Five Reasons to Install an Access Control System

 

If you are a commercial property owner, or responsible for controlling building access, you may be looking for ways to increase convenience while protecting business assets and employees.

Installing an access control system can reduce security risk. Most structures – commercial, business, and private have certain parts of the building where restricted access is desired. With access control, there is an array of system options so you can choose one that fits your specific needs.

Some of the specific benefits offered by these systems are detailed below:

 1) Protect Valuables

Does your building contain valuables? This is especially important for items that are easily transported, sold, or “fenced”. With controlled access keycards, you can identify who enters the space day or night. This information can help prevent items from going missing and help catch a guilty individual if this occurs.

 2) Control and Track Employee Access

What happens when an employee is fired or quits? With access control systems in place, the card or code they used to access the building or certain areas can be changed/deleted with ease, so they can no longer enter that space. You do not have to collect door keys from an exiting employee and there is no need to pay a locksmith to rekey the doors. With an access control system your property and personnel are protected from any unwanted intrusions.

3) Control Specific Access to Certain Areas at Specific Times

For most structures, every individual who enters doesn’t necessarily need to have access to every office, inventory/records room, lab, equipment/storage area, or even floor. For example, a business’s accounting department may have highly sensitive/confidential information that most people should not have access to.

In this case, an access control system is invaluable. It allows managers or owners to restrict access to those who should not be able to enter these areas. Another example could be maintenance or janitorial staff, who work at certain times and on certain days. You can program your access control system to restrict their access times to when they are scheduled to be there.

 4) Monitor Who is Coming and Going

With access control systems, you can have a full report of every door that opens for all areas throughout your building. You can check on who is accessing certain parts of the building and when they do it. If there is ever a dispute about something, you can easily pull up this information to help figure out what happened. You can also use the system to track employee’s worktime.

5) Remote Control

Secur-Tek systems make it possible for you to control the locks in your buildings using a smart device (i.e. tablet, phone, etc.). With this type of system in place, you can easily let a trusted individual in without having to meet them on location, or lockdown the buildings if an emergency occurs. This technology also allows you to add or remove credentials as needed.

 If you have responsibility for a structure and the safety of the people and items it contains, installing an access control system will be beneficial.

If you have further questions or are interested in having an access control system installed, please contact us at 919-387-1800 or check out our Access Control Webpage.

We will work with you to customize your access control system, so it is the most effective and cost-efficient for your unique structure and situation.

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!

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.

Should You Have Your Home Security System Monitored? Seven Things to Consider

 

We often find ourselves dealing with change:

  • Moving into a new home and neighborhood
  • Completing a home renovation project
  • Upgrading our home’s technology — smart feature, entertainment or home security
  • Personal or family changes — like seniors coming to live with you or adding a pet to the family

And when you’re dealing with the changes, you may find yourself wondering, should I have my security system monitored? If so, taking the time to clarify and think through your security situation will help you make an informed decision.

 

 Seven questions to ask when determining your home security needs:

  • Do you have children, seniors or pets that are left alone during the day? What are their ages and how self-sufficient are they? Have you ever found yourself worrying about them or their safety while you are away?
  • Has your job status or personal situation changed so you find you must travel more and spend time away from your home?
  • Have you acquired any new expensive jewelry, electronics, or family heirlooms that would be difficult to replace?
  • Do you work more than 20 – 30 minutes away from your home, making it more difficult to run home to check on things?
  • Home location – does your landscaping hide your home or is it visible from the street? Are you near major roads with lots of easy accessibility?
  • What kind of security does your neighborhood have? Police presence? Gated community? ACTIVE neighborhood watch?
  • Do you have a pool, fireplace or fire pit?

If you find yourself worrying about any of these situations, here’s what monitoring can do for you. While deterring burglars or prowlers may seem like the main function of monitoring your house, there are also other critical aspects that monitoring offers. The key to minimizing loss of property or helping individuals in need is quick response time. Fire detection, heat sensors, air quality as well as senior/child/pet alert systems can keep a potential bad home situation from turning into a disaster.

So why monitor your home if there is an alarm installed?

The typical system will have a siren go off for approximately five minutes after it is tripped. If monitored and there is no emergency in progress, the alarm can be canceled by giving the monitoring station your password. If a burglar or prowler trips the alarm, they usually leave the premise quickly. In many cases, the intruder will then hide and watch to see if there is any activity in the home, or if police/people arrive. If so, they typically will leave quickly to focus their efforts on an easier target — a non-monitored home.

Low-voltage smoke detectors connected to your monitored alarm system give quicker responses to fires — much better than relying on someone possibly noticing smoke from your house and reacting to it.

Pro Tip: If you are away and unable to respond to an alarm, it is a good idea to have a relative, trusted neighbor, or friend know the code and meet the emergency responders if the alarm is tripped. They can let the police in and check to make sure nothing is missing.

Finally, you might want to consider this – monitoring isn’t just to alert the police or fire departments. It is there for you and your family’s peace of mind.  

            True Protection — Some homeowners assume a burglar alarm making a lot of noise is enough protection. In truth, like car alarms, home alarms are often ignored by people nearby, who assume it is going off by accident.

            Other Home Issues – While not as urgent as a fire or break-in, a gas leak can cause serious problems in your home. Monitoring systems can be set up to alert you in case of a gas leak or to let you know your freezer is no longer on — indicating a power outage.

            Assistance — Monitoring systems can also notify people that you need assistance in case of a fall or other personal accident.

            Sleeping Easy — Monitoring means someone is always keeping an eye (and ear) on your home. Many security system clients say knowing someone is there offers peace of mind, making it easier to sleep at home and while away.

Bottom Line: While there is a monthly cost to monitor your home, only monitored systems have professionals to help respond to emergencies 24/7. Once you assess your lifestyle, property parameters and situation, you may see that monitoring is the right choice for you. But please be sure to always read the contract you are signing carefully to ensure you are getting the exact coverage you require for the price you deem expectable.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your security system needs, please don’t hesitate to call us!

How a Smart Home Adds Value

 

A smart home can increase your safety and convenience to help you enjoy it!

It’s a new year and believe it or not, spring is right around the corner. Now is the time for planning those 2019 home improvements you’ve been thinking about. Installing smart home features is not only a great investment and wonderful convenience; it can give you greater peace of mind.  

How does it do that you might ask? Think about:

           Traveling– If you are a person that travels a lot – either job related or if you just enjoy exploring on the weekends — you can check on your property and valuables anytime you like. Furthermore, it allows you to let family/neighbors into your home to check on plants, pets and/or elderly parents you might have living with you.

            Maybe you have children that are at the age where you know they will be okay staying at home alone but just want the peace of mind and convenience of being able to check and monitor what is happening while your away. Or even let them in when they lock themselves out (as kids often do). Again, it is also a great way to handle the logistics of senior care or infant babysitting, freeing you up to do what you need to do.

            Beyond providing essential home security, smart home system can also save you time and money. Say goodbye to wasting PTO being stuck at home during one of those infamous “anytime between noon and 5 pm” delivery windows – just have us add a Skybell video doorbell to your home security system.

            When you have smart door locks, you can let people in to drop off deliveries or make home updates from your smartphone app. An exterior door camera lets you see exactly who is arriving, indoor monitors watch the progress while they are in your home, so you know everything that is happening. In addition, a Smart Home can start saving you money immediately. Your system can turn lights on and off and smart thermostat can help automate your temperature settings saving energy while making sure your home is comfortable when you arrive. You’ll be able to remotely access and control the thermostat, set up schedules, and receive temperature alerts, all through the app on your smartphone or tablet.

            It’s a Great Investment! Statistics prove that a home security and automation system can actually help sell your home. Coldwell Banker’s annual smart-home survey, published in January 2018, asked potential homebuyers about the importance of smart home devices:

                        63% want smart locks pre-installed

                        66% want smart home security cameras pre-installed

                        75% want smart smoke detectors pre-installed

                        77% want smart thermostats pre-installed

            Flexibility, with a Smart Home from Secur-Tek, Inc. – you can start with the level of features you would like and based upon your timeframes and resources, build on as you go!

As you can see, installing a Smart Home in 2019 can make sense from an economic, safety and convenience perspective. At Secur-Tek Inc., we have highly trained, reliable and friendly people to help you choose the features and level of Smart Home that is right for you.

If you would like to learn more about the Smart Home features offered by Secur-Tek, Inc. give us a call or fill out the form below.

8 Tips for Package Theft Prevention

Will you be receiving packages this holiday season?

Packages left on the porch/mailbox are vulnerable at any time of year, but the holiday season usually means there are a few more parcels arriving at your doorstep. A study from InsuranceQuotes that examines holiday hazards  notes there were approximately 26 million thefts of deliveries from doorsteps and economic indicators show online shopping is up over 28% so far for this holiday season over last year.

Whether you’re ordering gifts online for family and friends, or receiving them from others, you’re more likely to have packages sitting vulnerable on your porch this time of the year.

To prevent your deliveries being stolen, check out these EightTips for Package Theft Prevention. 

  1. Customize delivery. If the ordering system allows you to choose the time of delivery, select a time you know you’ll be at home.
  2. 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. When the delivery person rings the doorbell, you can see how and when packages are delivered. No more interruptions during family dinner or missing important packages while you’re gone! You can also check for unwanted visitors at your doorstep.
  3. Deliver decisively. If you’re not home much, consider having the package delivered to your office or a friend or neighbor’s house for safekeeping.
  4. Hold the post. If your package contains very valuable items – Have the post office or carrier hold the package. Request UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service to hold packages at their facility for you to pick up later. UPS has created a service called Access Point that enables you to choose an alternate delivery location in your neighborhood.
  5. Alert a neighbor. When you are expecting a package and won’t be home, you can ask a neighbor or friend to keep an eye out for it. If you use Nextdoor.com or a similar neighborhood app you can let neighbors know if something has been stolen from your porch so they can keep an eye out and report suspicious behavior.
  6. Talk to family and friends who may be mailing your holiday gifts. Ask them to let you know when they send packages so you can watch for them.
  7. Light it up. Install outdoor lights. Your package is more likely to be stolen during daylight hours, but night falls early this time of year. Outdoor lights with motion or light sensors are a good way to keep unwanted people away from your home in any season.
  8. 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. And you can even tie in your Skybell with security and automation features for greater convenience, like letting in out of town guests that arrive when you’re out doing those last-minute errands.

If you are going out of town, check out our Security Checklist before you leave.

We hope you have a great holiday season. If you’d like a quote on Skybell or would like to learn about other home Security System options to increase your peace of mind, please contact us.

 Happy Holidays to You and Your Family!!

Frequently Asked Questions on Home Security Systems

FAQs on Home Security

Do you have questions about home security systems?  We asked our staff to answer some of our customer’s frequently asked questions – check the answers below.  

How often should I test my home security system?  We recommend you test your system once a month.

How do I test my monitored home security system? I don’t want to bother the police. We are glad you asked that!  First, call the 800 number on your sticker and tell the monitoring company to put your system on test, then activate your alarm and call monitoring company back to verify alarm signals were received.   

Who do I call for service on my Secur-Tek system? To set up a service call, please call our office at  919.387.1800. Secur-Tek stands by our products and the same reliable technicians install and service our systems.

Can Secur-Tek upgrade my system?  Yes, but it does depend on the type of system you have. If you have a Honeywell home security system, we can upgrade your system by adding remote monitoring, cameras, and gas, smoke and motion detectors. If you have another type of system, we still may be able to help you, just call for a consultation or contact us.

How many cameras are needed to have a complete home security system?  The number of cameras you may need to safeguard your home depends on your home design. We can add cameras to most security systems and offer a complimentary consultation where we take a look around your home and recommend how many cameras are needed and the locations to install them.

Should I have my home security system monitored?  Having and monitoring a home security system can increase your peace of mind, especially if you travel or have valuable items in your home. For more information, see our blog on monitoring.

How much does monitoring cost?  We offer reliable, low-cost monthly monitoring. Our monitoring starts at $21.95 for standard monitoring and $31.95 for cellular.

Do you require a three-year contract?  No.

How long is the monitoring agreement?  Our monitoring contracts are just for 1 year. We don’t require long-term contracts.

Can I monitor my security system myself?  We don’t recommend it. Our monitoring goes to a company that provides monitoring 24/7 and will contact the police, fire and medical emergency agencies. They are always there to call the authorities.

What type of remote services work with your home security systems?  You can view and run your system from your smartphone or iPad with Honeywell Total Connect Services.  

What types of systems are compatible with Secur-Tek’s low-cost monitoring?  We can monitor many types of systems. To determine if your specific system can be monitored, please call your office.

We hope you found this helpful. If you live in our service area and have further questions, would like an estimate on upgrading or monitoring your security system, please give us a call at  919.387.1800

Secur-Tek, Inc. serves all of Central NC, including the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, Apex, Cary, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Pittsboro, Wake County, Chatham County, Durham County, Orange County, Harnett County.

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.

DARK, COLD DAYS OF WINTER – BRIGHTENED BY HONEYWELL’S TOTAL CONNECT

When the days get shorter, do you dread pulling into the driveway of a dark, cold home? Have you ever thought about how nice it would be if your cheery, warm bright home welcomed you instead?
It’s possible – you can experience increased convenience and safety without wasting energy — with a Honeywell Total Connect “smart home”.
As we move into fall and push our clocks back, it seems that getting home in the dark is the norm. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn select indoor and outdoor lights on or off automatically every time you arm or disarm your security system? You can do that with Honeywell Total Connect! Even better, you can tell your system to turn a set of lights on 30 minutes before you get home from work and another off an hour after you’ve gone to bed. You can program schedules for ambience, or security, and control your lights from any remote location.
If you are on the go, a “smart home” enables you to stay connected to your family, pets and property 24/7. You can receive real-time alerts (e-mails, text messages or video alerts) of important events such as a child arriving home from school, a pet leaving the house, a parent taking their medications or any recent system or sensor activity. It’s like having mobile control of your home in the palm of your hand!
And your system can help avoid some of life’s hassles and mishaps. Like when you’re at work and your kids or parents forget their house keys, or maybe you need a neighbor to pick up an important package and take it inside so it’s not on your porch for hours? Imaging unlocking the door from the comfort of your office with your smartphone or PC. As an enhanced security option, you can view camera feeds from your Skybell Video Doorbell on touchscreens, televisions, tablets, smartphones or PCs and keep an eye on your kids, pets, screen visitors at your entranceway and view activity occurring around the interior or exterior of your home whenever and wherever you want.
Finally, when your home enjoying a movie and you notice your child is out with the car and it is getting late, calm your worries with Honeywell Total Connect Tracking Services. This puts you in the driver’s seat – letting you know where your vehicles are and where they’ve been 24/7 – anytime, anywhere, from any web-enabled smart device! You’ll have real-time GPS location information at your fingertips – a great way to keep tabs on teenage drivers, elderly loved ones, or even assist in recovering missing vehicles and monitor or recover lost or stolen valuables. You can even get email or text alerts when vehicles exceed speed limits or predetermined geographic boundaries.
When your life is demanding, our Honeywell Total Connect system can help ease your mind and reduce the stress and worry of everyday life!
Call or contact the experts at Secur-Tek for more information or an estimate on a Honeywell Total Connect system for your home.

 

 
 
 

It’s October – Take a Bite Out Of Crime

October is National Crime Prevention month. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) encourages everyone to join the effort to “Take A Bite Out Of Crime®.” In 1984, A Presidential proclamation designated October as Crime Prevention Month. Since then, NCPC has been working with local law enforcement, government agencies, civic groups, schools and businesses to help spread the word about crime prevention and personal safety. The NCPC and your efforts can create safer, more caring communities and promote the importance of public vigilance to combat crimes.

For those of us living in Wake County, the Wake County Crime Prevention Unit is a fantastic resource for all sorts of information, classes, events and local news.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit is a proactive program that provides the public with information to help identify and minimize the risks of becoming a crime victim. These programs teach citizens how to enhance security and safety for themselves and their neighborhoods.

The Crime Prevention Unit also offers classes that teach citizens how to report a crime and what information is important to gather before calling law enforcement. They also help organize community watch programs where communities work as a team to observe activity in their neighborhood.

The Crime Prevention Unit has programs for children and adults. If you are interested in additional information about the Wake County Crime Prevention Unit and their programs check out http://www.wakegov.com/sheriff/divisions/Pages/crimeprev.aspx and click the services button on the left side of the page. While you are there, review the News and Events or sign-up to be connected through Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!