September is Baby Safety Month

Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe

 September is that wonderful time of year when the weather starts to cool, and we enjoy the outdoors. It is also Baby Safety Month – a good time for parents, grandparents, and caregivers to brush up on babyproofing and safety tips.  

There is so much to consider – so we’re posting a few helpful hints to keep in mind while checking out your living space.

          Safety Straps:  You might be surprised by the number of accidents that children can have with furniture — because from your child’s perspective, TVs, dressers, and bookshelves look great for climbing. If these items tip over, they can hurt children. To avoid mishaps, install furniture safety straps so you’ll know things are stable no matter who or what attempts to climb them.

          Kitchen Awareness:  Review cooking habits/procedures with everyone who prepares food in the kitchen. Some things to remember are:

  • Toddlers love exploring the kitchen! Small children might see their parents switching a burner on or off and want to try it. Keep your stovetop safe by putting a baby-safe cover over the knobs to prevent little hands from turning on hot surfaces.
  • Always turn pot handles towards the back of the stove.
  • To lessen the chance of accidents, use the back burners when cooking. This keeps the hot food further away from the reach of children.
  • Check the childproof latches on your cupboards and replace any that are not functioning properly.

Yard, Deck Pool, and Hot Tub Safety

  • Have alarms on all doors and entryways leading from the house to the yard, deck, patio, or pool area.
  • Consider having a locking 5-foot fence or a safety cover for your pool and/or hot tub.
  • Install safety gates to control when and where your child can explore. If you already have them, check safety gates and play yards to make sure they are in good condition. Stay away from or replace older accordion-style safety gates as they can be a strangulation hazard.
  • Check and organize your yard regularly. Make sure there is no equipment lying around such as trimmers, lawnmowers, hoses, etc. that could cause injury to your children.

Blinds and Draperies

          Double-check the cords on your blinds and draperies and ensure they are tied up or cut off and kept out of your child’s reach. The loop of the cord should break apart if you slide your hand between the two cords so there is no possibility of getting caught or tangled in it. For ease of maintenance, you can use a cord wrap – purchase at your local home improvement store – to keep them neatly coiled and tucked out of the reach of your child.

Fire Safety

  • Write up a fire escape plan for your home and share the plan with everyone in the family so they know what to do.
  • Check all fire safety equipment:
    • Are the smoke alarms working?
    • Secur-Tek system’s monitor installed smoke and CO detectors at all times to help keep your family safe.
    • Make sure fire extinguishers are full and everyone knows how to use them.
    • Make sure flashlights are strategically placed with extra batteries and that everyone in the family knows where they are.
  • Teach your kids the stop, drop, and roll technique just in case their clothes catch on fire.
  • Is your children’s sleepwear fire retardant? Check labels to be sure.

Cameras and Remote Monitoring:

          If you have a remote camera or monitoring system in your child’s room, you will want to check the camera positioning to ensure the entire space can be monitored with no blind spots.

          If you do not have a camera or remoting monitoring system, you may want to consider installing one. It is an easy way to keep an eye on your children and add to your peace of mind as you’re able to check on them at any time. At Secur-Tek, Inc., our team can place cameras in strategic locations, kids rooms, kitchen, yard, driveway, deck, pool areas and connect remote access to receive real-time alerts and view activity in the interior or exterior of your home through your mobile phone, tablet, PC or your TV.  If you install a camera system yourself remember to change the default password to minimize unauthorized viewing of your cameras.

CPR and Basic First Aid:

Last, but potentially most important – take the time to feel comfortable knowing and applying CPR and basic first aid techniques. If you do not, you can enroll in an infant/child CPR and first aid certification class. They are easy to find online from local organizations — and fun to do while giving you the competence and confidence to effectively handle those little boo-boos or accidents that children seem to get themselves into.

We hope these few reminders will help you and your family have a safe and secure fall!

If you have any questions concerning your family’s security system, video/camera monitoring, pool safety systems, or yard security – please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Supporting Senior Citizens through the Pandemic

 

The current pandemic can create situations where seniors and their loved ones will need to make extra efforts to avoid loneliness.

Seniors should prepare to be social distancing for the long haul, according to Dr. Leonard Kirschner, a licensed M.D. and the past President of AARP Arizona. “This virus will be with us for a long time, this pandemic will run its course for at least 18 months.”

Knowing this, older people and their loved ones can plan to take actions to safely avoid succumbing to anxiety and depression.

 Family, Friends, and support groups can:

  • Make calls
  • Send cards and letters
  • Encourage and facilitate exercise

Encourage and follow-up with your loved ones on their exercise.

  • Be interested, listen and question how they feel. The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend engaging in 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week.
  • Keeping track of the little things like getting up during every commercial on TV and doing an active chore, marching in place, or doing a set of stretches can work wonders for body and mind.
  • When possible, encourage getting outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, feeling the sunshine, looking at nature or going for a walk – this gives most seniors a tremendous boost.

However, sometimes we have to remind and encourage older adults to exercise with caution and think safety. Remember to consult a physician before starting an exercise program. Here are a few tips to emphasize:

  • Listen to your body. Always warm up before exercising and cool down afterward. You should be exercising at a level that allows you to talk, but not sing.
  • Be aware of your environment. Make sure you are in reach of a counter, the back of a couch, or a sturdy chair that is pushed up against a wall in case you lose your balance and need to hold on to something or need to sit.
  • Hydrate. Drink water before, during, and after exercising, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Choose clothing that is made for the type of activity you want to do. Shoes, long sleeved shirts, hats etc. should work with the activity, sun intensity and the temperature of your environment.

Use technology to enhance their day

This could be as simple as sending them a Zoom link to a yoga class, church meetings or art classes that they may find enjoyable. It’s a good idea to talk your senior through the first few log-ins and insuring their comfort level with the technology and process.

Security systems have options that can make checking in at the right time easier. For example, cameras with remote monitoring can be installed in the kitchen or key hallways so you can see when the senior is up. In addition, sensors can be added on key cabinets or the medicine drawer to let a family member know they’ve taken their medicine. These electronic assists can be customized to help seniors — and you — feel safer, secure, and connected.

So during these strange and isolated times, taking a little extra effort to plan a routine of communication, connection and security for your parents and older relatives can really have a positive impact on their mental as well as physical well-being.

For more information on technology for seniors, please contact us at: 919-387-1800 or use the form below.                    

7 Safety Tips for Seniors

Family, home, and property are important to everyone. As we get older, sometimes it becomes difficult to feel confident that we can protect what’s dear to us. Whether due to mobility, health or a feeling of vulnerability, Senior Citizens can be safer and feel more confident to handle unforeseen circumstances if they follow these seven tips

Always check your home for signs of intrusion, before entering. If you notice your bushes/flowers trampled around the windows, a broken window, open door, or your garage door up – back away and call the police, let them check out the premises before you enter. They will be happy to help.

Furnish your home with doors constructed of metal or solid wood with a peephole so you can see out. Also, ensure your doors have deadbolts and protective security glass with privacy film if there is decorative glass near the door.

Add security film to large windows: Plexiglass or security film can make it more difficult for burglars to break-in. They are safer and often deter burglars from using windows as an entry point.

Never answer the door if you can’t see who is there. Never feel pressured to answer the door as they will leave a message or call if it is important. And always ask to see an ID BEFORE opening the door. For burglaries, nothing is easier than pushing right through an open door. Simply opening your door a crack to speak to a person on the other side may be all they need to get in and ransack your home and injure those inside.

Always keep a phone close by and make sure you have 911 on speed dial. When driving up to your home, answering the door, in the bathroom or moving from room to room, always have a phone nearby. If you hear a noise or feel threatened, stay put and immediately call 911 – speak loudly so potential intruders can hear you calling for help.

Leave valuable items out of sight. Never leave items such as laptops, tablets, purse/wallet, jewelry, or checkbooks where they can be easily seen from a window or door. Put them out of sight when answering the door. Keep them in a closet safe or fireproof lockbox when you are not using them. 

Additionally – consider an automated home security system customized for your needs. It is not expensive and can save your life, or at minimum ease your mind and keep you connected. You’ll want to choose the features that fit your situation. Here are some helpful options to consider:

  • Alert necklace or bracelet: In an emergency, your phone or alarm keypad may be too far away to reach safely and quickly. Using an alert necklace or bracelet, you can call for help without moving from where you are.
  • Medical alert:  Seniors can get help right away using an alert necklace or bracelet if they fall or have another serious medical incident rather than waiting to be found or struggling to reach a phone.
  • Automation and sensors: Getting an automated system means you can program the thermostat settings, lights and door locks on a timed schedule, relieving seniors from having to remember or move around the home multiple times a day to do these routine tasks. 
  • With remote access, active Seniors can check on their property (for example, to check if they remembered to close the garage door) or get alerts when something goes awry.
  • A smart video doorbell camera allows you to see, hear, and speak to the visitor at your door. Your exposure is minimized because you can have a conversation remotely without opening the door. Request the individual leave the package or information and after they leave at your convenience you can retrieve it.

Remote automation can also be set-up so caregivers, family members or security/medical personnel can monitor the activities and safety of Seniors at home. For example, a sensor on the medicine cabinet or a camera in the kitchen could be an unobtrusive way for the caregiver to remotely monitor key  activities.

 

At Secur-Tek, we take the time to understand your needs and help you design the system that is right for you. We also take the time to show you how it works until you are comfortable and confident in how it operates.

Thank you for reading these tips. If you are a Senior Citizen or are caring for elderly parents or relatives, please give us a call at (919)387-1800 so we can discuss how we can help!

October is Fire Safety Month – Safety Tips for You and Your Family

In October of 1871, The Great Chicago fire devastated much of that city, killing 300 people and leaving over 100,000 homeless. In remembrance of that horrific event, October was designated as Fire Prevention Month. During this month, fire departments across the country hold educational events focused on fire and home safety. The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2019 campaign for Fire Prevention Month is “Not Every Hero Wears A Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape.” 

To support this effort, our blog this month offers tips to help keep you and your family safe:

1) Install/check your smoke alarm:

If you don’t have a smoke alarm, install one. If you have one, make sure it is maintained and working properly.

Test your smoke alarms at least once a month by pressing the test button to be sure the alarm is working.

Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside, call 911, and stay outside.

A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install alarms on every level of the home and in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area

Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all should sound.

Facts about Smoke alarms: 

Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with either no smoke alarms (40%) or no working smoke alarms (17%). 

The death rate from reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms (12.3 deaths vs. 5.7 deaths per 1,000 fires).

In fires where smoke alarms were present but did not operate, 43% of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. 

Dead batteries caused one-quarter (25%) of the smoke alarm failures.

2)    Make an Escape Plan: 

In the event of a home safety emergency, every second counts. According to the National Fire Protection Association, you may have less than two minutes to escape after your smoke alarms sound. That’s why it’s important to be prepared by planning and practicing an escape route with your family. By planning, practicing and repeating your emergency exit plan, you can help ensure a safe escape.

Here’s what to do:

Walk through your home with your family and identify multiple exits out of each room in the house. If windows or doors are blocked, clear them so they can be easily accessed and opened.

 For two-story houses, consider equipping bedrooms with escape ladders to provide additional, safe exits. If you need and escape ladder, Secur-Tek has these in stock.

 Dedicate someone to assists small children or infants out of the home.

 Assign a meeting spot outside that is a safe distance away from your house like the mailbox, tree or neighbor’s house.

 Ensure your street address is clearly visible on your home or mailbox for first responders.

 If you have children, teach them how to call 9-1-1 once outside at your meeting spot and help them memorize your home address.

 Once you have your escape plan, it’s time to practice. The NFPA recommends executing your escape plan twice a year, as well as at night.

To get started, download this home escape plan worksheet.

3)  Place properly functioning Fire Extinguishers strategically placed around your residence.

Fire extinguishers should be available on every level of the home and in areas like the kitchen and garage. Store them in accessible places or mount them on the wall for easy access in the event of any emergency. Be sure to choose the right fire extinguisher for your home’s needs.
It is important for the whole family to understand how a fire extinguisher works, so be sure to read the instructions carefully and thoroughly with them.

When using a fire extinguisher remember the PASS technique:

 P – Pull the pin

A – Aim directly at the source of the fire 

S – Squeeze the lever slowly and smoothly to get the flow even and aimed where you need it

S – Swipe back and forth to contain and eliminate all burning fuel.

4) More tips:

Kitchen fires caused by unattended cooking are a major cause of fires in Apex and throughout the country. Keep an eye on anything that you’re cooking.  Click here for kitchen safety tips.

Ensure your fireplace screen covers the entire fireplace.

Have proper ventilation for heaters and other small appliances.

Do not smoke in bed.

Use the correct size fuses.

Don’t use worn-out electrical wiring or run it under rugs or out windows or doors.

Clear refuse away — the less clutter, the less fuel a fire has to feed on.

For more information on safety and fire prevention – please go to https://www.nfpa.org or https://www.apexnc.org/335/Safety-Information.

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation, audio, and central vacuum systems. Our North Carolina service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, Pittsboro and Wake Forest.

Taking Your Student to College? 9 Safety Tips to Review Before They Go

 Campus life can be one of the best experiences in a young person’s life. Making new friends, learning new things, camaraderie, exploration and all the excitement that comes from learning independence. As parents we want our children to be as safe and secure as possible during this wonderful time of life.

Below are a few safety tips to discuss with your student to help ensure all goes well.

1) Take the time to explore. Get to know total campus layout and surrounding areas. Learn the most direct, well lit, open routes (few bushes & trees) to different points on campus. Most campuses have emergency call buttons and/or phones at key locations throughout campus. Take note of where they are located and become familiar with their operation.

2) Use your technology wisely. Check your campus website for safety tips, procedures, and emergency information. Many have free apps like Campus Safe or Safe Trek that can be activated while walking alone and deactivate once you have arrived safely to your destination. This is a great protection when you find yourself in the situation of having to walk alone at night. When using your headphones, make sure you are still aware of your surroundings, both visually and hearing. The key to safety is recognizing a potentially dangerous situation before it happens and taking action to avoid it. 

3Think before you post on social media. It is fun to share moments, pictures and thoughts as we experience college life. However, your posts may be viewed by other people as well. Review the settings on your social media profiles and definitely avoid geotagging your photos. Disable location services and make your accounts private so you can be sure of who is viewing what.

4) Double check that you have emergency numbers programmed into your phone. If you are away at school, ensure you not only have your parent’s numbers listed but also a local reliable family member or friend. It is the first item hospitals and police check if you’re admitted alone because they are able to bypass your passcode in order to access your contacts.

5) Carry some cash. With debit/credit cards the main mode of payment these days, sometimes it is hard to remember to have some emergency cash on you at all times. Perhaps your credit card won’t work, your debit card gets lost, or you lose your backpack. You never want to be stuck in a bad situation because you don’t have the necessary funds to get out of it as quickly as possible.

6) Lock your doors. It is easy to become comfortable and relaxed in the college environment especially when living in a Dorm, Fraternity/Sorority house, or college apartment complex. However, it is sensible to always lock your doors, especially when you’re alone or sleeping. Sometimes this is tough with roommates coming and going but most college crimes happen where access points are unlocked. Take time to hide your technology and valuables when leaving and/or close window curtains and blinds. Consider purchasing a small safe for your ID documents and for storing your laptop, iPad, and other valuables when you’re away. Keep your safe hidden in an unusual place. Bedroom closets and under the bed are the first place thieves look for valuables. If you live on the first floor of a building, make sure your windows lock. If they don’t, you can purchase a jam stick or sliding window lock at the local home improvement store or Internet.

 7) Party Safely. Yes, you probably will be going to a party or celebration .. or two! Have fun but be smart. Never go to a party at an unknown location without a friend or two. Never stay at a party where you have “just met someone who seems nice” after your friends have gone home. And finally, never become so inebriated you lose control. Sometimes it is easy to get carried away with the festivities and common sense goes out the window. Make an agreement with your friends to watch out for and take care of each other as a number one priority! Party’s can turn into dangerous situations if you do not keep aware of your surroundings and the coming and going of the people attending.

8) Make sure you have pepper spray or mace easily assessable to you. Have one located out of sight in your apartment as well as having one easily assessable to you while you are out and about. Fastening these items to a key ring, lanyard, and backpack will ensure they are there when you may need them.

9) Learn how to protect yourself physically. You’ll feel safer and more confident. You don’t need to invest a lot of money or time in getting a black belt to master self-defense; all you need are a few classes and tips from a professional instructor. Classes are often available at colleges and gyms. To make it fun, ask your roommates or a few friends to take the class with you. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is and how much better you feel when you are out and about.

College is an exciting time and a rewarding experience. As busy as you’ll be with learning, meeting new friends and operating with a new level of independence, remembering these nine simple safety tips will help ensure a safe productive school year. 

Tips for Saving Money and Energy While on Vacation

Did you know that you can save both energy and money while you are away on vacation? Just follow these home energy efficiency tips:

  • Turn the air conditioning down – For every degree a thermostat is raised during the summer, a homeowner can save 2-3 percent on his or her electricity bill.
  • Unplug your small kitchen appliances and tech gear. These household items are called “energy vampires” because they still draw current even when not in use. So before the family leaves, someone should walk around the house and unplug every unnecessary appliance and electronic device. Start with the television, computer, and entertainment center, but don’t forget small items like coffee pots, digital clocks, and cell phone chargers – they all drain energy when plugged in.
  • To avoid unexpected water loss and damage, turn off your main water shutoff valve.
  • Set your water heater to low or vacation mode if it has one. If you will be gone for quite awhile, shut off your water heater at the fuse box. When arriving back home, remember to turn the main shutoff valve back on and run some water in the sink to ensure your tank is full before turning it back on.
  • If you have an automated irrigation system, check to see if the rain sensor is set to ¼ inch.
  • Lower the blinds and close the curtains when leaving for vacation. This simple act will keep heat from coming in during the summer or going out during the winter.
  • Double check to ensure your smoke detectors and home security alarm systems are operating in an optimal fashion.

For tips on protecting your home and property while away, review our Leaving On Vacation Home Security Checklist at:

https://secur-tek.com/leaving-on-vacation-heres-your-handy-home-security-checklist/

Following both the Energy Saving and Vacation Home Security Checklists will help give you and your family peace of mind while away on vacation. So enjoy your vacation, and come back refreshed and ready to go!!

 

Beware of Porch Pirates!

This is the time of year that can be lots of fun — bringing joy and opportunities to visit with family and friends. Unfortunately, it is also a time when there is an increase in burglaries, break-ins and property damage. This could be because the nights are longer and people are out at holiday parties, visiting family or shopping, leaving their homes unattended. Highly visible deliveries such as Fed Ex, UPS and other packages. compound the opportunity for theft.

Here are our suggestions to help you and your families have a safe, secure and worry-free holiday season. If you would like a free consultation and discussion with one of our experts, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 919-387-1800.

Get lit! One of the best ways to make your home look active is lights. When you set up holiday lights outside it makes your home look festive and eliminates shadows a burglar could hide in. Lights inside also make it look like someone is home. Timers on your lights are a great idea; set them on random schedules in different rooms to resemble activity in your home. Another highly effective strategy is to invest in a smart automated system that allows you to control your lights remotely with your phone or tablet.

Keep it Clean! A home will look unoccupied if leaves, snow or newspapers have accumulated. If you’re going to be gone, hire a neighborhood kid to take care of your yard — they will appreciate the holiday cash and your place will look lived in and much nicer when you arrive home.

Hold it! UPS, FedEx, and USPS all will hold your mail while you’re away. Keeping packages and mail from piling up is critical, so register with them to hold all your deliveries. Not only are these items valuable targets, they also let everyone know your not home!

Track it! Major carriers offer online tracking of your orders and give you a close approximation of when your packages are to be delivered. That way you can arrange to ask someone to pick them up and off your porch until you get home.

Inform us! Let your alarm company know your going out of town and provide a phone number where you can be contacted.

Conceal your valuables. Keep valuable items out of sight. Don’t keep spare keys in obvious places such as under a flower pot or fake rock. Remove valuable items from  your car, if parked outside.

Keep it on the down low until after you get back! Resist the urge to update your status on social media annoucing you’re away from home. Share when you get back! 

Do some heavy duty “Jam’n”! If you have a wood doorjamb, the lock strike plate is the weakest point in your door. Upgrade to a heavy-duty strike plate and use four 3-inch screws to secure it to the doorframe.

Get a smart doorbell. Swap your current doorbell for a Skybell and enjoy a higher level of safety and security with remote monitoring and cloud recording features. Data suggests that burglars ring your doorbell to find out if you’re home. When the delivery person rings the doorbell, you can see how and when packages are delivered. No more interruptions during family dinner; missing important packages while you’re gone; or unwanted visitors at your doorstep.

Monitored home security A home security system can do a great deal. If there are visible security features like cameras or alarms, potential thieves will be more likely to move along to a less protected house rather than risk getting caught by a security system.

 

If you are going out of town, check out our Security Checklist before you leave: https://secur-tek.com/leaving-on-vacation-heres-your-handy-home-security-checklist/

Please contact us for information on Skybell or the Security System that is right for you!

Happy Holidays to You and Your Family!!

 
 
 
 
 

Save Lives by Checking Smoke Alarms this Month

49370576 - replacing battery in domestic smoke alarmIf a fire broke out in your home, when do you think that would happen? If you guessed “at night,” you’re right. In fact, half of all fire deaths are reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep.

Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. In other words, smoke alarms save lives.

The second week of October is Fire Prevention Week, and it’s a good time to check your smoke alarm. When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead. When was the last time you checked your alarm?

Maybe you removed the battery to quiet the alarm last time your oven started smoking while you cooked dinner. Although smoke alarms can be annoying sometimes, that’s the point — you want it to wake you up in an emergency.

Here are three important steps to take to make sure your alarm is ready to save your family:

1. Change the battery. Many people have heard to change the batteries each time we spring forward or fall back for Daylight Saving Time. That’s coming up Nov. 6, so head to the store to buy some new batteries.

2. Check the date. While you’re on the ladder or stepstool changing the battery, be sure to also check the date on the alarm. Many people don’t know that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. If you have lived in your home fewer than 10 years, you may not know how old the device is. To find out, pull the alarm off the ceiling and look at the back. You’ll see a date of manufacture. If your alarm was manufactured before October 2006, it’s time for a new one.

3. Test the alarm. Once you have fresh batteries and have confirmed the alarm is still within the 10-year mark, it’s time to test it. To test, press and hold the test button. It can take a few seconds to begin, but the loud noise should screech out from the smoke detector while the button is pressed. If there is no sound or the sound is weak and you just put in new batteries, replace the device immediately.

Once you’ve finished checking your smoke alarm, be sure to test your security system, which can also help alert authorities in case of fire. For more information on how to do that, check out our recent blog post on the topic.

Avoid Disaster by Testing Your Home Security System

14260888 - home security alarm monitorYour home security system is armed and keeping your home protected — right? But what if a burglar invades your home while you are on vacation and the alarm goes off, but doesn’t alert police or fire? The loud alarm will scare the burglar into quick departure, but the police will not realize the emergency unless your neighbors call.

Why Test Your Security System

While home security systems and their technology are impressive, anything can happen to an electronic device, especially one that runs 24 hours a day. Lightning and power surges can cause problems. Plus, phone, cable, and Internet service providers are always upgrading their lines and equipment. If you have something replaced or changed, or you see digging in your neighborhood, you might later find your system no longer works.

Some homeowners do not arm their systems each day and may not realize something is wrong. Even if you arm the system, you will not be able to tell if the connection to monitoring services is working. That means you won’t know your system doesn’t work until it’s too late.

How Often to Test

Secur-Tek engineers recommend testing your system each month to make sure everything is in order. In addition, if you have crews working in or around your house, it’s important to test the system before they start and after they are done. Even if your Internet provider is “just replacing your modem,” accidents happen. Newer security systems are programmed to send in a monthly test. If you aren’t sure whether your system does this, ask your Secur-Tek team.

How To Test

To test your home security system, call the central station or the office and ask for a test. They will instruct you to arm the system and open up a door so the alarm goes off. They will then verify the signal was received. The test takes less than 10 minutes.

Other Tips

Security systems provide peace of mind and alert emergency personnel when needed, but only if they work — and only if they are armed. We often hear from clients who forgot to turn on the system because they do not use it frequently. Less frequent use also means more false alarms. Once you install a security system, use it every day to get into the habit. It will seem like part of your routine in no time.

Finally, don’t forget to check the fine print on your security contract. Many security providers with monitoring require a three-year or five-year contract and some automatically renew. Review your contract so you know when it expires and when you need to cancel. Contact your Secur-Tek team with any questions.

The Rundown on Doorbell Cameras

47237659 - close-up of woman pressing the button of a doorbell on a brick wall

Doorbell cameras are growing more popular, popping up in many Triangle neighborhoods. But does that mean it’s the right solution for your home? At Secur-Tek, we’ve received more questions about doorbell cameras in recent weeks, so here is the rundown on how doorbell cameras might aid your home security.

What is a doorbell camera?

A doorbell camera alerts you when someone rings your doorbell. You can speak to visitors through your smartphone from anywhere — just as if you are home. In some cases, the camera will detect motion and send an alert to your phone even if the bell isn’t rung. Some will record video for later use.

Why use a doorbell camera?

Doorbell cameras have many advantages for busy people. Most home burglaries occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when no one is home. Now that Wake County year-round schools are back in session, it’s more likely that your house is sitting empty for at least a few hours each day. These days, we might not know our neighbors well enough to rely on them for monitoring our porches — and that’s if our neighbors are home at all.

Also, about 33 percent of intruders enter a home through the front door. Many would-be burglars will ring a doorbell first, to make sure no one is home. Burglaries are fast, taking between 90 seconds and 12 minutes, according to the FBI. On top of that, burglaries are difficult to solve; only about 13 percent of burglaries are cleared by police.

Pros of a Doorbell Camera

Those burglary statistics are why a doorbell camera adds another layer of security. With one in place you can:

  • Pretend to be home by “answering” the door.
  • Monitor movement on your porch, whether it’s a delivery person or someone suspicious.
  • Monitor housekeepers entering your home or get an alert when your child returns home from school.
  • Lock and unlock the door remotely.

With some models, you can record video footage of someone if he/she enters your home, making it easier to identify suspects.

How to Choose a Doorbell Camera

Not all doorbell cameras are created equal. Like so many things, the type you buy depends on what you need and how much you are willing to spend. Some things to note as you shop:

  • Video Quality – is it HD and how clear is the image?
  • Mounting Hardware – Some consumers have complained about mounting systems for some of the less expensive models. They have been known to break during the installation process. Be sure yours comes with a solid mounting system.
  • Fit – Will it work for your doorframe?
  • Wires – Hardwired or wireless?
  • Night Vision – Some doorbell cameras offer the ability to record night video.
  • On-Demand – Some cameras let you check the video whenever you want, while others only show you video when movement is detected.
  • Phone Compatibility – Some versions don’t work with all mobile carriers and devices. Make sure yours works with what you have.
  • Contracts – Some of the popular models come with monitoring contracts and may require someone else to install them.
  • Appearance – They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.

We sell multiple types of doorbell cameras at Secur-Tek. Talk to us about whether adding one to your home security system is the right move for you.

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