Two Security Cameras (dirty and cobwebs)

Keep Your Security Cameras Free of Insects

Keep Spider Webs, Bugs or Insects From Security Cameras 

Two Security Cameras (dirty and cobwebs)High resolution surveillance cameras are key tools in protecting our New England homes and businesses from thieves and intruders. However, as reliable and proven as these solutions are, they require maintenance and that includes preventing the camera lenses from being obscured by such obstructions as spider webs or insect nests.

Spider and insect interference may be a bigger problem than you might realize, particularly for homeowners with exterior camera-based security systems. Spiders do in fact habitually spin webs across lenses, as this industry blogs notes. This can create blind spots in your surveillance system, in effect disabling it. 

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High school students at school, wearing N95 Face masks. Teenage girl wearing eyeglasses sitting at the school desk and listening to the teacher.

Returning to School: Security Tips for Parents

Depending on your state, county, city or town, your child may be returning soon to the classroom. With the threat of COVID-19 remaining here in New England, you’ll want to take the best approach to ensure your child’s safety in and outside the school or playground.High school students at school, wearing N95 Face masks. Teenage girl wearing eyeglasses sitting at the school desk and listening to the teacher.

The challenges for successful reopening and education are considerable, as a Mayo Clinic article on the subject notes. It states, “As schools reopen, they must balance the educational, social and emotional needs of their students along with the health and safety of students and staff in the midst of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Operating Through the Pandemic

Operating Through the Pandemic

We hope and trust you are safe and well, despite the COVID-19 crisis. We would also like you to know that American Alarm is an essential Massachusetts-based business, and one that remains open to serve the public. We continue to support thousands of New England residential, commercial and government clients, including those other essential businesses that must operate through the pandemic.

Although the public’s focus is on COVID-19, traditional electronic security and surveillance solutions may prove as important as ever.

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Tips To Keep Your Basement From Flooding

Fight Back The Floods

As New Englanders, we should always be ready to protect our basements from flooding — particularly when caused by spring rains or severe storms.

This blog has covered the risks storms and floods pose to our businesses and homes, and to seasonal homes in particular. A flooding disaster can cost thousands of dollars in damage to property, and inflict huge stress on homeowners.

Our basements can be inundated at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways, as one North Woodstock, New Hampshire, couple learned last April. According to a CBSN Boston January article, the couple’s basement was flooded by 16 inches of water — which they alleged was part of the runoff from a commercial ice castle attraction.

The couple spent $30,000 on a system to drain the estimated 35,000 gallons of water from the basement and keep it dry. Read more

Chimney Fires: A Serious Danger Year-Round

You may think of your chimney as an architectural adornment that provides warmth on cold winter days, but in reality, it’s a tunnel to remove dangerous flue gasses from your home. These fumes cause condensation inside the chimney, which in turn deposits creosote — a highly flammable chemical that frequently causes chimney fires.

As this blog has previously noted, the threat of chimney blazes in New England, and beyond, is real. Chimney fires can have many consequences, including tragic ones. In Massachusetts alone, in 2018, there were 556 fires involving chimneys, fireplaces and wood stoves, according to mass.gov. These led to one death and $3 million in property losses.

Additionally, the very nature of chimney fires makes them extremely dangerous, according to an informative website. The fires aren’t dramatic: they survive on limited air and fuel, meaning they burn slowly — and are often undetected until an inspection. Without the owner realizing what’s happening, these fires can melt a chimney, or make it crack and collapse. Then the fire moves into the house — and potentially, into the wood frame.

Lack of Diligence Makes Chimneys Risky

Chimney fires can strike anywhere. In February, a chimney fire in Plympton, Massachusetts, ignited the roof of a house, according to the local press. It took firefighters 10 minutes to control the blaze, and luckily, there were no injuries. “This incident could have been a lot worse and is a good reminder to make sure your chimney is inspected and cleaned yearly,” the Plympton Fire Department proclaimed on Facebook.

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Need a Business Security System Provider? A Few Tips

Are you a New England business owner looking to protect your operation with an electronic security solution? If so, you will save yourself time, money and potential loss by doing due diligence in your search upfront. 

You’ll need to evaluate your specific needs first. Do you want an electronic alarm with high resolution camera surveillance? Perhaps you also need  24/7 monitoring service? No matter what solution you choose, you need to select a reliable security vendor/service provider.

Why Security Systems Are Important

It’s wonderful when integrated security systems work as intended and limit losses for a business. According to a local news story in Brockton, Massachusetts, a triggered alarm in a seafood store led police to apprehend a suspect on the premises. When officers arrived at the scene, “they encountered a man wearing a ski mask next to a trash bag filled with items from inside the business.” Police made an on-the-spot arrest.  

Similarly, also in Brockton, police interrupted the robbery of a pharmacy last June after a telephone alarm was triggered, says one press account. In this case, the alarm company also had surveillance cameras on-site.  “The alarm company then called police to report glass had been broken at the store and they could see, through remote surveillance video, a man inside the store near the pharmacy.” The police apprehended the man, who was hiding in the locked pharmacy.

In both cases, alarms prevented the suspects from escaping with their ill-gotten goods. These examples show real- time security systems can help stop crime in its tracks.

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Social Media Posting on Your Holiday Activities? Think Again

Sure, it’s the season to share gifts, time and presents — as well as information about all our holiday activities. However, we must all be wary of what we share with the public on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

‘Tis the season to beware of multiple scams, from phony gift cards to fake charities seeking donations, as this Walpole, Massachusetts, Patch article explains. There are also thieves looking for empty houses to rob.

Given all the risks surrounding us, we should do our part not to expose potentially high-value information to total (and potentially felonious) strangers. This includes any social media posts that tell the world our homes are empty and unprotected while we are away visiting family

Loose Lips on Travel = Big Risks

Traveling is obviously a major risk. It leaves your house and property vulnerable for hours, days or even weeks as you visit friends and relatives. As this blog has noted previously, telling the world on Facebook you’ll be away from your home for any length of time is highly risky.

Would-be thieves can seek out such residences on Facebook and identify temporarily unoccupied houses to rob during the holidays. In fact, the town of North Andover, Massachusetts, considers social posting on any travel information a “holiday hazard” and urges citizens to say absolutely nothing about their whereabouts.

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‘Tis the Season for Holiday Home Safety

The holidays pose unique home and business safety risks. With so much travel, gift procurement and giving, thieves have an excellent opportunity to strike our homes and small businesses.

A recent Boston 25 article states the challenge like this: “While the holidays are a great time to sit back, relax and enjoy time with family and friends, it is also prime time for criminals to act. Whether it’s an online scam or breaking into your home, when December rolls around the rule of thumb is to sleep with one eye open.”

New England Grinches and Trolls

Just this month, three thieves robbed the Christmas decorations from a Norwell, Massachusetts, garden center. According to 7 News, the act was caught on video. The stolen objects are valued at $150. “We don’t know why they would do it to us,” says the store’s co-owner. “We’re honest people here, we work hard and we just want everybody to be happy.”

Naturally, the risk to our homes and businesses exists year-round, as the Boston 25 piece explains. One of Boston’s Back Bay residents, who operates a fitness studio on the first floor of his apartment house, installed a camera at his building’s entrance.

The results of his surveillance were shocking, amounting to “a revolving door of criminal activity.” He also says he lost count of “recent run-ins with trespassers and thieves in his front vestibule.” The holidays can exacerbate these dangers.

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Enjoy Small Business Saturday Securely and Successfully

Since its launch in 2010, Small Business Saturday has given smaller retailers and other local firms a chance to compete against the major online powerhouses, such as Amazon. As one of these smaller companies, you want to make the day as successful as possible.

That means using every tool and platform available. Ensure all your goods and cyber assets are secure, and your personnel both honest and competent. This way, you’ll increase your chance to end the day in the black and not the red.

Small Business: Big Results

The event has had a real-world impact throughout New England and the rest of the United States. In 2018, it drove nearly $18 billion in sales, according to the National Federation of Small Business (NFSB).

That’s not too surprising when you realize that there are:

  • About 28.8 million U.S-based small businesses
  • And these represent 99.7% of all U.S. businesses

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Fighting Fire with Fire Alarms

The passage of Fire Prevention Week offers an opportunity to re-evaluate our fire protection. Simply being aware of the risk is inadequate – alarm systems and procedures need to be in place for true fire safety.

As a FEMA press release about October being National Fire Protection Month notes, “most Americans underestimate their risk for fire, and many either lack emergency response plans – or fail to practice them with fire drills.”

FEMA also notes how in a typical house fire, there may be only one or two minutes after an alarm sounds to escape the premises. A small flame can become a major blaze in just 30 seconds. There isn’t a lot of room for delay once fire breaks out.

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