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.                    

Six Benefits of a Whole House Audio System

Imagine: Instead of hearing an alarm first thing in the morning, you hear your favorite song softly nudging you awake. One that helps set a positive mood, energizes you and gives you a lift to your step while getting ready to start your day.

Then, as you enter the kitchen to make the coffee, crystal clear music is there to greet you as the rest of your family rushes in to grab their breakfast.

Throughout the day, your situation, mood, and energy levels shift, and you may move from room to room, or even outside. The sound of music flows with you throughout your home as you move from zone to zone, and the natural acoustics of the different spaces create the perfect listening experience.

Sound like a resort fantasy? It can be your everyday home experience and is well within your grasp! These scenarios are possible with whole house audio installation. Secur-Tek, Inc. can design and install a custom multi-room audio system that blends seamlessly into your home’s interior design while maximizing your listening pleasure.

Six major advantages to installing a total home audio system:

  • Seamlessly play music throughout all your spaces. That way, whether you work from home or come home after a long day at work, you can press play and walk from the living room to the bedroom without missing a beat. Whole house music is also great for entertaining friends and family. If you are having a party, your guests can move from room to room or even outside while enjoying the music’s perfect quality and volume no matter where they go.
  • You can play different music in each zone of your home. If you have children, teens or young adults, each one can pick their favorite songs and play them as they are getting ready in the morning. If Dad and Mom are cooking in the kitchen, they can listen to their preferred sound while preparing dinner. Each family member gets to choose their radio station or music selection in his or her own area.

Enjoy outdoor music without disturbing the neighbors. If you choose to install outdoor audio, through acoustical analysis and design, we can help ensure your neighbors will not be disturbed by the music you are enjoying.

  • Expand your music selection. You can easily access your own personal libraries on iTunes or Amazon Music and choose from songs on streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal.
  • No ugly wires. No one likes seeing unsightly wires and speakers all over the house, and if you have speakers in every room, they use valuable space. With whole house audio, speakers can be installed in the walls so that they are out of the way, freeing up space for other things. Your guests will focus on the music and their conversation – not the sound devices sitting around since they will be barely able to notice them. The speaker grills can even be painted any color you like to match your home’s color scheme.
  • Most important — convenience! One of the best aspects of high-fidelity, whole house audio, is that it is all easily controlled from an app on your smart phone, mobile device, or computer. That means if you are sitting in your favorite chair reading and listening to music, you do not have to get up and find a controller to change songs. Or, you can be in the garage blasting rock and roll while packing for a family camping trip. You can turn down the music and answer the call without disrupting your progress! Your music is at the command of your fingertips, controlled by a simple app on your smart phone or other device.

Whether you are renovating or building, adding a whole house audio system can increase your enjoyment and value to your home. Secur-Tek, Inc. can design and install a custom multi-room audio system that blends seamlessly into your home’s interior design while maximizing your listening pleasure.

We also offer Wi-Fi enabled multi-room and outdoor audio solutions which are ideal for finished homes, updating existing audio systems, or expanding audio to your patio, deck, or pool area.

The technicians at Secur-Tek, Inc. have extensive knowledge and experience – our company has been providing multi-zone audio solutions as an authorized Bose dealer since 1990. We also customize audio systems using Klipsch speakers and Sonos wireless audio components.

For more information, check out our Audio Systems page or call us at 919-387-1800.

Building a New Home? Want the Air As Clean As Possible? Consider a Central Vacuum!

Do you or a family member suffers from allergies?  Did you want to make sure the air in your home is as clean as possible?  Then you’ll want to consider installing a central vacuum system while your new home is under construction.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, using a central vacuum system vented to the outdoors can significantly reduce dust mites, pollens, animal dander and other irritants in your home. The University of California Davis School of Medicine asserts that allergy sufferers’ symptoms can be improved up to 61% when using a central vacuum system.

Due to the positive impacts on home air quality, central vacuum systems are a popular feature in new home construction. The vacuum inlets are strategically installed based on your home’s design for efficiency and ease of use. A great feature to this system is an automatic dustpan that can be installed in your kitchen or bathrooms allowing you to simply sweep unwanted dirt, food, hair or debris away.

In addition, the central vac canister, which is located in your garage, has an assessable inlet enabling you to quickly and effectively clean out your vehicles as well.

Now you might be wondering – would I have to lug around a heavy hose to connect to the central vacuum system?  The answer is NO!  You don’t have to drag around a long hose from room to room or find a place to store it – the optional Hide-A-Hose System, solves that problem easily. You simply pull out the amount of hose you need, connect your tools, and begin vacuuming. When finished, the suction from the central vacuum power unit retracts the hose for you, saving time and making your vacuuming more convenient. Hose lengths are customized according to your floor size and retract so they are hidden within the wall, attic or crawl space.

If this easy, convenient system that keeps your home’s floors and air as clean as possible sounds right for you, ask your builder about Secur-Tek and Dirt DevilCentral Vacuums with Hide-A-Hose Retractable Hose Systems.    

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

Balancing Convenience, Safety and Security with Access Control Systems for Communities and Businesses

Homeowners Association (HOA) governed communities — residential, apartment, condominium and townhome complexes and larger businesses often have common areas like swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses. These amenities are great for residents or employees but create a number of liabilities for the association or business. Therefore, the board of directors, association or businesses’ management will need to mitigate these liabilities through the control and monitoring of recreational areas.  

To start with, a perimeter fence and controlled access gate are a must. Options available to control this access include:

  • mechanical coded lock systems
  • magnetic strip key cards  
  • coded key fobs.

Card and key fobs are top solutions to control swimming pool and fitness center access. Requiring proximity cards or badges to enter pool gates keeps strangers or unattended children out while offering convenient access to members or residents. They can also be set up to open gates at specific times and coded so authorized personnel can review when keys are used for legal as well as illegal entry. 

For ease of access management, Secur-Tek, Inc. now offers cloud-based storage and log on capabilities. Using internet access with valid user name and password allows a client to make program changes or unlock/lock a door/gate from anywhere. For best control of your point of access, we install Keyscan access systems manufactured by Dormakaba.  https://www.dormakaba.com/us-en/solutions/products/electronic-access—data

 

In addition to good fencing and access point control, we highly recommend installing cameras and monitoring them. Cameras serve multiple purposes. When visible, they act as a deterrent and they can also provide helpful evidence for prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing crimes. Should the unfortunate situation arise of someone getting hurt or drowning, cameras also offer the option to review what happened and validate that safety equipment was in place, and lifeguards and EMT followed protocol. It is important to note that cameras are only effective if they are regularly maintained to ensure proper operation.

 

Securing common areas while allowing convenient access for those authorized to use them is a serious issue for HOAs and businesses alike. At Secur-Tek, Inc. we can help those with that responsibility through the process of selecting and installing the right equipment given your situation, budget and safety/security requirements. Give us a call at 919-387-1800. 

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

Cellular Communicator – What Is It and Do I Need One?

Monitored alarm systems need to communicate alarm signals to a monitoring response center 24/7. Traditionally this was done with a standard wire line home phone. However, over the past several years, cellular technology has progressed to the point where it is more secure than that of the traditional wire line. Additionally, it is more reliable than a digital Internet phone service that requires constant power and is susceptible to network outages and router rests.

Cellular monitoring works by installing a “cellular chip” or “module” into the Control Panel of the alarm system. This cellular device acts as the communicator between your alarm system and the monitoring station – that is why it is called a cellular communicator.

Cellular communicators function much like a cell phone that is specifically dedicated to your security system by communicating via cellular network data channels. In essence, the cellular communicator installed into the Control Panel of your alarm system acts as a connection to the Internet or “outside world”. Because of this, anytime you send a signal or command from your phone or other devices, it uses the cellular service to communicate to your alarm system, prompting it to do something like arm or disarm.

Interactive monitoring allows you to communicate commands to your alarm system no matter where you are. Cellular communicators are dedicated solely to the security system, so they are not shared with any other service.

Some advantages of installing a Cellular Communicator are:

  •                 They are not affected by storms or network/power outages
  •                 Burglars cutting your phone line will NOT disable your alarm system
  •                 Enables remote access/interactive monitoring

For phone line monitored security systems:

  •                 If you get rid of your landline, you will need a cellular communicator.
  •                 If you decide to change digital phone carriers, you will need to reset and reconnect your security system, which requires a service visit and charge from Secur-Tek, Inc.

So if you are interested in higher security reliability and the ease of controlling parts of your security system from your smartphone, a cellular communicator may be the right solution for you.

Give us a call and we can recommend your best security options.

Home Theater Without the Hassle: Set Up Your System for the Super Bowl

Home theater systems make watching your favorite movies — or the upcoming Super Bowl — way more exciting. With the right screen and sound system, you feel as though you’re part of the action.

This time of year, many people try to install their own home theater systems. While the process seems easy enough, like many DIY projects, it can be harder than it looks. Here are three fantastic reasons to call Secur-Tek’s team for help:

1. No hassle. The day before the big game, you’ve got cables and cords all over the place. Hours later, you’ve tested one way, tested another. You can avoid the hassle by calling on our team to make sure the connections are not only correct, but stowed away attractively and neatly. Plus, our team can answer any questions you have about the system and how it all works. You can then spend more time basking in the glow of the amazing system before your friends arrive. 

2. Better picture and sound quality. You just spent good money to buy the best quality products. Great! But setting up the system wrong means you won’t get the best quality audio or video. Why spend that money only to lose out due to an error? Proper calibration, set up, and the room acoustics all go into the right system. Our team can make sure your home theater impresses friends, visitors, and even you! 

3. Peace of mind. Many people can help you hide cables or mount a TV so that it won’t fall off the wall. Installing a good home theater system requires more than construction knowledge. Hiring experts who spend their days drooling over home theater systems will ensure you’ve got the best system for your space and budget. Plus, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes that leave holes in the wall or cause electrical problems. (Your spouse will appreciate that peace of mind, too.)

What questions do you have about home theater systems? The team at Secur-Tek is happy to help. Contact us to get your system installed before your next party.

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.

Business Security Systems Need to Protect Inside and Out

Business owners all strive to keep their businesses safe. Installing security systems, cameras, and access tracking are all part of burglar prevention for your business.

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But what about protecting your company from inside threats? According to a recent study, 20 percent of employees would sell their work passwords to a competitor.

“The research by identity management company Sailpoint, found that of those who would sell their passwords, 44 percent would do it for less than $1,000, and some for less than $100. This is made worse by the fact that 65 percent admit to using a single password among applications and 32 percent share passwords with their co-workers.”

Less than $100. That could be all that’s standing between you and a hacker who takes down your business. While we all want to believe the people we hire are good, moral employees who would not do something like that, we simply do not know what people have been through, what life situations may drive their behavior.

Business security systems that keep intruders out are important, but just as vital are your internal security procedures. Take a look at this checklist of things to review to keep your data safe:

  • Employee access – Secur-Tek can help you control access to the business itself, and to certain rooms. But what about who has access to your important data? Of course employees need to have a certain level of access to data, and programs to do their jobs. Maybe you already track who has access to what while they are employed with you. But what happens after that employee leaves? The above survey found that more than two in five employees still have corporate account access after they leave their job. Do you have security procedures in place to revoke access or change passwords?
  • Uploads to the cloud – Well-meaning employees may be uploading data to the cloud using various storage programs. While it’s useful to backup information in case of a crash, be sure to confirm which information is uploaded where. If you don’t have a secure server set up, your data may be at risk.
  • Downloads – In large companies, employees are supposed to check with the IT department before downloading any software or installing anything. Studies show this does not always happen. Employees get impatient with the extra layer of process. As a small business owner, you may not have an IT department, or may not have oversight of what your team downloads. But one wrong program means a virus or malware or spyware, putting your business at risk. Make a list of approved programs and check all the computers in the office on a monthly basis. While this sounds big brother, your employee is not the one whose business is at risk.

Secur-Tek works to keep your business secure from the outside. Be sure to consider what security measures you take inside your company to keep it safe.

Part 2: Q&A Continued: Secur-Tek Owner Discusses Changing Industry

Secur-Tek opened its doors in 1990 to provide the Triangle and central NC residents with security systems and home automation. In our last post, Owner Ken Henke spoke about his business and what customers should know about home and business security. This time, we continue the conversation, which includes his thoughts on a changing industry.Ken at Home Show

What question do you most often receive from potential or current customers and what’s the answer?

The most common question I get from people who call in, usually it’s do we have a contract for the system? We have a yearly agreement. A lot of our competitors have a three or five-year agreement, but we do one year.

Secur-Tek specializes in many audio and home automation services. What got you into this?

We work with a lot of builders and they have homeowners who request low-voltage products such as central vacs, audio systems, home automation, wired or wireless networking. Those are things we are able to install so it made sense to expand those services and offer them to the builders and in turn when a homeowner calls us to install them.

Not long ago, Forbes published an article on DIY home security and how it will affect the security industry. What do you think about those systems?

It mostly affects the providers of the “free” systems. A lot of the DIY systems are wireless. Some of these DIY systems are very cheap and are going to be easy for people to hack.  We do wired systems so there’s no interference so there’s no hacking or jamming of the system.

What changes do you see happening in the security/home automation industries?

I think security systems will start becoming more and more automated. The security system we install interfaces with the automation system we install. It’s going to be more and more integrated as time goes by. As it gets less and less cost prohibitive, these homes are going to have a package that includes lighting, security, music, blinds, who knows what they’re going to include. The prices keep coming down.

The one thing that will determine where it goes is whether there is enough level of expertise in the field. The companies who offer free systems, the technicians they hire, there’s often no expertise there. As these systems get more and more involved, my fear — is the field support going to be there to do the troubleshooting and the technical work that’s required in the field?

What’s important for someone to know about your business?

What’s important to us is the relationship with our customers. Our attrition rate for our customers is very low. We want to take care of that customer for life. That’s why we install a system at a market rate with the low monthly monitoring fee. Secur-Tek, Inc.’s monitoring rate is going to stay constant and not increase once the yearly agreement is over. Our employees all work for Secur-Tek and are licensed underneath my license. We don’t have subcontractors or people that I’m not familiar with that I’m sending to my customers. We trust our employees. We can let our technicians handle it and we feel comfortable that our customers are going to be happy.

Also, we use brand name products that people recognize. Everything we use has brand name recognition where we have the support of the manufacturer behind us. We’re planning for years down the road, not just for today.

And we’re a local company. What you pay Secur-Tek, Inc. is going to stay in the local community and not sent to another company’s headquarters located out of the state.

 

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