficult without the technologies that exist today. The Internet of Things, modern data analytics, and cloud technologies are bringing physical and digital security closer together. Edge computing is also helping make this convergence a reality.

Let Boyd & Associates Bolster Your Security

Our business specializes in improving home and business security using the latest technologies on the market. From burglar alarm systems to alarm monitoring services, to intrusion detection, access control, and video surveillance for commercial clients, we help manage all your security needs. Boyd & Associates serves clients throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, and Riverside Counties. Request service online or call us at 888-248-6617 for assistance choosing security systems and services today.

Does a Doorbell Camera Make Your Home Safer?

Got a new DIY Nest or ring doorbell camera for Christmas? Doorbell cameras are available to every homeowner. You can view live video from your front door without being home. Catch a live video feed via your smartphone app as soon as someone rings the doorbell. But does a standard doorbell camera actually make your home safer?

 

To answer that question, let’s look at what a smart video doorbell does. The features vary depending on the model. But the basic concept is sort of like a high-tech peephole. Instead of getting up off the couch when the doorbell rings, you can just check your phone to see who is at the door. It could be a visitor you’re expecting or your latest Amazon order.

 

There are various types of video doorbells on the market. Some switch on when a visitor presses the button, sending a photo or live video to a special screen or tablet. Higher-end models include a smartphone app that delivers video to wherever you are in the world. You might even be able to communicate with visitors via audio.

 

Doorbell cameras are convenient for anyone who works late or spends a lot of time traveling. You can see when a plumber, electrician, or other service professional arrives, or if the dog walker or babysitter is on time. If you’re home and can’t get to the door quickly, a two-way doorbell camera can let your car service or food delivery know you’re there instead of leaving.

 

How Much Security Does a Doorbell Camera Provide?

 

It also depends on the model. Some cameras are linked to electronic door locks to create security-enabled smart home systems. You can let in a service provider if you’re not home or tell delivery personnel to leave the package at your front door. Other models have built-in motion sensors and send you an image or video of who is there.

 

A Wi-Fi connection has many benefits, but there are cons as well. If the video doorbell isn’t in range of your home router, the signal may be weak and unreliable. Also, metal, fiberboard, plaster, and other materials used for exterior walls can weaken or block Wi-Fi signals. If the signal is weak, you’re not going to get much out of your video doorbell.

 

Doorbell cameras can catch criminals in the act, whether they’re swiping your delivery or trying to break into your home. High definition video cameras can pin down an event to the day and time an event occurred, while their sensitivity can be adjusted so they’re not triggered by wind-blown tree branches. Some cameras even have night vision, so you remain protected well after the sun goes down.

 

Are Doorbell Cameras Enough?

 

Unfortunately, the benefits of a doorbell camera are limited to your access to images or video feeds. A professional security company can help maximize your protection by having central station operators assess your home’s security situation when an alarm is triggered. They can see all live video and recorded clips transmitted by the camera.

 

At Boyd & Associates, we can provide outdoor cameras for exterior entryways, driveways, pool decks, and patios. We even install cameras in locations that provide the best angles and that don’t impose on the aesthetics of your home exterior. Interior camera systems can be installed as well. In addition, we can connect camera systems to smart locks as well as Google Home, Nest, Alexa, and other smart home apps.

 

To learn more or schedule installation, contact Boyd & Associates at 888-907-1659 today.

A Guide to Different Types of Home Security Systems

There are various types of security systems on the market. From smoke and fire alarms to sophisticated systems to deter burglars, these solutions use a variety of methods and technologies. According to 2015 statistics from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a property crime occurred every 3.9 seconds and a home break-in/burglary occurred once every 20 seconds.1

A study on the decision-making processes and behavior of burglars was conducted by the Alarm Industry Research and Education Foundation. Factoring in information from 422 incarcerated male and female burglars, it found 83% of the subjects studied would look for an alarm before going forward, and 60% said they’d seek a different target if one was present. This was especially true for those who spent time planning their approach.2

These statistics can be very useful when safeguarding your property. The type of alarm system and detectors installed depends on the most imminent hazard. Here is a guide to the latest technology for protecting your home and family this holiday season:

Monitored Home Security Systems

A monitored security system is tracked by a team or remote professionals 24/7 at a state-of-the-art monitoring center. It is operated by a central control panel. Numerous components transmit important data to a centralized station, including sensors for doors and windows. Motion sensors are used to monitor the exterior and interior of homes for potential intrusions, while wired/wireless security cameras, audible sirens/alarms, and security signage are also used.

Unmonitored Home Security Systems

Unmonitored systems consist of a control panel, sensors, and sirens/alarms as well as motion detectors and motion-activated cameras. Visual indicators such as lights may be included as well. Although triggered the same way as monitored systems, these are not tracked by a dedicated service. However, you can monitor your home from a smartphone or computer, so you can receive alerts from, arm/disarm, and configure the system via your mobile device rather than on-site keypads.

Wired Home Security Systems

If you’re more traditional and prefer a security system connected with wires to a home electrical circuit, landlines can be used. These security systems are directly connected to your phone while sending alerts using radio frequency signals. A back-up battery keeps the system running in case the power is disrupted. A wired system can be just as effective in an emergency, but the prevalence of digital technologies is making this configuration less popular.

Wireless Home Security Systems

Easier to install, update, and control, a wireless home security system uses the same cellular signals as your mobile phone. You’ll receive instant alerts when sensors are triggered. Benefits include simple installation you don’t need a professional for, and factory pre-programming that means the equipment is ready to use as soon as it arrives. The only downside is system reliability depends on the cellular signal quality in your area.

Other Types of Alarm Systems

Burglars aren’t the only home security threats. Smoke, fire, and inclement weather can put you in harm’s way. Fortunately, there are different options to consider that can monitor your property and alert you as soon as there’s a problem. These include:

  • Smoke Detectors: According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, about 1,100 residential fire deaths could be prevented annually if every home had a smoke alarm.3 Smoke contains carbon monoxide, harmful chemicals, and particulates that can be deadly even if a fire isn’t anywhere near you. Today’s smoke alarms placed near bedrooms can alert everyone to an emergency so you can get out and contact the authorities right away.
  • Fire Alarms: Advanced fire detection systems from Boyd & Associates feature a cellular connection and backup battery, so they provide constant protection even if the power goes out. They are automatically activated when a fire is detected. This means whether you are home or not, awake or sleeping, the alarm notifies you of a problem so you can take the appropriate action.
  • Glass-break Detectors: These can detect glass shattering or cracking using a type of microphone. The high-decibel alarm can alert you of a break-in or glass damage due to weather conditions. The microphone is designed to pick up the unique sound of glass breaking, whether from your front door or any window in your house.
  • Critical Alarm System: Trips when there is any type of indoor flooding, due to natural events or an issue with your plumbing. Immediate notification of a problem can help you avoid serious consequences such as extensive water damage or mold, while avoiding the potentially high cost of professional repairs, which can easily run into the thousands of dollars.

Boyd Can Help You Figure Out Which Type of Security System to Get

Boyd & Associates installs, manages, and monitors home security systems, including burglar, fire, and other alarms. Our services include professional guidance in determining the best security systems for your property. Homes, businesses, and communities have been relying on us since 1967. We provide the same advanced systems and service for all our residential and business clients, and our highly trained security teams can not only properly install alarm systems, but monitor them constantly to relay an emergency to the authorities. To learn more about the types of security systems we can install or request service, support, or a free consultation, contact us today.

Sources:
  1. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/resource-pages/crime-clock?kbid=62750
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516160916.htm
  3. https://www.nist.gov/el/smoke-alarm-research

How Fire Detection Systems and Alarms Work

Combination smoke detectors and fire alarm systems are lifesaving in buildings of all types. Fire is an extremely dangerous event and can easily get out of control. In addition to heat, smoke, and flames, fires can create a dangerous environment in which exposure to carbon monoxide, combustion particles, and other toxic substances can put lives in danger.

The Facts

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published the report, “U.S. Structure Fires in Office Properties”, in 2013, which revealed an estimated 3,340 office property fires occurred per year, on average, between 2007 and 2011. On average, there were four civilian deaths and 44 fire-related injuries per year. Fires were most common when facilities were occupied, with peak times being between noon and 2:00 p.m., while more than one in four office fires were caused by cooking equipment. Electrical distribution, lighting, and heating equipment were other factors.

The report also found that fire suppression systems, such as sprinklers, were effective in 88% of fires where they were installed. In such properties, deaths per 1,000 fires were 62% lower than in offices and stores with no fire suppression equipment with automatic functions.1

Alarm systems are extremely important for fire safety. Here is a look at how the automatic functions of modern fire alarm systems work, and how integrating wireless technology and combining them with access control systems can help people safely evacuate in the event of an emergency.

How an Automatic Fire Alarm System Works

Today’s wireless systems use radio frequency signals. Whether it has a sensor with thermistors to sense heat, opto-chemical or biomimetic cells to trace carbon monoxide gas, or uses photoelectricity or ionization to sense smoke or combustion particles, a detector sends incoming signals to a fire alarm control panel (FACP). The FACP itself can be connected to a building’s electrical system. It can also be powered by batteries or a backup power control when the electrical current is interrupted.

Once a signal is received from a sensor, the main control panel:

  • Activates audio alerts such as sounders (may include horns, gongs, or automated loudspeaker messages)
  • Turns on visual indicators like lights and flashers
  • Activates building sprinklers in affected areas

Different methods can be used to notify occupants on separate floors or connected structures, and even help them find the best escape route. This is useful when specific departments in an organization need to take appropriate actions specific to their role and location.

Some fire detection systems are designed to also:

  • Work with sensitive equipment in computer and clean rooms by discharging clean agents
  • Activate dry pipe sprinklers to protect people/property before the main suppression system kicks in
  • Provide notification of severe weather, bomb threats, hazardous chemical releases, and other events

Advanced fire alarm systems and smart devices can provide people with notifications on safe evacuation routes. Some notification appliances can relay alerts to a local fire department, other authorities, and the alarm company so help is dispatched right away.

Wireless Technology Integration

Wireless technology has made fire alarms more reliable in a world where telecommunications companies have shifted from traditional telephone lines to wireless and IP-based alternatives. Improvements in transmission speed and access to data make it more practical to connect fire alarm systems to wireless networks. Smart systems are more reliable as well, which helps prevent false alarms, as they’re based on the latest NFPA 72-2013 communication standards and can work on 4G cellular networks.

In a wireless mesh network, many devices can be installed without requiring a direct connection. Numerous communication paths can be created to improve reliability. Even if one or more devices are damaged, different communication paths can be found and the network will still function. Point-to-point or point-to-multipoint technology may also be used, but failure of a single device can disrupt the entire network.

A computerized fire protection system linked to a mesh network with bi-directional communication is the most reliable. Aside from a flexible design that remains functional in a variety of situations, it avoids the challenges of running wires in difficult locations, such as historic buildings, parking garages, and warehouses.

Wireless smart systems simplify central station reporting, so the status of the system can be monitored constantly. They also allow for mobile app control. This enables panels and alarms to be remotely managed, alerts of danger to be received from any location, and individual detectors to be monitored. As with an app for surveillance and access control systems, a mobile phone application for your fire detection system can let you:

  • Activate/deactivate the system
  • Check the status of zones
  • Add/manage/assign users
  • View email alerts
  • Access fire safety reports

How Fire Alarms Work with Access Control

Fire alarm systems can now be fully integrated with access control infrastructure. With this integration, a signal can automatically unlock doors that are connected electronically. The trigger of electric locks enables people to safely exit when detectors sense a fire or smoke condition. Otherwise, it would be difficult for occupants to egress a building where there is immediate danger.

Fail-safe locks are required per NFPA 101. It requires doors to automatically unlock if there is a loss of power to the access control system. This functionality is not present in a fail-secure electric lock. The NFPA guidelines also require electric locks to be interconnected with an automatic fire alarm and sprinkler system. During an emergency, such a system can promptly disconnect power from a lock mechanism so people can respond to warnings and protect themselves.

The standard also requires motion detectors that automatically release electric locks. In addition, it calls for egress systems that disengage power to electric locks via mechanical disruption. This type of setup usually involves a double-pole, double-throw momentary push-button switch (can be installed as an easily recognizable pull switch).

Contact Boyd & Associates

Boyd & Associates is a full-service commercial security and monitoring company offering the latest in integrated fire alarm systems. Focused on protecting homes and businesses in Southern California, we’ve also developed advanced security, access control, smart lock, and smartphone app solutions. We employ trained security teams to provide a swift response to emergencies.

Our fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide detection systems include hardwired and wireless devices. These use light, sound, and text alerts to notify users of a problem, and use a backup battery and cellular connection in case of a power failure. Our monitoring station is UL Listed and operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To request service or more information, call Boyd & Associates at 888-343-2852 or contact us online today.

Source:
  1. https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Building-and-Life-Safety/US-Structure-in-Office-Properties

Fire Alarm Systems: Major Benefits and Advantages

Fire alarms are among the greatest assets for homeowners.

From 2013 through 2017, there were over 354,000 home structure fires per year, as estimated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This resulted in an annual average of 2,620 civilian deaths and 11,220 injuries.

The most common causes of home fires were from cooking, heating, electrical distribution, and lighting systems, including those used during the holidays, like Christmas trees and lights.1 Fireplaces used during the holidays and colder months can create hazards as well.

A fire alarm system includes many components and features to help keep you protected. It saves lives by warning building occupants of emergencies so they can get out of danger. The typical components in a fire alarm system that provide protection and life-saving benefits include:

  • A primary/secondary power supply, including batteries
  • A sensitive carbon monoxide and/or smoke detector
  • Audible alerts, flashing lights, and other notifications
  • Pull stations, smoke alarms, and other initiating devices
  • A control panel for constant monitoring and dispatch management

Benefits of a Fire Alarm System

Fire alarms have many advantages. In the event of a fire, they provide detection and notification without you having to do anything. whether you are home or not. They can also automatically dispatch the fire department to your location. The greatest benefits also include:

  • Avoid Smoke Inhalation: Smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death related to fires2; more so than heat or flames. A mixture of particles, chemicals, and gases, smoke causes everything from skin and mucous membrane irritation to swelling, respiratory distress, and airway collapse. Without immediate medical help, smoke inhalation can lead to suffocation and death. A fire alarm can protect you against exposure to harmful substances such as carbon monoxide, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and others often found in smoke.
  • Early Fire Detection: An audible or visual signal enables you to seek safety soon after the fire starts. Once fire and/or smoke conditions trigger the system, you can use an available fire extinguisher to protect your home and belongings or rush your family to safety. Early detection can enable you to avoid serious damage or destruction, so it is of extreme importance. In addition to providing security in the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and family rooms, a fire alarm can quickly alert firefighters so they can help minimize the damage.
  • Discounts on Insurance: When you install fire alarms, you can save money on home They help cut costs for insurance companies by reducing the risk of a fire destroying your home, appliances, and possessions. Installing a fire alarm system shows you are taking responsibility and are prepared for unexpected events. Instant notification of a potential fire and fast action can minimize the amount of an insurance claim; your fire protection devices can, therefore, go a long way in qualifying you for discounted homeowner’s insurance policies.
  • Decreased Risk of Fire Damage: Property damage can require large investments and a great deal of time to repair. You can also avoid damage to nearby properties when you install a residential fire alarm. This level of prevention is possible because a fire alarm system can enable firefighters to respond and put out the fire before it gets out of control. The less damage there is, the quicker you can get each affected room back in order.

Other Advantages

A home fire alarm system is affordable and easy to install. When a fire alarm is activated, it boosts your security and safety during a dangerous event. Additional advantages to consider include:

  • Placement Flexibility: A fire alarm can be placed just about anywhere you want. Its effectiveness is maximized when the detector is placed near the kitchen or other areas with fire hazards. Proximity to bedrooms and family rooms is important, as it’s easiest to hear the alarm when it warns of danger.
  • 24/7 Monitoring: Fire alarms provide constant protection, whether you’re at home, asleep for the night, or away in which case you can receive remote These advantages exemplify the many uses of a fire alarm system. Also, many systems include 24/7 monitoring services for constant protection no matter where you are.
  • Easy & Affordable: Once installed, fire and smoke detectors are easy to use. They automatically sense hazardous conditions without you doing anything. It’s not expensive to have a professional installer put them in; plus, even if insurance can replace lost or damaged belongings, you can’t replace personal items such as gifts from loved ones or photo albums.
  • Low Maintenance: Despite their importance, fire alarms require little maintenance, except for occasionally changing batteries or having them professionally inspected. There’s little obligation and cost-overhead associated with having a fire alarm system.

Additional Resources

For more insights on the advantages and importance of fire alarms, check out these resources from Boyd & Associates:

Additional insights on causes, circumstances, and statistics related to home structure fires can be found on the NFPA website and its informational report and tables.

Contact Boyd & Associates

Boyd & Associates has been providing fire alarm and other home security services since 1967. We serve homeowners throughout Los Angeles as well as Orange, Ventura, and Riverside Counties. In addition to dependable professional installation, we provide 24/7 fire alarm system monitoring, as all our systems have a built-in cellular connection. A backup battery is included as well, so your home remains protected even if there’s a power outage. Trained professionals monitor your system from a central facility, and immediately respond to alerts and notify the proper authorities who can potentially save your home, family, and belongings in an emergency.

Call Boyd & Associates at 800-381-2693 or contact us online, today, to learn more about our fire alarm system installation and monitoring services.

Sources:
  1. https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Building-and-Life-Safety/Home-Structure-Fires
  2. https://www.webmd.com/lung/smoke_inhalation_treatment_firstaid.htm

Features and Benefits of Home Security Automation

In 2018, more than $5 billion was invested in U.S. smart homes, and about 15% of homes in the nation are using smart technology, according to Statista’s Digital Market Outlook.

The U.S. smart home market was forecast to top $27 billion in 2019.1

With this kind of growth, the benefits of home automation systems cannot be ignored, especially when it comes to security.

What Are Automated Home Security Systems?

Automated home security systems represent the future of connected homes. Once an automated security system is installed, you can program it, monitor your home from anywhere, and control the system remotely via a smart app. You can even link your security system to personal assistants such as Amazon Alexa, depending on the product. From watching video feeds of your front door to controlling lights and thermostats from a smartphone, to unlocking the door for guests from the office or while on the road, you have complete control over home security.

Security automation enables you to configure your security system any way you please. It lets you monitor every aspect of your home and detect and deter crime when it happens. The system can be controlled via an in-home dashboard or your smartphone.

But it’s not only about deterring crime; home fires are typically on the rise this time of year. Connect your Christmas lights, fireplace, and more to avoid situations like one of the 7,000 residential building fires in 2017 resulting in injuries, or the estimated 1,900 fires that resulted in fatalities (based on U.S. Fire Administration estimates).2

Features of a Home Automation Security System

Smart technology enhances home security because alarms, motion sensors, and control panels can all be connected. It consists of several more components than a standard security system, which incorporates an alarm, control panel, and yard signs. Some of the most important features are:

  • Smart Apps: Smartphone apps allow for full control of and access to the system. With an app, you can access a Wi-Fi-connected camera and receive notifications from it. Video feeds can be accessed on demand while you can notify law enforcement or other agencies of a problem. You can even speak over the intercom or lock/unlock the door for invited guests.
  • Energy Management: The ability to control your home thermostat or shut the lights off from your smartphone can save energy. If the kids are home by themselves, watch video feeds and send a text to remind them to close the window curtains. Sometimes, sunshine warms your home, but you don’t want to stress your cooling system with excess heat. Manage your entire HVAC system, appliances, and electrical meters from anywhere.
  • Smart Locks: These electromechanical devices provide some of the greatest benefits of home automation technology. Locked and unlocked remotely, they help monitor who enters and leaves your home and let you grant or deny access remotely. Control the lock with your smartphone or wireless key fob, or use email or SMS to send a virtual key and set a time frame during which someone can unlock the door. Even interconnect locks with security alarms and cameras, and never worry about losing your keys!
  • Smart Video: Modern Wi-Fi enabled cameras allow you to control them and view video feeds from anywhere. Smart video can be used indoors and outdoors, day and night, depending on the model. Some cameras feature motion or sound detection, so they record only when necessary (and send alerts when triggered), but some record continuously, conveniently uploading feeds to the cloud. Features to consider include video resolution, color or black-and-white video, wired or wireless systems, and field of vision.

Advantages of Smart Home Security Systems

The benefits of home automation technology are far-reaching. Some of the most significant home automation benefits you can see by upgrading to a smart security system include:

  • Safety: Home automation systems keep your family and home safe through control of lighting and appliances. If you forgot to turn something off, just do it with your smartphone. Or, turn the lights on before you get home at night.
  • Security: View the status of the front door to verify it is closed and locked. Security alerts notify you when someone enters your home; or, turn on the lights before you get there to make sure nothing is hiding in the darkness.
  • Convenience: A smartphone is something you have whenever you leave the house. Why not monitor everything from your connected device? Many tasks become automatic, so you don’t have to run home or even get up off the couch to set smart locks or turn on the lights.
  • Saves Time: Life today is very fast-paced. Time savings is one of the advantages of smart security for your home you can’t ignore. There’s no need to run home to check on things or if one of the kids forgot to close the door; just check it all from your phone.
  • Saves Money: Turning lights on/off or even dimming them remotely can save a bit of money, as can controlling window shades and adjusting automated thermostats. You also save on gas by not having to drive back home to check on what you forgot to turn off.
  • Energy Efficiency: Program appliances and systems to turn off or control them remotely. Some home automation systems provide continuous monitoring and notify you on their status and energy usage; if your home is warmer than necessary or extra lighting isn’t needed, make the appropriate adjustments to save energy.
  • Comfort: One of the most understated advantages of home automation is comfort; you can control adaptive lighting, sound, and temperature as well as play music. Even record shows on your DVR by setting it remotely. Automation allows you to control all aspects of the home environment.
  • Peace of Mind: Check on young children, or even baby monitors, or view the status of your appliances, window shades, or the garage door. Verify anything on your app without worrying about whether you remembered to close doors or turn everything off before you left.

Additional Resources

Boyd & Associates specializes in a variety of systems and services to improve home security and automation. Customers in Southern California depend on us for quality:

Contact Boyd & Associates

We have been providing full security and alarm services in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, and Riverside County since 1967. Our business has specialized in advanced surveillance systems since the 1990s and has been at the forefront of home security automation. Today, we offer state-of-the-art products installed and serviced by trained professionals. To learn more and enjoy the advantages of home automation, plus the security and other benefits it has, call our sales team at 888-478-1543 or request a quote online today.

 

Sources:
  1. https://www.pcmag.com/news/367137/the-us-is-the-undisputed-leader-in-smart-homes / https://www.statista.com/outlook/279/100/smart-home/worldwide
  2. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/