Home Security Tools for Seniors Living Alone

As we get older, our home security concerns change. What works for families or young people may not meet the unique needs of seniors who live alone. And, just over one in four adults over the age of 65 lives alone. Concerns about seniors’ health, memory, and physical safety can create anxiety for loved ones and caregivers. But there are several strategies that can help seniors maintain both their safety and their independence. Read on for some of the best home security tools for seniors.

Medical Alert Devices

Every 11 seconds, an older adult suffers a fall serious enough to send them to the emergency room. If a senior is injured in a fall in their home, they may not have the ability to get up and call for help. Boyd & Associates Medical Alert can help. It is a safety and medical alert system that allows an individual to signal for help from a wireless alarm pendant.

These systems immediately alert an emergency operator who will dispatch the appropriate help. In the event of an emergency, the local 911 Emergency Response Team will be dispatched. Otherwise, a family member, neighbor, friend, or caregiver can be notified for assistance.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the most common kind of poisoning worldwide and is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas found in the exhaust of generators, stoves, furnaces, cars, or anything that burns fuel and most victims have no idea they’re being poisoned.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 500 people die from unintentional exposure in the U.S. every year. Another 8,000-15,000 people are examined or treated in hospitals.

Most of carbon monoxide injuries and deaths are entirely preventable. That is why carbon monoxide detectors are crucial to have in your home, especially seniors who are living on their own.

Monitored Fire and Burglar Alarms

According to the Bureau of Justice, 59 percent of violent crimes against seniors happen at or near their homes and they are more likely to be victims of property crimes. A monitored home security system can offer seniors living alone an added layer of protection in the event of a burglary or fire by alerting an alarm monitoring center. An alarm monitoring agent will contact emergency responders quickly, saving precious minutes.

Most home security systems offer a feature that allows you to remotely control your home security system. This feature is accessible through an app by using your smart phone or tablet. This is a great feature for those who want to check the status of their senior family member’s system and receive alerts when an alarm or event triggers.

Video Doorbell

With smart video doorbells, seniors can answer their front door remotely via a tablet or smartphone to ensure visitors don’t know they are home alone. Family members of seniors can also use this feature to ensure the safety of their loved one.

Environmental Monitoring

It’s a scenario that can be more frightening and dismaying for an elderly individual than anyone else: a pipe burst, or a water heater leaks, causing damaging flooding that can go on for hours while they are away or asleep.

Environmental monitoring can alert seniors of the problem right away no matter where they are. The longer a leak goes unfixed, the more likely structural damage will occur. By getting the news right away, seniors and their families can avoid expensive and inconvenient repairs.

Home Automation Tools

A senior’s financial security is as important as their physical safety. With home automation tools, you can save time, money and energy by setting scenes and schedules, turn lights on or off, or control the thermostat.

Ask an Expert

Modern security technology means that it’s easier than ever for seniors to enjoy security and independence in their homes. If you’d like to learn more about the kinds of security planning, processes, and technology available for every budget, give us a call today to request a free quote.

Small Business Security Tips: Why You Need A Security System

Small business owners might not always think about security on a daily basis. When you’re too busy worried about the day-to-day operations of owning a business – from managing employees, keeping financial records, to the actual customer transactions of providing products or services, it can be easy to forget that entire operations often hinge on proper security. But, maybe now more than ever, small business security is an essential aspect of any entrepreneurial venture.

But it can be overwhelming knowing exactly where to start. Which is why we’ve compiled some quick-hitting tips to small business security. It’s time to start operating your business with complete peace of mind.

BASIC SECURITY TIPS

There are a few basic security measures any business owner should take on their own. Most are probably fairly obvious, but it never hurts to run through the basics!

KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Any business should understand the community they are becoming a part of. And that starts with taking stock of the physical places your business is existing. What are the crime statistics like in the area? Are you located in a region that could be affected by natural disasters? Are there any safety or security concerns with the business structure itself that could pose risks?

Don’t forget – your business space should have a smoke alarm and CO detector in every room!

LOCKS AND LIGHTS

This is another pretty simple, obvious point, but the end of every business day should come with security checks. Is your workspace clean and organized? Are products and any cash from transactions locked away in a safe, secure location?

Always be sure to lock every entry point. Shutting off lights is a great way to let people know your business is closed. But it can also be an indication for burglars, especially if there are dark areas to hide. Keep lighting balanced to save on energy, but also ward off intruders.

HAVE A BASIC CYBERSECURITY PLAN

These days it’s not enough to just have physical security in place. As more and more businesses operate online, the greater the risk for cyberattacks like malware, phishing, hacks and scams. Get ahead with a basic cybersecurity plan to protect your business:

  • Use firewalls and antivirus software
  • Make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure
  • Rotate passwords quarterly
  • Protect payment processors
  • Back up any business data to a secure cloud network

Secondly, remember to educate yourself – every business is going to have unique risks inherent to individual business structure and industry that must be considered.

While these basic measures are a good start, overall they limit security options for small businesses. It is important to understand when it’s the right time to upgrade to a full small business security system.

FEATURES OF A SECURITY SYSTEM

Small business security systems come with many of the same perks and advantages that are present in home security systems. And in most cases, security solutions can be customized to fit the unique needs of any business in any industry.

INTRUSION MONITORING

Just like your home security, you can (and should!) install sensors on all doors and windows. This will allow you to know when people are coming and going on a daily basis during normal operation hours. Additionally, with 24 hour monitoring, you can trust that when you arm your system that first responders will quickly dispatch in the event of an intrusion.

OPEN/CLOSE REPORTING

Business sizes vary, and maybe you can’t always be onsite. With open/close reporting, you can keep an eye on your business operations from afar. Know which employees open and close, track shifts, and keep detailed daily log records.

VIDEO SECURITY

Security cameras are a popular small business security measure. And they can be taken to the next level. While there is certainly a market for business owners to purchase and install video systems themselves, they lack the nuance and technical advancement of a system installed by a professional company.

And with Video Verification, in the event of an alarm, live operators will monitor your surveillance footage and can notify police the moment any suspicious activity is verified, increasing first responder intel, and expediting response times. Plus, real-time analytics help provide advanced metrics, secure video data via Cloud storage, and allow you to view footage with searchable timelines.

SMART BUSINESS AUTOMATION

Just like Smart Home Automation solutions, adding automation to your business can take those basic security measures to new heights. Plus it’ll add major improvements to how an installed system functions.

Smart business automation allows you to access your business security through any computer, smartphone or tablet. That means you can remotely arm your system and monitor those daily security reports from your couch at the end of a long day. Plus you can pull up your surveillance feeds at a moment’s notice to check in.

AUTOMATION SAVES TIME AND MONEY

As a business owner, every penny counts. And smart business automation can help you save more money in the long run on your energy bills. Smart thermostats and lights allow you to set schedules and routines, and change on the fly based on real-time analytics.

And with automated lights and locks, you will never second guess whether you closed up shop or not. Want to make sure the back door is locked? Worried about your front light being left on? Not a problem. You can remotely arm your system, check locks, and even turn lights on and off, long after you have left your business.

 

BOYD & ASSOCIATES UNDERSTANDS YOUR BUSINESS SECURITY NEEDS

 While most fundamental security needs are pretty standard across the board, at the end of the day, every business is unique. The security needs of a small neighborhood coffee shop might vary greatly from that of an auto-body repair business. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for business security.

At Boyd & Associates, we understand that every business is different. Which is why we offer custom security solutions for your business. That way, you choose the combination of services that best suits the needs of your business.

If you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Safety Tips from Boyd & Associates

Did you know that the number of fire alarms Boyd & Associates monitoring center receives skyrockets on Thanksgiving Day, largely because of home cooking fires?

Cooking is the number one way house fires start, and the NFPA agrees, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. Luckily, many of the alarm signals received by our monitoring center on Thanksgiving are accidental alarms, not full-fledged fires. But with a house full of guests and a belly full of carbs, revelers often aren’t prepared to respond to their monitoring center’s outreach.

Even if Turkey Day is just a small, intimate group this year, you won’t want your holiday interrupted by a home cooking fire or even a smoke alarm.

Many Boyd & Associates customers experience this frustration around the holidays, and the people who know first-hand are the Protection Specialists in our 24-hour monitoring centers. They’ve provided tips on how to help prevent cooking fires and accidental alarms on Thanksgiving, and what to do if your smoke alarm goes off.

How to set yourself up for safe cooking on Thanksgiving

It only takes a few simple steps and a little mindfulness to prepare.

Just in case your monitored smoke alarms are triggered, Boyd & Associates customers should have these two pieces of information memorized or accessible:

  • Your Verbal Alarm Password (if you have one) – this is the single word you will give Boyd & Associates to verify your identity on the phone.
  • Your Master Panel Code – this is the numeric code you will need to disarm your system at the panel.

If possible, give several people you trust access as well. If you’re pulling a 12-lb turkey out of your blazing hot oven, you’ll appreciate the extra hands.

Additional prep should include:

  • Clean any grease, dust, or food particles from your oven and stove top.
  • Make sure you have a non-expired, properly inspected handheld fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Program the phone number for Boyd & Associates monitoring center (800. 381. 2693) into your phone so you’ll immediately know it’s us if we call. This number is exclusively used by our monitoring team, so you can also use it to notify us of an accidental alarm or return a call from one of our Protection Specialists.
  • Speaking of calls from Boyd & Associates, make sure your emergency contact list for Boyd & Associates is correct.
  • Test your smoke detectors to ensure that they are in working order.

How to prevent home cooking fires

The number one factor in home cooking fires is leaving your cooking food unattended. While everyone wants to spend time with guests on Thanksgiving, it’s important not to abandon an active kitchen. If possible, bring some of the socializing into the kitchen with you. Here are more tips to help prevent unintentional home cooking fires.

  • Keep kids at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Make sure all towels, potholders, flammable utensils, and other items are kept away from the stove top. Long sleeves, loose clothing, and long hair can also pose a fire risk.
  • Double-check the burners when you turn a new one on or off.
  • Don’t cook sleepy or while drinking. If you were up all night basting the turkey — or started celebrating early — give yourself a break and avoid the stove.
  • When cooking with grease, keep a lid nearby in case you need to smother a fire.
  • Turn your pan handles inward so you are less likely to knock it off the stove.

How to respond to a smoke alarm

First things first: If your smoke alarm goes off, start by determining whether there is a fire. This may sound obvious, but even if you’re pretty sure, play it safe and double-check. Your top priority is always getting yourself and your guests out of the house safely.

Next, know the drill. There is always a chance you’ll accidentally trigger your smoke alarm while cooking a big meal, no matter how careful you are. Smoke detectors sounding off when there’s no emergency can be frustrating but knowing what comes next will make it much easier to respond.

If there is an accidental alarm, you can temporarily silence your Boyd & Associates smoke detector by entering your numeric passcode and disarming your system. Remember, if there is still too much smoke, it may sound again. To lessen the chance of a false alarm while cooking large meals, try the following:

  • Clean your smoke detector regularly to eliminate dust and dirt build-up.
  • Keep a close eye on your food while cooking.
  • Crack open a window before you start cooking.
  • Set up a fan near your smoke detector.
  • Use a smoke detector cover, which can be found at a hardware store or online.

We’re here to help

If you do experience a fire or medical emergency on Thanksgiving, remember: Boyd & Associates is here for you 24/7, and that includes holidays! In an emergency, you can always activate the fire or medical panic on your control panel, and Boyd & Associates monitoring center will respond quickly.

Don’t have a Boyd & Associates professionally monitored fire alarm system? Call us today to speak with one of our security experts.

How To Put Out An Electrical Fire—And Prevent One

House Fires Caused By Electricity Often Cause More Damage

With the holiday season upon us, we wanted to bring you a few safety tips on keeping your home safe while displaying holiday lights and decorations.  According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there were about 24,000 electricity-caused residential fires reported each year between 2014 and 2016. And electrical malfunctions accounted for 6.8% of all residential fires in 2018. Compared to fires caused by cooking and heating equipment, this seems like a small number.

However, electrical home fires cause, on average, over twice the monetary damage ($27,500 vs. $12,510 per fire) of non-electrical fires. They also cause more injuries (26.6 vs. 22.8 per 1,000 fires) and deaths (6.3 vs. 3.4 per 1,000 fires) than non-electrical fires.

It’s important to learn how to prevent electrical fires and how to react if one happens. In this article, we discuss:

  • Where and why electrical fires start
  • Tips to prevent electrical fires
  • How to safely extinguish an electrical fire

Don’t forget that working smoke detectors or smoke and heat sensors save lives. When these devices are present and properly maintained, they give you and yours precious time to react and escape in the event of a fire, whatever the cause.

How Does Electricity Cause House Fires?

According to the USFA, home electrical fires usually start in occupied parts of a house, with 15.4% igniting in the bedroom, 7.4% in the cooking area, and 6.7% in the living area. This makes sense; we use our electronics in these places. However, many electrical fires also start in inaccessible or rarely-visited locations—8.7% start inside wall spaces, and 13% start in the attic. This data matches up with the materials that ignite first in home electrical fires, which are:

  • “Electrical wire, cable insulation” (30.9%)
  • “Structural member or framing” (17.8%)
  • “Thermal, acoustic insulation within wall, partition, or floor/ceiling” (7.2%)
  • “Interior wall covering” (5.5%)
  • “Exterior sidewall covering, surface, finish” (6.2%)

But what causes these fires to ignite? The USFA reports that heat from powered equipment ignited 87.8% of electrical fires between 2014 and 2016. Within that category, electrical arcing ignited the most fires (74%). The most common (87.8%) factor contributing to the ignition of home electrical fires was general electrical failure or malfunction. Excluding non-specified malfunctions, the most common type of malfunction leading to ignition was, again, electrical arcing from a short circuit (34%).

Bad practices also result in fires. “Misuse of material or product” caused 5.5% of fires, “design, manufacture, installation deficiency” caused 1.2%, and “operational deficiency” caused 4.5%.

How To Prevent Electrical House Fires

To prevent home electrical fires, prevent your electronics from generating sparks or too much heat. In practice, this means caring for your electronics so that you don’t overload your circuits, and the electricity stays where it should. To do this, it helps to understand a bit about how your home’s electrical system works.

Multiple branch circuits distribute electricity throughout your house. For instance, you likely have one circuit for your kitchen and others for your bedrooms. The power to each of these circuits, as well as to the entire house, is controlled by the breaker box. The breaker box, likely located in the garage, closet, or outside, has switches called circuit breakers that control the power to each branch circuit, plus a main breaker that controls power to all of the circuits.

Besides enabling electricians to cut off the power before they work, breaker boxes help prevent electrical fires. The breakers have mechanisms that “trip” and break the circuit when it is carrying more electricity than it can safely handle. Circuit overloads can generate enough heat to ignite fires.

Circuit overloads happen for two main reasons. The first is that too many devices are using too many amperes (amps) at once. An amp is a measure of how much electricity is flowing through a circuit. Think of it like the volume of water flowing through a pipe. Most branch circuits are rated for 15 or 20 amps; the number will be printed on or next to the breaker switch.

How To Put Out An Electrical Fire

It’s essential to know what to do if an electrical fire does happen. As with all fires, don’t try to be a hero. That’s what firefighters are for. If a blaze gets too big, don’t try to fight it; just escape safely and call 911. If you decide that you can tackle a small fire in its early stages, remember these tips:

  • Unplug or power off any device causing the fire, if it is safe to do so. The breaker box is another option to turn off the power.
  • Very small electrical fires can be smothered with baking soda.
  • Use the proper fire extinguisher to fight fires involving energized electrical equipment. Class C is what you need, which is a component of standard ABC-rated fire extinguishers that also tackle other types of fires.
  • Instead of water, use a Class C fire extinguisher. Different fire extinguishers are suitable for different types of fires. Class A extinguishers handle ordinary fires like burning wood or cardboard. Class B extinguishers put out fires involving flammable liquids like gasoline and paint (though not grease and cooking oils found in the kitchen; those are Class K). Class C extinguishers are for electrical fires.
  • ABC extinguishers, which work for all three, should be in every home. Know which kind of fire extinguisher you have and how it works so that you can use it confidently and safely, should the need arise.

All homes should also have smoke detectors or smoke and heat sensors, which buy you precious seconds to escape in the event of a fire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends installing smoke detectors in each bedroom, outside sleeping areas, and on every floor of your home.

We hope these tips are great reminders for you during the holiday season!

 

 

 

Teaching Children Fire Safety In The Home


With distance learning in full swing, we wanted to bring you some helpful information focusing on fire safety for children at home.

On average, there are 354,400 home fires a year. It might not happen to you, but it is important to teach your kids how to be safe in a fire. Fire safety for kids is there to make sure they know how to react in a crisis that hopefully will never happen to you.


Help Your Children Survive A Fire


A major part of fire safety is teaching your kids about how to survive a fire. Make sure you follow each of these steps to help your kid know how to make it out of your home if it catches on fire—and stay out.


Smoke Alarms


You should test and replace batteries in your smoke alarms at least once a year. When you test them, it is a perfect time for you to teach your kids about what a fire alarm sounds like, and what to do when a fire alarm goes off. Involve your kids in replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms throughout your house to help them better understand what smoke alarms are and their role in fire safety.


Fire Drills


Fire drills should not be only an excuse to get out of a test in your history class and should be used in your home. When you talk to your kids about how to leave the house when a smoke alarm goes off, make it more than just a lecture. Have practice fire drills to show them and let them practice how to get low and go.


Touch The Door And Check For Heat


Managing fire safety and getting away from fire can be easier when there’s a straight shot to an exit or it’s easy to identify where the fire is located in the house, but in reality, it’s not always that straightforward. An important skill everyone should know is learning how to check for heat. This should include checking for heat at doors by grabbing a towel or piece of clothing to avoid getting burnt and seeing if a handle or knob is warm. If the door is warm, that means the fire is on the other side and it is not safe to travel through and a different route should be used.


Two Escape Routes


Part of the practice should include getting out of each room in two ways. Sometimes getting low and crawling through the house is not the fastest or safest way out of a room. Learning how to open a window, take out the screen, and exit through the window is an important skill for your kids to learn and practice.

If you live in a home that has barred windows and doors, make sure at least one window in each sleeping room has a release device, and show your kids how to use them. While your home security is important, you should never bar, gate, or lock windows in a way that makes it impossible to escape in an emergency.


Blind Escape

Where there’s fire there’s smoke, and part of your emergency plan around how to survive a fire should include how to deal with the smoke. Children need to practice how to get out of the house and follow a planned escape route, but they should also be prepared to do it without being able to see.

One of the best ways to practice this is to make it a game. Using a blindfold, you can time them to see how well they can get out without looking. Remember, even though this game focuses on them being blindfolded, they should still use everything they have learned up to this point. They should still get low and try to crawl under the smoke, check doors for heat, and know their escape routes.


Stop, Drop And, Roll


This simple reminder for kids helps them extinguish any flames if their clothes catch on fire. While it is a popular thing to teach, it is often confusing for kids to remember when they need to stop, drop, and roll. Remember to emphasize this is only an option when their clothing catches fire, not when they get burnt by a hot object or a smoke alarm goes off.

Practice stop, drop, and roll with your kids until it becomes second nature. When a person’s clothing catches on fire, the reaction to stop, drop, and roll, should be instinctive and immediate.


Fire Prevention Starts With You


Thanks to Smokey the Bear, we know that only you can prevent forest fires, but it’s also true with fire prevention in your home. Make sure you ensure your child’s safety in your home.

·  Keep children three feet away from anything that can get hot.  This includes obvious things like stove-tops, ovens, and heaters, but should also include irons, straighteners, hot glue guns, and any open flames.
·  Keep smoking materials locked up.  If you are a smoker, you need to protect your children from any lighters or matches. Make sure they can only be accessed by adults.
·   Never play with lighters or matches.  You need to demonstrate and show respect for fire if you expect your children to follow. If you are irresponsible or lazy with fire, your children might try to replicate what they see you do.


Boyd & Associates Can Help


Fire safety for kids can go a long way in teaching them the basics, but it is always nice to know there is someone else in your family’s corner to make sure you’re staying safe. At Boyd & Associates, we are here to help you with a fire alarm and carbon monoxide monitoring system. The instant your home is in danger, our monitored home control systems make sure first responders are quickly alerted to the emergency no matter if you are awake, asleep, or even away from home.

Contact us to get in touch with one of our security alarm specialists to find out how we can help your family stay safe.

Things to Consider when Buying a Home Security System

 

If you look around your neighborhood, chances are you will see a handful of home security yard signs. Home security systems are a popular addition to homes for good reason. It is a fact that homes with monitored security systems are less likely to be targeted for a break-in. However, today’s home security systems deliver more than security. They let you talk to visitors and remotely turn on lights. With home security cameras, you can see who is in your backyard or check in on an elderly parent. Home security systems that include home automation devices can help reduce energy use, turn on sprinkler systems, and so much more.

When looking for the best, a local home security company or considering your security needs, consider these questions:

What does a basic home security system include?

While it varies, most basic home security systems include door and window contacts, a keypad, a mobile app; an audible alarm, a yard sign, and 24/7 alarm monitoring. These home security components help detect or prevent break-ins and are a base for a more comprehensive system.

What types of home security cameras or upgrades are available?

While a basic home security system can go a long way in helping protect areas of your home, there are many options available to increase the security of your home and family. Popular upgrades or additions to a basic security system include the following and help create a complete, secure smart home:

  • Home security cameras
  • A doorbell camera Smoke detection
  •  Carbon monoxide detection
  • Water leak detection
  • Glass break sensor
  • Window and door sensors
  • A smart thermostat
  • Smart lighting
  • Remote garage door control
  • Smart or keyless locks
  • Automated sprinkler systems
  • Temperature sensors
  • Panic button – medical alert pennant
  • Integration with a sound system

Most homeowners choose to install these upgrades because they add convenience and peace of mind. Busy families enjoy the ability to control home automation devices via an app or check in to see that all is well. In our daily rushing around, the ability to remotely close a garage door, lock or unlock a door, turn lights on or see if a package was delivered is invaluable.

Should I install home security cameras? Where are popular places to install the cameras?

Home security cameras are one of the most popular additions to a home security system. Homeowners enjoy checking in and seeing that all is well at home or reviewing video if something is amiss. Ideal placement for home security cameras includes the front porch, garage area, front gates, and around a swimming pool. Homeowners also like to install home security cameras near sensitive areas such as safes and back entries, or at vacation homes.

At Boyd & Associates, we offer a free mobile app, making it easy to view video or receive alerts and video clips based on personal preference. Our trained security consultants will also conduct a security evaluation to help determine the best security camera placement for your family’s needs.

Is the home security system monitored by a professional alarm monitoring center? Is the security alarm monitoring center in the United States?

When researching local home security providers, check if they provide their own alarm monitoring or if they pay a third-party monitoring provider and where the center is located. DIY security systems might be a quick fix but do not offer the assurance that someone is there to help even if you cannot get to the phone or cannot keep a constant eye on your security alerts. At Boyd & Associates, we are proud to provide a U.S.-based, UL listed alarm monitoring center that is Five Diamond designated and offers an average alarm response time of under 20 seconds.

Can I receive a discount on my homeowner’s insurance premium if I have a home security system?

Typically, yes! As we shared above, most home insurance providers offer a discount on your home insurance premiums if you have a monitored home security system. This discount helps the security system pay for itself!

What are some common and popular home security devices?

In the past, common home security devices included door and window contacts for intrusion detection. However, now, some of the most popular home security services are home security cameras, doorbell cameras, smart locks, and mobile app control of security devices.

Are other protective devices available, such as carbon monoxide, water leak and smoke detection?

You will want to ensure that the home security company you choose can offer security and home automation devices that meet your family’s changing needs through the years. You will also want to know you are working with a company that can provide multi-levels of home security protection including alerting you to carbon monoxide, water leaks and smoke or fire. A company that also offers 24/7 alarm monitoring can alert you to these dangers even if you are not home or cannot get to a phone. Early detection of these dangers can save lives and thousands of dollars in damage or complete loss of your home.

Does the company also offer home automation devices and services?

Top-rated, leading home security companies often include home automation devices that integrate with home security to make your home smarter and safer. Home automation solutions help busy families more easily manage things at home, increase security, and save money. Popular home automation solutions allow homeowners to remotely adjust the temperature, turn lights on or off, lock doors, turn on sprinkler or sound systems and so much more. When combined with home security devices, home automation products alleviate worry. You will know whether you left a garage door open or a door unlocked and be able to take quick action to secure your home if needed.

What does a monitored security system provide that DIY security cameras do not?

There are many up-and-coming tech companies that advertise the latest security services or easy-to-install security cameras. Often, these companies are not backed by experienced support or reputable technology vendors. Or, maybe they are startup companies and have difficulties maintaining financial backing to provide ongoing support or service. These smaller, online companies also most likely will not provide support with installation or if you want to integrate your cameras with other security devices.

Look closely at the costs and benefits of a DIY camera or security system vs. working with an experienced, local provider. Consider if support, professional monitoring, and a discount on your insurance premium are important to you. Another benefit of working with a professional installer is the ease in integrating security or home automation components. A full-service security company also provides the ability to control all your devices easily with one app.

When searching for a company to trust with your security, you will want to choose a top-rated, local company and ask the following questions:

  • Does the home security company have a local branch?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Does the company perform background checks on employees?
  • Does the company offer an insurance deductible reimbursement program?
  • Does the company offer a move program?
  • What is the security company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau?

Choosing the best, local home security company does not have to be hard. Learning what security devices will best meet your family’s needs is easy with professional help and experience on your side. Boyd & Associates offers over 50 years of experience providing professional installation of home and business security systems, along with award-winning, 24/7 alarm monitoring. To learn more about your home security options and answers to the above questions, visit our website of give us a call today!

Why Are Doorbell Cameras Becoming More Popular?


Doorbell cameras are tiny non-obstructive cameras that are fixed near the entrance of your house. These cameras work as a major security measure and a doorbell at the same time. But with the rise in automation, the doorbell has also added a set of new features like motion-sensing, two-way communications and viewing live footage on your phone or laptop.


These kinds of doorbell cameras have become really popular for home security. Many times, we watch popular news stories on people’s homes getting robbed and the footage caught by the doorbell camera helps the police investigate the situation. We also come across stories where delivery people mishandle delivery packages and end up damaging the content inside. With the smart doorbell, you can track how people behave and interact with your home when you are not there.


Keeping your family and home safe is the top priority of most of the people today. In this article we will talk about why doorbell cameras are getting so much attention today:


1. Offers two-way communication


Many doorbell cameras offer features like two-way communication. You can easily communicate with anyone who rings your doorbell, through the speaker sitting from any corner of your house. Great home security systems make life easier. For instance, if you are not at home and someone shows up, you can always speak through the phone and convey the message to the guest. Confusing visitors by using this feature also prevents anyone from messing with your home, even when you are not physically present.


2. Equipped with night vision


The cover of night is a robber’s paradise. This is when burglars and intruders are most likely to attack homes. During times like these, it is always advisable not to open the door for every person that knocks on your door at this time. Most of these doorbell cameras are equipped with night vision features and infrared. This lets your home security system survey around your home, as you rest peacefully.


3. Gives you the advantage of screening every visitor


The main reason why doorbell cameras are actually getting all the hype today is because it allows you to screen any visitor that arrives at your doorstep. Home alarm systems come with motion-detecting sensors and other features that give you an update on who is coming to your door. In this manner, you can never miss out on friends, family, and unexpected visitors dropping by your house every now and then. 

 


Conclusion


Doorbells with cameras are the first step you can take to a safer and more sophisticated life. With Boyd & Associates watching your back, doorbells have never been so convenient. These are not that expensive per se, but one can always invest in a legitimate smart doorbell with a camera. At the end of the day, you, your family and your home are all safer off with the doorbell camera. Call Boyd & Associates today and ask about our new promotions!

Boyd & Associates Quarterly Employee Spotlight

Boyd & Associates is proud to introduce our Quarterly Employee Spotlight. We hope you enjoy this months feature on our Senior Tech/Project Manager, David Tijerina.

 

David Tijerina has been in the security industry since 1982. After finishing his education, he returned to attend Los Angeles Trade School / Skill Centers for an additional four-year training program being certified in electronic theory and AC/DC residential wiring. He has since then worked in most facets of the security industry. During this time, he decided to return to night school and received his teaching credential for the Los Angeles School District and taught at the same trade school he once attended. David assisted students with current and relevant learning, work programs and curriculum. In addition to that, he also assisted students with job marketing skills, critical thinking and job placements. In addition to this David enjoys reading about history, art and archery.

As Senior Tech/Project Manager for Boyd & Associates, his current position is to streamline team skill sets and efficiencies.

 

We asked David:


What is the best piece of advice that somebody ever gave to you?

Best advice ever received was “No one sees your intentions, they only see your actions.” I do my best in my personal life and at work to follow this with perseverance.


What’s a goal that you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year?

The goal I would like to accomplish by year end is an on-going and continued shared cross training within our team at Boyd to provide continued quality service.


Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

It was definitely Hawaii, my wife and I spent two weeks on the island of Maui for our honeymoon. We returned 10 years later for our anniversary with our two lovely daughters Natalie and Jacqueline.


What do you like most about working at Boyd & Associates?

The best thing about working with Boyd – operating as a family owned business which allows our team to offer a much more personal approach. We strive to give our best through teamwork, product knowledge and being proactive, while also giving back to local communities. Leaving a lasting footprint and impression for all, that is what I enjoy the most while working at Boyd & Associates.


Top three life highlights?

1. Finding my life partner, my wife.

2. Birth of my two daughters and being their father.

3. Receiving my teaching credential with LAUSD teaching an electronic curriculum and giving back to the community, along with loving the work I do.


What is on your bucket list?

Going to Italy with my wife.


What is the one thing, you can’t live without?

Family and friends.


What is one thing you have learned during this Covid-19 pandemic?

The one thing I have learned with the COVID-19 pandemic is how we really take our health for granted, without it we have nothing.

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

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.