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Did you know there are more than 1 million house fires in the U.S. each year and more than 3,000 people will die in 2018 as a result of fires. But the cause of death in a fire usually is not from being burned; more often than not, deaths in house fires are a result of smoke inhalation.

Often, the smoke in a house fires overcomes people so quickly that they can’t make it to an otherwise accessible exit, the National Fire Protection Organization (NFPA) says.

When people think of death by fire, they typically imagine fire breaking out in a place that is crowded with strangers, like a movie theater or restaurant. In reality, the people who die in fires typically die in ones and twos, in their own homes and vehicles, the NFPA says.

Although homes fires and deaths have been declining since 1977, four out of five fire-related deaths among non-firefighters occur in the home.

Smoke inhalation

While the danger of being burned by a fire is evident, we learned from an emergency room physician that many people are unaware of the dangers of smoke inhalation.Smoke is mostly carbon monoxide, but also contains cyanide. Many homes have a lot of synthetic material such as rubber, plastic, or foam. When those materials burn, they can cause cyanide poisoning which prevents your body from absorbing and using oxygen.

Inhaling the toxic combustion of materials in the home also impairs respiration and can cause suffocation. Oxygen deprivation, even for short periods of time, can cause irreversible harm.

People who have sustained carbon monoxide poisoning have a risk for cognitive delays or other neurological issues.

A common cause

While many factors can be responsible for a house fire, one of the most common causes during cold weather months is a space heater.

If you must use a space heater, getting a new one that is equipped with safety features like a tip-over sensor that shuts the device off. Also always make sure it is operated in an area with ventilation.

Prevention

It is never safe to enter a burning home, even if you think you are away from flames, as it only takes a short period of time to be overcome by smoke inhalation.

It’s also important to always having working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the home, and ensure that you test them at least twice per year. Having your detectors connected thru your alarm system ensures that Safe-T will dispatch the fire department, whether you are home, or away.                                                                                                                                              If you don't currently have monitored smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, Safe-T can add these sensors to your existing system with a simple service call. If you have connected monitored detectors, but haven't tested them lately, call Safe-T today and we will walk you thru the testing process.

 

 


Is it time to service your Alarm System? Residential and Commercial alarms should be serviced at least once a year. An alarm system service ensures that everything is in working order and can pick up any potential faults before they become a problem. During a typical service, all components of the system are tested and adjustments made if necessary, so keeping a regular service schedule ensures that you have peace of mind regarding the operating status of your Safe-T equipment, and monitoring system. 

 We all have our cars serviced every year, to ensure everything is running smoothly and a hidden issue isn't left undetected or left to worsen, which could cause a failure or potentially a serious accident. While an alarm system failure may not lead to an injurious accident, the consequences of an ineffective alarm system on your building and contents in the event of a break in, is similarly devastating to the home or business owner. If your buildings and contents insurance has clauses or discounts for the presence of an alarm system, it is vital to check the schedule of insurance for their requirements regarding system servicing – some companies require annual servicing as part of the agreement and if you cannot prove that a service has been carried out and any repairs identified carried out promptly in the last twelve months then your insurance may be void, putting an immediate stop to any claims you may need to make.

If your Safe-T alarm system is not due for a service, but there are fault warnings on the control panel, low battery notifications or prolonged flashing of LEDs on sensors, this indicates a problem that needs addressing by a professional technician, and you should bring your scheduled service forward or call for a technician visit immediately.

With a Safe-T maintenance check, we will test your complete system including: the batteries, sensors, cables and wireless components, as well as any manual parts, such as panic and emergency buttons, fire sensors, and all other features of your alarm system. We also remind you when the next service is due, so there is no worry that you may forget to book your appointment in. We recommend you test your alarm system at least every 6 months, and change your access codes occasionally. Call us today if you need help with "HOW" to test your alarm, or if you have any concerns on it's operation

 


The Holidays are fast approaching, and life at home can get a little hectic.

The good news is that your Safe-T SmartHome has some helpful tricks that can make things easier.

 

Here are three that you should consider setting up before Thanksgiving.


1: Door left open – save energy

From last-minute shopping runs to welcoming visitors, you'll be opening your front door a lot during the holiday. When your heating is running at the same time, you can end up paying to ‘heat the neighborhood.'

If you have a Smart Thermostat, now is the time to activate the 'auto set-back' feature. When your front door's contact sensor detects that your door is open for a long time, your thermostat will automatically set back to save energy and protect your heating bill. As soon as you close the door, it starts up again.

2: Give long-term company anytime access

Are you hosting family members for several nights? As part of their welcome, give them their very own code to your front door. 

Unique user codes let your guests come and go as they please, with no need for a spare key. They can also trigger a smartphone alert every time it's used. This is great if you're away from home and want to know who's coming and going. 

User codes are easy to set up in your Alarm.com app, and come with the option of automatically expiring on a set date. Note: this is for your convenience, not for hinting that your guests have overstayed.

3: Get proactive protection from fire danger

Between log fires and deep fryers, the holidays typically see an increase in house fires across the country. As well as being extra-mindful on the day, make sure that your home is protected in advance.

Safe-T Smart Home smoke detectors don't just warn you about a fire: they proactively alert the Safe-T monitoring station, and we will dispatch your local fire department. If you don't have smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed yet, now is a good time to call Safe-T about adding them.

Wishing all of our customers a happy, safe and smart Holiday Season!

There’s a myth that professional alarm monitoring is overpriced and redundant. The idea goes like this: if window sensors, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are plenty capable of triggering alarms that shriek loud enough to let you and your neighbors know there’s something going on, why pay a company to be clued in on the obvious?

First off, alarm monitoring doesn’t need to be expensive. For example, Safe-T provides monitoring services for as little as $13.95 per month—an incredible bargain considering all you get in that package.

So what are the benefits of alarm monitoring?

When an un-monitored alarm goes off, you have three responsibilities: ensuring both the safety of your family and yourself; identifying the source of the threat; and contacting authorities. Professional alarm monitoring services cut this list down to one item: get everyone to safety.

Alarm monitoring centers—of which Safe-T is linked to three simultaneously—pay attention to the status of your alarm system 24/7. When your alarm goes off, the center receives a notification and immediately contacts authorities to be dispatched to your property—so if you’re sleeping at night and your smoke or heat detector senses a fire, all you need to do is get out of the house safely and the monitoring center and fire department handle the rest.

Additionally, you can’t hear your alarms when you’re at the store or out of town, but the monitoring center can. If you’re on vacation and a burglar breaks into your house or a fire starts, a Safe-T monitoring center will send assistance so you can rest assured your property will stay safe. It’s true that unmonitored systems could just as easily notify you of a security breach via phone call or text message, but that still means you have to worry about assessing the situation and calling authorities if necessary—which becomes quite difficult when you’re not on-site. With Safe-T monitoring, you get both the peace of mind that your property is being looked after and the personal notification services all in one affordable package.


It’s early afternoon on a fall day, just after the lunch hour. Most homeowners who return home for lunch have already headed back to work, and since school is in full swing, most teens are in the classroom. The neighborhood is relatively empty, but just for good measure, the burglar circling around is dressed as a mailman. In the event that anyone sees him, it’ll be assumed that he’s a mailman delivering packages.

This burglar chose the daytime to strike, because he knows most homeowners will be away. But what is he looking for as he roams through the neighborhood? What are his eyes fixated on? What is he hoping to discover?

An Unkept Property

Are there newspapers piling up on the front porch? Have children’s toys, lawn equipment, and other home goods been left outside? Is the grass untrimmed and walkway full of leaves and debris?

These are the clues a burglar is looking for. If items are left outside, they are perfect for stealing. But if the items aren’t to a burglars liking, at least he knows that homeowner doesn’t seem to care too much about the property. If it’s unkept, that means the homeowner likely didn’t go through the process of installing home security equipment.

Is There Protection Installed?

According to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, 60% percent of burglars will choose a different home if they know home security equipment is installed. If a neighborhood is filled with homes that are secured, they’ll likely choose another neighborhood altogether. Many neighborhood watch groups require members to obtain security equipment per their membership guidelines.

But does your home have decals and signs that advertise equipment? Is the neighborhood boasting neighborhood watch signs? Do you have other signs to promote dogs or other forms of protection?

If you have home security, your equipment should be advertised everywhere you can: windows, doors, yard, and more. If you need a new Safe-T sign or some more decals call us anytime (866) 607-2338.


Safe-T recommends you test your alarm system quarterly. It takes 5 minutes and is the only way to ensure your devices are all operating properly, and communicating with our monitoring station in the event of an emergency. Below are quick instructions, and of course call us with any questions:

  • Notify Safe-T monitoring at 866.689-0599 that you are checking your system. You will be asked some basic identifying questions, and for your password.
  • Locate and turn off the breaker that feeds electricity to the outlet powering the alarm system transformer. Verify the touchpad is still functional, indicating the battery back-up is working. 
  • Open and close each door and window that is tied to the alarm system. Have someone assist by watching the touchpad. It should display when each zone is opened. Some systems display an asterisk (*), and you must press the status button to display the actual zone. 
  • Arm and disarm the system from each touchpad. 
  • Check each panic button. 
  • Listen to the volume of your system. Is it adequate? 
  • Check to see if the strobe light functions, if applicable. 
  • Reset the system, disarming it. 
  • Check with Safe-T at 866.689.0599 to ensure signals were received. 
  • Test each smoke detector, and if they are not tied into your security system change the batteries. Consider upgrading to monitored detectors to ensure Safe-T can dispatch the fire department which is critical if you're not home! 
  • The backup battery should have carried the system through this testing process with no issues. If the system detects that the battery is low, please call Safe-T as it should be replaced. 
  • Turn the breaker back on. 
  • Contact Safe-T monitoring at 866.689.0599 and let them know you are done testing. Even if it isn’t fun, it is free, and it is a really good idea. Call Safe-T 24/7 if you have any questions about testing your system.


 

The more technology we have in our daily lives, the more vulnerable we are to dangers that result from that technology. And with kids packing around iPhones, tablets and laptops that they use unsupervised, the risk level can increase dramatically.

When you or your loved ones fall victim to malicious behavior via the Internet, any number of bad things can happen, including compromised information, stolen identities, lost money, malware ruining your computer, bullying, inappropriate images or websites, and so much more.

Home security does not apply to just the physical building that is your home, but to protecting all of your family and assets. So take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from the digital threats as much as from the physical ones. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Make sure your home WiFi is secure, requiring a unique password to access it.
  • Keep all software up-to-date, on any computers, laptops, tablets and phones. Often security vulnerabilities are discovered by the software providers before you fall victim, and they release updates to fix them. Install the updates to improve your security.
  • Also keep any antivirus software current.
  • Twitter, text, email, messaging—we have so many ways to communicate these days, so teach your kids to be careful about the kinds of information they share via these channels.
  • The same goes for social sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. People—especially adults, it seems—can be unabashedly open in the very public forum of the Internet, sharing information they wouldn’t want to divulge if talking to someone face-to-face. Not everybody needs to know everything that goes on in your child’s life, and not every selfie is okay to post. Seriously consider making information private, so only your friends can see it, if someone is being too personal online. At first, you might want to be tracking on your kids until they’ve proven they are making good choices in those environments.
  • Teach your kids to be picky about their online “friends.” And you be picky too. Just because you get a friend request doesn’t mean you have to accept it. The more people you’re connected to that you don’t really know, the more vulnerable you are.
  • Don’t post, share, text or email private information such as social security numbers, bank account information, or birth dates.
  • Change your passwords regularly (and securely) and teach your kids to do the same.
  • Teach your children to keep themselves safe when gaming online. Talk to them about the warning signs of bullying and make sure they know they can just walk away from a game.
  • Install parental controls on the family computer, and on the computers the kids have in their rooms.
  • Check your security settings for your web browser. How you do this depends on your browser, and also the limitations you want to set. For example, do you want to allow cookies or certain websites to track behavior? This kind of cached information can make your browsing more convenient, but it also makes your information more vulnerable.
  • Don’t download every app you come across, and delete unused apps from devices and computers.
  • Teach everyone in your household to be cynical, skeptical and wary (all that the same time) when faced with a suspicious link or website. When in doubt, don’t click! This could be a link that arrives via email or a text, or a webpage that came up in a search online. It could even be a Facebook scam!

This is only a shortlist of all the steps you could take for digital security for your family. For more tips and information—including a disturbing real-life story—see this Merrill Lynch article on protecting your family in the digital age.


When’s the last time you bought something from a door-to-door sales person? It’s not just the pest-control or cookies they’re selling anymore- sometimes it’s a home security monitoring service.

How Do Alarm Systems Work

Electronic alarm systems are made up of three component parts designed to detect, determine and deter criminal activity or other threatening situations. An alarm system can detect an event such as an invasion, fire, gas leak or environmental changes; determine if the event poses a threat; and then send a notification about the event.

Detect

The component of an alarm system that detects activity is called a sensor. Here are some common types of sensors that may be used to protect your home.

· Door and window contacts are switches that indicate the opening or closing of a door or window. The switch is mounted to a door or window and is held closed by a magnet attached to the frame. When the door or window moves away from the magnet, the switch opens and it is sensed by the alarm control panel.

· Motion Sensors can detect movement or motion in a large room.

· Glass Break Detectors are designed to constantly listen for the sound of breaking glass. When the glass break detector hears the sound pattern caused by shattering glass, it sends an electronic signal to the alarm control panel.

· Shock Sensors can detect an intruder that is using force to pound through a wall, roof or other area of the structure.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are used to detect carbon monoxide; an invisible, odorless, colorless gas. Upon detection of CO, the sensor will send a signal to the control panel, which will then emit an audible alarm.

· Panic Buttons send an immediate, discreet call for help upon the press of a button.

· Environmental Sensors react to the presence of water or sudden increases or decreases in room temperature.

· Smoke Detectors are designed to detect fire. There are two types of detectors: ionization and photoelectric. The most common smoke detector, ionization, is best used to detect flaming fires without a lot of smoke. Photoelectric detection reacts to smoldering fires that produce large amounts of smoke. Both technologies are required to perform at the same level in a fire and provide the same amount of warning. The most effective smoke detector is one that combines both forms of detection.

· A Keypad is a device that is used to arm and disarm an alarm system. Keypads are generally installed near the entrance or exit of home. If a door or window is opened when the system is activated, the keypad will immediately initiate an alarm.


Determine

The alarm system control panel is the brain of the system. It carries out the decide function by processing the information it receives from various sensors and responding accordingly. For example, if a door or window is open while the system is disarmed, the control panel ignores the event. But, if a window is opened while the system is armed, it will immediately respond by sending a signal to your alarm monitoring center and triggering an audible alarm.

Alarm system panels have built in communicators that transmit and receive signals via a phone line. These signals are sent to a central alarm monitoring center where trained dispatchers monitor alarm system signals. In the event of a triggered alarm, a dispatcher will contact you to verify the emergency situation and if necessary, contact the police or fire station on your behalf.

Deter

An alarm panel responds to a triggered alarm by activating physical alarms such as a siren and/or strobe lights. These devices are used to scare an intruder away from your premises or alert you of a threatening situation such as a fire or the presence of carbon monoxide.

The component parts of an alarm system work together to detect, determine and deter danger in your home. To ensure your equipment will function properly in the event of an emergency, it is important to conduct regular testing on your systems.


It’s hard to imagine accessing an office or retail center that does not have a parking lot. These facilities offer a necessary service – however, many have limited security, poor lighting, and are ill-designed with many blind spots.

Moreover, many parking lots have poorly maintained shrubbery that provide cover for potential criminal activity, or leave unattended vehicles exposed and vulnerable to theft. The major problem for parking lots, especially the large ones, is keeping cars and people visible.

With little foot traffic and limited attendants, it’s crucial to install video camera surveillance systems to improve visibility and deter crime.

Some of the most common security threats for parking lots include:

Theft from cars

This includes theft of valuables left in the car, theft of external components – such as side mirrors and wheels – and theft of interior parts, such as batteries and radios. Theft from cars constitutes about 85 per cent of automobile-related thefts. A thief only requires a little alone time, zero witnesses and a good escape route to steal a laptop or stereo, for example. 

Theft of cars

Parking lots are a target for car theft with a wide selection of vehicles often left unattended. Cars can be stolen for prolonged use, joyriding or dis-assembly. 

Violent crimes

Violent crimes committed in parking lots include strong-arm robberies and carjackings, for example. These crimes are not unusual – especially if you consider that everyone in a parking lot is often a stranger. A violent criminal can easily blend in with other people without raising any alarm.

After hours burglaries

Protect your business assets! Just last month we at Safe-T provided video surveillance footage to the police from our own back of our building cameras, that clearly showed the casing, and then break in at the building behind us.

The solution

Parking lot thieves and criminals are usually opportunists looking for the easiest target – away from witnesses or security guards. These criminals will target parking lots with no video camera surveillance.

Putting up hedges or fencing around the parking lot perimeter can deter potential criminals from accessing the facility on foot, but this can lead to an increase in costs – especially since regular maintenance is necessary. Moreover, retail parking lots need to be easily accessible – so open parking is preferred in order to allow access for pedestrians. While installing traffic gates and fencing can control foot traffic, it can also raise more issues.

The more practical solution is to ensure a secure perimeter with a video surveillance system. Improving your parking lot security will attract patrons who want to shop safely. This translates to increased profits and a great return on investment.