A Fall Back to School Checklist to Help Keep Your Children Safe

Fall is just around the corner. For those with children starting school, taking a few precautionary steps will help you and your children feel safer when they are home alone or coming and going with friends. To help you prepare, we have developed the following checklist, compiling information from many sources, including The Red Cross, Parent & Child Magazine, and Scholastic.com.

Test your security system. If you have a security system, test it to make sure it is working the way it should be. This a good time to review your security system password information/contact list and consider having your security system updated or monitored.

Have an emergency plan. Develop an emergency plan and talk it through with your child so they know what to do in case of fire, injury, or other emergencies. Review the emergency exits by drawing a map that outlines the best pathways to safety from each room in the house. Write the plan down and keep it in a central location. Make sure everyone in the household knows where it is. Then, hold a drill — sound the security alarm and practice what to do if it goes off. Your child should know to immediately get out of the house and call 911 from the safety of a neighbor’s house.

Post relevant phone numbers. Update your security contact list. This may include adding a new trusted neighbor, taking off students going away to college or moving out of the home. Post this list of emergency contacts in a prominent location. If children have approved access to smartphones or tablets, program this information into their speed dial numbers. You can also download the free Red Cross First Aid App so they’ll have instant access to expert advice for everyday emergencies.

Ensure flashlights are in assessable locations around the house. Make sure your children know where they are and that the batteries are fresh.

 Inspect your home thoroughly for any safety risks.

  • Make sure that all of the smoke detectors are functioning properly.
  • Safely store all dangerous items like guns, knives, hand tools, power tools, razor blades, ammunition and other objects that might cause injury in a securely locked safe or chest. 
  • Put away and secure any prescription drugs.
  • Ensure potential poisons like detergents, polishes, pesticides, lighter fluid and lamp oils are stored in locked cabinets or out of the reach of children.

Always check in. Make it a rule that your child calls a parent (or another adult that you designate) or leaves a message as soon as s/he gets home. This can be the first step in a daily routine that includes exercise, homework, a snack, and some downtime. If your child is older, set ground rules for going places and inviting friends over.

Lock the doors. If the home has a monitored electronic security system, children should learn how to use it to enter and rearm it when home alone for extra protection. Security systems with remote access, like Honeywell Total Connect, allow parents to be notified and view activity in the interior and exterior of their home for extra peace of mind.

Review safe usage of their cell phone and/or the home’s landline. Your child shouldn’t answer the phone for just anyone, so set up guidelines. Tell them not to answer the phone if s/he doesn’t recognize the name or number. If you have a landline that doesn’t have caller ID, tell them to let every call go to voice mail.

 Take the same way home. Have them take the same route that you have designated to and from school every day. If your child walks, review each street that s/he uses. If they take a school bus, make sure they take it every day, even if offered a ride from a friend, unless previously agreed upon by you. Knowing the route allows you to predict how long it will take them to arrive home and to trace their steps if there is ever a problem.

Caution/Remind children:

  • Not to talk about being home alone in public or on social media.
  • Never tell someone on the telephone that the parents are not at home. Say something like “He or she is busy right now. Can I take a message?”
  • Never open the door to delivery people or service representatives. Either ignore the doorbell or ask them through the door to leave the package on the porch. If you install a Skybell with your security system, the system will alert you so you can see who is at the door.

Keep them busy. Although a child needs some downtime to rest and rejuvenate, your child will be less likely to get into­ trouble if s/he’s occupied with homework, practicing music, and chores. Review what they have accomplished and give them feedback when you get home. Reinforcement is key to getting things done!

Practice first aid. Keep a first aid kit handy and review how to use the items in it with your child. Consider enrolling older children in an online Red Cross babysitting course so they can learn first aid skills and how to care for younger family members.

We hope you’ve found this checklist helpful and that you and your children will have a safe, enjoyable and active new school year!

 

Tips for Ensuring Your Family’s Safety and Security in Your New Home

The contract is signed, inspections completed, and now you are preparing to move your family to a new location. You have found a great home and neighborhood and want to ensure the safety of your family, pets and property. Here are a few simple ideas to help secure your new property and ensure your family’s peace of mind at your new location.

Thoroughly acquaint yourself with the neighborhood:

            Take the time to introduce yourself to your new neighbors. Let them know who you are and who will be living (coming and going) in your new home. In addition, find out the people active in the neighborhood watch group. Meet with them to introduce yourself and offer to do what you can to contribute. In addition, take the time to locate the local police, fire, rescue stations and hospitals to understand routes and response times. Finally, reacquaint yourself with any features of the location like local ponds, pools, walking trails, parks, etc. and review safe usage of these areas with your family.  

Take inventory and fix/enhance the safety aspects of the property:

            Check how well the entry, walkways, driveway, yard space and window areas are lit. Add lighting (motion sensor lighting is great) where lighting is not adequate. Then examine the landscaping for overgrown or poorly placed bushes that can block out lighting or give potential intruders a place to hide, especially near doors and windows.

Re-examine the doors to the exterior:

            Doors should be built out of metal or with solid wood cores and have deadbolts. Sometimes the most aesthetically pleasing decorator doors offer the least amount of safety from intrusion. Glass panels in or next to the doors offer burglar’s easy access. When possible, replace doors that offer sub-par security before moving in for ease of mind and convenience.

 

Home and property security system:

            Having a security system can give you peace of mind when moving to a new area and home. If a system is already installed, have it checked out, upgraded if needed, and activated as soon as you move in. Make sure that either you or a security system professional check out the window and door sensors for proper functioning. Over the time that the house is up for sale, contract negotiations completed and your moving in, systems can get moved/knocked around and out of alignment. So take the time to test each location and alignment of the motion sensors to ensure they are properly aimed and positioned for maximum benefit. Security systems are an economical and effective method for ensuring your new residence will offer you the safety and security your family desires.

Moving is an exciting and sometimes stressful adventure. Secur-Tek, Inc. is here to help with your home security needs. We can complete a security audit of your home and property, inspect current systems for effectiveness, and offer suggestions on the current or new systems that are right for you and your location.

Please don’t hesitate to call us at your earliest convenience — either before you actually move (which is best so we can help you get your new home secure before your family arrives) or soon after.

Thanks for reading our blog and good luck on your adventure! 

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

Ensure Your Security System Is Functioning Properly with these Easy Checks

 

Your Security System is critical to keeping your family and property safe. Doing a few simple self-checks on your system is key to ensuring that it is working properly. We’ve listed a few easy, proactive actions you can take to ensure your system is operating in top order.

Perform Exterior Property Checks: 

  • Walk around your home occasionally and inspect the locks on all gates, doors and windows. Check the frames around each door and window to ensure there is no rotting, warping or any other condition that makes it easier to break in and enter.
  • Check all exterior lights (flood, porch, security) monthly to ensure they are functioning. Strong winds can sometimes cause security lighting to shift slightly or get debris on them so the lighting is not aimed exactly where you want. Readjust and clean the lights as needed to maximize their effectiveness.
  • If you have cameras included in your system, examine them to make sure they have power, are aimed properly, and have not been bumped or damaged. Also, take the time to check your monitoring and recording devices to verify each camera is getting an image and recording appropriately.

At Secur-Tek, Inc. we also recommend the homeowner perform a yearly system test to check that all communications throughout the system are functioning as designed.

Here are the steps to follow:

            1) Place your system on test mode by calling:

Secur-Tek, Inc. @ 919-387-1800, 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday

OR

Affiliated Monitoring at 800-434-4000 24/7.

Please Note: You will need your account # and password.

            2) Arm your alarm system like you are getting ready to leave – it should start to beep, and countdown.  Wait for this process to complete. The alarm system is now armed.

  • Activate the alarm by utilizing the device(s) on the system you want to test; for example, open each door or window. 
  • Allow the alarm system to sound the “big” alarm. After the alarm has sounded for 3 to 4 seconds disarm the alarm system.
  • Clear the alarm from the keypad by either hitting the reset key or entering your code and ‘off’ twice.

            3) Verify with Secur-Tek, Inc. or Affiliated Monitoring that signals have been received. If signals are received, inform them the test is over. If no signals were received, you may need to schedule a service call with Secur-Tek.

 

Replacing the battery  – your system’s main battery life is typically 4-5 years depending on the usage and environment it is stored in. Here is the step-by-step process for changing out your main battery when your keypad displays “BATT” or “LOW BATTERY”

Inside your security panel (normally located in a closet) is a small square 12-volt battery about the size of a brick.  See Picture Below:

  • First, disarm your alarm system.
  • Next, unlock and open the panel door. Slide the red and black wires away from the clips to remove the battery.

Please Note: We recommend taking the battery with you to purchase a replacement. If you bring the battery with you, the store can recycle it and you can get exactly the battery you need. Secur-Tek sells a 7AH Battery for $27.95 that you may purchase at our office. You can also purchase these at Batteries Plus.

  • With the new battery, connect the wires back to the terminals matching red to red and black to black — CAUTION – be sure to connect similar colors.
  • Close and lock the door. The new battery can take up to 24 hours to get fully charged. You may need to reset the keypad after replacing the battery to clear the low battery message.
  • Replacing batteries in your wireless sensors (example:  Door/Window Contact, Motion Detector, or Glass Break Detector).

 

Replacing batteries in your wireless sensors (example:  Door/Window Contact, Motion Detector, or Glass Break Detector)

First, you will need to put your system on test when replacing these batteries. The system will beep once when the cover to the wireless sensor is removed. You can go to the keypad and enter your code and off to silence this while you replace the batteries. Once you are finished, the keypad should clear of any troubles.

  • Inside each sensor is a 9-volt or 3-volt battery. Locate the tab or notch on the side or bottom of the contact and gently twist a flat head screwdriver in the notch to release the cover. Caution do not break plastic tab; if the tab is broken you must purchase a new sensor unit requiring a service visit.
  • Remove the cover and take out the existing battery(ies). Install the replacement(s), paying attention to match the polarity.
  • Now re-attach cover; the cover should click into place.
  • By following these steps, you can know that your security system is functioning properly, giving you the peace of mind that your property and family are safe.

If you have further questions, please call Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800. Asking questions now about your system or the operation of it can save valuable time later if an emergency does occur.

 

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

 

 

 

Building a New Home? Want the Air As Clean As Possible? Consider a Central Vacuum!

Do you or a family member suffers from allergies?  Did you want to make sure the air in your home is as clean as possible?  Then you’ll want to consider installing a central vacuum system while your new home is under construction.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, using a central vacuum system vented to the outdoors can significantly reduce dust mites, pollens, animal dander and other irritants in your home. The University of California Davis School of Medicine asserts that allergy sufferers’ symptoms can be improved up to 61% when using a central vacuum system.

Due to the positive impacts on home air quality, central vacuum systems are a popular feature in new home construction. The vacuum inlets are strategically installed based on your home’s design for efficiency and ease of use. A great feature to this system is an automatic dustpan that can be installed in your kitchen or bathrooms allowing you to simply sweep unwanted dirt, food, hair or debris away.

In addition, the central vac canister, which is located in your garage, has an assessable inlet enabling you to quickly and effectively clean out your vehicles as well.

Now you might be wondering – would I have to lug around a heavy hose to connect to the central vacuum system?  The answer is NO!  You don’t have to drag around a long hose from room to room or find a place to store it – the optional Hide-A-Hose System, solves that problem easily. You simply pull out the amount of hose you need, connect your tools, and begin vacuuming. When finished, the suction from the central vacuum power unit retracts the hose for you, saving time and making your vacuuming more convenient. Hose lengths are customized according to your floor size and retract so they are hidden within the wall, attic or crawl space.

If this easy, convenient system that keeps your home’s floors and air as clean as possible sounds right for you, ask your builder about Secur-Tek and Dirt DevilCentral Vacuums with Hide-A-Hose Retractable Hose Systems.    

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

Balancing Convenience, Safety and Security with Access Control Systems for Communities and Businesses

Homeowners Association (HOA) governed communities — residential, apartment, condominium and townhome complexes and larger businesses often have common areas like swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses. These amenities are great for residents or employees but create a number of liabilities for the association or business. Therefore, the board of directors, association or businesses’ management will need to mitigate these liabilities through the control and monitoring of recreational areas.  

To start with, a perimeter fence and controlled access gate are a must. Options available to control this access include:

  • mechanical coded lock systems
  • magnetic strip key cards  
  • coded key fobs.

Card and key fobs are top solutions to control swimming pool and fitness center access. Requiring proximity cards or badges to enter pool gates keeps strangers or unattended children out while offering convenient access to members or residents. They can also be set up to open gates at specific times and coded so authorized personnel can review when keys are used for legal as well as illegal entry. 

For ease of access management, Secur-Tek, Inc. now offers cloud-based storage and log on capabilities. Using internet access with valid user name and password allows a client to make program changes or unlock/lock a door/gate from anywhere. For best control of your point of access, we install Keyscan access systems manufactured by Dormakaba.  https://www.dormakaba.com/us-en/solutions/products/electronic-access—data

 

In addition to good fencing and access point control, we highly recommend installing cameras and monitoring them. Cameras serve multiple purposes. When visible, they act as a deterrent and they can also provide helpful evidence for prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing crimes. Should the unfortunate situation arise of someone getting hurt or drowning, cameras also offer the option to review what happened and validate that safety equipment was in place, and lifeguards and EMT followed protocol. It is important to note that cameras are only effective if they are regularly maintained to ensure proper operation.

 

Securing common areas while allowing convenient access for those authorized to use them is a serious issue for HOAs and businesses alike. At Secur-Tek, Inc. we can help those with that responsibility through the process of selecting and installing the right equipment given your situation, budget and safety/security requirements. Give us a call at 919-387-1800. 

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Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio and central vacuum systems.  Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

Should You Have Your Home Security System Monitored? Seven Things to Consider

 

We often find ourselves dealing with change:

  • Moving into a new home and neighborhood
  • Completing a home renovation project
  • Upgrading our home’s technology — smart feature, entertainment or home security
  • Personal or family changes — like seniors coming to live with you or adding a pet to the family

And when you’re dealing with the changes, you may find yourself wondering, should I have my security system monitored? If so, taking the time to clarify and think through your security situation will help you make an informed decision.

 

 Seven questions to ask when determining your home security needs:

  • Do you have children, seniors or pets that are left alone during the day? What are their ages and how self-sufficient are they? Have you ever found yourself worrying about them or their safety while you are away?
  • Has your job status or personal situation changed so you find you must travel more and spend time away from your home?
  • Have you acquired any new expensive jewelry, electronics, or family heirlooms that would be difficult to replace?
  • Do you work more than 20 – 30 minutes away from your home, making it more difficult to run home to check on things?
  • Home location – does your landscaping hide your home or is it visible from the street? Are you near major roads with lots of easy accessibility?
  • What kind of security does your neighborhood have? Police presence? Gated community? ACTIVE neighborhood watch?
  • Do you have a pool, fireplace or fire pit?

If you find yourself worrying about any of these situations, here’s what monitoring can do for you. While deterring burglars or prowlers may seem like the main function of monitoring your house, there are also other critical aspects that monitoring offers. The key to minimizing loss of property or helping individuals in need is quick response time. Fire detection, heat sensors, air quality as well as senior/child/pet alert systems can keep a potential bad home situation from turning into a disaster.

So why monitor your home if there is an alarm installed?

The typical system will have a siren go off for approximately five minutes after it is tripped. If monitored and there is no emergency in progress, the alarm can be canceled by giving the monitoring station your password. If a burglar or prowler trips the alarm, they usually leave the premise quickly. In many cases, the intruder will then hide and watch to see if there is any activity in the home, or if police/people arrive. If so, they typically will leave quickly to focus their efforts on an easier target — a non-monitored home.

Low-voltage smoke detectors connected to your monitored alarm system give quicker responses to fires — much better than relying on someone possibly noticing smoke from your house and reacting to it.

Pro Tip: If you are away and unable to respond to an alarm, it is a good idea to have a relative, trusted neighbor, or friend know the code and meet the emergency responders if the alarm is tripped. They can let the police in and check to make sure nothing is missing.

Finally, you might want to consider this – monitoring isn’t just to alert the police or fire departments. It is there for you and your family’s peace of mind.  

            True Protection — Some homeowners assume a burglar alarm making a lot of noise is enough protection. In truth, like car alarms, home alarms are often ignored by people nearby, who assume it is going off by accident.

            Other Home Issues – While not as urgent as a fire or break-in, a gas leak can cause serious problems in your home. Monitoring systems can be set up to alert you in case of a gas leak or to let you know your freezer is no longer on — indicating a power outage.

            Assistance — Monitoring systems can also notify people that you need assistance in case of a fall or other personal accident.

            Sleeping Easy — Monitoring means someone is always keeping an eye (and ear) on your home. Many security system clients say knowing someone is there offers peace of mind, making it easier to sleep at home and while away.

Bottom Line: While there is a monthly cost to monitor your home, only monitored systems have professionals to help respond to emergencies 24/7. Once you assess your lifestyle, property parameters and situation, you may see that monitoring is the right choice for you. But please be sure to always read the contract you are signing carefully to ensure you are getting the exact coverage you require for the price you deem expectable.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your security system needs, please don’t hesitate to call us!

2019 is going to be a great Year!

 

A smart home can increase your safety and convenience to help you enjoy it!

It’s a new year and believe it or not, spring is right around the corner. Now is the time for planning those 2019 home improvements you’ve been thinking about. Installing smart home features is not only a great investment and wonderful convenience; it can give you greater peace of mind.  

How does it do that you might ask? Think about:

           Traveling– If you are a person that travels a lot – either job related or if you just enjoy exploring on the weekends — you can check on your property and valuables anytime you like. Furthermore, it allows you to let family/neighbors into your home to check on plants, pets and/or elderly parents you might have living with you.

            Maybe you have children that are at the age where you know they will be okay staying at home alone but just want the peace of mind and convenience of being able to check and monitor what is happening while your away. Or even let them in when they lock themselves out (as kids often do). Again, it is also a great way to handle the logistics of senior care or infant babysitting, freeing you up to do what you need to do.

            Beyond providing essential home security, smart home system can also save you time and money. Say goodbye to wasting PTO being stuck at home during one of those infamous “anytime between noon and 5 pm” delivery windows – just have us add a Skybell video doorbell to your home security system.

            When you have smart door locks, you can let people in to drop off deliveries or make home updates from your smartphone app. An exterior door camera lets you see exactly who is arriving, indoor monitors watch the progress while they are in your home, so you know everything that is happening. In addition, a Smart Home can start saving you money immediately. Your system can turn lights on and off and smart thermostat can help automate your temperature settings saving energy while making sure your home is comfortable when you arrive. You’ll be able to remotely access and control the thermostat, set up schedules, and receive temperature alerts, all through the app on your smartphone or tablet.

            It’s a Great Investment! Statistics prove that a home security and automation system can actually help sell your home. Coldwell Banker’s annual smart-home survey, published in January 2018, asked potential homebuyers about the importance of smart home devices:

                        63% want smart locks pre-installed

                        66% want smart home security cameras pre-installed

                        75% want smart smoke detectors pre-installed

                        77% want smart thermostats pre-installed

            Flexibility, with a Smart Home from Secur-Tek, Inc. – you can start with the level of features you would like and based upon your timeframes and resources, build on as you go!

As you can see, installing a Smart Home in 2019 can make sense from an economic, safety and convenience perspective. At Secur-Tek Inc., we have highly trained, reliable and friendly people to help you choose the features and level of Smart Home that is right for you.

If you would like to learn more about the Smart Home features offered by Secur-Tek, Inc. give us a call or fill out the form below.

8 Tips for Package Theft Prevention

Will you be receiving packages this holiday season?

Packages left on the porch/mailbox are vulnerable at any time of year, but the holiday season usually means there are a few more parcels arriving at your doorstep. A study from InsuranceQuotes that examines holiday hazards  notes there were approximately 26 million thefts of deliveries from doorsteps and economic indicators show online shopping is up over 28% so far for this holiday season over last year.

Whether you’re ordering gifts online for family and friends, or receiving them from others, you’re more likely to have packages sitting vulnerable on your porch this time of the year.

To prevent your deliveries being stolen, check out these EightTips for Package Theft Prevention. 

  1. Customize delivery. If the ordering system allows you to choose the time of delivery, select a time you know you’ll be at home.
  2. Get a smart doorbell.Swap your current doorbell for a Skybell and enjoy a higher level of safety and security with remote monitoring and cloud recording features. When the delivery person rings the doorbell, you can see how and when packages are delivered. No more interruptions during family dinner or missing important packages while you’re gone! You can also check for unwanted visitors at your doorstep.
  3. Deliver decisively. If you’re not home much, consider having the package delivered to your office or a friend or neighbor’s house for safekeeping.
  4. Hold the post. If your package contains very valuable items – Have the post office or carrier hold the package. Request UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service to hold packages at their facility for you to pick up later. UPS has created a service called Access Point that enables you to choose an alternate delivery location in your neighborhood.
  5. Alert a neighbor. When you are expecting a package and won’t be home, you can ask a neighbor or friend to keep an eye out for it. If you use Nextdoor.com or a similar neighborhood app you can let neighbors know if something has been stolen from your porch so they can keep an eye out and report suspicious behavior.
  6. Talk to family and friends who may be mailing your holiday gifts. Ask them to let you know when they send packages so you can watch for them.
  7. Light it up. Install outdoor lights. Your package is more likely to be stolen during daylight hours, but night falls early this time of year. Outdoor lights with motion or light sensors are a good way to keep unwanted people away from your home in any season.
  8. Monitored home security A home security system can do a great deal. If there are visible security features like cameras or alarms, potential thieves will be more likely to move along to a less protected house rather than risk getting caught by a security system. And you can even tie in your Skybell with security and automation features for greater convenience, like letting in out of town guests that arrive when you’re out doing those last-minute errands.

If you are going out of town, check out our Security Checklist before you leave.

We hope you have a great holiday season. If you’d like a quote on Skybell or would like to learn about other home Security System options to increase your peace of mind, please contact us.

 Happy Holidays to You and Your Family!!

Frequently Asked Questions on Home Security Systems

FAQs on Home Security

Do you have questions about home security systems?  We asked our staff to answer some of our customer’s frequently asked questions – check the answers below.  

How often should I test my home security system?  We recommend you test your system once a month.

How do I test my monitored home security system? I don’t want to bother the police. We are glad you asked that!  First, call the 800 number on your sticker and tell the monitoring company to put your system on test, then activate your alarm and call monitoring company back to verify alarm signals were received.   

Who do I call for service on my Secur-Tek system? To set up a service call, please call our office at  919.387.1800. Secur-Tek stands by our products and the same reliable technicians install and service our systems.

Can Secur-Tek upgrade my system?  Yes, but it does depend on the type of system you have. If you have a Honeywell home security system, we can upgrade your system by adding remote monitoring, cameras, and gas, smoke and motion detectors. If you have another type of system, we still may be able to help you, just call for a consultation or contact us.

How many cameras are needed to have a complete home security system?  The number of cameras you may need to safeguard your home depends on your home design. We can add cameras to most security systems and offer a complimentary consultation where we take a look around your home and recommend how many cameras are needed and the locations to install them.

Should I have my home security system monitored?  Having and monitoring a home security system can increase your peace of mind, especially if you travel or have valuable items in your home. For more information, see our blog on monitoring.

How much does monitoring cost?  We offer reliable, low-cost monthly monitoring. Our monitoring starts at $21.95 for standard monitoring and $31.95 for cellular.

Do you require a three-year contract?  No.

How long is the monitoring agreement?  Our monitoring contracts are just for 1 year. We don’t require long-term contracts.

Can I monitor my security system myself?  We don’t recommend it. Our monitoring goes to a company that provides monitoring 24/7 and will contact the police, fire and medical emergency agencies. They are always there to call the authorities.

What type of remote services work with your home security systems?  You can view and run your system from your smartphone or iPad with Honeywell Total Connect Services.  

What types of systems are compatible with Secur-Tek’s low-cost monitoring?  We can monitor many types of systems. To determine if your specific system can be monitored, please call your office.

We hope you found this helpful. If you live in our service area and have further questions, would like an estimate on upgrading or monitoring your security system, please give us a call at  919.387.1800

Secur-Tek, Inc. serves all of Central NC, including the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, Apex, Cary, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Pittsboro, Wake County, Chatham County, Durham County, Orange County, Harnett County.

HOA Security and Access Control — What to Consider

 

HOA-governed communities  — residential, condominium and townhome complexes — typically have several common areas like swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses.

A private swimming pool run by a homeowners’ association is a very attractive amenity to current property owners and potential buyers. However, while they can be popular, pools create a number of liabilities for the association that need to be addressed to avoid safety and legal concerns. To retain the benefits that a pool brings to the community, the board of directors or association management will need to mitigate these risks of operating a pool by instituting proper safety measures.

There are basically four areas of risk to consider:

  • Someone getting hurt or drowning in the pool area
  • Chemical imbalances in the water that can cause illness
  • Overcrowding and unauthorized entry — people swimming during closed hours or unsupervised children and pets
  • Vandalism

Proper fencing and gating is the basic requirement to start addressing these concerns and is required by North Carolina State law. Check here for Wake County Pool Regulations: 

To control access, there are a couple of options available to HOAs ranging from mechanical coded lock systems, magnetic strip key cards to coded key fobs. Card and key fobs are top solutions to control swimming pool and fitness center access. Requiring proximity cards or badges to enter the pool gates keeps strangers or unattended children out while offering convenient access to members or residents. They can also be set up to open gates at specific times and coded so authorized personnel can review when keys are used for legal as well as illegal entry.

A perimeter fence and locked gate is a good start but will not always deter trespassers or vandalism and can’t help identify the perpetrators if this happens. So cameras are recommended to supplement fencing and gates.

Cameras serve two purposes. If they are openly visible to people entering your community, they will serve as a deterrent to vandalism and off-hours entry. They will also provide helpful evidence for prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing crimes or in enforcing violations of an HOA’s governing documents. In addition, should the unfortunate situation arise of someone getting hurt or drowning, cameras offer the option to review the situation to ensure safety equipment was in place, and lifeguards and EMT followed protocol.

It is important to note that cameras are only effective if they are regularly maintained to ensure proper operation.

 

 Five Key Considerations when installing or upgrading pool surveillance cameras:

1) Fencing and camera line of sight

Angles and positioning are a major concern for which direction(s) you would like to aim the camera. Consider what type of zooming or panning capability you plan to employ in your surveillance. Be mindful of potential visual obstructions that could become a problem in terms of where the camera is positioned.

2) Height off the ground

If at all possible, cameras should be placed at least nine feet above the floor/ground, so that it will be more difficult for would-be intruders to tamper with them.

3) Image quality

Security Camera comparisonYour surveillance cameras should have “recognizable” image quality – could it be used to identify a suspect or clarify a situation?  

After all, what good is having video footage if you can’t use it when you need to? In addition to having the right camera, there needs to be enough lighting at night where the cameras are placed to produce usable images.

4) Camera angles

For example, a camera that is positioned in an area with seasonal trees could offer a clear view in the winter, but leavers may block the view in the summer. In addition, if you have a camera positioned to shoot into nighttime lighting or morning/evening sun, it could possibly hinder the camera’s field of vision for that span of time.

5) Hidden or Visible

When people (usually kids) want to “sneak into” a pool at night or commit vandalism,  they don’t want to be seen. Having the cameras visible and well out of reach seems to work well as a deterrent in the pool environment. Some HOA’s board prefer hidden cameras but at the end of the day, this is largely a matter of preference, and it’s up to the board to determine what they think will be the right move and at Secur-Tek we can help you through that decision.  

 

As you can see, there are quite a few important things for HOAs to consider when securing common areas. At Secur Tek, we can help HOA’s in the Triangle Area through the process of selecting and installing the right equipment given your situation, budget and homeowner requirements.  Give us a call at 919-387-1800.

 

Picture credit: www.versatech.co/analog-vs-hi-def-cameras/ 

 

 

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