Halloween Safety Tips

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Happy Halloween from all of us here at Perfect Connections! Here are some tips for you and your family to make sure the holiday is safe and enjoyable.

Tips For Your Home

Leave Lights On

A well-lit home is a safe home. Whether you’re in the house handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, or you’ll be out in the neighborhood, keep some lights on around the house to show that someone is still home. Outdoor lighting also can help prevent any unwanted visitors, and makes it safer for any visitors coming for treats.

Your Security System

With the possibility for a lot of foot-traffic around your home, your security system may need a bit of fine tuning. Make sure any cameras are pointed at the areas that are most likely to receive the most traffic. The front door/porch, driveway, and if possible sidewalk and street outside the house are very important areas to be able to view. If you plan on leaving the house unattended, make sure your system is armed, and make sure anyone returning to the house know’s the alarm code to disarm the system.

Tips For Outside Your Home

Trick-Or-Treating

Make sure all candy is checked before being eaten. It is highly recommended that any candy that isn’t pre-wrapped is thrown out. And always remember – safety in numbers!

Cell Phones

If you’re sending your kids out into the neighborhood to trick-or-treat on their own, a cell phone is an extremely important tool to help them keep safe. Make sure they have a fully charged cellphone, and that they know which number to call in case of an emergency. If you’re going out with your children, make sure you have alerts set up so your security system can notify you of any incidents at your home.

 

How Motion Detection Works

Motion_detectorWhen you think motion detectors (or sensors) you might picture a heist scene from the movies where a thief has to perform acrobatics in order to avoid a web of alarm triggering laser-beams surrounding a priceless gem. While that narrative is not necessarily complete fiction, it’s not exactly how motion detection is implemented in the real world. In modern day applications security system integrators use motion detectors to sense unwarranted movement within or outside of a home or facility. Motion detectors are typically implemented as an essential part of a comprehensive security system meant to help detect an intruder. There are different types of detectors and their applications are not necessarily synonymous.

Our licensed team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been protecting homes and businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey with comprehensive security systems for the past 23 years. We know one of the best ways to halt an intruder is immediate detection that triggers the alarm system. Motion detectors do just that. When they detect motion they communicate with the central alarm panel triggering an alarm, ultimately notifying your monitoring service of a disturbance; and before you know it help is on the way.

What are the different types of detectors? In general there are two types of motion detectors, passive and active. Within those two categories there are different detector technologies. Passive detectors sense energy changes within a specific boundary whereas active detectors emit energy to detect motion.

Passive infrared (PIR) is a common technology that detects heat. If there is disparity between the temperature of the protected area and an obstructive object (intruder) the sensors will be tripped and an alarm will be triggered. This technology is not immune to triggering false alarms especially if automatic temperature compensation is not employed. A PIR detector should have automatic temperature compensation to help stabilize the detector in variant temperature conditions.

Microwave (MW) is an active detector that emits microwave pulses and reads the reflection of a moving object. This type of detector can cover a larger area than a PIR but it can be susceptible to electrical interference. MW detectors do not recognize the boundaries of walls so they can trigger false alarms set off by random exterior motion.

Then there is Dual Technology detectors which employ a combination of active and passive sensors. This could mean the combination of PIR and MW technology. These types of detectors are less likely to set off false alarms as both types of sensors would have to be tripped in order for an alarm to be triggered. However, that doesn’t mean these detectors are infallible.

Prior to the creation of PIR and MW detectors, motion detectors were not held in the highest regards by system integrators and end-users alike due to their high false alarm rates. Before PIR and MW there was ultrasonics and photoelectric beams. Ultrasonic detectors would send out high frequency tones and then interpret the reflections for any disruptions. Photoelectric beams would send a light beam to a receiver that if interrupted would initiate the alarm sequence (picturing that heist scenario?). These types of detectors were particularly susceptible to unpredictable movements as they didn’t have the technology to discriminate accurately. While these motion detectors are not as widely used today they are by no means obsolete.

As technology progresses and the notion of wired installations becomes less and less appealing, wireless systems are taking off. It’s no different with motion detectors. Most can be installed wirelessly making their applications less laborious and diverse. Many security system components have been developed to include interior motion sensors as well, like surveillance equipment and access controls. For pet owners, there are motions detectors that can be setup to ignore regular motion from pets of a certain size. Proper installation is crucial to the effectiveness of a motion detector therefore it should be done by a licensed professional.

Comprehensive security systems are what protect your home and business from external and internal threats. It’s important to consider motion detectors as part of a comprehensive system. They provide a layer of security that can’t be duplicated, sensing an intruder at the first sign of a break-in. As licensed security system integrators, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to businesses and homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. We help protect what is most important and give you a peace of mind you can’t get from anything else.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by CHG (Own work)-Google-Creative Commons

Understanding False Alarms

False alarm may cost a life-Shannon ClarkIf you have a security system you might already understand the consequences of a false alarm. It is not something to be taken lightly and can have serious implications. False alarms can happen for any number of reasons and it’s important to understand why and how best to avoid them. No security system is perfect, and false alarms are bound to happen, but as end users and integrators it is our duty to try to minimize them. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators have been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. They are knowledgeable about the products they install and can provide useful information on system function and upkeep to help avoid any mishaps.

As technology progresses and advancements in security manufacturing lead to better products it’s likely the instance of a false alarm or dispatch will be lessened. According to Ron Walters, director with the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), prior to the 90’s false alarms were typically attributed to faulty security products. Since then manufacturers have been and continue to produce quality products, however that doesn’t guarantee proper application and use. Accurate installation and usage lies the hands of the security integrator and the end user. That is why it is critical to hire a licensed security expert for system installation and user specifications. It is also important that the end user has an understanding of what is expected of them in order to avoid false dispatches. Unfortunately, approximately 15% of false alarms are considered to be caused by user error.

In a world where there are an estimated 35-36 million alarms in use, according to Stan Martin who is the executive director of the SIAC, false alarms are an unavoidable evil. False alarms and dispatches are an annoyance for end users, but their ramifications don’t end there. They take valuable time and resources away from emergency responders that might otherwise be needed at an actual crisis. If you have too many false alarms it can create a “boy cried wolf” situation where authorities might be more hesitant to respond. On top of all that you could end up paying substantial fines for repeat offenses. Recurring false alarms that go unchecked can create tension between local authorities, end users, and security integrators. But negative impacts aside, the SIAC reports that 90% of law enforcement still consider alarm industry professionals valuable allies.

Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause of a false alarm as it could have been a situation where an intruder was attempting a break-in and escaped before authorities arrived making it appear like a false alarm. This is where video surveillance, alarm monitoring, and remote system access come in handy. Being able to tap into your facility’s surveillance system and visually verify whether or not an intruder is or was present, is a critical time and resources saver. With remote access via an app on your smartphone or mobile device you can do just that. The beauty of remote access is you don’t have to physically be on site to see what is going on at your facility. Having a monitoring service will also help determine whether or not there is an actual emergency and whether or not authorities should be dispatched. An added benefit to having video surveillance is even if the perpetrator escapes before authorities arrive, the recorded footage can be used to aid an investigation and hopefully identify the intruder.

Aside from having proper security equipment installed there are some helpful tips for end users to keep in mind that will help avoid pesky false alarms. One, always know your alarm code and be sure all windows and doors are secured before arming your system. Two, be sure you get your system tested regularly, it’s typical to have an annual inspection but some situations might require quarterly or more frequent tests. Be sure critical sensors and smoke detectors are adequately covered during any construction or building modification to avoid disruptions caused by debris. Lastly, always consult a licensed security system provider with any maintenance or care questions.

While false alarms aren’t completely avoidable, you can lessen the chances of them happening to you. Hiring a licensed security system integrator who is knowledgeable and has extensive installation experience is key. Installing a comprehensive security system that includes video surveillance, fire and burglar alarms, access control, and a monitoring service will provide complete coverage and reduce the risk of false dispatches and alarms. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed professionals have been providing comprehensive security systems to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years. Our technicians have the experience and expertise to install security devices and can help educate you on proper usage.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Shannon Clark-Flickr-Creative Commons

Property Management and Security

Commercial BuildingAs a property manager you have a lot of people that depend on the safety and security of the real estate you oversee. Whether or not you own the properties you rent, or work with a landlord in managing their properties, a bulk of the responsibility lies on your shoulders. Your main goal is to attract responsible patrons, keep them, and build your brand. How can you do that if the property you oversee is publicly perceived to be too risky or unsafe? That’s the problem, if there has been an incident at a property that you own the public tends to remember and will likely steer clear of that address.

This negative reaction can be limited by implementing preventative security measures that meet the needs of your tenants and the risks associated with the surrounding area. One of the best preventative measures you can take as a property manager is to incorporate a comprehensive security system in combination with defined property protocols. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators provide comprehensive security system solutions that suit your specific needs. We have been installing security systems in facilities and residences throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years. Our team recognizes the challenges property managers face dealing with multiple properties both commercial and residential. We specialize in comprehensive security systems that include fire and burglar alarms, access control solutions, video surveillance, and system monitoring.

Trying to determine what type of security system is necessary for a specific property can be difficult that’s why it is important to involve a security professional from the start. This is especially true for new construction projects. Involving a security integrator from the start will ensure you are getting the coverage you need and create a seamless installation process.

One of the first and most important procedures to tackle is a risk assessment. A risk assessment should include a licensed security systems integrator and it should be performed as early on as possible. This will help determine where your greatest security threats are and how best to tackle them. The next step would be to design a custom security system that helps combat those threats.

While every security system application will be different dependent on the location there are some key components that will benefit most buildings. Video surveillance is a major security feature that is essential to any comprehensive system. The mere presence of a camera system is sometimes enough to deter potential criminals. It helps keep an eye on your property even when you can’t be there, it also gives your tenants a peace of mind knowing their public spaces are being looked after.

Access control is another important piece of the security system pie. It helps limit who and how people can gain entry and sometimes exit. Access control can be implemented in a number of ways. Often times a credential is issued to the approved users and they typically come in the form of a swipe card, a fob, or a proximity card. These credentials are used in conjunction with an electronic reader installed by the desired entry point. Using access control credentials instead of traditional keys helps prevent lost or stolen items from being duplicated. A similar type of idea can be used with parking lots and garages as well.

Fire and burglar alarms in combination with access control, video surveillance, and an alarm monitoring service make for a comprehensive security system. A security systems integrator helps ensure your fire alarm is installed and operates according to national and local codes. Having an alarm monitoring service will help alert you and the proper authorities at the first sign of a disturbance. With today’s technology there’s the potential to remotely monitor what is going on at your facilities through an app on your smartphone. Mobile apps typically have the capability to send you notifications if an alarm is triggered, or you can customize the type of notifications you want to receive. This could be particularly beneficial if you own multiple properties in different areas. A security system is meant to be a purveyor of safety and convenience. It helps protect your property investments and your patrons.

There is no “one-stop” security solution for any facility or residence. That is why it is imperative to involve a security systems integrator, they will assess the risks associated with your particular facility and design a system that suits your specific needs. As a property manager you have people that depend on you to maintain the facilities they utilize, and security should be a factor in that maintenance. Even if installing a security system isn’t your decision to make, it’s worth bringing up to whomever would make that choice. Having a comprehensive security system can be a good selling point to your clients and a way to keep them. Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. We understand the value a security system can add to a facility and the sense of safety it instills in those it is meant to protect.

If you live, run a business, or manage properties in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Ines Hegedus-Garcia-Flickr-Creative Commons

Protect Your Alarm System As Well

Who Watches The Watchmen?System Lock-Yuri Samoilov-Creative Commons

For those who own alarm systems, whether they be are video surveillance, access control, burglary, or fire protection, our systems watch over us and protect us around the clock.

But in today’s day and age, just about everything is connected to the internet. In many cases, this includes our alarm system. And like any device that is connected to the internet, if not taken care of properly, it can be at risk of attack from hackers.

“Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks” said a recent news piece by the Wall Street Journal. Many times, these cameras were infected by pre-compromised routers that already existed.

Here are some tips about how to protect your alarm system as well

Router security:
We recommend using WPA2 security for your router. Most routers, unless they are fairly old, are capable of this type of security. For more information on this, check out your router’s brand’s website – Belkin, Linksys, and Netgear are common brands.

Firmware updates: It is very important that any device that connects to the internet, from thermostats to alarm systems to routers to televisions to computers, always has the most up to date firmware. Each device’s manual or website will have instructions on how to do those, and if there is a phone application that interfaces with the device, you can often do it through the application.

Password protection: Many devices come with generic user names and passwords. These are easy targets for hackers. Make sure you change any default passwords, and try not to use the same password on multiple devices. It is most important that this is done on the router.

New hardware:
According to Kenneth White, a security researcher and director of the Open Crypto Audit Project, “If the company that made your [device] isn’t selling that model anymore or offering security updates, that’s a good sign for you to throw it in the trash.”