How to Effectively Place Motion Sensors in Your Home

Outside of the physical structures of your home, motion sensors are often the first line of defense for your security system. But how does a motion sensor work? Basically, motion sensors trigger alarms and direct the home security feed to wherever the alarm was triggered. This is usually based on motion or intrusion (hence the name!)

Taking the time to plan out motion sensor placement for your home is so important. If your motion sensors are not in locations where they work the most effectively, your entire system may be flawed. Check out these helpful tips for motion sensor placements:

The most effective motion sensor placements

Motion sensors work to detect movement in an area where there should not be. When thinking of the best placements for your motion sensors, consider important access points and any potential vulnerabilities in your home or business that an intruder might exploit.

Corner spaces

Put a motion sensor in the corner of each room, aimed toward the doorway. That way, if the door opens or someone passes through, the sensor will detect the motion and set off the alarm.

Near valuables

What exactly are you looking to protect with your motion sensors and security system? Place motion sensors directly at your most valuable items. Or, in the case of a small business, consider where you keep or display any important products or business profits. No one will be able to get close to them without you knowing.

Second floor bedrooms

Even if you feel as though a burglar could not enter the house through the second floor, it is a good idea to keep a motion sensor near the bedrooms in your home. As a rule of thumb, all entry points should be accounted for. This way you will be alerted if anyone approaches while you’re asleep.

Basements

It never hurts to be extra careful. Especially if there are any access points or vulnerabilities from the basement. Having several sensors down in that area is a great idea. If you have lots of clutter, make sure they are placed in an area where they won’t be blocked. Also consider installing one near the staircase leading upstairs to the main levels of your home or business.

Ceilings

When an intruder enters the home, they may already be looking for motion detectors. A great place they would not immediately look is the ceiling. Sensors work on any angle, so this is a great way to keep a thief from easily avoiding detectors. And these days, sensors are made to fit discreetly wherever you place them. So, they won’t be an eyesore in your home either.

Within decorations

A great way to hide motion sensors is by making them part of your household decor. Hide them amongst photos and knickknacks so they are not easily spotted by intruders. Plus, they won’t detract from your home’s look and feel.

The least effective motion sensor placements

Motion sensors are designed to detect motion, that means any kind of motion. Placing your motion sensors in certain areas can not only detract from the functionality of your system, but it can also cause false alarm triggers. Avoid placing motion sensors in the following locations:

Near windows

This is a bad location for a few reasons. The first is that heat activated motion sensors can be confused by direct sunlight, which most windows receive a lot of! The second is that the sensor works best when a burglar walks parallel to them rather than straight ahead. Finally, you would not want a false alarm trigger from every single passerby, or even just an innocent visit from the neighborhood cat.

Near heat sources

A heat source could potentially create a false alarm, so it is a good idea to keep motion sensors away from hot air vents and radiators. Any change in infrared heat could trigger the alarm. Plus, extended exposure to high temperatures could potentially damage your equipment as well.

For more security tips and solutions, stick with Boyd & Associates

Ensure that your security system is working to its full potential by strategically installing the motion sensors that are included with it.

And, if you are 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 are ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what is next.

How Burglars Use Social Media

Social media can tell burglars what you own, where you live, and when you’ll be away. Check out the infograph below for more information on how burglars use social media. For more information on protecting yourself with home security, call Boyd & Associates and take the first step to keeping your home and family safe.

 

 

Hearing Bumps in the Night? Here’s What to Do

Bump. You definitely heard it this time. It’s 2:00 AM and everyone should be asleep. Is your mind playing tricks, is it an intruder or, some of those roaring Santa Ana winds?

It is the season for gusty winds. However, mysterious bumps in the night haunt us year-round. According to research, we experience them four times a year on average. We react in different ways: 44% of us have quietly snuck out of bed to investigate a noise, while 41% have grabbed an object and gone to confront the real or imagined intruder. One in five men have sent their partner to investigate.

Not loving any of these solutions? Neither are we. Try these easy ways to restore your peace of mind instead.

1: Indoor video

If stalking through your shadowy house with a golf club (or a clove of garlic) isn’t your thing, consider Boyd & Associates powered indoor video cameras instead.

When a bump in the night wakes you up, pull up your app’s live video feeds for a room-by-room view of everything downstairs. Our push-to-talk technology lets you broadcast your voice through many of our latest cameras.

2: Smarter outdoor lighting

What about the bump you just heard outside your window. You know it was real because your motion-triggered lights turned on. But is it a prowler, or just a possum?

With Boyd & Associates video analytics, you would know. It is a state-of-the-art home security technology that can spot the difference between people, animals and vehicles, and you can use it to automate your outdoor lights. If it’s a person outside: lights on. If it is an animal, no lights. You would also get custom video alerts telling you what type of visitor you have: human, or animal.

3: Professionally monitored security

A real, human intruder is no joke. This is why professional monitoring is included with every Boyd & Associates powered security system.

In the event of a break-in while your system is armed, Boyd & Associates alerts our 24/7 monitoring station, where security professionals are on hand to dial 911 on your behalf. You can also use your BoydSMS alerts to tell your monitoring station that you need help immediately.

For total protection and peace of mind, there’s nothing smarter—especially at 2.00 AM.

Are bumps in the night giving you the chills?

You’ll rest easier with smart home security powered by Boyd & Associates. Professionally installed and monitored, and customized to your home and needs, it’s the all-in-one way to stay protected, connected and in control. If you have questions about the security of your home, give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

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.

 

 

 

 

Five Smart Home Security Tips for a Worry-Free Holiday Season

 

Do you feel that your home is more attractive to criminals during the holidays?

Two-thirds of homeowners do, according to recent research. After all, with valuable package deliveries, brightly-lit windows and the hustle and bustle of holiday travel, it’s easy to make home security mistakes—or to worry about them.

If you’re concerned about holiday security and looking to step up your crime prevention game for the season, start with these smarter home security tips.

1: It’s easier than you think to deter a burglar.

Have you ever wondered if your home security system will really keep a burglar away? According to the experts (a panel of actual burglars), it will. 83 percent of burglars look for them, and 60 percent say they’ll go elsewhere if they spot one.

This means that it pays to make your security system visible. You can do this by adding smart outdoor security cameras, placing stickers and yard signs where they’re easily spotted, or automating your outdoor lights to put prowlers in the spotlight.

Don’t have any of these features? It might be time for a home security upgrade from Boyd & Associates

2: Avoid leaving gifts out for package thieves.

Not all holiday crime involves breaking and entering. With more Americans shopping for gifts online every year, the holidays have become prime time for package theft.

If you’re concerned about your gifts falling into the hands of a porch pirate, it’s worth investing in a home security setup that includes a doorbell camera and smart lock. This gives you the ability to secure any package delivery in seconds, using only your phone. It’s an easier alternative to staying home for valuable deliveries, and far smarter than leaving things to chance.

3: Safeguard against security mistakes when you travel.

Half of homeowners worry more about home security when they travel—and with good reason. The hustle and bustle of a holiday road trip leaves plenty of room for security mistakes like leaving your garage open or front door unlocked, or forgetting to turn your alarm on.

If you own a modern security system, be sure to set up a few smartphone alerts and reminders before you travel this year. You’ll know if you forget anything essential, and you’ll often be able to fix the problem without having to return home.

4: Connect with your neighbors for peace of mind.

Not every holiday security safeguard needs to be hi-tech. Teaming up with your neighbors is a simple and effective way to stay safe and worry less over the holidays. It’s also one of the most popular home security measures: this year, more than half of US homeowners will keep an eye on their neighbors’ homes when they travel.

If you’re teaming up with your neighbors this year, consider trading in your spare keys for a smart lock. While you may not be among the 20% of homeowners who lost their house keys this year, a smart lock with temporary user codes is worth it to ensure that no one else loses them for you.

5: Think beyond the holidays for long-term protection.

Not all home security technology is the same. If you’re looking for year-round, whole-home protection, it’s worth doing some research before hopping online to buy a standalone doorbell camera as a quick fix. It’ll cover your front door, but not much else.

A complete smart  security system gives you many more ways keep your home and family safe–such as professional monitoring for emergencies, connected smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for safety, and safeguards like unexpected activity alerts and “crash and smash” protection.

For more information on options to upgrade or add on a new system, contact Boyd & Associates today!

Home Security Holiday Tips: Smart Lights, Locks And Automation

The holiday season is upon us, which means your neighborhood might be undergoing its annual winter wonderland transformation. But before you go full Clark Griswold with your seasonal lights and home decorations, consider a few of our home security holiday tips. When it comes to seasonal decorations, some simple smart home automation tweaks can play a huge role in taking your festive scenery to the next level, while keeping friends and loved ones safe in the process!

SYNC YOUR HOLIDAY DECORATIONS WITH SMART PLUGS

These days holiday decorations rarely include just lights. From big inflatable lawn decorations, holiday-themed spotlights and kaleidoscope filters, it’s not uncommon to have a handful of separate wired connections running across your lawn. Simplify things a bit with outdoor smart plugs. Not only will you better protect any exposed wiring (most outdoor smart plugs offer waterproof protection), but you’ll add all of your electronic decorations to your smart home grid.

With smart plugs, you can turn any device into a smart device. They plug directly into your outlets, almost like a power strip, which you’ll then plug any appliances directly to as well. From there, almost any appliance or device can be added to your automation network. And you’ll be able to power on and off remotely using commands via your automation app. Now you can safely and quickly power up your entire holiday scene all at once with a simple tap on your smart device.

SMART LIGHT BULBS ADD EVEN MORE OPTIONS 

Can’t decide on specific colors for your holiday light scene? No problem! Simply swap all of your old, traditional lights for smart bulbs (odds are you have plenty of burn-outs anyways!). Smart bulbs sync up with your home automation network. Which allows you to control brightness and in most cases, select between thousands of colors. Plus with LED smart lights, you’ll use much less energy than traditional halogen and incandescent light bulbs.

Your home holiday scene can look a little different every night with smart string lighting. Capture the classic holiday feel with traditional colors like red and green. Or set the stage with soft white lighting to reflect the first snowfall of the year. No matter what you’re feeling in the moment, you can always add a new layer of flare to your light decorations with smart bulbs.

SMART LOCKS MAKE HOLIDAY VISITS SIMPLE AND SAFE 

Home automation during the holidays goes far beyond the fun and convenience of syncing your lights and decorations. While this year may look slightly different in terms of travel plans and hosting guests, the holidays are usually a time for large gatherings under the same roof. And with so many people potentially going in and out of your home, it’s important for safety and security to remain a top priority.

Keyless smart locks enable anyone to easily come and go securely. You can even enable temporary codes for family members. That way you can allow access to your home for a short time, without sacrificing your long term security. And if you’re leaving the house for the holidays and you have pets or are expecting holiday packages to arrive, temporary smart lock codes make it possible for a trusted friend or family to stop by your home for a quick check-in (and ensure they lock up behind them.)

HOLIDAY HOME AUTOMATION – MUCH MORE THAN TIMERS!

It might be tempting to dismiss a lot of smart home features as unnecessary upgrades. Especially since light timers, particularly around the holidays, aren’t exactly a new innovation. But home automation adds much more than simple convenience – it completely upgrades every aspect of your home living and decorations.

Additional home automation bonuses during the holidays include: 

  • Syncing your lights and decorations with holiday-themed music and noises (put those smart speakers to work!)
  • Set the perfect holiday scene inside and out with smart light bulbs everywhere
  • Hitting the road? Set your thermostat from anywhere to protect your pipes
  • Double check your door locks remotely
  • Keep your outdoor lighting consistent to ward off any potential intruders

Smart home automation can add completely new layers of integration to your holiday decoration set-ups. Don’t be afraid to explore your options and experiment a bit. If done correctly, home automation should take a bulk of the stress out of your holiday experience!

FOR MORE SMART HOME SECURITY HOLIDAY TIPS, STICK WITH BOYD & ASSOCIATES SECURITY

If you’re looking for more ways to keep your family safe, check out our home 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!

 

 

 

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.