Proper Maintenance For Functional Fire Alarms

Fire Strobe-Alfonso PierantonioFire is an unpredictable force that can wreak havoc on any business. It is imperative as a business owner, facility manager, or building owner that the proper precautions are in place to help prevent catastrophe. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) is a leading advocate in fire prevention and safety. They’ve written numerous codes and standards that have been implemented nationwide. These standards are designed to help reduce the risk and effects of fire. In combination with local regulations, NFPA codes and regulations are what system integrators and contractors have to follow in order to pass inspection from local authorities.

While you no doubt have some sort of fire detection and/or suppression system in operation it’s important to maintain it in accordance with national and local requirements. As a security systems integrator, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been installing fire alarm systems in business facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 25 years. We specialize in comprehensive security systems that include fire alarms as a major component to a fully functioning system. We do offer maintenance and service contracts helping you preserve a system that will continue to pass annual inspections and work efficiently in the event of a fire.

What goes into fire alarm maintenance? First off, unless you or your staff is trained and licensed, you must hire a licensed technician. This will help avoid accidentally setting off any false alarms which can result in substantial fines. A common starting point, whether the system is fairly new or if you moved into a space with an existing system, is to find out the systems age and maintenance history. The age of a fire alarm system will help determine whether or not components need to be replaced and what type of maintenance might be required.

According to Mike Lohr, director of service marketing for SimplexGrinnell LP, “Systems between five and ten years old may experience component breakdown caused by harsh, but normal, environmental factors. Voltage fluctuations, temperature, and humidity may cause system failure or nuisance alarm problems.” He notes that systems between 5-10 and 10-15 years can provide adequate “life-safety” responses, but those within the 10-15 year marks should be watched carefully. This is even more important if you have a shoddy record of maintenance history as it could have been poorly taken care of in the past.

Aside from knowing the age of your system you have to take any specific regulations the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) might have into consideration. While the NFPA provides codes and standards for the nation, the AHJ will likely have their own set of rules that are specific to the area they preside. This means that even if your system meets NFPA standards it may not pass local inspection because of AHJ specifications. For this reason it is imperative to hire experts that are licensed and educated not only in maintenance specific to your system, but national and local requirements as well.

In most cases fire alarm systems must be inspected at least once a year. Some may require a more frequent assessment. It really all depends on the type of business. During an inspection all components of the system will be tested so if something is not functioning properly, it will likely be taken care of at that time. Before an inspection you should notify the building occupants as the alarms will be tested and it gets noisy. Your alarm system company is the one who should contact the alarm monitoring station and local authorities in advance to avoid false emergencies.

Maintaining a functional fire alarm system is key to preventing potential catastrophe. It helps protect not only the physicality of your business, but everything that goes into running your business, i.e. you, your employees, company records, and equipment. If you ever consider cutting corners when it comes to fire alarm maintenance carefully consider the extent of what it might cost you if you do.

While as a business owner you may not need to know all the fine details of what goes into fire alarm maintenance, it is important to have a basic understanding of what you can expect when the time comes. For further information on fire alarm maintenance and inspections check out our related blog post HERE. If you run a business in northern or central New Jersey do not hesitate to call on our licensed technicians at Perfect Connections, Inc.. We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions including fire alarm installation and maintenance since 1992.

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 Alfonso Pierantonio-Flickr-Creative Commons

Make Sure To Read This Before You Renovate

construction-19696_1280Home renovation is an exciting and fulfilling prospect for many homeowners. Whether you’re adding on or adjusting an existing space, it’s imperative to make sure your home is protected during the process. While renovating your home is rewarding for you and your family, you don’t want it to be a “rewarding” process for would-be thieves and criminals. Our experts here at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand protecting your home is a top priority, especially during a renovation when it is more vulnerable. We’ve been providing security system solutions to northern and central New Jersey homes since 1992. If you are renovating or adding on to an existing structure, don’t hesitate to call on our professionals before you renovate to discuss how best to protect your home during this process. Having a security systems expert involved from the get-go is essential for seamless integration and full protection. We understand the renovation process can be dubious at times, the following tips can help remove some of the hassle and uncertainty.

Hiring the right contractor

When it comes to your home and family you can never be too careful. You wouldn’t hire a babysitter without doing your research first – the same holds true for finding the right contractor. A background check is a great way to tell whether or not the company you want to hire is reputable or not. Here’s the caveat, companies with bad reputations or failed business sometimes shut down and reopen under a new name (ACE Private Risk Services). So how can you really be sure of who you’re hiring? In many cases architects are involved in the renovation process. They should have good insight into which companies are trustworthy. Ask your friends and family for referrals. Use websites like Angie’s List to find out what other customers think about the contractor you’re interested in hiring. Gain as much knowledge about the companues of interest before making a final decision.

When signing a contract, be sure it delineates who is responsible for what and that the associated cost makes sense. Sometimes contractors will low-ball the contract price and try to add cost later, blaming it on “unexpected” issues. Ask the contractor directly for a review of their past or most current jobs. Those with nothing to hide should be more than happy to provide them. After all, it’s your home, you want it done right. It is also important from a liability standpoint to be sure the contractor has insurance for his/her self and their workers. You don’t want to incur the cost of someone being injured on the job.

Utilize existing security features

If you have an existing security system in your home, use it to keep an eye on the renovation process. Having remote monitoring access through your video surveillance system will allow you to check-in on your home while you’re away at work or can’t be there. While you’re not out to purposefully accuse the people working on your home of being lazy, trying to rip you off, or stealing it is in your best interest to protect your property. Many, if not most, contractors are reputable and diligent in their work, but nobody is perfect and unfortunately there are companies that do try to take advantage.

Take for example this story of a homeowner who was having the exterior caulking on his windows reinforced. The hired contractor had quoted him for 8 hours of work. The homeowner set up a wireless camera to monitor activity outside his home for when the contractor was scheduled to be working. He was able to see when the contractor arrived, and the hours he spent sitting in his truck NOT performing the agreed upon work. Ultimately, the contractor performed only 5 of the quoted 8 hours of work. When the contractor was paid for the 5 hours he couldn’t dispute it as the homeowner had irrefutable evidence (story courtesy of iWatchLife.com). Negative experiences aside, monitoring your home during construction can also validate the expertise a contractor has, giving you incentive to recommend them in the future.

In all likelihood if you have an existing security system, you’ll be adding on to it in the new space or at least altering it during the renovation process. Including your security system provider from the beginning is a beneficial tactic. If you have a hardwired security system, what better time to include the security provider than when the walls are already open? It will save you from the cost of having to tear them open after the fact. Plus, your security expert/s can address your concerns before construction starts and openly communicate with the other professionals involved. Having that dialogue between the different professional services from the start will create a smoother and more productive process.

Securing the job site

Aside from hiring the right people to complete the job, you want to make sure the job site is adequately secured. One of the most basic, yet often forgotten or disregarded ways to help prevent damage or loss is to lock your doors and windows. While it may not stop someone from breaking in, it will certainly slow them down. This will help control who has access to various parts of your home during the construction process as well.

Alert your security system provider of your upcoming changes, they’ll likely have suggestions on how to protect the exposed portions of your home. Like preventing fire damage by installing temporary smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Confirm with your security system provider that your current fire alarm system will still function throughout the duration of the project. Even having your security systems expert install additional, maybe temporary, surveillance equipment will help you keep an eye on what’s going on.

Keeping the job site clean and free of unnecessary debris should be part of the construction crew’s responsibility; it makes for a safer work environment and lessens the potential of property damage and injury. It also helps prevent damage to products being used in the renovated space. You don’t want to get charged for parts your own construction crew broke, right?

It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a home renovation project, but don’t let that be a reason to let your guard down. Keep your home and family safe by doing your research and maintaining security. Our team of experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand the value in protecting your home no matter what. We have been providing comprehensive security solutions to residences in central and northern New Jersey for over 25 years. Whatever you have going on, whether it’s a small renovation or substantial addition, don’t hesitate to call on our specialists for a security assessment. You’ll be setting yourself up for success!

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.

Think You Know About Security Systems? Think Again.

A home is so much more than a physical structure that you reside in. It’s where you have lazy Sunday breakfast with your spouse and kids. It’s where you enjoy a cup of hot coffee on your back porch. It’s where you read bedtime stories to your children and tuck them in at night. It’s where you might keep precious assets. It’s where you and your family live life to its fullest. How and what are you doing to protect all of that? Odds are, if you haven’t already installed a home security system, you’ve at least thought about it at one time or another. So what has been preventing you from taking the plunge? Well, like many homeowners, if you think you know all there is to know about security systems, you’ve probably convinced yourself or been falsely informed that you don’t need a comprehensive security system. There are a vast array of myths and misconceptions about home security systems, and you will learn why and how they are simply untrue.

My home is in a safe neighborhood, nothing bad could happen here.

Yes, we would all love to believe that we live in a Utopian society where everyone Fingerprint & broken glass-West Midlands Policecontributes, gets along, and the sun is always shining, right? Unfortunately, just as the weather is unpredictable, so is human nature. Criminals don’t care if your neighborhood is considered safe, if they see vulnerability, they see opportunity. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your home is safe because of your surroundings. Statistically, 88% of all burglaries happen residentially, 86% happen when someone is home. Don’t wait for something tragic to happen. Take initiative and contact a trusted home security systems specialist at Perfect Connections, Inc. before it’s too late.

I don’t own anything a burglar/intruder would want.

While it may be true that you don’t own expensive valuable items, or have wads of cash lying around, burglars/intruders aren’t always after your jewelry or money. Whatever the intentions of a criminal, you have to assume if they are breaking into your home, they’re after something. Even if they don’t steal something of monetary value, they might accidentally grab something that is irreplaceable and of emotional significance, or worse, cause harm to you or a family member. According to safewise.com, “1 in 3 homes without a security system will fall victim to a burglary as compared to 1 in 250 homes that do have a security system.” Don’t presume to know what criminals are after, protect what matters most with a comprehensive security system solution.

Security systems don’t work and are too expensive.

Thinking your security system is going to act like an impenetrable force field that will deflect potential intruders or criminal behavior is just not realistic. Neither is believing a comprehensive security system won’t do anything for your home and your family, or that it’s too costly. The cost in damages from a burglary can be far more financially draining than the cost of a comprehensive security system with alarm monitoring. Never mind the emotional toll it can take on you and your family.

Luckily, the evolution of security systems has allowed professionals to offer a wider range of economic solutions to fit your budget. You can actually save money by installing a home security system; many home insurance providers offer discounts for doing so. Beware of security systems companies that lowball their price quotes, odds are you’ll end up being just a number in a sea of inadequately protected customers. Watch out for companies that offer you an “accurate” quote over the phone, how can they asses your home’s needs if they’ve never been there? A full home security assessment should be done in person by a licensed specialist, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Security systems have been proven to deter intruders, in fact the Electronic Security Association’s “Home Safety Fast Facts” report indicates 9 out of 10 burglars purposefully avoid homes with security systems. Thinking that security systems don’t work fast enough is inaccurate. Some systems alert the authorities within 45 seconds, and if a patrol car is in the area, the likelihood of the perpetrator being caught is higher. Even if a burglar were to get into your home, the second your alarm goes off, the sound and attention will typically drive your intruder away.

My home is not built to accept a security system.

Old home-Brad ClinesmithMaybe you live in an old Colonial or Victorian house where the walls are solid and accessibility throughout the home is challenging. You might assume the construction of your home wouldn’t allow the installation of a home security system because it would require extensive drilling and/or remodeling. In the past there might have been a tinge of truth to that assumption, however, today many if not most systems are or have wireless capabilities. Not only is a wireless system convenient in older homes, or any home for that matter, but it’s aesthetically more pleasing as it eliminates any loose or dangling wires. What if a burglar were to cut phone and power lines? According to nightwatchprotection.com, “With wireless phone and internet technology combined with battery and backup generator support, you can expect your security system to be up and running under the worst conditions.”

My pets will set off false alarms, besides they’re like built-in security units.

While a barking dog can make a potential intruder run in the opposite direction, they can’t always differentiate between a threat and a familiarity, never mind the fact they can’t contact emergency services. Pets may not alert you if they recognize the intruder, for example, someone who had previously done work in your home. A comprehensive security system does not discriminate, if a window is broken, the alarm goes off. If the door is kicked in, the alarm will sound and the authorities will be notified, giving you and your family time to get to a safe place.

Worrying your pets will sound a false alarm is less of concern with todays’ advanced motion detectors. The detectors that are pet friendly are set to pick up motion from objects over a certain weight. This decreases the chances of a false alarm, and you don’t have to fret about your pets wandering around your home.

All security systems are the same and they’re too complicated.

Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each security systems company will have different products, procedures, and policies. Your security systems professional should be able to customize a comprehensive system that suits the individual needs of your home. Don’t fall for a “one size fits all” solution. As far as systems being too complicated, technological advancements have simplified user interfaces making them easier to operate. Many systems utilize graphic touch screen controls that provide step by step instructions.

It’s important to do your homework and shop around to figure out which company best suits your needs. Put your trust in companies with a proven customer retention record and a history of experience like Perfect Connections, Inc. We have 98% Customer Loyalty Rating, and have been providing security system services to Northern and Central New Jersey since 1992.

 

Image Credits: Image #1 by West Midlands Police-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by Brad Clinesmith-Flickr-Creative Commons,

 

 

What Is 5G?

5g-network-300x183Last week on our blog, we wrote about how to protect your network’s connected devices, and the importance of good cybersecurity with the upcoming launch of 5G. This week we decided to take a step back and go into a bit more detail about 5G itself. So, what is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation (hence, 5-G) of wireless communications. Right now most cell phones communicate over a 4G network, such as LTE.  5G rollout has already started in certain areas, with nationwide coverage expected sometime next year.

Like other generational improvements, faster speeds are one of the main features of 5G networks, with anywhere from 500mbps-1.5gbps speeds available. But this generation is unique, in that it has a number of other benefits.

  • lower latency
  • lower power requirements
  • increase in number of connected devices

When it launches, unless your device is equipped with 5G technology, it won’t be able to take advantage of these benefits. But most new devices launched after the 5G rollout will come 5G-capable.

So why does this matter? These improvements in communication speed and reliability are able to power a number of cutting edge technologies that will be used more and more frequently in the near future, such as virtual reality, driverless cars, remote surgery, and more.

In terms of security specifically, 5G connectivity will allow more devices to communicate even faster over your home network – for example security cameras, motion detectors, smart home devices, and many more. By involving machine learning and AI, your smart home will be able to learn more about your behaviors in order to provide increased convenience and protection.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on how 5G can help protect your home or business, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

5G And The Connected Home – Preventing Attacks

For those who own alarm systems, whether they 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. With the upcoming launch of 5G, it is extremely important this year to protect anything connected to your home network.

“Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks” said a 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.”

New Year’s Resolution – Maintain Your Alarm System

So you bought an alarm system, what kind of maintenance and service should you do?

Really, not much. It should work flawlessly for quite some time. The first thing to go will be batteries. All systems will have to have their system battery replaced after 3 to 5 years. When the battery is low, the keypad will notify you as will the central station. The batteries for most alarm systems in service today are 12 volt and 4 to 7 amp hour. Newer graphic self-contained systems have different smaller batteries, the 2Gig GO! Control has a 7.2 volt back up battery. All batteries should give you 24 hour back up. It is not a bad idea to schedule replacement of your battery every 3 years to preempt any possible issues.

If you have a wireless alarm system, you will also need to replace the batteries in the various devices such as door and window transmitters, wireless motion detectors, wireless glass break detectors, wireless carbon monoxide detectors, wireless smoke detectors, key fobs, panic buttons, and other wireless devices. Most of the new devices use lithium batteries, from CR123 3 Volt lithium batteries to lithium watch sized batteries. The smaller the device, the smaller the battery. Typically the bigger batteries last longer, 3 years plus, while the watch type batteries last 2 years plus. Devices that are used most often, like entry doors, drain quicker. On the newer systems, the keypad tells you which transmitter has a low battery, making replacement easy.

Make sure your alarm company shows you how to change the batteries during the installation. You should also get a list of the batteries required for all the various devices you have so you don’t have to scramble to find out when they are low. If you choose not to replace your own batteries, the alarm company should be happy to replace them for you.

Older systems use typical alkaline batteries, 9 volt, AAA and AA are common. These need to be replaced more often. Many older systems don’t tell you when the batteries are low so regular replacement is necessary.

Other than changing batteries, not much else is necessary. Make sure devices such as motion detectors and smoke detectors are clear of spider webs and that’s about it.

If installed and programmed correctly, your alarm system should monitor all parts and devices on the system, as well as services it is connected to, like power, telephone, and cellular. If any of these systems go down, your alarm system should alert you to that fact. The first reaction is to think that there is something wrong with your alarm system, when in reality it is working correctly. It is supposed to tell you when it is compromised when a service it relies on is not working properly.

Even though the system monitors itself, testing the alarm system is something that you should regularly do. You depend on your alarm system and you should make sure that it is working properly all the time. The best way to test the system is as follows: Call the central station and put the system on test. Arm the system and then trip a zone. Reset the alarm and then call the central station to make sure they received the right signal. Next week put it back on test and trip the next zone. Go clockwise around your house and you will eventually check all your devices and then start again. It is worth the effort to protect your home and family.

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.

Why You Need A Licensed Installer

There are many reasons to make sure the person you hire to do a job is qualified. When it comes to installing camera systems, it’s the law.Video Surveillance-Christian Schnettelker

In New Jersey, a professional surveillance system installer needs to be licensed by the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee. According to Eric Marcy at Wilentz Attorneys at Law, “many local Informational Technology Companies have begun to dabble in installing CCTV monitoring as part of their product/service offerings.” While it may make initial sense to hire an IT professional to install network-based cameras, they may lack many of the qualifications that a licensed surveillance system installer has due to the training required to obtain the proper license.

Eric Marcy also states that “While Information Technology businesses may find the installation of CCTV and surveillance systems a natural extension of the services the business may offer, failure to have a proper license for such services will result in legal exposure and penalties. Prior to any Information Technology firm from offering, marketing or providing such services it should fully investigate the requirements necessary to allow it to provide such services. IT companies would be well served to consult with counsel to review the proposed services and proposed marketing to insure that the IT firm is not in violation of State law. ”

If you’re not sure if the person or company you are hiring is licensed, you can verify on the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs website.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and are considering installing cameras in your home or business, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE. Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing custom and comprehensive security system solutions since 1992.

Security Tips for Homeowners During The Holiday Season

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

Protect Your Business From Shoplifters Around The Holidays

Helpful Tips to Prevent Shoplifting

Each year, shoplifting accounts for millions of dollars of loss for businesses all across the country. Some of the most common items stolen include watches, jewelry, music, books, clothing, and even car parts. While installing a security camera can help to identify suspects after the theft occurs, there are quite a few things a retailer can do to prevent shoplifting from taking place in the first place.

Some actionable tips that can help all types of retailers this holiday season include:

• Greet customers as they come into the store.
• Watch for the customers who avoid eye contact, linger, are constantly looking for the employees, wander around the store or seem to be overly nervous.
• Make sure your employees keep moving and walking around the store.
• Maintain the store and keep it well-organized and clean.
• Restrict the use of the fitting rooms to only customers who request them.
• Install various anti-theft devices.
• Create a shoplifting policy and make sure to enforce it.
• Hire plenty of employees.
• Talk to other businesses in the area about suspicious behavior they may have seen.
• Keep items that are often stolen in plain view.

If you ever do suspect that a person is shoplifting, do not accuse them of this. Instead, just ask them if you can either help them or ring them up. Keep an eye on the person and contact security or a manager right away. You should never attempt to stop the person that’s shoplifting, and if they wind up leaving the store, try to provide a detailed description of the individual, as well as what they are driving.

4 Tips to Safeguard Your Business from a Break-In

Good business security offers peace of mind and helps to prevent acts of vandalism and robberies. Being able to protect your business from a possible theft and break-in is essential for creating a safe environment for your customers and workers – all while protecting your assets.

Below are 4 tips that will help you keep your business safe and sound:

1. Find vulnerable areas.
The first step is to take a walk around the building. Hunt for any damaged windows, doors or other locations where someone could get in undetected. Repair or replace any weak areas.

2. Use video surveillance (CCTV). This is perhaps the most important component of good business security. Having video surveillance allows you to see what is going on. With today’s CCTV systems, you can have live access to your cameras, day or night, from wherever you are (as long as you have access to the internet). And, if a break-in does occur, you have the evidence necessary to catch the culprit. This will also help protect your business from employee theft.

3. Use access control card systems. There are likely some parts of your business where you have rather expensive assets or sensitive information. When you install an access card control system, you will be able to limit some rooms to only authorized individuals. If someone were to break-in, they would have a hard time getting into these locked areas.


4. Advertise your security system. Once the security equipment has been installed, be sure that you post stickers and signs all around letting would-be burglars know about the system.

 
When you secure your business as outlined above, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your location is safe and sound.

Communication: The Key To Smart Homes

Smart home AccessIn the wake of home automation, smart home, or connected home technology you may have come across the term Z-Wave technology. What is it? Z-Wave technology is, “a wireless technology that makes regular household products, like lights, door locks and thermostats ‘smart’.” It’s what allows your home devices to “talk” to each other and be controlled remotely via your mobile device. Why is this important? Well, if you have home automation or been considering it, it’s all about ease of integration, flexibility, and interoperability. Home automation and its perspective devices are an integral part of a comprehensive home security system. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators have been providing comprehensive home security solutions for the past 23 years. We believe in making your life easier and more convenient by providing technologies that not only operate effectively but help provide superior protection.

Having strong communication between devices is crucial to the efficacy of your system. It seems Z-Wave technology has the majority grip on the market as it stand today – over 1,700 in 2017,and over 2,400 by the end of 2018.This is beneficial to integrators and end-users alike. The quantity of smart products that operate on Z-Wave technology opens the door to highly flexible smart home applications. This means you can outfit your entire house with automation devices that can be controlled from your central control panel or a single application on your mobile device versus having to control devices piecemeal because they don’t operate on the same technology.

According to Mark Walters, chairman of the Z-Wave Alliance, “…greater than 80 percent of the North American security company-based lifestyle solutions are powered by Z-Wave.” The wide breadth of automation product availability within the Z-Wave family provides immense system scalability for homeowners and integrators. Meaning your initial product installations are not finite. Security and automation devices can be added on an as needed basis. For example, you may start with automated door locks, lighting, and garage door control but you may find that with time your needs expand to temperature management, skylight controls, and/or guarding against potential water damage; it’s always nice to only have to go through the installation process once, but it’s comforting to know you have options after the fact. While most homeowners rely on the experts to properly install devices in their home, the range of Z-Wave technology products does open the door to a more DIY approach. However, it is important to note that it is always wise to consult a licensed security system integrator to ensure proper product installation and operation. This technology also provides an open platform for integrators and consumers who prefer products from a specific manufacturer, making it easier to get exactly what you want.

What about existing household technologies, will they be affected by Z-Wave home automation devices? Today our lives are inundated with technology, your home probably has a slew of devices that operate on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The potential issue with a house full of devices operating simultaneously is the communication disruption they can incur on one another. Luckily with Z-Wave technology you don’t have to worry about interference with or from other household devices. Its operational capabilities were designed specifically for home control. It’s a low energy consumption, bandwidth efficient technology that won’t inhibit other home devices. Z-Wave technology also has a vast international presence throughout Europe further expanding their territory for consistency, device compatibility, and home automation integration. On top of that, Wi-Fi consumes a lot of power, and Bluetooth is limited in signal range and number of devices.

Home automation is a facet of comprehensive security systems that improves a homeowners posture in security. It is meant to improve lives through convenience and seamless integration. With home automation you can turn lights on and off remotely with the tap of your finger on your mobile device. You can arm or disarm your alarm system while on vacation. You can monitor an aging loved one who wants to maintain a level of independence by tracking their activity on your smartphone. Or you can use it to receive instant notifications of real time events like your kids arrival home from school. Like any system, home automation is only as good as the sum of its parts and the technology it operates on.

Z-Wave technology is the means by which many automation devices communicate with each other and the system as a whole. The strong hold it has on the market today seems to prove it’s effectiveness and dependability. It creates flexibility in product selection and system integration without interfering with existing household devices. Chances are if you already have home automation as part of your security system your devices operate on Z-Wave technology. This technology and the devices it encompasses show no signs of slowing down in our age of technological progression.

Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing custom and comprehensive security system solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. We believe in providing technologies that enhance your home’s security and home automation devices do just that. Home automation is part of a comprehensive security system which should include fire and burglar alarms, video surveillance, access control, and a monitoring service. We help your home security stay relevant and provide technology that improves your quality of life.

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.

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