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Vancouver Washington 98663

Security Tips

How to Reduce Your Chance of False Alarms

If you’ve been slapped with a fine lately you may have noticed that they’re getting really expensive. You can be fined for not having a permit, even if you’re not monitored, or having the police dispatched to your location, even if the call is canceled before they get there. We’ve had clients fined by their respective cities/counties even if there was evidence of an attempted break-in but our system scared the perpetrator off. Some places won’t even dispatch if you don’t have a permit, have video verification, or the location has been called twice in an attempt to reach someone.
I understand that a large amount of alarm dispatch calls are false alarm, hence the fines. I am of the opinion some places have gone overboard with fines and make it difficult on the owners. For this reason some people are hiring private patrol companies to respond first and “verify” there’s been a break-in or proof of an attempted break-in.
In an effort to help our customers save themselves from fines here are a few things you can do.
 Make sure all the users of the system know how to use it properly.

  •  Check all doors and windows before activing your alarm
  •  Have your monitoring stations number handy and know how to cancel an alarm activation
  • Make sure your password is something you can remember under stress, like a loud siren going off in the back ground.
  •  Keep your call list up to date. Check it with your smoke detector batteries; once every 6 months.
  • If you are on the call list, be sure to answer your phone if the monitoring station calls you. If you miss the call don’t just brush it off; call them back.
  • Know your password(s)
  •  Some say have your security company check your system once a year. However most systems these days are self-monitoring and let you know when there is a problem. So read your keypad display

If you’re having problems with your alarm we are happy to help you troubleshoot over the phone. If a service call is needed then we can schedule one with you. If we can resolve a problem over the phone this saves our customers time and money, which most are very glad for both.
I hope this has helped and if you would like assistance feel free to call us with any questions.


The Communication Evolution

This is an informative video on how your system communicates and your communication options

Tips: Be Secure In The Summer

Well, it’s officially summer now, and Security Professionals has a few tips for the summer we have learned over the years:

Often there is an increase in residential burglary and theft in the warm weather months. At times, we leave our windows open for ventilation when we are not home. In a vast number of summertime burglaries, the burglar gains entry through an opened or unlocked door or window. We also see an increase in theft of personal property, because there is a tendency to leave items, such as bicycles, unattended at parks.

Most of these thefts can be prevented just by giving things a second thought, rather than just “leaving them for a second.”

Home Security:

When you are away from home, close and lock your doors and windows. If you want to leave windows open enough for ventilation, but not wide enough for someone to gain entry, use a dowel for sliding glass windows cut to allow the window to open no more than 4î. For double hung windows, consider sash pins. Some windows have stops installed on the inside track, which will also prevent the window from being opened to far.

Yard maintenance:

Don’t make it easy for the burglar! Make sure even if you are just running for a quick trip or working outside that you don’t leave your doors unlocked or visibly opened. When working in the yard in the back of the home, do not leave the front door open and/or unlocked. If you have a garage or storage unit that is out of your line of sight while you are working in the yard, be mindful of what are you showing in plain view to anyone who may be walking or driving by.

Gardening tools, lawnmowers, other yard tools, ladders all tend to be stolen more in warm weather months. Make sure you lock them up in the garage, shed, etc.

Heat In Cars:

Remember to NEVER leave pets or children unattended in a hot vehicle with the windows rolled up. If you leave your car, roll the windows down enough for ventilation and provide a dish of water.

Summer security sales blitzes:

Many out-of-state security alarm dealers use the summer months to hire college students to “blitz” neighborhoods and offer home security installations.  Usually the truck and crew are just down the street waiting for the OK.  Or even worse, they “train” these cold-callers to install the system themselves!

Most areas require a low-voltage electrical contractor, such as Security Professionals, to have a contractors license and obtain a permit for the installation.  We monitor out accounts locally, and provide 24-hour service.  And our existing customers can earn free monitoring credits for referring us.  In fact, most of our business comes from referrals.  If your friends, neighbors or relatives are considering having a security system installed, please ask them to call us for a no-cost, no obligation pressure free consultation at their convenience, and then decide what’s best.  We” be here when they needs us.

Our Oregon and Washington license numbers are on our website, and please call us with any questions or concerns.

Thom Livengood

Security Tip of the Week

Security Tip of the Week is from the Department of Homeland Security

“If you are ever trapped in a fire, be prepared to crawl. Smoke and heat rise. The air is clearer and cooler near the floor. Try to escape through a door. If it’s not hot, open slowly and ensure fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape route. If your escape route is blocked, shut the door immediately and use an alternate escape route, such as a window. If you cannot escape through a window, hang a white or light-colored sheet outside the window, alerting fire fighters of your presence.”

Extinguishing Kitchen Fires

Fires have a greater chance of starting in your kitchen than anywhere else in your home. There are four kinds of fires:

Class A:  Fires with trash, wood, paper or other combustible materials as the fuel source.

Class B:  Fires with flammable or combustible liquids as the fuel source.

Class C:  Fires involving electrical equipment.

Class D:  Fires with certain ignitable metals as a fuel source.

Handling each one the right way will help keep the flames from spreading. For the best overall protection, purchase a multipurpose, dry-chemical extinguisher rated for Class A, B and C fires. Hang it in your kitchen, in an easily accessible place away from the stove.

In recent years I have had a couple kitchen fires I was responsible for.  Once I turned on the wrong burner. It had a pot holder touching it, and before long it was on fire.  That one was easy to handle.  I removed the potholder from the heat and it went out, then I put it in the sink and soaked it.  The other started because there was grease of some kind under my burner and drip pan.  It started smoking and before long it was in flames.  This one was more difficult; I turned off the heat, but because of where it was it was not easy to get to.  I tried a lid and that helped, but it didn’t cover the edges.  The lid eventually put it out because it cooled and didn’t get enough oxygen to survive.  In other words I got lucky.

Things to think about:

  • Make sure your stove top drip pans and the under area are clean before cooking.  Make sure the kids know the importance of this as well
  • Don’t walk away from the stove when you’re using it.  Fires start quick and burn hot and fast.  Things can get out of control quickly.
  • Train your kids how to cook.  Instruct them in putting out a small fire and that they are more important than possessions.  Decide ahead of time where to go to call 911, one less decision they will need to make in an emergency.
  • Even if you don’t think you’ll need the lid to whatever you are cooking with, have it handy.  If it’s fitted all the better to smother a fire
  • Keep potholders and towels away form the stove top.
  • Consider getting monitored smoke detectors.  When they go off the fire department is dispatched immediately, weather your home or not.  Then you’re notified.

Things you’ll want handy when cooking:

  • Baking Soda (lots of it)
  • Pan Lid
  • ABC-rated Fire Extinguisher

Need to know info:

  • Do Not be afraid to leave, you and your family are more important then property.  If you are not comfortable putting out a fire or feel threatened leave; go to a neighbors house or use your mobile phone if you have one (remember when using a mobile they can not get your address, you will have to give it to them.  Include your state if you are in a border town, your call may be going to a cell tower in the other state) and call 911 and report the fire immediately, be sure to have everyone evacuate the house with you.
  • Know that if you do have to use your extinguisher it’s a one-time-deal, so use the whole thing.  You will need to get a new one when you’re done.
  • If the fire is large or spreading fast, evacuate the residence immediately, and then call 911 to report the fire.
  • For fires on wood, paper and cloth, use water or a Class A or ABC fire extinguisher to douse the flames. Place small objects in the sink to help contain the fire.
  • If fat or grease in a pan starts burning, quickly slide a lid over the pan to cover it completely and cut off the oxygen supply. Turn off the heat.
  • For small grease fires, throw baking soda over the flames or use a Class B or ABC fire extinguisher.
  • For electrical fires, throw baking soda over the flames or use a Class C fire extinguisher.
  • If you have a fire in your oven, close the oven door and turn off the heat to smother the flames.
  • In general, try to put out a fire if it’s small. But if the flames begin spreading, do not remain in the kitchen.
  • To prevent future fires, always keep your stove, oven and hood clean, and avoid overloading outlets or circuits with too many appliances.
  • If your clothing is on fire, stop drop & roll.
    When you have an appliance that is on fire unplug it.
  • When grilling make sure you have the grill a safe distance from the house and the extinguisher handy.

New Laws for CO Detectors for Oregon & Washington

New Rules for Carbon Monoxide Detectors will affect Oregon and Washington homeowners in 2011.

Both the Oregon and Washington legislatures have passed laws that will affect new home construction and the purchase or sale of existing homes. Carbon Monoxide poisoning affects thousands every year, and the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) detectors will by mandated in Oregon by April 1, 2011 in Oregon, and July 1, 2011 in Washington.

In Oregon , the sale or a one and two family dwelling with a carbon monoxide “source” will require a “properly functioning carbon monoxide alarm” on or after April 1, 2011, and in Washington state “Existing dwellings shall be equipped with carbon monoxide alarms by July 1, 2011.

Carbon monoxide detectors can be added to most existing security alarm systems. Detectors are available either hard-wired or wireless, but the number, location and type should be evaluated and installed by a licensed professionals alarm installer.

Although there has been little publicity about these new requirements, it is expected that building code inspectors will begin enforcement of these new requirements starting with the effective dates in each state.

Personal Safety Tips

I recommend self defense classes for everyone.  I feel it is important to know what to do in a situation where you are being threatened,  this can come about very quickly and you will need to react without having to think.  So being prepared is paramount. I help teach self defense classes with both Sifu Mark Moy (Moy Martial Arts) and Sifu Jim Sanborn (Clark College & WSU).  You can check them out or contact me (Monica) at Security Professionals for further information on this.

If you have a specific threat from someone then do not hesitate to call authorities.  You should also employ appropriate  safety precautions for your situation.  Again the above people train you for these situations.

That being said these tips are for general everyday situations, to make yourself less vulnerable.  I’m sure I haven’t covered everything, so use this as a starting point.  Keep yourself well informed and aware.

1) Be aware of your surroundings.

  • If you wear headphones don’t have them too loud.  Even then be aware that it will diminish your ability to hear what is going on around you.
  • Crossing the street, even with a walk sign, check for cars.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stop in the middle of the street because some driver didn’t see me crossing, hustle it to get out of the way of a car that came zooming out of no where, or turned into where I was crossing.  Even when there were multiple people.  Crazy I know.
  • When turning a corner (on foot)  don’t cut the corner too close, you don’t know if someone is coming around it from the other side.
  • If passing a darkened area, such as an ally or doorway, give it a wide birth at least 3 feet.

2) Keep an emergency kit in your car.  If you go up to the mountains carry blankets, or extra coats.  In a metal coffee carry matches, candles or Sterno (melt the snow in the coffee can to drink), energy bars, flash light, a large piece of paper and a marker (to post a sign for help).  Flares are a good thing as well.  I also have a first aid kit in my car, which I use more then I would have expected.

3) If you do get stuck, be careful not to run your car for extended periods of time, not only will you run out of gas, but the fumes get into your car and can kill you.

4) Respect your intuition.  If a place gives you the creeps, steer clear of it.  If a person makes you uncomfortable, leave.  Don’t let people guilt you into things like a date or a ride.  This is where the books below will come in handy.

5) Recommended reading:  The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker,  Emotional Vampire by Albert J. Bernstein

Home Safety Tips

These may seem simple but it’s a good place to start.

1) Keep your doors locked.  It’s surprising how many people forget this simple thing.

2) Keep any garage doors locked and the door from your garage that enters into your house locked.  It’s an added layer of protection if a burglar manages to get into the garage.  If they get into the garage they can work for as long as they want without worry of being seen by a neighbor.

3) Always lock your car, even if it’s in your garage.  Some people think that because their garage is locked they can safely leave their keys in the ignition.  However if someone gets into your garage, you’ve just handed them the keys to your car, your house, and whatever else you have of value.

4) Install motion detector lights above doors.  Criminals don’t like to be noticed, so if a light comes one every time they approach your house, they will probably look else where; your house is no longer an easy mark.  For added protection, to eliminate hiding places on your property, add motion detector lights to areas that are especially dark & shadowed at night.

5) Install a security system.  You can install one that isn’t monitored of course, but monitoring has some big advantages.

  • If our monitoring station gets an alarm, someone will be notified.  It can be the authorities, or it can be yourself to start.  We will work with you so it suits your needs.
  • Most systems have emergency buttons on the keypad for police, medical & fire. The system doesn’t have to be armed to use these features either.  We can also add personal panic buttons that work with your system.
  • If you chose to have monitored smoke detectors, then even if you’re not home we can send the fire department if a fire signal is received.
  • Most insurance companies offer discounts for monitored security and fire systems.
  • If you are on vacation, you don’t have to depend solely on your neighbors vigilance to keep your home secure.

Security Professionals LLC, Security Control Equipment & System Monitors, Vancouver, WA