‘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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Keep Your Home Safe from Carbon Monoxide

Winter is here, and we’ve already weathered our first big snowstorm of the season. Now, as temperatures keep dropping and the weather becomes more inclement, we New Englanders will be spending more and more time indoors.

This also means we need to be doubly on the alert about carbon monoxide — the “silent killer.” As this blog has noted previously, carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas. It leaks from common heating and lighting sources, like faulty furnaces, portable generators, stoves, lanterns and gas ranges.

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Keep Thanksgiving Safe: Follow These Tips

With Halloween behind us, the holiday season has officially begun. It’s now time to think about home and travel safety in the midst of this season’s hustle and bustle.

Getting together with family and friends can be hectic, and the potential for accidents skyrockets with children running around, large dinners prepared and the fireplace roaring. As this blog has previously noted, Thanksgiving Day is the most common day for kitchen fires. Cooking accidents are the leading cause (77 percent) of Thanksgiving house fires in the United States.

That’s not even to mention the risks of traveling. Between heavy traffic, weather and other factors, Thanksgiving travel demands special precautions, as this safety checklist from a law office notes. Unfortunately, alcohol-related accidents caused 800 deaths between 2012 and 2016 during Thanksgiving alone.

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Defending Against Cyberbullying

In 21st century New England, protecting our loved ones’ lives and wellbeing must factor in new digital threats. Complete strangers can reach into our homes electronically, defeating any physical safety system we’ve installed.

And with the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and social media platforms, the risk of cyberbullying – simply defined as inflicting intentional electronically enabled harm – only grows, as a guide on the subject illustrates.

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Daylight Savings: Don’t Forget to Check the Fire Alarms

Rolling our clocks back for the end of daylight saving time offers a reminder to check our smoke detectors and batteries. Fresh batteries and detectors will help protect our loved ones and property.

As an interesting Good Housekeeping article notes, the twice-yearly synchronization of our computers is, of course, automatic. Resetting our clocks and other devices requires manual intervention — so it’s a great policy to simultaneously and routinely check our smoke alarms’ power sources, too.

The Risk of Fire

Why should you add battery checkup to your list of things to do? Well, according to a survey cited in the article, only 57 percent of those who owned fire alarms had followed best practices and checked their alarms in the six months prior to being polled.

The U.S. Consumer Protection Agency echoes the findings of the magazine article, noting that in the United States, annually, there are:

  • About 330,000 home fires
  • Roughly 2,200 deaths
  • Some 11,000 emergency-room related injuries

Maintaining Smoke Alarms

Proper installation and maintenance of smoke alarms will reduce risk. When adding the alarm test to your daylight-saving time to-do list, there are some best practices to observe that will reduce risks and make the process more streamlined.

According to Good Housekeeping:

  • When removing the cover, lift it or twist it off — although sometimes the entire alarm detaches from the base
  • Replace battery with a new one (typically they are 9-volt)
  • Snap cover or battery back into place
  • Press test button to ensure it’s operational — it should emit a beep or chirp

While you are checking the smoke detector, you should also examine the manufacturer’s stamp indicating the year the device was made. Detectors lose their efficacy over time, and they need to be replaced every 10 years or less to remain up to code.

To go even further, install both smoke and carbon monoxide detection solutions. You can also procure monitoring services from a local provider who can immediately detect the presence of smoke or dangerous gasses and alert you and first responders.

But above all, make daylight saving time an occasion to consider safety as well as punctuality.

Next Steps

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Have A Happy & Safe Halloween

Halloween is upon us. A magical time for ghosts and goblins – or princes and princesses – to scamper through their neighborhoods in search of sweets and other treats.

At American Alarm, we love the spookiest day of the year.  While we make last minute costume decisions (Thanos or Black Widow?), courtesy of the Massachusetts State Fire Marshall and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we want to offer some helpful tips to ensure that you and your children have a spooktacular All Hallow’s Eve:


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Keep Halloween Spooky — But Safe

National Fire Prevention Week just passed, and we’re heading to October 31 and all its trick-or-treating fun.

Halloween presents its own set of risks, however, and we should think of special ways to protect our homes, loved ones and property. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), among the fire risks are traditional Halloween paraphernalia and activities:

  • Glowing jack-o-lanterns (sometimes with candles inside)
  • Paper ghosts and dried corn husk decorations
  • Children running about in costumes

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5 Ways Seniors Can Prevent Falls, Stay Independent

October 1 will be the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons. It’s an opportunity to consider our senior citizens and ensure they are as independent, safe and comfortable as possible.

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Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning during the Cold New England Winter

Often called the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be fatal in high concentrations. Every year, more than 400 people in the United States die from accidental non-fire related CO poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of burning oil, gas, wood, coal, pellets and kerosene. The only way to tell that carbon monoxide is present is to have a working CO alarm. At lower concentrations, victims may experience such symptoms as a headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

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13 Tips to Help New Parents Baby Proof Their Homes

Baby boy opens up kitchen cupboard and pulls out various cleaning products from under the sink while his parents are distractedAs a first-time parent, you’re probably overwhelmed by all the challenges of caring for your beautiful bundle of joy. However, before you know it your baby will be crawling, walking, climbing and getting into just about everything.

That’s why it’s important to make your home safe for the new addition to your family. You should set aside some time – probably a weekend – to walk through your house, room by room, making a list of the things that need to be baby proofed. Then take the necessary steps to secure your home to keep your baby safe. Read more