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

Remote Surveillance for Those Most at Risk

 

Using High Tech to Protect At-Risk Loved Ones

Given current COVID-19 related events, it’s more important than ever to have ways to watch and protect our elderly or at-risk relatives and loved ones. At the same time, these people want to live as independently as possible, and not feel as if they are a burden.

Unfortunately, it’s more difficult than ever to safely move around and visit loved ones most at risk – both here in New England and across the country. One way to compensate for the lack of in-person visitation is to deploy a secure and reliable remote medical monitoring and alerting system.

A Growing Safety Field

There is great potential in the medical monitoring industry, particularly as smart technologies rapidly evolve. A major driver is the maturation of Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions. In fact, this tech was the subject of an expert panel held in Boston last December, as TechTarget notes.

The article describes how  companies are exploring ways to embed “IoT remote monitoring for connected medical devices with the intent to improve their products and differentiate themselves from the competition.” These systems are largely still in development, but such an event shows how medical monitoring is a promising field.

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Your Pets Are Vulnerable to Theft: Are You Ready?

You may not have realized it, but National Pet Theft Awareness Day, February 14, just passed us by. It’s a great time to think about our beloved pets and how to protect them from thieves or malicious people. The awareness event launched in 1988, notes a blog on the Puppy Up Foundation website, with the aim of educating pet owners in protecting their animals from theft.

The potential animal theft problem in New England (and beyond) is greater than you may realize. Close to 2 million pets are stolen annually, according to some estimates. Among the reasons is profit, website PetFBI notes, as thieves may be motivated by getting reward money.

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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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What Will 2020 Hold for High-tech Security in New England?

With a new decade upon us, we should stop for a second to consider any new high-tech threats that may arise nationally and in New England. A key area of worry is the ever-expanding risk of cyber attack.

We can’t know the future, but we can always be prepared to protect our property and loved ones. To that end, we’ll do a quick and informal review of the potential risks that lie ahead in the areas of home and business cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity and Other Dangers

When it comes to web/cyber-based threats, we must recognize the scope and scale of the problem. Even the biggest companies and public agencies are vulnerable to hackers and social engineering threats.

Just recently, in response to a U.S strike in Iran, Massachusetts cybersecurity providers warned of potential retribution from Iran via hacking attempts. Per Tom Kellermann, head of cybersecurity strategy at VMware, based in Waltham, “I fully expect a holy war to be waged in American cyberspace.”

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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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Holiday Safety Includes Protecting Gifts

‘Tis the season for giving. For a small group of criminals, it’s also the time of taking — especially unattended packages left on front steps by Amazon and other delivery drivers. With the proliferation of online retail shopping, more and more gifts wind up on the front porch awaiting their recipients.

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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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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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