Fire Codes & Safety

Fire-Thomass PicsWe all know that having working fire/smoke detectors, alarms, and fire extinguishers in our homes can prevent tragic loss and irreparable damage.  The same holds true for business facilities.  However, the codes and standards for a commercial space versus a home are different, and they can vary by jurisdictions as well.  According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes are the rules and standards are the method by which the rules are applied.  There have been major events in history that have triggered modifications to national fire codes and standards.  The Station Nightclub fire in West Warwick, RI in 2003, and The Cocoanut Grove Nightclub fire of 1942 in Boston, MA are a couple examples of why and how fire codes have changed throughout the years.

If you are a business owner, you know the importance of protecting your facility, employees, and assets/inventory.  How can you be sure your business meets the proper fire safety codes?  In all likelihood, if you’re currently in operation, you’re building/facility has passed an initial inspection.  However, yearly inspections are required and codes are revised every 3-5 years.  If you are renovating or adding on to a space you will have to schedule a new inspection.  For this reason its best practice to involve an expert from the start of a project to avoid any major hiccups.

You’ll need the proper fire safety equipment which can include smoke detectors, fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and possibly a sprinkler system.  Integrating these features with your alarm system is crucial for a quicker response from emergency services.  Installing a wireless smoke detector that is not connected to your alarm system doesn’t notify local services in the event of an emergency.  The only person that type of detector benefits is someone on site or nearby during an emergency.  What if no one is around?

Failure to comply with the proper safety and code requirements can lead to inspection rejection and fines.  Our licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. can ensure the safety and code compliance of your business by installing the proper fire safety equipment as part of a comprehensive business security system.  If your facility is located in Northern or Central New Jersey, our team can guide you through the process from initial assessment to final installation.  You have enough on your mind already, let us help you avoid mental anguish.

Reasons For Code Non-Compliance:

  • Egress is not met. This includes corridors, latching mechanisms, and access controls
  • Improper storage of combustible materials
  • Inadequate emergency lighting
  • Outdated fire extinguishers and other safety equipment
  • Electrical issues (i.e. improper use of extension cords)
  • Blocked access to fire hydrants
  • Sprinkler system isn’t labeled correctly
  • For more information check out com & NFPA

How Hiring A Professional Can Help:

  • They know what types of security equipment will work and comply with fire codes
  • They may already have a relationship with the local fire official
  • They can communicate technical information to contractors, architects, & engineers
  • They know how to integrate fire alarms and smoke detectors in a comprehensive security system
  • They understand the importance of code compliance and fire safety
  • They know how egress can be affected by different access controls
  • They will help you avoid penalties and failed inspections by implementing proper installation

Call our licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. to perform an assessment of your business facility.  Let us help you discover how to protect your business with a comprehensive security solution that includes fire alarms, smoke detectors, and CO detectors.

If you live 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 Thomas’s Pics-Flickr-Creative Commons

When Lightning Strikes

Lightning-Anthony QuintanoWe all know the weather is unpredictable no matter how many radars or meteorologists tell us otherwise.  Mother Nature is impulsive and she strikes at will.  A common and sometimes unpleasant result of severe weather is power outages.  During a thunderstorm outages may last a couple of hours but extreme weather conditions have been known to leave civilians without power for weeks at a time.  The 2008 ice storm that swept the Northeast region of the United States is a perfect example of how detrimental volatile weather can be.  It left over a million without power, some for weeks.  How fast power can be restored really depends on the weather conditions and the resources available in each location.

While extreme weather is not necessarily an everyday issue-and it varies by location-there is still an impact incurred by smaller and more frequent storms that cause power outages.  Power outages affect not only lighting but heating, electric water pumps, and your home security system.  Does that mean you will be unprotected during an outage?  That depends on what type of system you have.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we provide customized security systems that help protect you and your family even in the direst of situations.  Our experts have been securing homes in northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  As we are based in New Jersey, we are no strangers to the inclement weather and its effect on local residences.

What happens during a power outage?  Everyone goes scrambling for lanterns, candles, and maybe a puzzle to pass the time, right?  Okay, so you have the entertainment portion down, but what about the safety of your home.  Will your security system still work during a power outage?  As previously mentioned that really depends on what type of system you have.

Some of the most common operating modes for security systems are through phone lines, cellular radio, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and the internet.  With an alarm system that operates through traditional phone lines, it will continue to communicate with monitoring services even during a power outage as phone lines typically stay up and running.  Like many systems, the central control panel will continue operating off its backup batteries.  How long the backup batteries last varies; some may last hours, others may last days.  Your security system provider should have information on how long your backup batteries will last.  A system that runs off cellular radio capabilities will also rely on backup batteries during a power outage.  This is a wireless system so communication would be unaffected.  VoIP wireless systems rely on internet and phone lines for power and communication so if power is out and internet is out, you can lose communication with monitoring services.  Internet based systems have been touted as the least reliable during an outage.  The reason being they lose communication capabilities if the internet is out, which if the power is out the internet typically follows.

To ensure that you will be covered during a power outage it’s best to be prepared.  To be prepared you should know what type of system you have and talk with your provider to find out what would happen if an outage occurred.  You don’t want to assume you’ll have 2 days of backup battery when you really only have a few hours.  Stocking extra batteries isn’t a bad idea, especially if you live in an area that is prone to inclement weather.  Knowing your systems capabilities and limitations will leave you better prepared in the event of an outage or any emergency for that matter.  Aside from knowing the ins and outs of your security system you could invest in preparatory measures like alternative exterior lighting.  One of the best crime deterrents, besides a comprehensive security system, is lighting.  Burglars don’t want to break-in to homes that are well lit, it leaves them too exposed.

You can’t predict the weather, but you can be prepared for it.  Knowing the limitations of your home security system will help prevent panic during power outages and other weather related incidents.  No security system is infallible, but having one significantly decreases the chances of catastrophe.  Whether you are considering a security system for the first time or looking for expertise do not hesitate to call on our team of professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc..  We have been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey for over 20 years.  Our specialists can guide you through the process from an initial assessment to final installation.  It’s important to note that every home is different therefore each security system should be individually tailored.  Don’t fall for a “one size fits all” solution.

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 Anthony Quintano-Flickr-Creative Commons

The Holidays: A Threat to Home Security?

Happy Holidays-Melissa BrawnerNo matter what you celebrate, the holidays are a time for family, friends, love, laughter, and burglary?  That’s right folks, not everyone gets into the spirit of giving during the holiday season.  In fact, there are those who seek out opportunities to break into homes and steal instead.  Often times people have more valuables and cash lying around during the holiday season.  Holiday shopping sprees make empty homes vulnerable as well, especially because most break-ins occur during the day.  Fortunately there are some things you can do to prevent break-ins and/or burglary during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we understand your concerns in safeguarding not only your home and valuables, but your family as well.  If you don’t have a security system, call on our experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. to find out how a comprehensive residential security system can help protect your home, loved ones, and peace of mind.  Below are some security tips to keep in mind for the holiday season.

If you don’t have one, install a home security system with home automation

A comprehensive home security system with home automation and a monitoring service has numerous benefits.  Aside from making your home 300 percent less likely to be burglarized, you gain a peace of mind that can’t be obtained anywhere else.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we specialize in providing and installing customized residential security systems that include proper fire alarms, surveillance equipment and a monitoring service, burglar alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors.  These components combined with home automation make for an almost unbeatable system.  With home automation you no longer have to worry whether or not you locked your doors because you can conveniently do so from afar via your mobile device.

If you have a security system make sure it is functioning properly

There’s nothing like assuming you’re covered in an emergency or break-in, only to find out key components of your security system are malfunctioning or out of batteries.  These are things that should be checked, at the very least, on an annual basis by your security provider.  It doesn’t hurt to double check during the holiday season.  Run a diagnostics test, if you’re unsure how to, contact your security system provider and the monitoring service to avoid false alarms.

Travel plans?

Planning a trip for the holidays?  Be sure to keep the details on the down-low.  Do not announce on any platform-as tempting as it may be-when you’ll be gone and for how long.  Sharing that type of information with the public is like an open invitation to criminals.  If you have to tell someone or want someone to check your home periodically while you’re gone, tell trusted neighbors and friends or hire someone from a reputable company.  Try not to make it look obvious that you’re not home, have someone grab your mail or have the post office hold it.  Use programmed lighting or home automation to turn lights on and off throughout your trip, this will help give the illusion that someone is home.  Leaving the TV on or a single light on for the duration of your trip is not a good idea because if someone is casing your home they will pick up on the fact that neither is being turned on or off; never mind the chance of an electrical fire.

Hide gifts

Do not leave gifts, wrapped or unwrapped in front of windows or within sight from the exterior of your home.  Just as with any valuables, the more visible they are, the more incentive burglars have to break-in.  If you are going to leave gifts in front of windows or within outdoor sight, try drawing your curtains.

Do a quick survey of your property

Taking the time to inspect the exterior of your home and property is a great way to ensure your access points are adequately protected.  Doing this can help point out potential hiding spots for criminals (i.e. high or untrimmed shrubs) and weak spots that might need attention.

Out and about

While you’re out shopping be sure to secure your home and yourself.  If you carry a purse be sure to keep it close to you.  Wallet carriers, if you normally keep it in your back pocket, be sure to switch it to your front.  Park your car in well-lit areas.  You can never be too careful.

Remember it’s not all about the material possessions that can be stolen, most are easily replaced.  It’s losing that peace of mind you had prior to a break-in.  Restoring peace of mind once it’s been disturbed is more difficult than replacing a toy.  Be proactive and protect your home and family by installing a comprehensive security system.  If you live in Northern or Central New Jersey call on our team of professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc..  We can provide a personal assessment of your security needs.  Then customize a system that is right for your individual home that will help protect you and your family for many holiday seasons to come!

If you live 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 Melissa Brawner-Flickr-Creative Commons

Hardwired Vs Wireless

Wires-Windell OskayThe process of researching home security systems can seem daunting.  There are many factors you must take into consideration.  You have to choose which company you trust to perform the work, how much you’re willing to spend, and what type of system to have installed, to name a few.  The type of system you opt for can seem like a tricky decision, that’s why it is imperative to hire a licensed security professional to advise you on the best solution for your home.  There are two types of systems in terms of how they are installed, hardwired and wireless.  Sometimes a combination of both are implemented, it really depends on your specific needs.  Here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we provide security system solutions to Northern and Central New Jersey, and can assess an individual homeowners needs for either a hardwired or wireless installation.

According to safewise.com, “The network of sensors, plus the control panel, make up a self-contained system that may be wired or wireless.”  So what’s the difference between hardwired and wireless?  A hardwired system involves installing physical wires from the various alarm components (i.e. motion detectors, sensors, etc) to the central control panel.  The wires are typically hidden behind walls, which is why it’s beneficial to install this type of system in the construction phase of a home, if possible.  According to asecurelife.com, “most older home alarm systems rely on hard wiring where most new systems are gravitating towards wireless or hybrid alarm systems.”

A wireless system relies on radio frequencies to transmit and receive signals between the alarm devices and the control panel; kind of like how a cell phone works.  In fact, one of the major benefits of a wireless system is you have the ability to remotely control different aspects of your home via your mobile phone/device.  A hardwired system may require a landline to communicate with the monitoring service, whereas a wireless system doesn’t.  In this day and age, many homeowners are moving away from landlines all together, making a wireless system almost an indisputable choice.  An interesting article about the seaside New Jersey town of Mantokoling describes how the phone lines destroyed by Hurricane Sandy were not rebuilt at all.  Instead a wireless option was offered by Verizon.  Whether by choice or natural causes, wireless technology seems to be the trend of the future.

While the decision between wireless or hardwired might seem difficult, a specialist will be able to help you figure it out, and in some cases you may not have to choose; it might be dictated by the structure of your home or the area you live in.  Hiring an expert will not only save you time and aggravation, but provide you with a peace of mind knowing your system is appropriate for your home and that it was installed correctly.  If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey, don’t hesitate to contact our team of licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc..  We’ve been providing residential security systems services for the past 22 years.  Our team is knowledgeable about the systems we install and the ever changing technology in the security systems industry.

Check out this brief list of the pros and cons of hardwired and wireless systems:

Hardwired Security System

Pros:

  • It’s a reliable system
  • Can be integrated seamlessly with new construction projects
  • They typically have backup batteries in case of power outages
  • Hardwired systems are less susceptible to electrical interferences from other devices
  • Alarm will sound if any wiring is cut
  • Will likely be installed by a licensed professional ensuring smoother integration

Cons:

  • Can sometimes be more expensive
  • May require tougher installation (drilling holes in walls etc.)
  • Makes relocation of system devices more difficult
  • Typically have longer more intensive installation
  • Can’t bring the system with you when/if you move

Wireless Security System

Pros:

  • Installation is fairly easy and quick
  • Devices can easily be moved, replaced, or updated
  • Can control parts of your home remotely from your mobile device (thermostats, lighting, etc.)
  • System maintenance is typically easy, in most cases systems will require battery replacement
  • Device software can be updated as it evolves
  • May be a more economical system
  • Devices are portable, making moving less of an issue

Cons:

  • Can sometimes be interfered with by exterior electronic devices (baby monitors, microwaves etc.)
  • Can sometimes be more susceptible to interference than a hardwired system
  • Technology evolves quickly making installed devices obsolete quicker
  • Devices can sometimes have sensory issues
  • Structural interferences can be an issue (brick walls, old construction etc.)

If you live 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 Credits: Image by Winell Oskay-Flickr-Creative Commons

Fire Safety & Code Requirements Intro

Fire-Thomass PicsWe all know that having working fire/smoke detectors, alarms, and fire extinguishers in our homes can prevent tragic loss and irreparable damage.  The same holds true for business facilities.  However, the codes and standards for a commercial space versus a home are different, and they can vary by jurisdictions as well.  According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes are the rules and standards are the method by which the rules are applied.  There have been major events in history that have triggered modifications to national fire codes and standards.  The Station Nightclub fire in West Warwick, RI in 2003, and The Cocoanut Grove Nightclub fire of 1942 in Boston, MA are a couple examples of why and how fire codes have changed throughout the years.

If you are a business owner, you know the importance of protecting your facility, employees, and assets/inventory.  How can you be sure your business meets the proper fire safety codes?  In all likelihood, if you’re currently in operation, you’re building/facility has passed an initial inspection.  However, yearly inspections are required and codes are revised every 3-5 years.  If you are renovating or adding on to a space you will have to schedule a new inspection.  For this reason its best practice to involve an expert from the start of a project to avoid any major hiccups.

You’ll need the proper fire safety equipment which can include smoke detectors, fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and possibly a sprinkler system.  Integrating these features with your alarm system is crucial for a quicker response from emergency services.  Installing a wireless smoke detector that is not connected to your alarm system doesn’t notify local services in the event of an emergency.  The only person that type of detector benefits is someone on site or nearby during an emergency.  What if no one is around?

Failure to comply with the proper safety and code requirements can lead to inspection rejection and fines.  Our licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. can ensure the safety and code compliance of your business by installing the proper fire safety equipment as part of a comprehensive business security system.  If your facility is located in Northern or Central New Jersey, our team can guide you through the process from initial assessment to final installation.  You have enough on your mind already, let us help you avoid mental anguish.

Reasons For Code Non-Compliance:

  • Egress is not met. This includes corridors, latching mechanisms, and access controls
  • Improper storage of combustible materials
  • Inadequate emergency lighting
  • Outdated fire extinguishers and other safety equipment
  • Electrical issues (i.e. improper use of extension cords)
  • Blocked access to fire hydrants
  • Sprinkler system isn’t labeled correctly
  • For more information check out com & NFPA

How Hiring A Professional Can Help:

  • They know what types of security equipment will work and comply with fire codes
  • They may already have a relationship with the local fire official
  • They can communicate technical information to contractors, architects, & engineers
  • They know how to integrate fire alarms and smoke detectors in a comprehensive security system
  • They understand the importance of code compliance and fire safety
  • They know how egress can be affected by different access controls
  • They will help you avoid penalties and failed inspections by implementing proper installation

Call our licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. to perform an assessment of your business facility.  Let us help you discover how to protect your business with a comprehensive security solution that includes fire alarms, smoke detectors, and CO detectors.

If you live 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 Thomas’s Pics-Flickr-Creative Commons

Home Security-What is required of you?

You’ve just had a licensed professional install a brand new, custom, comprehensive home security system.  All devices are functioning properly and you’re feeling safer already.  What now?  Is there anything you need to do?  What is expected of you to maintain your system?  In all honesty, not much.  However, we live in an imperfect world, and no system is completely maintenance free.  Think about it, security devices (wireless or not) including cameras, motion detectors, smoke detectors, and sensors all require some form of energy in order to communicate with the central control panel in your home.  So what does that mean for you?  In most cases it means the purchase and replacement of batteries.

Who is responsible for purchasing replacement parts, installing them, and inspecting the devices?  During the process of researching a security company, you probably came across service contract agreements.  Service contracts spell out who is responsible for what, and the associated cost/s.  The length of the contract depends on the company, industry standard tends to be somewhere around 36 months.  Some companies do offer a month to month service with no contract.  It is important, as the consumer, to understand the terms of your service agreement and warranty as it will outline what is covered by your security systems provider, and where your responsibilities lie.  Be sure to get a written copy of your agreement, it’s a good reference and it will help with any disputes.

Contract-24oranges.nlHere at Perfect Connections, Inc. we believe the typical industry standard 90 day warranty is not fair.  That’s why  we offer our clients in Northern and Central New Jersey replacement of any damaged equipment (with minor exceptions) for up to an entire year, at no cost to you.  Unlike other security systems companies, we also offer a 30 day money back guarantee.  Like you, we expect quality products and service to deliver value, not headaches.  We pride ourselves on delivering top notch customer satisfaction.

Here are some helpful questions you might want to ask your security professional:

  • Am I charged for false alarms?
  • What, if any, are the fees for service calls?
  • How long is my contract/agreement valid?
  • What happens if I move before the contract/agreement expiration?
  • What is covered under my contract/agreement?
  • Is there 24 hour customer service?
  • Who will be entering my home for repairs/maintenance?

Maintenance Basics

As a security system owner you really don’t need to worry about the functionality of your new devices on a daily basis, custom home security systems are designed to last.  After the initial installation your system should run smoothly for a long time.  As previously mentioned, you might have to replace batteries every now and then, and there may be periodic software updates.  Devices that typically require batteries include motion detectors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, door and window sensors, and cameras.  If you’re not comfortable, or unsure of, the type needed for your devices you can always call upon your security system provider, and they can give you that information or replace them for you.  Be aware there might be a cost associated with a service call, but ultimately that cost is nothing compared to what it would be to replace devices damaged by improper maintenance.

Aside from the occasional battery replacement, what else might you want to check on?  Performing operational tests to make sure everything is running correctly is a good idea.  Your central control panel should have some sort of alarm test section/button.  Before running a test on your system, you should alert your monitoring service to prevent a false alarm.  Requesting annual inspections performed by a professional will help with the upkeep and functionality of your system.  Some companies even offer annual inspections as part of their service agreement/contract.  If you have any questions or are unsure of how to maintain or check your security system, always call a professional.  This will help avoid accidentally setting off false alarms or damaging equipment.

Some general security maintenance tips to keep in mind are to make sure your sensors and detectors are clear of cobwebs and obstructions that may cause false alarms.  Occasionally check that your lighting, interior and exterior, is working properly as it can be a powerful crime deterrent.  Periodically taking a quick stroll around the perimeter of your home will help assure everything is in order, and add to your peace of mind.  It couldn’t hurt to occasionally check for general wear and tear, or damage, to your security devices.  Think of your home as a kit of parts, everything must be put together and maintained properly in order for it to function optimally.  You wouldn’t let a leaky faucet go unrepaired for the fear of flooding, your security system is the same.  If you notice something that doesn’t seem right, contact an expert, they will save you time, money, and aggravation.  Your home is the physical structure that protects your family and possessions from the elements, your security system is a partially invisible shield that helps prevent all sorts of potential catastrophes.  Keep it running smoothly.

While you can perform some of the basic upkeep of a security system yourself, is it always wise to inform or include your security systems professional if it is unclear what needs to be done.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we put customers first.  Our specialists are knowledgeable about the devices they install, and understand the complexities of a comprehensive security system.  Our team has been providing expert service in Northern and Central New Jersey since 1992.  With decades of experience you can be sure Perfect Connections, Inc. understands what matters most and will provide superior home security service.

If you live 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 24oranges.nl-Flickr-Creative Commons

Battery Back Up

When you have an alarm system installed, you should make sure that it has 24 hour battery backup. Simply put, if the power goes out for any reason, your system will continue to operate without interruption for 24 hours.

The control panel needs a battery.  The biggest determining factor on the size of battery required is what the power draw of all the devices that the control panel powers use.  These are measured in amp hours and the total tells you how much power per hour is used and you multiply it by twenty four.  You also have to factor in the siren being active for a set period of time. This calculation will tell you what size battery you need. You cannot put too large a battery in the control panel because the charging circuit will not be able to charge the battery properly.  Most control panel batteries are 4 to 7 amp hours.

Every other device in your system that has a power supply should also have a battery backup.  If you have remote power for additional devices, that battery should be properly sized as well.  Cellular communicators should also have a backup battery matched to work for 24 hours as well.

Most homes now have phone service provided by their cable company, or some sort of Voice Over IP Service.  VOIP will be a topic for an upcoming post but for today here is the important part – most modems do not have a battery backup built into them and shut down when there is no power. If there is a battery built in, it is only calculated to work for 8 hours. This renders your security system unable to communicate in the case of any emergency unless you have a cellular communicator attached to the security system. You should consider buying a UPS (uninterruptable power supply) and plugging your modem into it.  This will give you some protection during power failures.

As batteries age, their efficiency deteriorates and they cannot hold their charge as long.  That is why it is important to change your backup batteries every 3 to 5 years, or sooner if you receive indications that the battery is low.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, or if you would like us to perform a Home Safety and Security Audit, absolutely free, please call 800-369-3962 or simply click the link below.

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