Prepare Your Business for Natural Disasters

Can your business survive a major fire or other natural disaster?

Business Security: Prepare Your Business for Natural Disasters

Unfortunately many companies never open for business again after a hurricane, tornado, fire, flood or other weather-related catastrophe shuts them down — but that doesn’t have to happen to your business.

The key is putting a disaster recovery plan in place – and reviewing it once a year – to protect your employees, customers, your physical assets and your investments.

Here are some tips to help you get started with keeping your business secure in a disaster situation:

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Business Security: Common Ploys Used by Shoplifters

The fact is that every year businesses lose tens of billions of dollars to shoplifting, and if you’re retailer you’re all too well aware of that painful fact.

Ploys used by ShoplifersFor example, just recently police in Dedham, Mass. were called to a local supermarket by the store’s loss prevention employee who witnessed a woman putting items in her purse and in her cart. Then she tried to leave the store without paying for the merchandise.

Although it’s not possible for you to completely do away with shoplifting, there are ways to prevent shoplifters from taking advantage of a five-finger discount. Read more

Untested Alarm System Costs Siskiyou County $3 Million

Is your burglar alarm system programmed with a communication timer test?

Just ask officials at the Siskiyou County Courthouse in California, who were shocked to discover that the failure of the security system protecting $3 million in gold resulted in a clean getaway for the thieves who simply smashed a hole in the glass case protecting the historical artifacts and grabbed everything they could.

The gold nuggets had been a theft target once before in 1979, when the silent alarm functioned as intended and the would-be marauders were apprehended roughly a block away from the courthouse with the illicit wares in their possession. This time, however, the vibration alarm that was meant to protect the irreplaceable gold nuggets – some of which date back to the town’s founding – did not respond at all. A town spokesperson stated that the system had been properly armed, and that the county was working with its security provider to get to the bottom of the glitch.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of the sad story surrounding the Siskiyou gold is a footnote at the bottom of the article that mentions an annual security alarm test schedule. According to the Courthouse, the last test occurred in August of 2011, nearly seven months before the February theft.

There is an important lesson that business and property owners can learn from the tragic tale of the Siskiyou theft, and that is that it’s not enough to rely on a single alarm system test every 12 months. So much can happen within a year’s time, especially in a heavily-trafficked space such as a courthouse or a retail space, that it really becomes necessary to perform an alarm system test at least once per quarter, if not once per month.

American Alarm programs a timer test with its business security systems that can send communications weekly or daily, depending on the type of signals being monitored. If our central station operators do not receive a signal, we contact the owner immediately to determine the cause of the missed communication, and find a solution to the issue.

It costs nothing to make sure that your alarm system is functioning up to spec – what’s  the price tag of not knowing? In the case of Siskiyou County, the figure would seem to be $3 million.

Break-ins Pile Up In Newton and Carlisle

Two Massachusetts municipalities have suffered through a recent spike in break-ins and robberies – and thieves have made off with items ranging from laptops and iPods all the way up to professional business equipment. Even more worrisome are cases where break-ins are reported but no theft has occurred, causing residents to fear the true intentions of those involved.

The incidents, which have been piling up in Newton and Carlisle, should remind homeowners and business proprietors of the importance of protecting their properties – and families – from intrusions by installing high quality burglar alarm systems that can serve as deterrents to potential thieves. Read more

Security System Credentials: Don’t Get Burned By Fly-By-Night Contractors

cheap home security systemsInstalling a security system isn’t like installing a satellite dish: you can’t just do a quick Craigslist search and have someone come to your house and do a bang-up installation job.

Unfortunately, there are a number of so-called professional home and business security companies out there that misrepresent their actual licensing and certifications, and whose employees pose as legitimate, authorized burglar alarm installation technicians when the reality is quite different. Read more

Built-in Dialer Delays Have No Place at American Alarm

American Alarm Central StationIn a recent blog post, we alerted readers to a weakness in many “all-in-one” (fire/burglar) home alarm systems.

The problem is that many major distributors and alarm monitoring companies have built-in dialer delays that prevent signals from being sent to the central station for up to four minutes after the alarm is tripped in the home.

Why? Because their systems are prone to false alarms and their distant monitoring centers can’t handle the volume. They delay transmission of an alarm signal to give the homeowner a chance to respond and correct the false alarm. This is not true security.

If there is a fire or someone is breaking into your home, seconds count when it comes to both the safety of your family and the protection of your belongings.

After that blog post, we received some great feedback from people who were unsure if American Alarm incorporated a dialer delay into its burglar alarm systems.

The fact is, we do not and will not use equipment with built-in dialer delays. The reason we posted this information was to inform our customers as well as others reading our blog that there are some companies that do this.

Our commitment to our customers has always been to provide the fastest possible response to alarm signals. We have the lowest documented response to priority signals, which is currently at 24 seconds or less. This is key in the event of a fire or intrusion at your home or business.

Please keep the questions and comments coming!