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The Best Tips for Holiday Home Safety

The holiday season is a time to be festive, but it’s also a time to consider home safety, especially regarding fires.

About 30% of home fires occur during December, January, and February, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), resulting in 38% of home fire deaths. The NFPA also found fires involving Christmas trees and seasonal décor cause twice as many injuries and five times more fatalities than the average home fire during the winter holidays. 1

Cooking, heating, and open flames, including those from fireplaces, contribute to the danger. Christmas trees, garlands, and other holiday decorations are also sources of fires. While fire isn’t the only hazard this time of year (falls, electrocutions, and poisonings are high on the list), there are fire safety tips that can protect your home, family, and guests.

Below are tips to avoid dangerous situations and ensure children and adults remain safe this holiday season.

Christmas Tree Safety

An average of 260 home fires per year start with Christmas trees. As a result of these fires, there are about 12 deaths and $16.4 million in property damage.2 To avoid your household becoming one more statistic:

  • Choose your tree wisely: If you purchase a live tree, make sure it is green, which means it’s fresh. The needles should not break when you bend them and shouldn’t easily come off the branches. An artificial tree doesn’t guarantee fire safety despite the absence of live trimmings. If you choose to purchase one, look for a label that states it is fire-resistant. Non-combustible materials will prevent it from easily burning.
  • Place your tree carefully: Set up your tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, portable heaters, and radiators. It should be out of the way and not block doorways, so there’s no danger of someone accidentally knocking the tree over. If the tree is live, fill the stand with water, as a dry one will be less flame-resistant. Also, cut a few inches off the trunk to expose fresh wood that will more effectively absorb water.
  • Be careful lighting and decorating your tree: Many Christmas tree fires have electrical To avoid a problem, inspect the lighting and check for cord damage. Any damaged lights and strands should be thrown away.

Turn off lights and decorations before bedtime, or install an automatic timer, and use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to lower the shock risk. To avoid an overload, don’t connect more than 70 strings of 50-bulb mini lights or 300-600 strings of LED lights (50 bulbs each) to one circuit; don’t overload extension cords either.

  • Properly dispose of the tree: Christmas trees dry out the longer they’re in your home and become more flammable over time. A lot of tree-related home fires occur in January for this reason. When a dried-out Christmas tree burns, a complete flashover can occur in less than a minute, as found during a burn test conducted by the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission.3

Holiday Outdoor Lighting

Whenever you install holiday lights outside your home:

  • Place them near only non-combustible, flame-resistant, and flame-retardant
  • Check the label to ensure the product is certified for outdoor use.
  • Avoid damaging a cord’s wire insulation (use hooks or insulated staples rather than nails or tacks).
  • Plug outdoor electrical cords and decorations into a GFCI circuit to avoid shocks from improperly grounded
  • Even if a light string has been used before, look for damage before plugging it in.

Candle Safety

Candles cause one-third of all home decoration fires each year, whether used for decoration or during outages. Most home candle fires happen on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. 4 Fortunately, they can be easily prevented.

  • Use flameless candles: They can be as decorative as traditional candles; except they operate on batteries. Just remember to turn them off when you leave the house.
  • Don’t let a candle burn unattended: Never leave the room with a candle burning, even for a few minutes. Blowing it out easily avoids a potentially hazardous

Also, exercise caution when using candles to decorate your home. They should be at least 12 inches from any flammable item. And, use a sturdy candle holder to prevent them from tipping over.

Holiday Entertaining

To ensure the safety of your family and guests, keep in mind the following tips for entertaining:

  • Test your smoke detectors and alarms before the holiday (make sure they can be heard in the bedroom, halls, and everywhere else in your home).
  • Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working.
  • Have a fire escape plan and inform visitors of what this plan is when they arrive.
  • Keep an eye on the kitchen to make sure cooking appliances don’t catch fire.
  • Store matches and lighters up high, locked in a cabinet, and out of reach of children.
  • Use large, deep ashtrays and check them often for burning materials.

Chimney & Fireplace Safety

Failure to clean chimneys is a major contributor to home heating fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. A professional chimney sweep can take care of the problem. It’s best to hire one that is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, who can thoroughly inspect and clean both your chimneys and fireplaces. They can check any wood-burning stoves as well.

You can also address a few safety factors on your own, such as:

  • Clearing debris from the fireplace: Logs and firewood quickly burn into ashes, which should be cleaned up to reduce flammable material that can collect in the chimney. Also, open the damper before any fire is lit.
  • Use safe materials: Avoid using painted or pressure-treated wood. All the fuel available in the fireplace should be consumed; otherwise, the fire will burn too slowly, and hazardous materials can build up in the chimney flue.
  • Set up your fire properly: By placing larger logs on the bottom, topped by a cross-layer of smaller ones and crushed newspaper and kindling, you can have a hotter, cleaner fire. This “top-down burn” method works by lighting the newspaper and letting the flame do the rest.

Don’t Forget About Home Security

Fire and electrical safety should be your top priorities this holiday season. Fire/smoke/carbon monoxide alarm systems are available for a complete home environment monitoring solution. But you also don’t want to skimp on security, as home break-ins and theft are on the rise this time of year too. Whether you’re entertaining at home or traveling, you can depend on Boyd & Associates for state-of-the-art security systems and 24/7 alarm monitoring services.

We’re trusted throughout Southern California and provide everything from simple touchscreen controls to video surveillance systems, door and window sensors, pet-friendly motion detectors, and window break detectors.

For advice on the best systems for your home this holiday season, and for professional installation, call Boyd & Associates at 888-919-3326 or contact us online today.

Sources:
  1. https://www.esfi.org/resource/holiday-data-and-statistics-359
  2. https://www.esfi.org/resource/holiday-data-and-statistics-359
  3. https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Seasonal-fire-causes/Winter-holidays/Holiday-fires-by-the-numbers
  4. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/holiday_infographic.pdf

Fire Alarm Systems: Major Benefits and Advantages

Fire alarms are among the greatest assets for homeowners.

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

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

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

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

Benefits of a Fire Alarm System

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

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

Other Advantages

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

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

Additional Resources

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

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

Contact Boyd & Associates

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

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

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

Bugle Summer 2019 Issue

How to Gift a Home Security System

How to Gift a Home Security System

Have you ever thought about buying a newlywed couple a home security system? It’s actually a popular gift and a commonly unthought of item to add to a registry. But what if you want to go further? What if you want to give a gift to a friend or family member? Here is some information you should know when it comes to gifting home security systems.

Read more

Increasing Your Home’s Security with These Tips

Increasing Your Home's Security with These Tips

All right, you’ve purchased an alarm system, you’ve set it up around your home just the way you want it, everything is turned on and working properly, and you’ve established a healthy security routine. What’s next? Read more

The Benefits of a Home Security System for the Elderly

The Benefits of a Home Security System for the Elderly

Home security systems are a good solution for the elderly, especially those who are staying at home or moving into an independent living area on your property. In many ways, today’s smart security systems are even more advantageous for the elderly than they are for busy families. Here are some of the most important benefits that your older family members can appreciate in their security systems. Read more

Silver Security Acquired by Boyd & Associates

Ventura, CA 2/1/18 — Boyd & Associates, the Ventura-based electronic security company that has provided total security for homes, businesses, and communities of every size and type since 1967, has acquired Silver Security in Westlake Village.

The move allows Boyd & Associates to expand its home alarm monitoring and home security service to the high-end residential homes and commercial businesses of Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Calabasas and Malibu.

Newly attained clients will now benefit from mobile app access to their security systems.

According to Boyd & Associates president Daniel Boyd, clients formerly served by Silver Security will now benefit from alarm verification services provided by Boyd & Associates, in addition to mobile app access to arm and disarm their security systems from the convenience of their smartphones. “They’ll also have the power of a large organization with 24/7 service,” Boyd says.

What To Do If You Are A Silver Security Customer

Silver Security clients will soon receive an informational packet outlining the details of their improved security service, along with a letter signed by Boyd and Silver Security owner Roy Silver. Silver will continue to operate in the security space as an employee of Boyd & Associates.

To inquire about the services of Boyd & Associates, please utilize the contact information below.

Contact:
Daniel Boyd, Boyd & Associates
(805) 650-3267
danboyd@boydsecurity.com

About Boyd & Associates

Boyd & Associates is one of the oldest, largest full-service private security firms in Southern California. Since 1967, the company has been providing security officers, patrol, alarm, and investigation services.

Protecting Your Home While Remodeling

While your home is being renovated, you have contractors and suppliers coming and going, which means your home is frequently unsecured. Is it being exposed to potential theft and vandalism? Even a minor renovation project such as, replacing a roof or adding a backyard patio, can increase your risk of exposure.

A home under renovation can be a gold mine to potential burglars! It is not just your personal property that burglars are interested in. Renovation sites have construction materials and tools that are very attractive too.

There are things you can do to protect your home, the job site, and any materials or tools so that your project does not end up costing you more than the labor itself.

How to Protect Your Home During a Renovation

By taking the proper steps, you can protect your home while it is being renovated – whether you are occupying the home or not. This includes:

  • Securing the Site and Valuable MaterialsLock your home before leaving it or instruct the foreman to lock up the site at the end of the day. Lock up building materials in a shed or use security sensors that will trigger if the materials are moved.
  • Use Video Monitoring Because construction sites have dozens of people coming and going, a traditional security system may not be enough. Instead, consider a video surveillance system. This will help you keep an eye on your property even if you are living off-site. If a theft does occur, you will have video evidence of the event and hopefully, you can help authorities catch the burglar.
  • Let Neighbors Know Discuss with your neighbors letting them know who is authorized to be on your property. Make them aware of the construction company’s name, their uniform, and what days they will be there working. That way, if your neighbor sees someone on a different day or notices unauthorized trespassers, they can notify you or the authorities immediately.

About Boyd & Associates

Contact your local Ventura alarm company and security experts for more tips on how you can protect a home renovation site. Our Southern California home security company offers no obligation consultations. We can come out to your home and recommend the right security products.

Catch Me If You Can: Inside The Mind Of A Burglar

A groundbreaking new study by a researcher at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte examines hundreds of convicted offenders to gain an unprecedented look inside the mind of a burglar, providing a remarkable insight into an intruder’s motivation and methods.

The survey, entitled “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective,” was conducted by Dr. Joseph B. Kuhns of the university’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.  Funding was provided by the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation (AIREF), which is the tax-exempt foundation that serves as the research arm for the electronic security industry with support from the Electronic Security Association (ESA).

What Deters The Typical Con Man

According to the study, a majority of burglars considered the presence of deterrents such as alarms, outdoor cameras and other surveillance equipment when choosing a potential residential or commercial target.  Approximately 83 percent of the offenders said they would attempt to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary, and 60 percent said they would seek an alternative target.  Among those who discovered the presence of an alarm while attempting a burglary, half reported they would discontinue the attempt, while another 31 percent said they would sometimes retreat.  Only 13 percent said they would always continue the attempt even after an alarm had been discovered.

Video Cameras Are A Must

The presence of video surveillance was also an effective deterrent.  Nearly 60 percent of the burglars said they would consider the presence of cameras or other video equipment when selecting a target and more than 40 percent said that would be a factor in prompting them to choose another target.

In addition to Kuhns at UNC Charlotte, other researchers are Dr. Kristie R. Blevins, Easter Kentucky University; and R. Seungmau “Zech” Lee, Western Illinois University.  For more information and to read the study in its entirety, go to www.AIREF.org.

About Boyd & Associates

Boyd & Associates is a premier full-service security firm with more than 600 associates serving homeowners, businesses, and gated communities throughout Southern California. And while the company has changed since 1967, it continues to stay true to its roots of striving for excellence for its customers and setting the standard for service within the security industry.

Home Fire Safety Tips For The Holidays

The holidays are a time to enjoy family and take a relaxing break from work. They’re also a time to be vigilant about the increased chance of a household fire. Read through these fire safety tips and review them with your family so that everyone stays safe during the holiday season.

Be Aware of Candles

Candles are a hallmark of the winter holidays. As pretty as they are, however, candles are responsible for two out of every five home decoration fires. Never place a candle next to a flammable object such as holiday decorations, and always blow out lit candles when you are not in the room or when you go to bed.

Keep Decorations Away from Heat

Half of holiday decoration fires occur because the decorations are too close to a heat source. Shop for flame-resistant and flame-retardant decorations, and hang them far away from sources of heat such as the heating vent, fireplace, and lights.

Hang Lights Safely

To avoid a fire hazard, do not hang outdoor lights indoors, and vice versa. If you notice any loose bulb connections or a patch of cord that is worn or broken on your lights, replace them. Read the instructions provided with your lights to be sure that you aren’t stringing too many lights together. When hanging the lights, use clips rather than nails to avoid damaging the cords.

Test Smoke Alarms

You should test your smoke alarms several times throughout the holiday season by pressing the built-in test button. If the smoke alarm chirps, it means it is running on low batteries that need to be replaced immediately.

About Boyd Security

Sometimes, following all of the advised fire safety tips is not enough to protect you from a fire. At Boyd & Associates, we offer advanced fire alarms that detect both heat and smoke and that alert us to call the local fire department on your behalf as soon as a fire is detected. Contact us today for a free consultation!