Saturday, November 29, 2008

Protecting Kids on Myspace and Facebook


Social media sites such as myspace and face book are some of the most visited websites by teenagers and young adults. These sites allow users to connect with people across the world with similar interests. The internet age has made the world smaller. Connecting with multiple groups of people has never been easier and never more dangerous. Hiding behind a computer and a made-up profile could be a sexual predator or criminal looking for an easy mark. Users of myspace, facebook and bebo.com and other social media sites should beware. Most parents who have children that are pre-teens or teenagers do not use these forms of social media and are not aware of the dangers that they pose to their children and themselves if used incorrectly. Often children will expose sensitive information about themselves and their family over the internet. They believe that it is safe because they have told it to someone a world away that they will not see the next day at school. The cold reality is that it may be someone using an alias. These scoundrels fish for information such as where a child may live, what their parents do for a living. They may fish for information as to what types of electronics are in the home and may even ask about the security system in the home. The internet criminals gain a child’s trust over time and exploit it. These are a few tips to keep your children safe.
• Parents are encouraged to openly discuss the dangers of social media with their children.
• Do not let your children use the computer for extended periods of time behind closed doors.
• Be proactive, visit these sites and research new threats.
• Watch for changes in your child’s behavior especially if they become withdrawn.
• Have open lines of communication.
• Use security to keep your family safe; don’t assume that crime won’t happen to you.
• Review the sex offender registry to see what’s lurking in your vicinity.
• Watch this video with your kids.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Conventional Smoke Detectors Won't Wake Your Kids- A Must SEE Video

As I was doing some research last night I came across a blog called your alarm guy which was created by a fellow life safety consultant for Vector Security in Massachusetts. The blog leads with a very relevant article on how conventional smoke detectors, found in most homes, do not wake most children. This video is shocking but very informative. As a life safety consultant, for Vector security’s #1 dealer Power Home Technologies my mission is to make sure bad things don’t happen to good people. I had never seen this video prior to yesterday and I was compelled to create this post because Thanksgiving Day is historically the day that most home fires occur. Over the last few days I have posted several articles on how to make your home safe during the holidays I hope that those articles along with this post will keep you and yours safe.
You may be wondering if there are any alternative solutions to conventional smoke detectors that will wake your children. Photo-electric smoke sensors that have the ability to detect a smoldering fire and a dramatic rate in temperature change when tied into an alarm or security system that has two-way voice communicating ability will do the job. Two-way voice is like having ONstar for your home. When the alarm system is activated because of a fire or any alarm event it triggers the activation of an internal microphone that allows the alarm company to hear what is occurring inside the residence in real time. The alarm company then can audibly communicate over a speaker microphone calling the children by name which thru scientific experiments has been shown to wake them. Fires double in size every 20 seconds. Your child can not afford to sleep for a full two minutes while the alarm is blaring. Vector security has received numerous awards for their distinguished work in alarm dispatch. For additional information on fire safety devices go to http://whensafetymatters.com/.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Honeywell Total Connect System is the future of security system communication

The Honeywell Total connect system using the 7845i GSM radio uses the internet as the primary platform for the communication of the alarm panel. The 7845i GSM radio (along with Alarmnet) allows improved security system communication. Users of this technology can control their security system remotely over a high speed internet connection using a cell phone, PDA, or virtual keypad on their laptop or desktop computer. The Total Connect system uses triple path technology which includes GPSR (General Packet Radio Service), SMS (Short Message Service or text messaging) and the GSM cellular network. Advantages of the Total Connect System include:
· The ability to arm and disarm the system using your cell phone through text messaging.
· Allows the user to receive a message when system is armed or disarmed through email or text messaging.
· Allows user to receive a message when a certain door, safe or liquor cabinet is opened. Also lets user know if system is armed or disarmed. This is great for teenagers who you do not want entertaining guests with no supervision.
· Allows optional video alerts with the use of compatible IP addressable cameras. Excellent option for checking up on an aging relative.

Look for more information regarding Total Connect in the upcoming weeks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thank God For Security Cameras in Nursing Homes

Thank God they have security cameras in nursing facilities. An investigation just concluded regarding a man that died in Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro,NC on April 29, 2008. Steven Sabock, 50, of Roanoke Rapids was in the care of as many as sixteen people who who neglected his care and then falsified his record to cover up this injustice. If it were not for the security cameras that showed the time line of events and clearly exposed the lack of care Mr. Sabock received during his last 22 hours of life, the culprits may still be caring for patients. Mr Sabock is seen by video cameras receiving medication on April 28, 2008 at around 8pm. He begins choking and falls to the floor hitting his head. His caregiver presses on his stomach to dislodge the medication then immediately snatches the man up without checking for additional injuries. This is a violation of the emergency procedural code. A nurse is seen standing a few feet away, and does nothing. It takes over two hours before he is seen by a physician assistant. He is sent to the day room immediately afterwards. Instructions were given to take his vital signs every two hours. The assistants left this man in a chair for over 16 hours in his own urine and watched television, danced, played cards and joked around without attending to his needs. When the man expires they hatch a plot to cover it up. A full account of these events can be found at http://www.newsobserver.com/2771/story/1300808.html.
Imagine if this had been your relative or loved one. If it were not for security cameras more events like this would likely occur. It makes you wonder how people could be so heartless and insensitive. If you are in the nursing business you should be there to do your job, which is to provide care, not just collect a paycheck. It should be a law that these cameras are installed in every facility that cares for patients that can not take care of themselves. So long as there are people that abuse others in this way, security cameras will always have there place.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Rogue Relative: Aka Black Sheep of the family

Every one has that one shady relative, right? The one that you don’t want to discuss in polite company, but they’re still family and they will be coming to the family gathering. This is the person that likes to snoop around when you’re not looking and borrow things (wink): without your permission. I’ve overheard the conversations before, “I had a set of earrings just like that, but I haven’t been able to find them since last Thanksgiving weekend.” Then they ask, “Where did you get yours.” They respond, “I just picked these up somewhere.” Yeah that’s right, they picked them up somewhere: right out of your jewelry box and straight into their pocket. You’ve got too much class to a call them a lair and thief without proof. You have your suspicions and now you need proof. So what do you do? Elementary, My dear Watson, elementary. You follow these tips to assure you catch them in the act, and use the footage for the newest episodes of crimes caught on tape.
First you need to proper equipment to bait the trap. Go to the local hunting store or Walmart and purchase one those deer cameras. Position it behind some decorative pillows with only the lense showing. I realize that lighting may be a factor, but since the criminal (I mean your relative) doesn’t expect to get caught they will most likely turn on the light and when they walk by the camera the trip the motion sensor and they are caught on candid camera. The resolution on these cameras is low and won’t be admissible in court, but you have enough to confront them and get your stuff back. Hopefully they will be apologetic and never do it again. The next solution is more security sensitive and works with the hunting theme.
Almost all hunters have a gun cabinet or gun safe, but I have gone to many homes and they keep the gun in the bedroom closet where they can get to it in the middle of the night if something happens. The problem is they never think that a curious child may wander into that area and get his hands on the “Peace keeper.” My suggestion is to have an alarm attached to the door of the closet that is set for instant alert. If you have this as a part of your monitored alarm system combined with two-way voice you will not have to worry about a false alarm. When the alarm is triggered the alarm monitoring company will come across the speaker microphone built into the system. If it is a false alarm then you give them your password and they will not dispatch the authorities. So let’s get back to catching the rouge relative.
Installed covert cameras that are tied into a DVR and networked into your internet connection is the way to go. These cameras can be placed inside a clock a light, security motion detector and even inside a stuffed animal. You can monitor the activity through any computer with a high speed internet connection. The applications are endless. If you have an elderly person come stay with you that requires outside care, you can be sure that the care giver is treating them well. You can make sure that your teenage kids don’t have people at the house when they were told not to have guests over. You can make sure that they are not slipping out because you can install exterior cameras with night vision capability. When it comes to matters of safety there is no invasion of privacy so long as these devices are installed in the common areas of the home.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quick Tips on Keeping Thanksgiving Safe for Your Guests

Thanksgiving Day is one of the best holidays of the entire year. The family gathering along with great food and football makes it incredibly special. Often as we look to gathering at that special place we call home, we overlook potential hazards that could cause our celebration to turn into a nightmare. This brief article was written with the sole intent of providing some a simple checklist to follow to help assure holiday bliss. Thanksgiving Day is the number one day that home fires occur. Make sure you are fire conscious.
· Check all your smoke detectors before your guests arrive. Make sure they are in good working order.
· Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen on the counter. Make sure that it is pressurized and that it has not passed the effective use expiration date. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher.
· Keep the stove area clean from grease.
· Do not leave the area while food is cooking.
· Keep all pot holders and dish towels away from the cooking surface.
· Make sure all pots and pans are pushed away from the edge to prevent them from being pulled off by a small child.
· Do not deep fry a turkey inside the house. Make sure the deep fryer is away the house and out in the yard. Make sure that the turkey is completely thawed before placing it in the hot grease. The hot grease will spurt out causing the cook to be severely burned as well as start a fire.
· Have the emergency numbers as well as poison control listed by the phone.
· Place a baby gate to block the stair to prevent toddlers from getting hurt.
· Place an additional gate to block access to the kitchen.
· Make sure that all hallways are clear to prevent a guest from falling.
· Make sure that all interior lights are working.
· Have hand rails in place so that seniors and children will not fall when ascending or descending the stairwell.
· Have non-slip strips installed in the tubs and showers.
· Place a lock on medicine cabinets and areas where cleaners are to prevent a curious child from being accidentally poisoned.
· Walk all your guests through your home fire escape plan.
· Make sure that all guests know how to activate the emergency panic buttons on the security system to dispatch for police, EMS and fire.

Written by Jim McNeely Life Safety Specialist for Power Home Technologies, the #1 Vector Dealer in the nation. To reach Jim go to http://www.whensafetymatters.com/

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Don’t Let Criminals Make You the Thanksgiving Turkey!

You want to make it grandma’s house on time and the last thing on your mind is being the victim of crime. Often, people spend more time planning the Thanksgiving day menu than they do in planning measures to keep their families and possessions safe. Criminals know that where there are distractions because of upcoming attractions that opportunity to score becomes much more prevalent. Taking a few simple steps in advance of your departure could be the difference between coming home to find everything safe and sound or finding an unwanted and unexpected surprise of being burglarized. First, we must deal with truth verses delusion. The delusion that crime only happens in certain types of neighborhoods is the type of folklore that leads to good people experiencing bad situations that rob them of their dignity and their possessions. The truth is with an unstable economy crime will rise. Some people feeling the strain of diminished finances will resort to criminal activity. Drug use also rises during times of recession. The key question to be asked is how the individuals who are cash poor and drug dependent can afford to feed their addiction? The answer is a simple one, they look to take from others. The next question raised is will it be you? If you apply these common sense strategies the likely hood of you becoming a victim will be tremendously reduced.
The first priority in home security is eliminating access by making it difficult for potential criminals. Prior to leaving, perform a security sweep of your property. Think like a criminal. If you were them, how would you get into the home? Look for tools that may be lying around. Make sure that all windows are locked and the screens in place. Put up any lawn furniture and remove the propane tank from your gas grill because criminals could use it to break out a window or glass pane in a door. Make sure that all bulbs in motion lights are working properly. Make sure that your crawl space door is locked. If it has exterior hinges replace the screws with headless screws. If you have an exterior storage room where the hinges are located outside, replace with permanent hinges or reinstall the door so the hinges swing inward. Prior to leaving do not discuss your plans in public. Criminals are everywhere. Stop your mail; but this is not enough, have a trusted friend or neighbor make sure that they go by the home and pick up unsubscribed mail circulars that usually accompany a big commercial holiday. Never leave a voice message on your voice mail that says that you are away. Have your interior lights set on a timer. Call the police department and ask them to patrol your neighborhood and let them know when you expect to return. One of the best deterrents for preventing a home burglary while you are eating turkey and enjoying football is to have a home security system installed. A home security system with two-way voice communication and cell phone back-up, which provides a fail safe if the phone line is cut, is the best type of alarm system to have. Make sure that the company you select has more than one monitoring call center. Make sure that the call center is UL certified because some small alarm companies may be monitoring with a computer located in their home. You get what you pay for. So whether you are looking to secure a home in Durham, Raleigh, Goldsboro, North Carolina or Dallas, Texas or anywhere in the world applying these tips will allow you to enjoy your stay away.

This article was written by Jim McNeely, Life Safety Consultant of Power Home Technologies the #1 Vector Security Dealer in the nation. If you live in Central or Eastern North Carolina and need a security consultant to speak to your community or association or you need a home security system installed go to http://www.whensafetymatters.com