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!

 

 

 

Halloween Home Safety Tips: A Trick Or A Treat?

Halloween is right around the corner. For some, this holiday signifies a day greater than Christmas. The elaborate face painting and collaborative costumes make it a fun way to commemorate this spooky holiday. What isn’t so fun is having to make an insurance claim or clean up the damage from some Halloween vandalism or pranks gone awry. Here are some harrowing Halloween stats:

  1. On average, crimes related to theft away from home jump by 21% on Halloween
  2. Insurance claims for theft inside the home are approximately 60% higher due to Halloween shenanigans
  3. Claims related to vandalism raise by 19% because of Halloween mischief
  4. On Halloween night, car theft increases by about 5%
  5. Halloween had the highest average number of insurance claims for any day of the year.

Insurance companies see an uptick in claims the day after Halloween. As is evidenced by the numbers, there is a spike in crimes related to vandalism, property crime, and mischief. While these are vague categories, one trend emerges: Your property is typically the target.

To avoid becoming part of these statistics, you can take a few extra precautionary measures to get your home ready for trick-or-treaters, and to prepare for the less desirable tricksters. Here are some Halloween home safety tips for this coming Fright night.

  1. Choose your trick-or-treating venue or neighborhood wisely
  2. Take steps to protect your vehicle
  3. Lock all doors, in your home and your car
  4. Provide plenty of lighting for walkways
  5. Keep valuables out of plain sight
  6. Make your trick-or-treaters visible
  7. Avoid distractions while driving or walking on Halloween night

Vanquish Vehicle Vandals

The trick: 5% increase in car theft, two times more likely to fall victim to car vandalism
The treat: Preventing vandalism and costly insurance claims for vehicle damage

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HDLI), your vehicle is almost twice as likely to get vandalized on Halloween night. And we aren’t talking about a simple egging or a smattering of toilet paper. The same study cites “The average cost per claim was $1,528…” Needless to say, most damage requires more than a light cleaning.

A report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) illustrates that vandalism is not the only damage you are likely to see on Halloween. There is also a 5 percent increase in car theft on the last day of October.

To help avoid a massive mess or a missing car on the first brisk day of November, try out our Halloween tips:

  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Choose trick-or-treating neighborhoods wisely
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight
  • Lock the doors, roll up windows, and set your alarm
  • Park in the garage
  • Hand out candy in the driveway or with your car in direct sight
  • Park in a populated area

Preventing Property Pranks

The trick: Theft inside the home goes up by 60%
The treat: Keeping your loved ones and valuables protected from pranksters

According to an article posted by USA Today, there is a significant increase in burglaries and theft from homes on Halloween. The articles states that “Insurance claims due to theft inside the home go up by a whopping 60%.” Normally, a largely populated area is your friend when it comes to burglary prevention. But with such a large influx of children carting pumpkin buckets, it can be easy to drop your guard.

Whether your neighborhood is booming with costumed characters or relatively quiet, there are a few precautions you can take to help protect your home. Try out these Halloween safety tips:

  • Provide plenty of lighting: Carefully placed lighting makes it easier to see those who approach your home. Well-lit walkways are also important for ensuring little ones get to and from your home safely.
  • Place Halloween decorations carefully: Avoid excess extension cords or obstacles that could make it difficult to walk to and from your home.
  • Keep unsupervised points of entry locked up tight: Many homeowners believe that they won’t fall victim to theft or burglary because they are sitting on their front porch. Don’t neglect other openings an opportunistic thief might take advantage of.
  • Leave valuables out of plain sight: Don’t leave easy targets in plain view of any visitors or mischievous opportunists.
  • Make your house seem occupied, even if it’s not: If you plan to take your little ones out scouring for candy, leave your lights on inside (and maybe a TV) to make it seem like someone is home. Also, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of neighbors who will be home to keep an eye on your property.
  • Hand out candy from your driveway or garage: Setting up camp in a well-lit garage reduces the amount of obstacles a trick-or-treater needs to overcome to reach candy. As an added bonus, welcoming visitors from the garage gives you a wide view of all who come searching for goodies.

Caring For Your Costumed Kiddos

The trick: Malicious mischief (and other types of vandalism) jump 19% on Halloween
The treat: Ensuring your kids have a spooky, but safe, Halloween experience

If you are leading the charge of carting the kiddos around for candy, you’ll want to prepare for personal safety. These Halloween tips can help you hone your protective parent skills:

  • As with cars and homes—light em up!: Find creative ways to integrate lighting, glow bracelets or reflective jewelry into your child’s costume.
  • Design costumes with care: Make sure your child has comfortable footwear and free movement to avoid falls. This also includes face paint instead of masks to promote visibility.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings: Avoid distractions when driving and keep your eye out for any suspicious people or situations.
  • Travel in packs: Traveling in groups makes you more visible and less likely to be targeted by pranksters.
  • Avoid walking on roads: Stick to sidewalks and paths when making your way from house to house.
  • Don’t go inside anyone’s home to retrieve your goodies: Stick to the front stoop, rather than stepping inside someone’s home.
  • Trust your instincts: Yes, Halloween is supposed to have an air of spookiness, but don’t go to any homes that give you the creeps. Stick to trusted, well-lit houses.

Staying safe means you can gather more goodies. Practice our smart Halloween tips to help protect those things that matter the most.

From all of us at Boyd & Associates, have a safe and happy Halloween!

 

 

 

Pet Safety Tips

Those of us who have pets know they are a part of our families. We love our pets and some of us even think of them as our own furry children. We buy them special food so they can live a full and healthy life, we spoil them with treats and toys, and we adjust our routines to ensure they get the exercise and love they deserve. If anything were to happen to one of our beloved pets, we would be completely devastated.

For individuals who may be single or who have not yet started a family, security may not be something pressing on their minds. They go to work, come home, and don’t need to think about if their little children are lying in their beds safely. However, most people—whether single, married, or with children—have pets. The number of pictures and stories we all tend to share at the office among co-workers, or with friends and family at get-togethers, reveal how much we think about and adore our furry family members.

Why is Pet Security Important?

While we all know that the love of our pets is something we cherish, you may be wondering why you should go the extra step to look into home security options. One reason is when you install a home alarm, smoke detectors and/or security cameras, it removes some of the anxiety associated with worrying about your pets. Amazingly, there are smart security systems that virtually remove the weight of worry. By simply looking at your phone, you can see any suspicious activity going on around or in your home.

Caring for your pets goes beyond merely feeding them and providing them with a place to sleep at night. Caring for your pets entails so much more. They need love, attention, regular exercise, and a safe environment to live in. Keeping them secure should be one of our top priorities when we think about the essentials of raising happy and healthy fur babies.

5 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe 


1. Ask a Neighbor You Can Depend on to Help

​In addition to having a surveillance camera installed, a trusted neighbor will also be immensely helpful if something were to go wrong. If your system sends you an alert, you can ask your neighbor to run over and check to see if everything is fine. They will be able to see if your pets need any immediate assistance.

2. Monitor Your Home Temperature

When you leave for work every morning make sure you set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. This will enable your pets to be able to rest and play in comfort.

3. Install an Alarm with Pet-Smart Sensors

Installing a pet door can be a great idea. It is an easy way for your pets to escape in case of a fire. However, you will need to make sure the sensors installed are pet smart. Meaning, they can distinguish between a pet wandering around the house and a burglar breaking into your home.

4. Install Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

All homes are required to have smoke detectors, however, if a fire were to occur someone in the house would need to call 911 and make sure everyone gets out safely. If your pet is home alone and your carbon monoxide or smoke detectors go off, your pets will not be able to get the help they need. Have equipment installed that will send you a notification and call emergency services for you.

5. Buy a GPS Device for Your Pet’s Collar

Most pets either tend to hide or run when they are scared. If your pet has a difficult time being home alone, purchasing a small GPS device that latches onto his or her collar could be a great option. You will be able to see where they are and if they are safe at any time of the day just by checking your phone.

 

Boyd & Associates Can Help

​If you are on the fence or just curious to know your options, you can always call and speak to one of our representatives to go over what is currently on the market and what everything will cost. If you want to gather some more information before physically picking up the phone to inquire about a security system, we encourage you to consider some of the additional options we have provided for you in this post.

 

Small Business Security Checklist

Most small businesses work with a tight budget and profit margin. This makes it even more important for small businesses to protect their company. Here is a quick checklist to make sure your small business is protected and to help prevent unnecessary losses.

PHYSICAL SECURITY

It is not always obvious what you can do to improve building security. That is why a building security checklist should be part of every small business, to make sure your store is protected from all angles.

Here are a few things you should consider as part of your security checklist. Depending on your store’s location and layout, you should add more to this list:

EXTERIOR DOORS AND WINDOWS

  • Exterior doors are locked and are made of solid hardwood or metal.
  • All entry points have a sturdy deadbolt lock and the keys to the lock are with a trusted manager or employee, not stored under a doormat or in a mailbox.
  • Consider using keyless entry. Not only is it a secure way to keep your business safe it also helps you identify who is opening or closing the store.
  • If there is any glass close to or near your doors, it is reinforced so it cannot be shattered.
  • Every window that can be opened has a lock or is securely pinned.

OUTDOOR SECURITY

  • Shrubs or bushes near your business are trimmed so there is no place for someone to hide.
  • Back or side entrances are well lit with bright working lights. Floodlights are used appropriately to ensure effective illumination around your building.
  • Outdoor lights are enabled using a timer or a motion sensor, no matter if the business is open or not.
  • The building or office number is clearly displayed and viewable from the street so first responders can easily locate your company if anything does happen.

INTERIOR SECURITY

  • Exit signs are properly lit.
  • Fire extinguishers are inspected and charged.
  • Emergency exits are accessible and not blocked.

SECURITY MONITORING

  • Surveillance cameras are operating properly and there are no dead zones (areas that are not being recorded) in your store.
  • Footage is recorded and stored properly offsite and archived at least once a month.

CYBER SECURITY

Your physical security checklist keeps your office or storefront safe, but if you are like most companies, the most valuable things you have are stored on your computers and shared networks. Customer’s personal information, billing details, and private information are just as important to protect as your physical store, and they deserve their own cyber security checklist:

MULTI-LEVEL SECURITY

  • A firewall is installed on your network.
  • Antivirus software is set up on all devices connected to the network and a password is required for access.

NETWORK OPERATIONS

  • All firewalls, virus protection, or other forms of computer security software are updated at least once a week.
  • Operating system updates are installed as soon as they are available.
  • Key programs and applications, like web browsers or content management systems, are updated weekly.
  • A record including users and their network permissions is updated at least once a month.
  • Use separate guest and corporate networks.

MOBILE DEVICES

  • Identify all devices that touch your network, and who the owners of those devices are.
  • Clarify security elements with devices that have access to your network.

PASSWORDS

  • Change passwords at least once a month and never reuse them.
  • Require passwords to be strong with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, rather than weak passwords that are easily guessable or short.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication to allow extra account protection.
  • Require password changes when data breaches occur.
  • Require different passwords for every account and program, even if used by the same employee.

BOYD & ASSOCIATES HELPS SMALL BUSINESSES

Small business security does not need to be complicated. At Boyd & Associates, we offer automation options to make securing your business a breeze. We even offer services such as video verification with live operators standing by to notify police the moment any suspicious activity occurs and, smart business automation that sends notifications right to your phone.

Tackling small business security by yourself should not have to feel overwhelming. Secure your business with Boyd & Associates and find out how we can help your business be safe from both physical and cyber threats.

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!

Help Prevent Water Damage and Save Money with Flood Detectors

 

Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of homeowners quite like these four syllables: water damage. To understand how something so pure could be so scary, you need only check the price tag. It reads: Just 1 inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage to your home.

You may be thinking, no big deal, I have home insurance. But be careful.

First, many homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. Second, keep in mind when it comes to insurance coverage and water damage, it is not the total damage that matters, but rather how the damage was caused. If it started suddenly and incidentally, such as accidentally hammering a nail through a water pipe while hanging a painting, it may be covered. If the damage is caused by old, slow leaks — for example, your pipes are old — chances are it is not covered (check with your provider for specifics in your state). So those hefty repair costs may be coming straight out of your pocket.

Even if your bill ends up being just $2,000 — less than the average cost according to HomeAdvisor — that’s no small chunk of change. And you may find yourself asking a painful question as you swipe your credit card or crack open your checkbook — could this have been avoided?

How do floods and water damage happen?

If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may already be familiar with how water damage happens.

But for everyone else, some water damage is a result of natural causes, like a flood brought on by heavy rainfall. But it does not always happen that way. Water damage can be caused by:

  • A burst pipe
  • Cracks in your home’s foundation
  • A leaking roof (cracked or old shingles)
  • A failing water heater
  • An overflowing washing machine

One of the most insidious parts of water damage is that it tends to happen in places that are tucked out of sight, like in a basement or a closet. A leak that started out minor — and was in the beginning relatively easy to fix — can turn into a nightmare if it goes unchecked for too long.

Water sensors make smarter homes

Security is not just about preventing break-ins — although we can certainly help you with that! It is about protecting everything that matters most to you, whether it’s your family, your pets, your business, or your home. And as we just learned, water damage is one the most devastating things that can happen to a home.

Taking proactive steps to prevent water damage is likely to be far less expensive than making repairs after it happens. Luckily, your friendly neighborhood smart security company (that’s us) has a solution: We’re now offering wireless, easy-to-install water sensors (also known as flood detectors) that can really make a difference.

What are water sensors?

water sensor does exactly what you would guess — it detects the presence of water and alerts you to potential flooding before extensive damage may occur.

If it is part of your professionally monitored security system, it can also signal an alarm to your company’s monitoring center and also send you a notification via text or email.

How do water sensors work?

One of the cooler things about water sensors is their simplicity. They are easy to install, do not need to be plugged in, and, are incredibly small. You also do not have to be an expert to understand how they work.

The flood detector can rest right on the floor, or it can be mounted to a wall or baseboard. When the metal contacts at the base become wet, this completes the circuit.

The transmitter then communicates the signal to your panel, which triggers a notification that you receive. Boyd & Associates’ protection specialists in the monitoring center would read this as an environmental alarm and notify you accordingly to make sure you get the help you need. Easy, right?

It’s also important to understand what flood detectors do not do: They do not make your home flood-proof or water-proof, and they do not “stop” floods or water damage. For example, if you already have a leaky roof, a flood detector will not prevent water from getting in. Rather, the device will instantly alert you when it senses water so you can take action before that leak becomes a big problem.

Where should water sensors be placed?

You will want to place your water sensor anywhere flooding or water damage would be a concern. For example:

  • Behind an appliance, such as a washing machine or a refrigerator that makes ice cubes or dispenses water
  • In your basement, near the water heater
  • Inside a cabinet underneath a bathroom sink

Get proactive with Boyd & Associates

Water damage can cause thousands in home repairs, not to mention the loss of precious personal items. Catching drips and leaks early can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and major disaster. But no need to worry — being proactive is easier than ever when you add monitored water sensors to your smart home security system.

Call (805) 650-3267 to talk to a Boyd & Associates expert. We’ll give you a free consultation to determine exactly what you need to help protect your world.

 

Benefits of Smart Locks


As technology continues to advance, we are finding new and better ways to protect ourselves, our belongings and our assets. One of the best innovations in security that’s gaining popularity is the keyless system that strongly simplifies the entry procedures to your home or office. Also known as smart locks, they provide a level of convenience and customization that can’t be had with traditional locking mechanisms, all while not compromising security. 

Here are just a few ways smart locks can change your daily life. 


Never lose your keys again

House keys stand among the most commonly misplaced items. So it is more convenient that you don’t have to keep track of yet another key or worry about how to pass off the key to someone else. The entire idea of a smart lock (and every smart-home device, really) is to add convenience to your life. For smart locks, that includes features like remote access, voice control and scenes. With Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa, you can set up scenes like “OK Google, goodnight” that dim the lights, adjust the thermostat and lock your front door. 

You can control your smart lock remotely when it is connected to Wi-Fi. More often than not, that means purchasing a small, plug-in Wi-Fi bridge to connect the lock to your network. Once you’ve done so, you’ll be able to lock or unlock your door from anywhere you have an internet connection. Forgot to lock the door when you left for that business trip this morning? A connected lock will alert you when your door is left open or unlocked. 

Prevent lockouts


It happens to the best of us, especially these days with juggling so many things at one time: locking yourself out of your house. If this issue sounds all too familiar, then you’re in luck. Smart locks can help you eliminate the chance of getting locked out. Smart locks use an app to control your locks. With an internet connection and a smartphone or any smart device with you, you can lock and unlock your doors anytime, anywhere. 


Ability to send E-keys


Did a relative show up early, or are you stuck at the office when someone needs to get in the house? Do you have a vendor visiting your business? With smart locks, you can send an E-key to those who need access to your home or office. 


Convenience for the Disabled or Elderly


With a smart lock, those who are handicapped can gain easy access to your home and business. It also provides ease of access for those who cannot easily grip a key due to arthritis or other issues.


Better Security


There are many ways to pick a lock. The old solution was to come out with a new lock, that would then be cracked for burglars to pick. Today, you can install a smart lock. This keyless entry gives would-be robbers no way to access the deadbolt.

You can also have convenience such as a remote monitoring or tie your smart lock into a full-home or full-office security system. This way, you can receive alerts about suspicious activity.

 


Contact Boyd & Associates to Learn More About Keyless Door Locks

How Smart Security Systems Can Help Homeowners and Businesses To Deal With The COVID-19 Crisis


It seems like the world changed overnight with the Coronavirus disease outbreak. People are worried about the health concerns that come with the COVID-19 virus. Governments are issuing stay-at-home orders and businesses are closing their doors as we try to mitigate the damage that the outbreak can have.


Right here in California, we see considerable changes to everyday life, and people are doing their best to adjust. For many of us, the Coronavirus and the measures taken to fight it have given rise to issues that we never even considered.


How to Keep Homes and Businesses Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic?

 


While a smart home security system might not be an answer to all of your problems, we are starting to see some of the ways home alarm systems and automation technology can make it easier for people to deal with some of these problems caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19).


Being one of the leading alarm companies in California, the team from Boyd & Associates would like to take a moment to look at some of the ways smart security systems can make your life easier and help you to stay safe and protect yourself from Coronavirus outbreak.


1. Protecting Your Home When You Work Long Hours


While many people are staying home from work as a result of government restrictions, some people are finding that they are working more hours to help the country and local communities deal with the crisis. This includes healthcare workers and those who work in logistics, among others.


Working long hours under high-stress conditions is hard enough, but the problem is complicated when you have to worry about home security.  However, a smart home security system can protect your home while you are at work. With 24/7 monitoring, you know that someone is always there to watch the signals and dispatch emergency services if there is a problem. Many of these systems even have smartphone apps that can send you alerts if there are any troubles.


2. Keeping an Eye on Your Pets


One of the biggest worries for many of these healthcare workers is that they have pets, and they can’t be there to care for them and to watch out for them. With a smart home security system, you can integrate home security cameras that will allow you to watch your pets to make sure they are ok. All you have to do is open the smartphone app, and you can use the cameras to check on your pets whenever you need to.


Your home alarm system can also protect your pets in the event of a fire or a carbon monoxide leak. With integrated devices like smoke detectors and CO detectors, you can rest assured that the fire department will come in the event of a fire. If your CO detector goes off, you can contact a friend or neighbor to take care of your pets and make sure they are safe.


3. Make it Easy to Work With Pet Care Professionals


With so many hours on the job, there is a good chance that you may not be available to feed your pet or to take your dog for a walk when it is needed. Maybe you can get a family member to help you out and take care of your pets, but you might need to hire a pet sitter or a dog walker.


With a smart security system for home, it is easier to provide access to your home so the pet sitter or walker can take care of your pet. You can give this person a temporary code to disarm the system when they come over. If you have smart locks, you don’t even need to provide the person with a physical key. You can provide them with a temporary access code that allows access at the scheduled time of the walk or feeding.


4. Protecting Businesses When They are Closed


A lot of businesses have to shut down as a result of orders from state and local governments for the Coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, your business location is still there and can even be subject to any number of crimes. This might lead some small business owners to want to go out every day to check on their businesses, but this could violate different restrictions, and it could increase your risk of Coronavirus infection.


If you have a business security camera systems installed, you can rest assured that your business is monitoring 24/7, and you can even keep an eye on things without having to leave the house. Just go to your laptop or open your phone, and you can check the wireless outdoor security cameras to see what is going on at your business location. You can even set up notifications to alert you to different types of alarm activity at your business.


5. Safer Home Deliveries


Many of us are staying home to avoid infection and to do our part to help flatten the COVID-19 infection rate curve. However, we still need food and other necessities. Going to the store is one option, but many of us are taking advantage of delivery services to get the things we need. While this does reduce our exposure to other people and public spaces, you do still have to deal with the delivery person.


This is another way your home security system can improve your safety. With a doorbell video camera, you can talk to the delivery person without having to open the door.


If you have already paid with your credit card, you can tell the delivery person to leave your goods by the door, and you will get them after they leave. If you have smart locks or a smart garage door opener, you could even provide the person with access that will allow them to drop the delivery off inside without you having to be at the door.


6. Helping Your Loved Ones


Many of us have loved ones who are in high-risk groups. With the continued spread of the Coronavirus in California, we worry about these people, and we want to go to see if they are ok. However, we know that it would increase the risk for you and for the person you are trying to protect.


If your loved one were to have a smart security system, you could get peace of mind knowing they are safe. As long as they allow you access to the system, you could check on them with the indoor home security cameras. You could also provide them with a wireless health emergency button. If they start to feel ill and need help, they need to push the button, and emergency medical services will dispatch.


Following CDC COVID-19 Recommendations and Guidelines


This is a difficult time for us all, but it is something we will get through. If you are concerned about the safety of your homes or businesses, contact Boyd & Associates today.


We are open and still providing alarm monitoring and security services to our Southern California homeowners and business clients, and we are following the recommendations of the CDC to maintain safe working practices for our staff and our clients. We look forward to continuing to support our communities in the safest way possible.