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

Complete Security Systems

CCTV-Wikipedia ImageIn an unpredictable world, one thing is certain, we all want to protect what’s ours.  Whether you’re a business owner or a homeowner, you want to keep safe that which you’ve worked so hard for.  One of the most effective ways to do that is to install a security system.  Well, what exactly is a security system and what makes it a complete security system? Security can be defined as, “the state of being protected or safe from harm,” and system can be defined as, “a group of related parts that move or work together.”  A security system is an assemblage of equipment that helps prevent imminent danger or damage.

As a licensed security systems provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been helping protect homes and businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We believe that complete security systems should not only be a group of working parts, but that it should be comprehensive.  Comprehensive can be defined as, “complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.”  After decades of installing security equipment we’ve found that a truly comprehensive security system should include some form of access control, fire and burglar alarms, surveillance, and a monitoring service.

Access control is the means by which you limit admission to a specific point of entry.  It’s essentially your first line of defense against unauthorized entrants.  Probably the most conventional form of access control is a standard lock and key.  Today, the lock and key method is either being eliminated or used as a backup to more technologically advanced controls.  Traditional keys when lost or stolen can be easily replicated whereas using readers, fobs (tokens), and sometimes biometrics in combination with a password are more concrete and less susceptible to duplication.

Card and proximity readers are typically placed next to a point of entry and a fob or card that is programmed with the appropriate credentials is used.  The card or fob is either tapped or swiped on or near the reader to gain access. The benefit to using a swipe card or fob is if they are lost or stolen they can be deactivated in the operating system whereas you can’t deactivate a physical key unless you change out the entire lock.  Biometrics, which uses physical credentials like a fingerprint, is similar in the sense that access information isn’t as easily stolen or duplicated.  This type of access control isn’t as widely used today because they tend to be more complex and costly.  However, as technology progresses we may see a rise in biometric applications.

Fire and burglar alarms are critical alerts in potentially life-threatening situations.  Fire and burglary can strike at any given time without warning, wreaking havoc on your business or home.  With burglary occurring every 14.6 seconds and national fire departments responding to an estimated 1,240,000 fires a year (2013), it’s critical to the safety and security of any home or business to implement preventative measures.  Physical structural damage and property loss incurred by a fire or burglary is only part of the aftermath, the emotional and psychological damage is even harder to repair.

In conjunction with burglar alarms and access control, surveillance is essential.  When installed correctly surveillance equipment is not only a helpful crime deterrent, but a useful tool in solving crime.  In the wake of IP (Internet Protocol) and wireless technology, surveillance equipment is no longer limited to hardwired installations.  This increases scalability, flexibility, and ease of installation.  It also helps reduce the cost of installation by not having to pull as much cabling through walls.  Another benefit to having a surveillance system is the potential capability to access footage remotely.  With a plethora of mobile apps at your disposal, you can access your surveillance system to see what is going on at your facility or home when you can’t be there.  Being able to remotely access your security cameras adds a layer of monitoring and convenience that, up until recently, wasn’t widely used or available.

Lastly to complete the effectiveness of a security system you should have an alarm monitoring service.  Without a monitoring service who is going to respond to an active alarm?  If you’re lucky someone nearby will call the authorities, that’s assuming someone is actually near your facility or residence when the alarm goes off.  An alarm monitor can help save you, your family, or your business from potential disaster by decreasing the response time from local authorities and emergency responders.  When an alarm is triggered the monitoring station is instantly notified; they typically try to contact you first, and if they don’t get a response within a given amount of time authorities and emergency crews are dispatched.  This is a particularly beneficial service in the event that you’re out of town or unable to respond in an emergency.  Having an alarm monitoring service can mean the difference between catastrophe and a manageable situation.

A security system is so much more than the equipment that comprises it.  It helps provide protection and life safety in a volatile world. Remember, a system is only as effective as the parts that comprise it.  For a security system to be comprehensive it should include fire and burglar alarms, access control, surveillance, and a monitoring service, at least.  As a security systems expert, Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes and businesses in northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the importance of mitigating the unpredictable and what it takes to do so.

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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How Perfect Connections Does Security Systems

Security-American Advisors GroupComprehensive security systems are what help maintain a safe and secure work environment or home.  As a consumer it is in your best interest to hire a systems integrator with experience, knowledge, and know-how, but how do you tell the good from the “just okay” or bad?  Any company can spout off how many years experience they have or jobs they’ve completed, that doesn’t really give you much insight into how they operate and solve problems.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our integrators are licensed and provide a more individualized approach to any security problem you may have.  Many competitors will offer standardized solutions that may not fit your specific needs.  They do this simply to increase profits without considering “what is it potentially costing my client?”  Our team at Perfect Connections puts the customer first and we do so through our client services, problem solving techniques, and determination to get the job done right.  We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions to homes and a range of businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our customer loyalty means the world to us, so without inflating our egos let’s look at what makes us stand out.

Some of the larger security systems companies out there will use a “one size fits all” mentality when it comes to system design.  This is not an effective way to protect your business or home.  Every establishment and home is unique with extraneous factors that pose different risks.  Designing a comprehensive security system takes a customized approach.

You likely wouldn’t implement the same system configuration in an assisted living facility as you would a manufacturing plant, right?  Right!  You may use similar system components like a means of access control and surveillance, but their applications would be different and specific to their respective locations.  At Perfect Connections we believe in performing on site risk assessments and listening to our clients’ concerns to help determine the design, layout, and components necessary to provide adequate coverage.

As with any technology, security systems are susceptible to imperfections.  This could be imperfections in system components or imperfections caused by an external factor, like existing infrastructure disturbances.  Often times when there are obstructions or architectural issues alarm system equipment may not function optimally.

In the event a system isn’t operating properly our team of licensed integrators will run tests on the equipment and find the root of the actual problem.  Other companies act in haste and often times don’t look for the actual cause of the issue.  Instead they’ll assume it’s a total system malfunction and tear the whole thing out and start over.  This is a costly and inefficient problem solving method.  Our team does their due diligence to solve the problem accurately and efficiently, and we won’t give up until the issue is resolved.

At Perfect Connections we believe a comprehensive security system includes access control, video surveillance, fire and burglar alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, home automation, and a monitoring service.  These individual components together create a system that provide unmatched coverage for your home or business.  As an independent alarm company we’re not limited to one manufacturer’s offerings, which allows us to use the components that will work the best in your specific application and that are most cost effective.

As licensed security system integrators our team has been providing solutions to businesses and homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Our experience and continued education has enabled us to evolve to meet the changing needs of our clients.  If you’re looking for an alarm system for your home or business know that you won’t be just another number at Perfect Connections.

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.

Why Does an Assisted Living Facility Need a Security System?

Assisted Living FacilityAssisted living facilities are dynamic environments.  You have occupants with varying levels of medical needs alongside administrative, medical, and visiting personnel.  It’s a somewhat complex security issue because residents and staff need to be able to move throughout the facility freely, but unauthorized entrants must somehow be kept out.  The mental health and acuity of residents can also be a cause for concern.  In an aging population medical conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s can cause residents to wander off or get lost which is a major concern for staff and resident relatives.  Thankfully by implementing security system solutions many of these concerns can be addressed.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed security system integrators have been providing comprehensive security solutions to healthcare facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our team understands the importance of securing assisted living facilities isn’t solely about protecting physical assets, it’s about ensuring the safety and security of the people that live and work there.  It’s about providing a peace of mind to not only the staff and residents, but resident’s families as well.

Comprehensive security systems should include fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, burglar alarms, a surveillance system, access control, and a monitoring service.  One of the most important components that should concern assisted living facilities is access control.  Access control can be implemented in a number of ways and an assisted living facility may require more than one mode.

The on-site staff will likely need access to areas where medication is stored and administrative offices, supply rooms, and medical records etc.  Access not only has to be convenient, but limited to authorized staff.  The reason this can sometimes be challenging is because residents want to be able to roam throughout the facility freely as do visitors.  Fortunately with access control solutions the chances of a resident or visitor wandering into a restricted area are lowered significantly.

By installing readers at entries and distributing credentials (fobs, swipe cards, and proximity cards) to authorized users, access will be limited.  The benefit of using readers in conjunction with credentials vs traditional locks and keys is you don’t have to worry about lost or stolen keys.  Cards and fobs can be remotely disabled whereas a lost key may never be recovered which ultimately leads to changing out the locks and over time that can be costly.

According to Mark Jarman, President of Inovonics, “…the assisted living market has changed from one of simply providing clinical care, much like hospitals, to sprawling campuses which are often a blend of independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing services.”  This creates a more complex environment that requires increased safety and vigilance.  Assisted living facilities are full of activity, the constant coming and going of staff, residents, and visitors, it can be challenging to keep an eye on everything, that’s why having a surveillance system is vital.  It’s a helpful tool that allows staff to keep track of patients that might have the tendency to wander and it gives residents a peace of mind.  In the event an intruder is able to gain access to the facility, surveillance will help authorities catch the perpetrator and depending on the type of system, it can even be setup to send real-time alerts to staff members on their mobile devices.

Aside from surveillance and access control solutions it’s imperative and likely required by local and national laws to have a fire alarm system and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Fire alarm systems and detectors are lifesaving components that when tied to a monitored security system become even more effective.  With a monitored system, when an alarm sounds, a signal is sent to the monitoring station which then immediately alerts emergency responders, and in unpredictable situations it is imperative to have the quickest response possible.  This is critical in an assisted living facility as residents are likely slower moving and may have impaired hearing or eyesight.  Some fire alarm systems can even indicate which detectors or alarms within the facility initiated the alert which is helpful to responders as they’ll have a better idea where to start when they arrive on site.

The reasons why an assisted living facility would need a security system are evident.  There is a need to protect residents, staff, visitors, medical records, physical assets, and facility property.  A comprehensive security system that includes access control, surveillance, fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a monitoring service is essential.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators can help design a custom and comprehensive system that is tailored to the specific needs of your facility.  Every organization is unique and should be treated as such, especially when it comes to matters of security.

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 U.S. Department of Agriculture-Flickr-Creative Commons

Can Central Monitoring be Replaced by Self-monitoring?

Traditionally in any monitored security system, the individual security devices are installed by a systems integrator and when an alarm sounds or something looks suspicious a signal, and sometimes a video clip, is sent to a central monitoring station which then either contacts the end-user or the local authorities to initiate an emergency response.  This system still exists today and is considered an effective means for preventing disaster and catching criminals.  However, in light of recent technological advancement, the end user now has the capability to “monitor” their own property via their mobile device.  One has to wonder, how effective can self-monitoring be and could it actually replace a central monitoring service?

Our licensed team of integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We have seen how technology can affect not only individual security devices but the system as a whole.  There are pluses and minuses to every situation, but its understanding which methods and devices provide the most benefits that make the difference, and monitoring services are no exception.

As a business owner it’s nice to feel in control of your facility and what goes on within it.  This is where the idea of self-monitoring comes into play.  If you have a security system installed at your facility, it can be set up to send notification directly to your mobile device.  This means that when there is a disturbance, maybe an intruder walks in front of a motion sensitive video camera, a video clip can be sent directly to your smartphone or mobile device so you can act.  The same is true of a tripped alarm.  This all sounds great, right?  However, it’s not without its limitations.

One of the major drawbacks of monitoring your own alarm system is failure to initiate an immediate and adequate response.  This could happen for a number of reasons.  One being your mobile device is turned off or not on your person.  Another could be a missed notification.  As a business owner you likely have enough on your plate to occupy the full 24 hours of the day, never mind trying to keep an eye on your facility at all times.  It’s a feat not likely met by any independent business owner, you have to sleep at some point.  Self-monitoring can also become a nuisance, receiving excessive notifications throughout the day.  The constant interruption would be enough to drive anyone mad.  It’s for these reasons central monitoring services continue to prevail.

The goal of monitoring an alarm system is to create a proactive response versus a reactive one.  In the recent past, surveillance footage was primarily being utilized in “after the fact” scenarios where local authorities would try to catch a perpetrator or solve a crime based on recorded footage.  Today, with real-time video verified notifications and improving communications, local authorities stand a better chance of catching someone red-handed.

There are essentially four different types of monitoring that can be implemented, including self-monitoring.  There’s onsite monitoring which typically consists of paying someone to sit and stare at TVs or computer monitors.  According to a study from Sandia National Laboratories the attention span of a person viewing surveillance footage for just 20 minutes will be “significantly diminished.”  It’s not a very reliable or economical method to ensure the security of your facility.

Then you have remote monitoring where surveillance footage is monitored off site by streaming footage over the internet to a remote location.  However, this doesn’t mean someone will be vigilant 24/7.  This could mean streaming it to your home computer and that would only be effective if someone were there to monitor it.  Lastly, there’s professional remote video monitoring.  This type of monitoring typically employs operators that are trained on how to interact with local authorities and respond to different security scenarios.  These types of monitoring stations are typically staffed 24/7.

Professional remote video monitoring is an advantageous service because the operator on duty can interpret live video footage and provide useful information to the local authorities.  Information that isn’t necessarily transmitted to a mobile device in a 5-10 sec video clip; things like a perpetrator/s physical description, maybe the license plate or make and model of their getaway vehicle, what the suspect is doing, how many people are present, and whether or not the suspect/s is armed.

This type of monitoring can also help filter our false alarms and fees incurred by false dispatches by validating on site activity with the end user via real-time footage.  As the end user you can also request that the operators perform occasional virtual tours throughout your facility or parts of it.  These routine surveys of your property would help detect any disturbances but also help in general maintenance of your facility.  An operator may notice  things like loose wires or a piece of equipment that looks out of place.  Depending on your facility’s capabilities, monitoring operators can sometimes interact with suspects or people on site through speakers on a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) system.

While new technology continues to usher in the desire for self-reliance it also fosters further development of security system components and the way monitoring services are able to interact with them.  Many industry professionals agree that having a professional monitoring service is still the preferable method of watching over your facility.  There’s simply too many holes in trying to self-monitor your own business.  According to Simon Morgan, director of Technology, SureView Systems, “The central station remains the first line of defense.”  Matthew Riccoboni, director of Marketing, OzVision, says, “There truly is a value in 24/7 monitoring by the central station. Customers like to know someone is keeping an eye on their assets whether they are awake or not.”  With a central monitoring station you can rest easy knowing someone is always there to initiate a response.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators have been providing comprehensive security systems to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the value our customers place on their business that they’ve worked so hard for; we work to provide the best solutions to fit their specific needs.  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.

Check out this video on actual events that highlight the differences between monitoring stations that have video verification and those that don’t.  The last scenario is what everyone wants to avoid. Link: What is Video Verification?

Image Credit: Image by Bosch Service Solutions-Google-Creative Commons

Why Should I Have a Home Security System?

Burglar-JohnImplementing a home security system can seem like a daunting task, but it’s an investment you won’t regret.  People typically visualize the home break-in scenario where the masked intruder breaks a window setting off an alarm, ultimately sending the perpetrator on the run.  A home security system is so much more than a triggered alarm, it’s a potential life saver in a variety of situations.  We all like to imagine our homes are impervious fortresses of safety, but the reality is there are too many uncontrollable factors that could affect our daily lives.  Home security allows you to be more prepared for those unpredictable situations.

Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. design and install comprehensive home security systems.  We have been providing custom security solutions to residents in northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our systems protect people and property, offering a peace of mind that can’t be obtained from anything else.  It is our belief that a comprehensive home security system should include a burglar alarm, video surveillance, home automation, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a monitoring service.

Burglar alarms are likely the first thing that come to mind when thinking about home security.  This is because they are a vital system component that helps keep you and your family safe from intruders.  Not only do burglar alarms alert you and your monitoring station of a potential disturbance, they can deter would be thieves from even attempting a break-in or burglary.  In a study by the Alarm Industry Research and Education Foundation (AIREF) 422 convicted burglars were asked about their decisions to burglarize.  They found that approximately 60% would not make an attempt on a home or commercial property that they knew had and alarm system.

Having a surveillance system is an essential component of a comprehensive home security system.  Cameras keep eyes on your property even while you can’t.  The recordings can also help during an investigation after the fact if necessary.  In the burglar study conducted by AIREF approximately 60% said cameras would be factor in their target selection with more than 40% reporting they would choose an alternative if cameras were present.  Aside from being a deterrent and a forensics tool, home surveillance systems can often be remotely accessed via an app on your mobile device.  This would allow you to check-in on specific parts of your home, see that your pets are okay during the day, or check-in on a loved one.

Remote access to your home security system is part of the abilities you are afforded when you have home automation.  With home automation you can setup customized alerts so you receive notifications to your mobile device when your children arrive home from school, when an alarm is triggered, you receive a package, or there is a drastic temperature change in your home.  Having remote access to your system helps you control certain parts of you home as well.  Maybe you go on vacation and you forget to close your garage doors, if you have home automation it’s not a problem, you simply login to the app on your mobile device and close the doors.  Depending on your system configuration you can arm or disarm your system, lock or unlock doors, control the temperature, turn lights on and off, and sometimes control appliances.  Home automation offers convenience and connectivity you can’t get from anything else.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are two of the most important life safety devices every home should have.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that every year more than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning unrelated to fires.  Carbon monoxide is a “silent killer” that is colorless and odorless, that is why it is so important to have working detectors in the home.  Based on past data, in 2014, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) found that three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in homes that didn’t have working smoke alarms.

Statistics alone should be enough to convince any home owner to invest in these life saving devices.  What makes them even more effective is if they are tied into your security system.  That way when they go off or CO levels rise the central monitoring station will be alerted and if necessary they can send help right away.  In situations where you might not be home or a loved one is home alone, it’s nice to know someone is still vigilant.

Monitoring services are the catalyst in security systems that initiate emergency responses.  They are a key component that shouldn’t be passed up because of cost.  You can’t put a cost on the lives of the ones you love or yourself for that matter.  What good is an alarm if no one is alerted when it goes off?  It might scare off an intruder, but do you really want to take that chance?  During a fire or unpredictable disaster you want the fastest response you can get, right?  That is where having a monitoring service proves its worth.  It provides quick response times even when you are not home or incapable of responding.

Whether you’re new to the world of home security systems or have been considering one for a long time, it’s always a worthy investment.  A comprehensive system will help protect not only your property but your life and the lives of your loved ones.  Our team of licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We realize no two homes are identical and each one has individual security risks and concerns, which is why we custom design our systems to fit your needs.

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 John-Flickr-Creative Commons

Security’s Role in Property Management

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

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

What’s The Difference Between Conventional & Addressable Fire Alarms?

Fire Alarm-shlala-FlickrAs with anything in the security systems industry, prevention is vital.  Preventing catastrophic loss is a top priority and one of the most crucial security system components that helps avoid such situations is the fire alarm system.  This is a no brainer, but there is some disparity between what type of fire alarm system is best.  In the alarm industry there are basically two types of fire alarm installations, conventional and addressable (or analog addressable).  As always, every situation and application is different therefore claiming one system is superior to the other may not be the right approach.  However, it is important to understand the difference between systems and why one might be used over the other.

Regardless of the type of system installed, all have to meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes, local regulations, and the Life Safety Code enforced by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).  All commercial buildings are required to have a code compliant fire alarm system, the best way to ensure proper installation is to hire a licensed integrator with knowledge and experience.  Our licensed experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing comprehensive security system solutions, including fire alarms, to facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We stay updated on current technologies and how they may benefit our customers, implementing solutions that fit individualized needs.  It’s also part of our mission to help our clients gain a better understanding of the systems that we install.

To understand the difference between an addressable fire alarm system and a conventional one you must first understand what a fire alarm system is.  In general a fire alarm system is a group of visual and audio devices (automatic and/or manual)-i.e. smoke detectors, heat sensors, strobes, alarm pulls, and sprinklers-linked to a main fire panel that sends a signal to local emergency responders when an alarm is activated.  Each device has to be linked to the main fire panel, but there are different methods of doing so.  This is where the big difference between addressable and conventional comes into play.

fire alarm system diagramAddressable fire alarms indicates that each installed device or module is connected to the main fire panel in a “loop” often by means of a singular wire.  Conventional alarm systems require individual wires per each device, again connecting back to the main fire panel.  The most obvious difference between the two, in terms of installation, is cabling requirements and labor costs.  Due to the fact that addressable systems require less cabling they make for less complex installations.  That’s not to say there aren’t situations where a conventional system might make more sense.  Although it seems most new construction projects implement addressable systems.

One of the many benefits of an addressable fire alarm system is that each device is given its own unique address.  In the event of a triggered alarm a single device can be pinpointed which gives responders a more concise location as to where a fire might be occurring.  This helps save precious time and improves life safety.  It’s also helpful in the event a device is malfunctioning or requires maintenance.  According to Jim Kimpel, product manager for Fire Control Instruments, Inc., being able to pinpoint specific devices lessens the hesitation an end-user might have-mostly caused by the fear of costs-when making a service call.  This helps prevent unnecessary losses due to a defunct system.

As with any alarm system, routine inspections are required for addressable fire alarm systems.  According to Brandt Phillips, Commercial Fire & Security Director of Sales for Napco Security Technologies Inc., inspections and system testing are made easier with addressable systems.  He says installing an addressable system, “…eliminates the need for expensive testers, excessive labor for testing, and gives you the ability to automatically generate the same reports directly from the software you used to program the panel…”  In comparison Phillips points out that inspections for conventional systems can cost thousands and be quite lengthy.

While conventional systems may require extensive wiring, intensive testing, a higher labor cost, and are being phased out by addressable alarms, they’re not completely disregarded when it comes to installations.  The size of a project may determine what type of system is a better fit.  It seems that for small jobs, i.e. a single story office building, conventional systems may work just fine.  They’re initial upfront costs are fairly low and if you’re not dealing with multiple floors and zones it may not be necessary to implement an addressable system.  However, the appeal of quick installs, concise reporting of fire occurrences, and the ease of inspection and system testing will continue to draw support for addressable systems; it seems to be the trend in most new construction projects.

With fire and life safety codes continually evolving, in tandem with developing technologies, there’s no telling what advancements will emerge next.  For now, streamlining processes and incorporating intelligent components will continue to help shape the fire alarm systems of today.  Our licensed experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. are committed to providing security systems that enhance life safety and help prevent disasters.  We have been installing comprehensive security system solutions, including fire alarms, to facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Don’t wait for the unpredictable to happen, let us help you protect what matters most.

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 #1 by shlala-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by fire-magazine.com

What Makes A Security System A System?

CCTV-Wikipedia ImageIn an unpredictable world, one thing is certain, we all want to protect what’s ours.  Whether you’re a business owner or a homeowner, you want to keep safe that which you’ve worked so hard for.  One of the most effective ways to do that is to install a security system.  Well, what exactly is a security system and what makes it a system? Security can be defined as, “the state of being protected or safe from harm,” and system can be defined as, “a group of related parts that move or work together.”  A security system is an assemblage of equipment that helps prevent imminent danger or damage.

As a licensed security systems provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been helping protect homes and businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We believe that a security system should not only be a group of working parts, but that it should be comprehensive.  Comprehensive can be defined as, “complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.”  After decades of installing security equipment we’ve found that a truly comprehensive security system should include some form of access control, fire and burglar alarms, surveillance, and a monitoring service.

Access control is the means by which you limit admission to a specific point of entry.  It’s essentially your first line of defense against unauthorized entrants.  Probably the most conventional form of access control is a standard lock and key.  Today, the lock and key method is either being eliminated or used as a backup to more technologically advanced controls.  Traditional keys when lost or stolen can be easily replicated whereas using readers, fobs (tokens), and sometimes biometrics in combination with a password are more concrete and less susceptible to duplication.

Card and proximity readers are typically placed next to a point of entry and a fob or card that is programmed with the appropriate credentials is used.  The card or fob is either tapped or swiped on or near the reader to gain access. The benefit to using a swipe card or fob is if they are lost or stolen they can be deactivated in the operating system whereas you can’t deactivate a physical key unless you change out the entire lock.  Biometrics, which uses physical credentials like a fingerprint, is similar in the sense that access information isn’t as easily stolen or duplicated.  This type of access control isn’t as widely used today because they tend to be more complex and costly.  However, as technology progresses we may see a rise in biometric applications.

Fire and burglar alarms are critical alerts in potentially life-threatening situations.  Fire and burglary can strike at any given time without warning, wreaking havoc on your business or home.  With burglary occurring every 14.6 seconds and national fire departments responding to an estimated 1,240,000 fires a year (2013), it’s critical to the safety and security of any home or business to implement preventative measures.  Physical structural damage and property loss incurred by a fire or burglary is only part of the aftermath, the emotional and psychological damage is even harder to repair.

In conjunction with burglar alarms and access control, surveillance is essential.  When installed correctly surveillance equipment is not only a helpful crime deterrent, but a useful tool in solving crime.  In the wake of IP (Internet Protocol) and wireless technology, surveillance equipment is no longer limited to hardwired installations.  This increases scalability, flexibility, and ease of installation.  It also helps reduce the cost of installation by not having to pull as much cabling through walls.  Another benefit to having a surveillance system is the potential capability to access footage remotely.  With a plethora of mobile apps at your disposal, you can access your surveillance system to see what is going on at your facility or home when you can’t be there.  Being able to remotely access your security cameras adds a layer of monitoring and convenience that, up until recently, wasn’t widely used or available.

Lastly to complete the effectiveness of a security system you should have an alarm monitoring service.  Without a monitoring service who is going to respond to an active alarm?  If you’re lucky someone nearby will call the authorities, that’s assuming someone is actually near your facility or residence when the alarm goes off.  An alarm monitor can help save you, your family, or your business from potential disaster by decreasing the response time from local authorities and emergency responders.  When an alarm is triggered the monitoring station is instantly notified; they typically try to contact you first, and if they don’t get a response within a given amount of time authorities and emergency crews are dispatched.  This is a particularly beneficial service in the event that you’re out of town or unable to respond in an emergency.  Having an alarm monitoring service can mean the difference between catastrophe and a manageable situation.

A security system is so much more than the equipment that comprises it.  It helps provide protection and life safety in a volatile world. Remember, a system is only as effective as the parts that comprise it.  For a security system to be comprehensive it should include fire and burglar alarms, access control, surveillance, and a monitoring service, at least.  As a security systems expert, Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes and businesses in northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the importance of mitigating the unpredictable and what it takes to do so.

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 KRoock74-Google-Creative Commons