The holidays are a busy time and most people are scrambling to do too much, too fast. Unfortunately, all of that busy work and rushing from store-to-store trying to finish up last minute shopping means many homeowners may be neglecting basic safety at home. Whether you are cooking holiday meals or just putting up your Christmas lights, it is important to keep fire safety in mind.

Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe

From candles being lit to baking your Christmas ham, the holidays involve the risk of fire in your home. Keep your home safe by taking the time to prepare and implement a few additional safety tips this holiday season:

  • Kitchen Safety – If you are cooking (whether it is on the stove or in the oven), stay in the kitchen as much as possible. If for some reason you need to step away, return to the kitchen frequently to check on boiling pots, simmering sauces and anything baking in the oven.
  • Candle Safety – Keep flaming candles away from children and never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle. LED candles are a good choice. They flicker and look just like real candles, but without the flame. Do not use candles near flammable materials, such as curtains or a Christmas tree.
  • Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy – Every home should have a fire extinguisher. These are relatively inexpensive and can be stored in the laundry area or kitchen to stop any minor house fires from becoming devastating ones.
  • Test Smoke Alarms – Smoke alarms should be tested just before the holidays and every month after that. Replace batteries in all of your carbon monoxide detectors as well.
  • Be Safe with Christmas Lights – If you are setting up Christmas lights outside, keep plugs away from standing water, snow or any other type of moisture. Do not use extension cords that are frayed. Indoors, only use grounded outlets and keep your Christmas tree lights on a timer so that they do not remain on overnight.

About Brinton Security

To learn more about how you can protect your home from fires this holiday or to install a fire alarm with your home alarm system, contact your local home security specialists. Brinton Security offers free consultations and can help you install a system that protects your home during the busy holiday season and right through the year.

Give us a call today!

When you purchased those smoke detectors you so responsibly installed in your home, did you notice a similar-looking detector for carbon monoxide? If you have any products or equipment in or near your home that burn fuel, you might want to pick up a few carbon monoxide detectors too.

Unlike smoke or natural gas, carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, but it is just as poisonous. In the U.S., between 150 and 200 people die annually from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning produced by malfunctioning furnaces, ranges, water heaters, space heaters, fireplaces, charcoal- or gas-fired grills and engine-powered devices such as portable generators.

Even more lose their lives when CO accumulates after people leave their cars running in garages. And every year, thousands of people wind up in emergency rooms for treatment as a result of CO poisoning.

Prevention involves following these basic safety procedures.

  1. Install all appliances following the manufacturer’s instructions as well as local building codes – generally by qualified professionals.
  2. Unless you have the proper knowledge and skill as well as the appropriate tools, do not service fuel-burning appliances yourself.
  3. If your home has a fuel-burning heating system, have it serviced and inspected annually by professionals. Be sure to include chimneys and flues.
  4. Operating a portable generator or another gas-powered tool in or near an enclosed space can trap CO, leading to potentially lethal levels of the gas. Open doors and windows do not provide enough ventilation.
  5. Never use camping stoves designed for outdoor use only in an enclosed vehicle, tent or building. Some of these products may be designed to work in enclosed spaces, but they will specify that on the packaging and provide instructions for their safe use.
  6. Never burn charcoal in any kind of enclosed space such as a building, tent, or vehicle.
  7. Never leave a car running in a garage, even if you have the door open.
  8. Don’t use gas appliances such as ovens or clothes dryers as space heaters for your home.
  9. If you use a natural gas or propane oven, don’t cover the bottom with aluminum foil the way you can with an electric oven. You can block the oven’s combustion flow, producing CO.
  10. Re-check all gas appliance vents, heating vents or chimney flues after any home renovations. These can easily be blocked by forgotten tarps or debris.
  11. Install carbon monoxide alarms in hallways near every sleeping area and in living areas in the neighborhood of fuel-burning appliances. The recommendation is one alarm installed in the hallway outside every bedroom. Make sure the alarms aren’t blocked by furniture or window coverings. CO alarms should not be installed in kitchens or directly above any fuel-burning appliances. Test alarms regularly and replace following the schedule recommended by the manufacturer.

Signs and Symptoms of CO Poisoning

Initially, CO exposure has symptoms that resemble the flu without any fever. These include headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Further exposure can lead to vomiting, mental confusion and loss of muscular coordination. The end result is loss of consciousness and finally, death. The exposure levels and duration can affect the severity of the symptoms.

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms unexpectedly, don’t wait for the CO alarm to go off to confirm it. Leave your home immediately and call the fire department on your cell or at a neighbor’s home. If they find evidence of high levels of CO, be sure that you and any family members who were exposed see a doctor immediately, letting him or her know about the CO exposure.

The Best Way To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Finally, have all of your appliances checked for problems before re-using them. If one or more CO alarms go off in your home, leave immediately with all family members and pets. Call 911 and do not re-enter your home until the emergency specialists have ensured you that it is safe. Even a few minutes can lead to loss of consciousness and death if the exposure is high enough. Do not use the problem equipment again until a qualified service technician checks and repairs it.

We Can Help – Contact Us Today.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is an easily avoidable risk, yet every year too many people succumb to it. Like wearing a seatbelt, you may never need a CO detector, but why take a chance? By following these few simple steps, AND installing a carbon monoxide detector by a qualified professional security company, you may become a lifesaver for the ones you care about most.

Although children look forward to tricks, treats, and ghoulish garb, Halloween can be fraught with fright for parents, with candy given to their kids by strangers and a legion of masked and costumed trick-or-treaters at the door. However, following a few safety tips can ensure safe fun for kids and candy-givers alike.

The activities below focus on Halloween, which is celebrated in the last week of October. The efforts throughout the month generate enthusiasm for crime prevention so it can grow stronger and become more widespread.

To ensure that trick-or-treaters, you, and your house stay safe, remember the following tips.

  • Clear your yard and sidewalk of any obstacles or decorations that may be hard to see in the dark, lest someone go bump in the night.
  • Keep your house well lighted, both inside and out; you wouldn’t want to miss any particularly good costumes, would you?
  • Ask your Neighborhood Watch or local citizen’s group to haunt (patrol) your community.
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your police or sheriff’s department.

To make sure even the scariest costumes are safe, keep the following in mind when buying or designing one.

  • Try makeup instead of masks; it’s more comfortable and doesn’t obstruct vision the way masks can.
  • Check to ensure that costumes are flame-retardant so that young ones are safe around jack-o’-lanterns, candles, and other flames.
  • Keep costumes short to ensure that the only trip taken is the one around the neighborhood.
  • Look for brightly colored costumes, attach reflector strips to costumes and bags, and remind trick-or-treaters to carry glow sticks and flashlights.
  • If a costume involves any sort of fake weapon, make sure that it is made of a flexible material such as cardboard or foam. Or, avoid the whole problem of weapons by challenging your child to design a costume that is scary without one.

Keep in mind the next few tips to make sure your trick-or-treater’s night in the neighborhood will be safe and fun.

  • Older kids should trick-or-treat in groups; kids walking around alone are never as safe as those in groups, and especially not at night. Younger kids should be accompanied by a parent or trusted neighbor.
  • Review the route for trick-or-treating beforehand and set a time set when kids should be home. Also, have a plan if your child gets separated from his or her friends or from you.
  • Remind your children not to enter strange houses or cars.

After a successful and safe night around the neighborhood, remember that the treats still need scrutiny before anyone eats them.

  • Remind your children not to eat treats until they’ve come home. To help ensure this, feed them a meal or a substantial snack before they go out.
  • Check all treats at home in a well-lighted place. Be especially wary of anything that is not wrapped by the factory or that is no longer sealed.
  • Remind kids not to eat everything at once, lest they be green even without the makeup.

About Brinton Security

Founded in 2001, Brinton Security Services has been dedicated to providing protection for both residential and commercial settings. Although specializing in home security, we also install/service/monitor fire, gate, camera, and personal emergency response systems as well as whole house audio, home theater, home automation, and phone systems. We are proud to serve Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Our aim is to “Protect What Matters!”

Every year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) devotes the third week in October to National Fire Prevention Week. The theme for this year is “Prevent Kitchen Fires,” with fire departments throughout the country holding local community events designed to educate the public on preventing fires in that busy area of the house. Here are some valuable tips they will be sharing:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you’re cooking on the stovetop. If you are frying, grilling, broiling or boiling food, you must be in the room to make sure your food doesn’t burn. The safety concern is not only for burned food, but for smoke in the air and the pan catching fire.
  • Stay in the home when you’re cooking in the oven. If you are baking, roasting or braising food in the oven, you don’t necessarily need to be in the kitchen, but you do need to be in the home – and you definitely need to use a timer to prevent any fire risks.
  • Keep your smoke alarm on while cooking. Some people are tempted to remove their smoke alarm batteries when cooking certain dishes. But whether you are baking cookies or frying up bacon, your smoke alarm should stay on. Disabling it could put your family at risk of harmful smoke inhalation.
  • Keep your kids and pets safe while cooking. Young children have been known to burn themselves on front burner pots and pans. Teaching them not to touch is good, but putting things on the back burner to remove the risk is better. Pets should also be kept at least three feet from the stove.
  • Keep flammable items away from the stove. Avoid cooking with loose-fitting sleeves. Hanging sleeves can easily catch fire. As for necessary items like potholders and kitchen towels, they should be safely to the side on the counter – not the stove.

These are just some of the tips that fire departments want citizens to know when it comes to preventing kitchen fires. If there is a National Fire Prevention Week event going on in your community, we encourage you to attend. Search #NationalFirePreventionWeek on Twitter to find an event near you!

ABOUT BRINTON SECURITY

Founded in 2001, Brinton Security Services has been dedicated to providing protection for both residential and commercial settings. Although specializing in home security, we also install/service/monitor fire, gate, camera, and personal emergency response systems as well as whole house audio, home theater, home automation, and phone systems. We are proud to serve Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Our aim is to “Protect What Matters!”

With over a million views on Youtube, videos on the 6-second garage door break-in cause more than a little concern. The videos show how thieves can break in through a commonly used automatic garage door in 6 short seconds, using nothing more than a wire hanger.

Garage entrance is not just common; it is one of the criminal’s favorite ways to gain entrance into a home. Why? Someone entering a garage does not throw up the same red flags as someone breaking glass or climbing through a window. Not only do most people overlook a stranger near a garage, once the door is open, the thief quickly slips in, closes the door, and breaks into the home (or prepares to steal from the garage itself) while under complete cover.

Here are some important ways you can secure your garage:

  • Replace your garage opening system to a modern “rolling code system” that hinders duplication.
  • Keep the garage doors in good repair.
  • Use a plastic zip tie to secure the emergency latch and prevent hanger entry.
  • Cover windows so thieves cannot see garage contents or if you have an entry to the inside of the home.
  • Make sure windows have locks.
  • Reinforce side door locks with metal reinforcements.
  • Install motion detection lighting.
  • Install an alarm or video surveillance system.
  • Do not leave automatic door openers in your car.
  • Keep the door from the garage into the house locked.

Thieves count on residents neglecting to secure the garage door. Take time today to learn more about home security systems and how to prevent break-ins by calling Brinton Security today.

Sharing too much on your social media profiles can put your home and loved ones’ safety at risk. Even those posts and shares that seem harmless can unintentionally provide potential burglars with information they need to make you a target. So, before you post, make sure you are not putting your home at risk.

Top 6 Social Media Posts You Should Not Share

Before you make your next Tweet, post or Facebook share, consider these 6 things you should never announce on social media:

  • Countdown to Your Next Vacation – Are you doing a countdown on your social media page letting everyone know that you will be leaving soon? Doing so lets followers and potential burglars know that you will be gone for an extended period of time.
  • Checking In – Check-ins are the latest “thing” on social media, but they also tell people that you are away from your house. If you tag friends away with you, you are putting their home at risk too.
  • Property Damage – Do you have a broken window? Sharing a picture of your home on social media lets potential burglars know a potential weakness in your home’s security.
  • Layouts – Sharing photographs of the inside of your home gives burglars a preview of the valuables you have inside and gives them a potential blueprint for navigating your house.
  • Holidays – Just like sharing vacation plans, never share your holiday plans. Because burglars are on the lookout for empty houses during the holidays, you do not need to let them know you will be away.
  • RSVPs – Social media has opened the door to online invites. Unfortunately, there are people outside of your social circle that may be part of that online group. If you RSVP, a potential burglar scouting the group will know that you will be away, and they even know the exact dates and times.

Not sharing valuable information online is your first level of defense. Second is installing a home security system. Brinton Security can help you find the right home security system to keep you safe, and we offer free in-home estimates.

Call Brinton Security – the experts in home security systems today! (800) 747-9399.

The internet is part of our everyday lives and offers a lot of benefits, but it can also be incredibly dangerous. While your children are online doing homework or using social media, there are criminals lurking to steal personal information—or worse.  If you have children that use the internet, the rules you establish for going online not only positively impact their online experience, it positively impacts their safety and that of the family. Talk to your family about these internet safety tips.

For Parents

Keeping your family safe online means being proactive. Take an active role in how the computer and other devices with online access are used in your home. Establish family guidelines about internet safety and make it a regular part of family conversation. Here are some important tips for parents.

  •         Always install and use internet filters and permission programs to make inappropriate sites off-limits.
  •         Use parental alerts.
  •         Install file sharing programs correctly and activate setting so nothing private is shared.
  •         Have them use the computer and other internet devices in communal parts of the home, instead of in their room with the door shut.
  •         Take all incidents of bullying seriously.
  •         Always report suspicious activity, or online threats of self-harm.
  •         Check browser history.

Establish family guidelines about internet safety and make it a regular part of family conversation.

For Children and Teens

Having an established set of rules helps keep everyone safe. Here are some important tips to discuss with your family.

  •         Never use personal information such as name or birthdate to create screen names.
  •         Use generic names instead of ones that identify whether you are male or female.
  •         Always choose complex passwords and never share them.
  •         Do not use secret online email or social media accounts.
  •         Never give personal information such as your name, address, or name of your school or places you frequent.
  •         Never agree to send photos to someone you met online.
  •         Do not send pictures of friends, family members, or pictures where the background can help someone locate you.
  •         Never agree to meet anyone in person whom you have met online. Ever.
  •         If something does not feel right, tell your parents.
  •         Always tell your parents immediately if someone sends an inappropriate, explicit, or threatening message.
  •         Never reply to text, email, or pop-up messages asking for personal or financial information and do not follow links in those messages.
  •         Be cautious about opening attachments, regardless of who sent them.
  •         Talk to your parents before P2P file sharing.
  •         Check with your parents before installing any “free” games or software.
  •         Never download anything without parental consent.
  •         Never buy anything online without permission.
  •         Never send messages that will make someone feel sad, scared, threatened, or could be considered mean spirited.
  •         Never argue with someone over the internet.
  •         Tell your parents immediately about any incidents of bullying.

About Brinton Security

From an initial consultation and installation to ongoing monitoring and service, Brinton Security is dedicated to the safety of you, your family, and your home.

 

If the common plot perpetrated on tv crime dramas and movies hold any truth, burglars always return to the scene of the crime. But does the story hold true in real life or is it just an urban myth?

Yes, Burglars Do Return

It might seem counter intuitive but statistics show that burglars do indeed return, and not only that- they are likely to return for your neighbor’s stuff, too. According to the Police Foundation, burglars very often do come back and once a burglary occurs, houses in the neighborhood are also at a much higher risk of burglary over the next two weeks.  Usually, the crime is committed by the same person, but not always. In some cases, your home may be burgled again because a different criminal finds the home attractive for the same reasons, such as a lack of lighting and no visible signs of having a security alarm system.

Why Do Burglars Return?

It might seem like a waste of time for a burglar to come back after they have already cleaned out your house, but there are some logical reasons why they return.

  • They know your security measures. Once in your home, the burglar knows all of your security measures or lack of them, and know the level of difficulty in gaining entranced to your home.
  • They are familiar with the layout of your home. Knowing the layout of your home is a huge advantage because it saves them time the nest time they attempt to burglarize your home.
  • They found a way to make it easier for themselves. While in your hoe the first time, they may have found a way to make it easier to get in the second time, such as taking a spare key or unlocking the most forgotten window.
  • You have probably replaced valuable items. Burglars often wait 6 to 8 weeks to return. This gives you enough time to make an insurance claim and then replace the essential items. If the items were costly, the burglar assumes you will replaced it with and an equally expensive item.
  • You are not expecting it. A burglar knows that after a burglary you are off kilter, emotionally vulnerable, and not expecting them to come again any time soon.
  • They found a buyer. There may be items the burglar could not take at the time, but made note of it. Once they find a buyer, they come back for the goods.

Make Sure You’re Ready

If you have been burglarized, you know just how cunning thieves can be, and just how important it is to invest in home security. Talk to a home security expert and find out how to reduce your home’s vulnerabilities and which home security technologies would be most beneficial. Features such as a monitored security alarm system, smart locks, video surveillance, and home automation can decrease the likelihood of being burglarized. Polled thieves report that they are far less likely to target a home with visible security.

Security that outsmarts the criminals. Service that outshines competitors. Brinton Security.

If we think we have burglary figured out, we probably have it all wrong. In our quest to protect our family, home and possessions we do all that we think is the right and smart thing to do. The problem is, we might be getting it all wrong. Here are the ways some common misconceptions might actually make your home more vulnerable, and what you can do about it.

Does Hiding Your Valuables Really Work?

If you are like most of us, you’ve probably read many articles about where to hide your valuables. You have your coin collection wrapped in foil in the freezer right next to grandma’s jewelry. You have some valuables stashed in the toilet tank, in the kid’s room, and in the cat litter container. The problem is that the burglars have read the articles, too, and knows where valuables are most likely to be found. So, in some ways you might actually be making it easier for a burglar to get the goods.

Best Bet : If you have seldom used valuables and heirlooms rather than hide them in the home, get a safety deposit box and let the bank guard them.

Nothing Really Deters a Determined Burglar, Right?

Burglars want to get valuables and do it fast without being observed and caught. To do this they want to gain entry in the fastest and easiest way possible- usually within 60 seconds and through the front door. And there must be plenty of vulnerable homes because a burglary happens about every 15 seconds somewhere in the US. Does that mean that nothing really stops them? No. It means many of us are not implementing the deterrents that do work. Here are several affordable, easy, and effective deterrents.

  • Home Security Systems. When committed thieves were polled, most said they would avoid a home with a home security system. In fact, homes without a monitored home security system are three times more likely to be burglarized than those with a home security system.
  • Use Home Automation. Since burglars want to go undetected, they choose homes that are unoccupied. By using home automation to look and sound home you make your home an unattractive target.
  • Security Camera. Install ample security cameras to cover the areas of vulnerability. Use a video doorbell for the front door and cover the back door, windows, and garage, as well as having the interior of the home covered by smart security cameras.
  • Motion Sensored Lights. Smart lighting is a big problem for burglars because not only does it expose them, they can trip an alert that goes right to your phone so you know something is not right.
  • Cars in the Driveway. If you have more than one vehicle, rotate which you use and leave one in the driveway when you are gone for the day. Doing this, and when paired with using home automation to fake occupancy, the potential burglar finds your property to be too risky.
  • Schedule Services During Most Vulnerable Hours. If you have home services such as yard care, pool cleaners, or window washers schedule their visits during the most vulnerable hours of the day, from 10am to 3pm, when most residents are away.
  • Beware of Dog Signs. Burglars pay attention to the more than average “beware of dog” signs such as ones saying things like “My dog can make it to the fence in 3 seconds. Can you?” If you do not have a big scary dog, you can use the sign and put out a dog dish to seem like you do.

Brinton Security proudly provides smart security in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and KaKansas to keep you connected to what matters.