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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!

Boyd & Associates Helps Homeowners Rebuild

The massive Thomas fire, which has burned through Ventura County for over a week and entered Santa Barbara County over the weekend, has now scorched 234,200 acres and is 20% contained, fire officials said Tuesday.

So far, according to an LA Times article, 2.4 million gallons of water and 1.2 million gallons of fire retardant have been used to fight the Thomas fire, the fifth largest in state history.

Unfortunately, several of our alarm service customers have lost their homes in the recent destructive fires. Thankfully, to date, no one was hurt.

How We Can Help

To help in the recovery process, Boyd & Associates will respond immediately and at no cost install a workable security system in their temporary quarters.

When the owners decide to rebuild the cost of a new alarm system should figure into the insurance settlement. This is an opportune time to upgrade and take advantage of the many improvements now available for home security systems. Closed circuit television, remote access and home automation are just some of the improvements available. An expert from Boyd & Associates will assist you.

Dan Boyd Featured On Inside The 805 Radio Show

Donating to The Red Cross

Boyd & Associates will donate ten percent of the cost of the new alarm system to The American Red Cross. If you have any questions concerning this solution, please do not hesitate to contact us.

About Boyd & Associates

Since 1967 Boyd & Associates has built a strong reputation for being one of the best full-service security and alarm companies in Southern California. It is through our tireless pursuit of perfection and our unwavering commitment to the latest technologies that we have been able to exceed the expectations of industry leaders and homeowners throughout Southern California!

Practical Home Security Tips For The Holidays

Enjoying the season of giving is what the winter holidays are all about. However, because thieves know that homes during the holidays are filled with gifts, it should also be a time of vigilance. Take these precautions to ensure that your home is protected from a holiday break-in this winter.

Lock Up

Always close and lock the doors and windows of your home if you’re leaving, even if just for a short trip. The garage door is also a popular entrance point for thieves, so keep it closed even when you’re home. Don’t forget to lock the door to the garage in the event that thieves gain access to the garage. Be sure to never leave a spare key outside the house—thieves know where to find them.

Always Make it Look Like Someone is Home

Automate your lights in and around your home and put them on a schedule (using your Alarm.com App) to come on at certain times, for example at sunset. This will serve as an excellent deterrent whether you are away from home for a brief period of time or out of town on vacation. If you leave town, have the mail and newspaper picked up by a neighbor or request to have it stopped. You may even want to hire a house sitter for extra protection.

Store Valuables in a Safe

Jewelry and other small objects of great value should be kept inside of a safe. If you don’t want to have a safe inside of the home, use your bank’s safety deposit box to keep items you don’t regularly need.

Invest in a Quality Home Security System

Nothing will deter a thief like a cutting-edge, professionally installed home security system. A high-quality system should include motion detection triggers, video surveillance, and central monitoring features.

About Boyd & Associates

Since 1967, Boyd & Associates has been providing total security for homes, businesses, and communities of every size and type. We combine advanced systems, responsive service and rigorously trained security teams to create a strong, nimble and formidable force that deters, detects and responds – for total security.

 

How Light and Sound Help to Deter Amateur Buglers

In preventing a burglary at your home, value the deterrent effect of light and sound equally.

Leaving lights on in strategic areas is important in giving your home the lived-in look. But of equal importance is arranging to have a television or a radio turned on at dinner time and off at midnight. This can be done with inexpensive timers.In other words, make the home look as normally would when occupied.

It’s Ok To Keep The TV On Sometimes

Remember, the potential burglar is probably living within a five-minute walk of your home. If this person hears a television or radio playing, the natural assumption is that someone is home, and that is exactly the image you are striving for.

Make Them Think You Are Home, When You’re Not

Low cost, low voltage, outdoor decorative lights are also a great deterrent. A set of six yard lights with a timer, transformer and wire can be easily installed yourself.

A burglar, intent on preying upon the residences of Southern California has only to walk down a street at night and look around to pick his target. Can you truly imagine him picking a well-lighted yard to crawl into as opposed to the freedom of walking into a darkened yard surrounding a house with no evidence of being occupied? It strains credulity, doesn’t it?

Pro Burglars vs. Amateur Burglars

Now, the skeptics are going to reply that a professional burglar won’t be deterred by these cosmetic devices. That may be true, but the amateur burglar is the one committing most of the burglaries in our city. Low-cost means of making your home a tougher target for crimes might force the intruder elsewhere.

I know a man who had a small manufacturing plant in a very isolated area far from any police patrol or alarm company. He kept a flock of geese inside the warehouse. The racket sent up by the fowl when an intruder came within one hundred yards was deafening.

Low Tech & High Tech: A Great Combination

Certainly, if you have expensive jewelry or a fabulous art collection in your home, I would suggest you call a professional security consultant and combine sophisticated intrusion alarm system with greatly beefed-up lights, locks and fences. In the meantime, anything you can do to cut down the odds of being the target of a burglar will be well worth the effort.

About Boyd & Associates

Since 1967, Boyd & Associates has been providing total security for homes, businesses, and communities of every size and type. We combine advanced systems, responsive service and rigorously trained security teams to create a strong, nimble and formidable force that deters, detects and responds – for total security.

Stay Safe This Halloween: 12 Essential Tips For The Big Night Out

Although children look forward to tricks, treats, and ghoulish garb, Halloween can be fraught with fright for parents, with candy given to their kids by strangers and a legion of masked and costumed trick-or-treaters at the door. However, following a few safety tips can ensure safe fun for kids and candy-givers alike.

The activities below focus on Halloween, which is celebrated in the last week of October. The efforts throughout the month generate enthusiasm for crime prevention so it can grow stronger and become more widespread.

To ensure that trick-or-treaters, you, and your house stay safe, remember the following tips.

  • Clear your yard and sidewalk of any obstacles or decorations that may be hard to see in the dark, lest someone go bump in the night.
  • Keep your house well lighted, both inside and out; you wouldn’t want to miss any particularly good costumes, would you?
  • Ask your Neighborhood Watch or local citizen’s group to haunt (patrol) your community.
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your police or sheriff’s department.

To make sure even the scariest costumes are safe, keep the following in mind when buying or designing one.

  • Try makeup instead of masks; it’s more comfortable and doesn’t obstruct vision the way masks can.
  • Check to ensure that costumes are flame-retardant so that young ones are safe around jack-o’-lanterns, candles, and other flames.
  • Keep costumes short to ensure that the only trip taken is the one around the neighborhood.
  • Look for brightly colored costumes, attach reflector strips to costumes and bags, and remind trick-or-treaters to carry glow sticks and flashlights.
  • If a costume involves any sort of fake weapon, make sure that it is made of a flexible material such as cardboard or foam. Or, avoid the whole problem of weapons by challenging your child to design a costume that is scary without one.

Keep in mind the next few tips to make sure your trick-or-treater’s night in the neighborhood will be safe and fun.

  • Older kids should trick-or-treat in groups; kids walking around alone are never as safe as those in groups, and especially not at night. Younger kids should be accompanied by a parent or trusted neighbor.
  • Review the route for trick-or-treating beforehand and set a time set when kids should be home. Also, have a plan if your child gets separated from his or her friends or from you.
  • Remind your children not to enter strange houses or cars.

After a successful and safe night around the neighborhood, remember that the treats still need scrutiny before anyone eats them.

  • Remind your children not to eat treats until they’ve come home. To help ensure this, feed them a meal or a substantial snack before they go out.
  • Check all treats at home in a well-lighted place. Be especially wary of anything that is not wrapped by the factory or that is no longer sealed.
  • Remind kids not to eat everything at once, lest they be green even without the makeup.

About Boyd & Associates

Since 1967, Boyd & Associates has been providing total security for homes, businesses and communities of every size and type. We combine advanced systems, responsive service and rigorously trained security teams to create a strong, nimble and formidable force that deters, detects and responds – for total security.

6 Crime Fighting Tips For The Elderly

Older people and their families worry about crime, and with good reason. Though the elderly are less likely to be victims of crime than teenagers and young adults, the number of crimes against older people is hard to ignore. Each year, about two million older people become crime victims.

The elderly are targets for robbery, personal and car theft, and burglary. Older people are more likely than younger victims to face attackers who are strangers. They are more often attacked at or near their homes. Chances are that an older victim may be more seriously hurt than a younger person.

It isn’t only strangers who hurt older people. Sometimes, family members, friends, or caretakers may physically, mentally, or financially abuse older people through neglect, violence, or by stealing money or property.

Even though there are risks, do not let a fear of crime stop you from enjoying life. There are things you can do to be safer. Be careful and be aware of what goes on around you.

You can fight crime. The best thing you can do at home is to lock your doors and windows. You can also protect yourself at home in other ways:

  • Always try to see who’s there before opening your door. Look through a peephole or a safe window. Ask any stranger to tell you his or her name and to show proof that he or she is from the identified company or group. Remember, it is okay to keep the door locked if you are uneasy.
  • Make sure that locks, doors, and windows are strong and cannot be broken easily. A good alarm system can help. Many police departments will send an officer to your home to suggest changes that could improve your security.
  • Mark valuable property by engraving an identification number on it, such as your driver’s license number. Make a list of expensive items such as jewelry or silver. Take a picture of the valuable items and store the details in a safe place like a bank safety deposit box.

On the street, stay alert at all times, even in your own neighborhood and at your own door. Walk with a friend. Try to stay away from places where crimes happen, such as dark parking lots or alleys. You can also:

  • Have monthly pension or Social Security checks sent direct-deposit, right to the bank. If you visit the bank often, vary the time of day you go.
  • Don’t carry a lot of cash. Try not to carry a purse. Put your money, credit cards, or wallet in an inside pocket. If you are stopped by a robber, hand over any cash you have.
  • Don’t dress in a flashy way. Leave good jewelry, furs, and other valuables in a safe place to avoid tempting would-be robbers.

You can help your friends and neighbors by reporting crime when it happens. Police say that more than half of all crimes go unreported. If you don’t report a crime, because of embarrassment or fear, the criminals stay on the streets.

If you are the victim of a crime, there is help. Contact the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), 1757 Park Rd., NW, Washington, D.C. 20010. NOVA’s 24 hour hotline is 1-800-TRY-NOVA.

About Boyd Security

Boyd & Associates is a premier full-service security firm headquartered in Ventura, CA with more than 600 associates serving homeowners, businesses, and gated communities throughout Southern California.

Should I Use A Fake Security Sign To Protect My Home

A burglary happens every 15 seconds somewhere in the United States. In nearly every burglary, the criminal makes a series of assessments to decide whether robbing a home is worth the risk. Sometimes a simple security sign or sticker is enough to deter a would-be thief; but not always. Criminals are savvy and if they feel it is worth the effort, they will make further evaluations to see if there is indeed a system, and what it would take to get past it.

One Layer of Deterrence

Criminals look for a sure thing. If they think that the risk is not worth the reward, they move on. For this reason, displaying security signs and window decals is a great first step in crime prevention. They are however, only one step in the many it takes in protecting your home.

Looking For Signs

Criminals do considerable research before committing a crime. Even when a home has security stickers, the criminal may still spend some time and effort looking for signs of an active security system. They may knock at your door asking for directions to see if you have a keypad visible from the door, or look for mirrors that could give them a better view. Criminals also watch your comings and goings and look for signs of home automation that would indicate the use of a comprehensive alarm system.

Criminals are savvy and if they feel it is worth the effort, they will make further evaluations to see if there is indeed a system, and what it would take to get past it.

The Pitfalls of Fake Signs

Fake security signs seem like a great, inexpensive deterrent against crime, but are they? Chances are pretty good that the criminal has already seen the fake sign and has already determined its validity. Criminals simply Google the name of the company or compare the sign to others online and discover quickly that it is not real. Remember, if you found a place to buy the sign, they can find the same place just as easily. In the event of a robbery, it is not a very economical choice at all.

Home Security Systems and Signage are the Best Option

According to a comprehensive 5 year study conducted by Rutgers University, homes with security systems are 60% less likely to be burglarized, and in the event of a burglary, homeowners end up losing $2000 less than a similar home without security.

The best security is layered security where visual deterrents work alongside physical deterrents. If you have any questions about how to create the most effective layered security, give us a call today!

Why You Need To Register Your CCTV with the Police

No, this isn’t so police can view the images from the cameras whenever they want. It’s so they can have a record of where cameras are and what they are viewing so that if there is ever a need, they can request footage to aid in the investigation.

Boyd & Associates, police departments all around California and our customers are partnering to catch and even deter criminals in a way that never existed in the old days.

A few months ago, there was a stabbing outside a commercial building where we had installed HD cameras and a NVR (network video recorder). The business had registered the system with the local police department. When detectives came calling, they knew that there were cameras covering the area. A perfect view of the license plate on the getaway car allowed the police to find the assailant.

Ask your local police department if they have a program. Here is what some departments are saying.

“Video surveillance is one of the best methods to apprehend criminals and convict suspects in the act of committing a crime. Installing video surveillance is a great example of community-police partnerships and is highly valued as a police agency serving our community.”

About Boyd & Associates

Boyd & Associates is committed to partnerships with local police departments. That commitment, coupled with our expertise, community involvement and the service we provide means total security.