Vacation Security Tips

Vacation-GoogleYour bags are packed, airplane tickets in hand, and your family is in the car.  You’re ready to go on vacation, and a well-deserved one at that!  One last thing, is your home secure?  Have you done everything you can to safeguard your property and valuables?

While everyone needs a vacation now and then, it is important to make sure your home is fully protected before you leave.  Preventative measures will not only help avoid disaster, but allow you and your family to rest easy and enjoy your time off.  There are many steps you can take to protect your home from break-ins and burglary, allowing you to focus on what’s most important-laying out in the tropical sun with an umbrella drink in hand!

Install a Home Security System

If you don’t have one already, a home security system is an effective way to prevent home invasions and burglaries.  A comprehensive security system would include a burglar alarm, motion detectors, window and door sensors, fire alarms, smoke and carbon detectors, home automation, and a monitoring service.  Systems that are fully integrated with your home allow you to adjust your lighting, thermostat, and so much more from your central control panel.  With wireless home automation you can access these types of features via an app on your mobile device (like the one available on Alarm.com).

Homes without a security system are more likely to be broken into.  In fact, “A home without a security system is 2 to 3 times more likely to be burglarized.”  As experts in the field of home security systems, our team of professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand the importance of protecting your home, especially while you can’t be there.  We have been providing security system solutions to homes in Northern and Central New Jersey for the past 22 years.  Our team can assess the security needs specific to your home and provide a system that is tailored to you.  We want to help you avoid potential catastrophe.

Have Someone Stop By or Stay

Having a trustworthy relative or friend/neighbor stop by your home on a regular basis, or even stay there, while you’re on vacation can be a helpful crime deterrent.  It can make it appear as if you and your family are still home.  Having someone there to tend to your plants, animals, and general upkeep will prevent your home from looking uninhabited, which to a criminal means, “open for business.”  Whomever you charge with caring for your home should be given your vacation contact information and spare key in case of an emergency.  There are services where you can hire house sitters/pet sitters, but they’re likely to be pricier than a friend or family member.

Stop the Mail

Unless you already have a post office box, you likely receive mail at your home.  When you are going on vacation or leaving your home for an extended period of time, you want to make sure you have your local post office hold your mail until your return.  A mailbox that is bursting at the seams can tipoff criminals that you’re away.  It’s best to either stop your mail, which you can conveniently do online HERE, or have a trustworthy friend/relative check and pick it up frequently.  The post office can hold your mail for up to 30 days.  This idea holds true for newspaper delivery as well.  If you subscribe to a newspaper, make sure they don’t pile up on your front step or in your driveway while you’re gone.

Time Your Lights

Setting timers for your interior and exterior lights can be an effective crime deterrent.  It’s better than leaving lights on throughout the entirety of your vacation.  Leaving lights on the whole time will not only run-up your energy bill, but create suspicion for criminals who might be watching your house.  They’ll notice that certain lights never go on or off indicating no one is around.  With a comprehensive security system, you can set timers before you leave, and with home automation you can change your settings from afar if need be.

Beware of Social Media

While it may be tempting to share/brag to all of your friends and family on social media about your upcoming trip, it’s not the best idea.  Why?  By posting the time and date of your trip, you’re basically advertising the fact that you won’t be home.  Even with privacy settings set to their limits, be weary of sharing such private information, you never know who is watching, sharing, and searching.  This is important to keep in mind throughout the duration of your vacation.  Again, while posting photos of you and your family in tropical bliss seems innocent, you’re providing evidence that you’re not home.

Lock It Up!

Locking your doors and windows may seem like an obvious security measure, but it’s easily forgotten.  It’s not uncommon for people to leave back doors or windows unlocked for family members or frequent visitors.  It’s a simple, yet effective, step to take in protecting your home.  Locks are the first line of defense, don’t forget to check them before you leave.

Turn Off/Unplug Appliances

Unplugging or turning off appliances will help save on your energy bill.  Also, it will help prevent potential power surges or electrical fires.  Things like coffee makers, computers, and TVs should be unplugged unless you have someone staying or stopping by regularly.  Unplugging appliances before you leave helps alleviate any worry that you might have accidentally left something on or running.

Alert Local Authorities & Alarm Company

If you’re planning on being away for longer than an extended weekend, it might be a good idea to alert the local authorities.  They may be more inclined to go past your home on their patrol routes if they know you’re gone.  If you have a security system with a monitoring service, it is crucial they are made aware of your leave.  This will help avoid false alarms and make them more vigilant of any irregularities.

Temperature Settings

Depending on where you live you’ll want to adjust your thermostats or time them appropriately.  Homes in the northeast and cooler climates will want to make sure temperatures don’t fall below 55 degrees to avoid freezing pipes.  Home automation allows you to adjust the temperature from afar.  One of the benefits to this technology is coming back to an already warmed up or cooled down home.

If you’re going away be prepared.  If you haven’t already, consider a comprehensive home security system.  The peace of mind you’ll have is priceless.  If you live in Northern or Central New Jersey don’t hesitate to contact our specialists at Perfect Connections, Inc..  We can provide you with a personalized system that is right for your unique home.  We’ve been helping homeowners protect what matters most since 1992.

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.

Be Prepared: Home Fire Safety Tips

Fire-Ada BeHouse fires.  Nobody wants to think about them, but they are an unfortunate reality in our imperfect world.  While a house fire can be unpredictable there are precautionary measures you can take to avoid them.  Being prepared is half the battle, but knowing what to do in the event of a fire is equally important.

Part of being prepared is having the proper equipment and warning devices.  This means having operating smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, a fire alarm, and sometimes a sprinkler system.  Most single family homes are not required by law to have a sprinkler or fire suppression system, but that may not last as the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) is currently pushing for sprinkler legislation across the United States.  As a leading expert in the security system industry our experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. realize having a truly comprehensive home security system means including fire detection equipment that is linked to an alarm system.  We have been providing home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our team understands that security is not solely about preventing break-ins, it’s about protecting lives.

Being Prepared

According to the NFPA firefighters responded to 370,000 home fires in 2011.  These fires caused injuries, deaths, and costly damages.  The main culprits of these fires were cooking followed by heating equipment and smoking.  Of the reported home fire related deaths between 2007 and 2011, 60% of the homes either didn’t have smoke detectors or had non-working detectors.  This is a problem, what good is a detector if it’s not working or been removed?

The best way to manage a household fire is be prepared for one.  Being prepared includes having the proper warning system, up to date fire extinguishers, and most importantly an escape plan.  Having an escape plan that everyone knows and has practiced will help ensure a safer and quicker exit in the event of a fire.  Every house should have working smoke detectors throughout each floor of the home and they should be tested regularly.  Smoke detectors can be even more effective if they are tied into your homes security system.  If you have a home security system you likely have a monitoring service that responds in the event of an emergency.  In the event of a fire, detectors that are tied into an alarm system will trigger the alarm and if the alarm is not deactivated by the owner, the monitoring service will be notified automatically.  The monitoring service will try to contact the house and if no one answers after a given amount of time they will dispatch local emergency crews.  This type of system ensures a quicker response from local authorities and saves you and your family precious time needed to escape.

Fire Types

Understanding the different types of house fires can help you prevent or know how to extinguish them.  One of the most common causes of house fires is from cooking related incidents.  According to the NFPA two out of every five home fires started in the kitchen.  In a way this makes a lot of sense.  Think about it, kitchens are where you cook with high heat, ovens, gas or electric ranges, grease, and flammable materials.  It is of the utmost importance to be vigilant of what is going on in your kitchen.  If you have pots on the stove, do not leave them unattended the same for items in the oven.  Never leave flammable or combustible materials where they can be exposed to flames or high heat.

Electrical fires are another leading cause of house fires.  Homes with electrical heating need to be conscious of what materials are up against or close to heaters, all it takes is one dangling curtain to catch fire.  This is especially true for people who use space heaters.  It’s tempting to bring that space heater right up to your bed on those cold winter nights, but they need to be kept a safe distance, which is about 3 feet, from anything combustible and that includes bed sheets.  Space heaters should always be unplugged when not in use to avoid any electrical malfunctions and they should never be left on overnight.  Other culprits of electrical fires include dryers, washing machines, water heaters, air conditioning machines, and ranges.

Fires related to smoking incidents are another major cause of injury and fire related deaths in the United States.  Although the amount of people who smoke in the United States has decreased in the past decade the fact remains between 2007 and 2011 smoking materials were responsible for approximately 17,900 house fires.  During this time period 580 deaths, 1,280 injuries, and $509 million in property damage per year was attributed to smoking related fires.  Many of these fires included falling asleep as a factor.  It’s devastating that such disaster has taken place when this type of fire is completely preventable by not smoking.

While you can’t always predict or prevent house fires from occurring you can be prepared for them.  And even though the first thing you should always do in the event of a fire is call 911 here’s a helpful link that describes how to extinguish different types of house fires Different Ways To Extinguish Different Fires.  Having a comprehensive security system that includes a monitored fire alarm and connected smoke detectors can significantly decrease the damaging effects of a house fire.  It can save you time, money, and most importantly lives.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security systems to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We want to help you connect and 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 by Ada Be-Flickr-Creative Commons

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

Making Sure Your Fire Alarm Works

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 that past 23 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

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

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

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

Can An Alarm Affect The Value Of Your Home?

American Advisors Group-House SoldHow do you judge the value of a home?  Is it the market price?  Is it the neighborhood where it’s located?  Or maybe it’s the aesthetics.  Actually it’s all of the above and then some.  If you’re a homeowner one sure fire way to add value to your home is by installing a comprehensive home security system.  A home security system offers a peace of mind to homeowners they can’t get anywhere else, but that’s not all.

With a comprehensive home security system you’re better protected from burglary and break-ins, house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and vandalism.  While the initial cost of a home security system may seem like a substantial investment, the return is even greater.  Having installed comprehensive home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. can attest to the added value.

There might not be a direct correlation between the market value of a home and whether or not a security system is present, but the indirect impact is evident in buyer interest.  If you anticipate selling your home in the future having added safety features adds a perceived value to your home.  Like with anything we purchase throughout our lives, prospective home buyers are likely to feel better about a price tag if safety is a factor.  In the mind of a potential buyer the more security features a home comes with, the less they have to spend after the fact which makes spending more upfront less of an issue.  That is why installing a comprehensive security system that includes surveillance, monitoring, fire and burglar alarms, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, motion detectors, window and door sensors, and home automation is worth the investment.  The more homes in your neighborhood with these features the better.  In fact, according to HomeGain.com, “A neighborhood that has more home security systems will, over time, have a lower crime rate. That lower crime rate, in turn, leads to higher property values for the neighborhood.”

Other security features prospective buyers might be looking for are strong sash locks for all windows, including those above ground level.  Reinforced or hardwood exterior doors, commercial grade door locks, and automatic or motion detected exterior lighting are all pluses in the eyes of a potential buyer.  While all of these features are appealing to a buyer, resale isn’t the only reason to invest in your homes security.  It’s that peace of mind every homeowner desires, you can’t put a price on that.

Perceived value is great, but so it monetary value.  A home security system can actually affect you monetarily.  How?  Insurance!  As a homeowner you know that everything has a cost, insurance is no exception.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could save money on your homeowners insurance?  Good news, you can.  Many insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners for having a security system and various security features.  Every company has different policies, but some offer up to 20% discounts.  Be sure to contact your provider for details and exceptions.  If you have home automation as part of your security system, you’re setting yourself up for savings again.  With home automation you can remotely adjust lighting, temperature, and sometimes select appliances.  This can save you money on your utilities bill every month by using energy when you specify.  It also helps prevent energy waste which benefits the environment as well.

Whether you’re looking to improve the value of your home for resale or simply want to do what is best for your family, adding a comprehensive home security system will always be beneficial.  It’ll save you money and provide you and your family with peace of mind.  To assure you are getting the best deal and system for your home, it’s imperative you hire a professional.  A haphazard mix of security parts assembled incorrectly doesn’t add value to anything.

Professional security system experts, like our team at Perfect Connections, Inc., will provide an initial in person assessment of the security risks specific to your home and create a custom system from there.  Every home is unique and should be treated as such don’t fall for a one-stop solution.  As industry professionals our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing custom comprehensive security systems to northern and central New Jersey residents for the past 23 years.  We know there is no substitute for personalized service that suits your individual 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 American Advisors Group-Flickr-Creative Commons

Putting Out A Fire

Fire-Ada BeHouse fires.  Nobody wants to think about them, but they are an unfortunate reality in our imperfect world.  While a house fire can be unpredictable there are precautionary measures you can take to avoid them.  Being prepared is half the battle, but knowing what to do in the event of a fire is equally important.

Part of being prepared is having the proper equipment and warning devices.  This means having operating smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, a fire alarm, and sometimes a sprinkler system.  Most single family homes are not required by law to have a sprinkler or fire suppression system, but that may not last as the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) is currently pushing for sprinkler legislation across the United States.  As a leading expert in the security system industry our experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. realize having a truly comprehensive home security system means including fire detection equipment that is linked to an alarm system.  We have been providing home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our team understands that security is not solely about preventing break-ins, it’s about protecting lives.

Being Prepared

According to the NFPA firefighters responded to 370,000 home fires in 2011.  These fires caused injuries, deaths, and costly damages.  The main culprits of these fires were cooking followed by heating equipment and smoking.  Of the reported home fire related deaths between 2007 and 2011, 60% of the homes either didn’t have smoke detectors or had non-working detectors.  This is a problem, what good is a detector if it’s not working or been removed?

The best way to manage a household fire is be prepared for one.  Being prepared includes having the proper warning system, up to date fire extinguishers, and most importantly an escape plan.  Having an escape plan that everyone knows and has practiced will help ensure a safer and quicker exit in the event of a fire.  Every house should have working smoke detectors throughout each floor of the home and they should be tested regularly.  Smoke detectors can be even more effective if they are tied into your homes security system.  If you have a home security system you likely have a monitoring service that responds in the event of an emergency.  In the event of a fire, detectors that are tied into an alarm system will trigger the alarm and if the alarm is not deactivated by the owner, the monitoring service will be notified automatically.  The monitoring service will try to contact the house and if no one answers after a given amount of time they will dispatch local emergency crews.  This type of system ensures a quicker response from local authorities and saves you and your family precious time needed to escape.

Fire Types

Understanding the different types of house fires can help you prevent or know how to extinguish them.  One of the most common causes of house fires is from cooking related incidents.  According to the NFPA two out of every five home fires started in the kitchen.  In a way this makes a lot of sense.  Think about it, kitchens are where you cook with high heat, ovens, gas or electric ranges, grease, and flammable materials.  It is of the utmost importance to be vigilant of what is going on in your kitchen.  If you have pots on the stove, do not leave them unattended the same for items in the oven.  Never leave flammable or combustible materials where they can be exposed to flames or high heat.

Electrical fires are another leading cause of house fires.  Homes with electrical heating need to be conscious of what materials are up against or close to heaters, all it takes is one dangling curtain to catch fire.  This is especially true for people who use space heaters.  It’s tempting to bring that space heater right up to your bed on those cold winter nights, but they need to be kept a safe distance, which is about 3 feet, from anything combustible and that includes bed sheets.  Space heaters should always be unplugged when not in use to avoid any electrical malfunctions and they should never be left on overnight.  Other culprits of electrical fires include dryers, washing machines, water heaters, air conditioning machines, and ranges.

Fires related to smoking incidents are another major cause of injury and fire related deaths in the United States.  Although the amount of people who smoke in the United States has decreased in the past decade the fact remains between 2007 and 2011 smoking materials were responsible for approximately 17,900 house fires.  During this time period 580 deaths, 1,280 injuries, and $509 million in property damage per year was attributed to smoking related fires.  Many of these fires included falling asleep as a factor.  It’s devastating that such disaster has taken place when this type of fire is completely preventable by not smoking.

While you can’t always predict or prevent house fires from occurring you can be prepared for them.  And even though the first thing you should always do in the event of a fire is call 911 here’s a helpful link that describes how to extinguish different types of house fires Different Ways To Extinguish Different Fires.  Having a comprehensive security system that includes a monitored fire alarm and connected smoke detectors can significantly decrease the damaging effects of a house fire.  It can save you time, money, and most importantly lives.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security systems to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We want to help you connect and 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 by Ada Be-Flickr-Creative Commons