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Smoke detectors have a life expectancy of 10 years from the date of manufacture, and should be replaced promptly to protect your family from fires. However, a new but faulty fire alarm system can also put your loved ones at risk. If your fire alarm system keeps setting off by itself, it is probably because of one of two issues: poor maintenance or a malfunctioning unit.

Problems associated with poor maintenance

  • Dust or dirt on the sensor – If you have an old smoke detector that detects smoke by ionization, any false alarms could be caused by the unit mistaking dust for smoke. Check to ensure that you have an ionization-type detector. The model number should have the letter “I,” or a mention of radioactive material such as Americium-241. The best fix is replacing the unit with a modern smoke detector equipped with reliable technology. If it’s a new unit, vacuum it gently using a soft brush, and prepare a cleaning schedule to prevent dust from accumulating inside the cover.
  • Insects clogging the sensor chamber – Clean your smoke alarm regularly using a soft brush attached to your vacuum.

Issues associated with a malfunctioning unit

  • Wrong placement – False alarms can result from bad placement of the unit. Manufacturers recommend that smoke detectors be placed at least 3 feet from any AC and heating vents, 10 feet from high humidity areas such as laundry rooms and bathrooms, and 20 feet from heat generating appliances such as ovens, stoves, fireplaces or furnaces.
  • Loose electrical connection – A loose hot wire connection in an AC smoke alarm can sporadically disconnect power supply to the unit. The result is similar to a power interruption. When the connection (power) is restored, the alarm may go off briefly.
  • A large current load – Smoke alarms should be connected to outlet or general lighting circuits in bedrooms to make it easier for residents to detect when the circuit breaker to the alarm system has tripped. If you use the same circuit for other high-power consuming appliances, such as vacuum cleaners, you risk having repeated cases of voltage drop in the wiring that trigger the alarm.
  • Old unit – An old detector will generally malfunction due to normal wear and tear. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years, but you can replace them earlier to avoid recurring problems.

Your fire alarm system may also beep when the furnace is turned on after installation or a long break; or due to drywall dust, dirt, construction debris, or old oil and residue inside the duct work. Whatever the reason, never ignore fire alarm beeps as they could save your life.

The post Why Your Fire Alarm System Sets Off By Itself appeared first on Calgary Alarm Inc..

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Homeowners are increasingly realizing the benefits of installing a residential video surveillance system. However, the biggest concern for consumers adopting new technology-based products, such as home security systems, is how long the device can serve them before it becomes outdated. Consumers expect that their new surveillance systems featuring the latest technologies will remain relevant and practical for the next few years.

So, how long can you expect your new system to last until it needs replacing or upgrading?

  • Cameras that feature rube sensors typically last 1‒2 years. However, this old technology is rarely found in modern consumer security cameras.
  • The vast majority of consumer security cameras on the market feature CCD (charge coupled device) sensor cameras with an incredible lifespan of 5‒25 years.
  • IR (Infrared) cameras allow you to extend your surveillance to low-light and dark conditions. These cameras typically rely on CCDs for image acquisition. This implies that they have the same life expectancy of 5‒25 years.
  • IR cameras with LEDs (light emitting diodes) are designed for surveillance in mostly dark situations since they illuminate their field of view. Most LEDs have a life expectancy of 20,000 hours, which translates to 2 years of 24/7, year-round use. However, the cameras will continue to function in well-lit areas even after the LEDs burn out.

Replacing Broken Components

If an LED burns out or another component gets damaged, it can be easily and cost-effectively replaced to keep your video surveillance system working. Usually, the biggest cost—after purchasing the digital video recorder (DVR) and other security equipment—is the wiring installation. So, you don’t have to worry about the cost of maintaining your system.

What About Obsolescence?

Ten years or so ago, you security system would have easily lasted 10 years with basic maintenance and virtually zero replacements. Today, consumer expectations have changed, and everyone expects high-tech devices. The problem with these devices is that they have components that wear sooner and need regular replacements, as described above. Moreover, these components become outdated much faster, making it harder to repair or replace them.

As such, modern video surveillance systems are designed with shorter life cycles to satisfy the changing expectations of consumers. Manufacturers have to factor in “progressive migration” in today’s ever-changing and highly technology-dependent environment, and keep their products relevant to the market. This does not necessarily mean that your system will stop functioning after 2‒3 years, but you can expect future systems to feature new designs and more advanced technologies than in the present. You can always upgrade the key components if you need any new features.

The post What’s The Lifespan Of A Video Surveillance System? appeared first on Calgary Alarm Inc..

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Compared to a decade ago, when all you needed to take care of when travelling were a passport and ATM card, and perhaps a disposable camera, today you stand to lose a lot more if you don’t take active measures to secure your personal belongings. You need to take care of your portable laptop, smartphone or tablet, and digital camera, and also protect your personal information from identity theft, data smugglers, and unauthorized transactions, among other risks. Here are some tips for theft-proofing your personal items while travelling.

Bring as Little Personal Information and Paperwork as Possible

Carry your passport, visa, immunization papers, and other relevant documents, and leave all other sensitive information—birth certificates, social security card, tax forms—at home, to reduce the risk of theft.

Keep Your Valuables Close at Hand

Consider using an organized travel carrier or wallet to hold your passport, ID, credit card, emergency cash, and other valuable items. Choose one that loops around the neck so it’s always on your person. Also, don’t leave your other bags unattended.

Use Bags with Reliable Locks

Choose a lock that won’t inconvenience you during the luggage screening procedures. Don’t assume that you will hear or notice when someone tampers with your zip tie or tape tag, because you will probably be in a noisy environment if it happens.

Consider Tamper Proof Luggage

There are different types of tamper resistant bags, including anti-slash bags, those that use hasps instead of zippers, and some that feature anti-puncture zippers. These kinds of luggage can significantly reduce the risk of theft, but you should still keep an eye on your belongings.

Place Your Valuables in Unusual Places

Thieves know where your valuables are likely to be, and will likely target those places. Make your valuables look inconspicuous by concealing them in unremarkable things. Be cautious of lockers and safes in hotel rooms as they can be easily targeted and broken into. Instead, consider hiding your cash and documents in the pockets of your folded clothing, and jewelry in cheap toiletry containers.

Travel Smart

Inform your credit/debit card company of your travel plans, to prevent them from freezing your account due to an “unusual” charge in a different country. Also alert relevant programs of your travel location, so they can follow up on you via the embassy or consulate in the event of an emergency, security breach or disaster.

Secure Your Home First

If you’re preparing to journey across North America or cross the Atlantic or Pacific to a popular destination, chances are you have many valuables on your person, and even more at home. Use these tips to keep your valuables safe while travelling. But before you leave, make sure to install a reliable residential alarm system to protect your home. Knowing that your home is safe will give you peace of mind, so you can enjoy your experiences even more.

The post How To Theft-Proof Your Personal Belongings While Travelling appeared first on Calgary Alarm Inc..

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Crime can affect anyone. It is unfortunate when crime affects you directly or indirectly—either as a victim, or as a person who’s afraid of becoming a victim—both of which reduce your enjoyment of life.

Although many homeowners assume that burglars are “master criminals” who are highly organized and have access to specialised tools to get past home security systems, police crime reports suggest otherwise. According to a recent FBI crime report, the average burglar is usually a young individual looking for the easiest way to enter a home without being detected.

In some cases, thieves don’t even force their way into homes. In nearly 30 percent of all residential burglaries, thieves access homes via windows or doors that were left open when the residents left. Here are some of the most common ways that burglars invade homes.

  1. Windows
    Windows are the weakest opening in your home. While homeowners take comfort in the fact that the sound of breaking glass could act as a deterrent or help to raise the alarm in the case of an intruder, police reports suggest that most people ignore that sound if they hear it only once. Also keep in mind that some windows are left unlatched, while others come with weak locks that can be easily opened by a determined burglar. You can improve the security of your windows by trimming tall vegetation in your yard that may either give access to a window, or conceal an intruder trying to pry a window open.
  2. The Front Door
    It may come as a surprise to many that many burglars simply walk up to your front door and get inside your home, but statistics suggest that it is actually very common. Data suggests that about 30 percent of burglaries are through unlocked doors, while 40 percent involve forced entry.

    Seasoned thieves know the usual places where households “hide” their spare key. If they are able to track your movements and know when you’re not home, they will try to find the key. If unsuccessful, they may choose to kick the door in or remove it from the hinges.

  3. Secondary Doors
    A thief will try to enter your home and leave unnoticed. The invader will likely inspect all entry points, including the garage door, patio door, skylights and any other openings, for the easiest point of entry. If you routinely leave your garage doors unlocked, or ladders lying around, a burglar will take advantage of the opportunity to steal from you.

Protect Yourself

The best way to protect your property from theft and your loved ones from the fear of an invasion is by installing a quality home security system. If your home has been broken into once before, reports suggest that the burglars may try their luck again soon, so it is important to contact a security alarm company to secure any points of weakness and prevent the burglary from re-occurring.

The post 3 Common Home Break-In Methods Used By Burglars appeared first on Calgary Alarm Inc..

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Your warehouse is the hub of your business operations. But with the typical massive size and intricate layout, it can be hard to maintain the efficiency, productivity and security of your warehouse or distribution centre. Addressing any vulnerabilities can help to reduce the incidence of internal threats such as embezzlement, as well external threats such as break-ins. Here are a few tips to keep your valuable inventory, equipment and other assets safe in your warehouse:

  1. Provide Adequate Lighting
    Many thieves and vandals prefer to operate in darkness. Consider installing security lights, as well as motion sensor lights around the warehouse to deter potential intruders.
  2. Limit Access
    Consider using different strategies to improve security at all entry points. For instance, you can use pass keys or electronic tags to identify the employees accessing certain areas at specific times, install bars in all the windows, ask guests to sign in, and designate outside personnel with regular access to specific sections (such as asking drivers to wait in the lounge area).
    Managed access control systems are great for controlling the level of access for different employees while preventing unauthorised persons from wandering into restricted areas. These systems effectively reduce the amount of traffic in certain areas, which in turn reduces the risk of theft or vandalism.
  3. Fence Off the Loading Dock Areas
    The loading docks are one of the most vulnerable areas of the warehouse because they can be accessed by non-employees, such as transport personnel and other people. Consider fencing off the shipping area to prevent physical access without a check.
  4. Consider Alarms and Video Surveillance
    Commercial alarm systems are vital for the security of warehouses. These systems typically comprise CO detectors and fire alarms, motion detectors, and audio and video monitoring. Make sure that the cameras are strategically installed to cover all vulnerable spots. But more importantly, you need security personnel to constantly monitor the surveillance system so they can discover incidents as soon as they happen, or identify suspicious patterns and prevent crimes from happening.
  5. Provide Uniformed Security Guards
    Large warehouses should consider using onsite security personnel to manage and record the arrival and departure of trucks, visitors, and employees; perform spot-checking of inventory at various checkpoints; and conduct regular security rounds.

Seek Professional Help

Thieves are quick to identify weaknesses and blind spots in your warehouse security system. To avoid any loopholes, it is best to seek the professional services of a company that deals in commercial alarm system design and installation. They will give you a full security assessment of the facility and recommend ways to improve on it using an integrated approach that may include an alarm system, security guards, and video monitoring, among other features.

The post 5 Ways To Keep Your Warehouse Secure appeared first on Calgary Alarm Inc..

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Moving into a new home is an exciting but daunting process. There are so many things that need to be done, including ensuring the safety of your family and possessions once they arrive in your new home. You have a chance to begin your life afresh in the new neighbourhood. Here are some security tips to ensure that your home is as pleasant as you want it to be.

  1. Hire Professionals to Inspect Your Home
    If you are moving into your first home, you may not be familiar with the requirements for keeping a house safe and secure. So, the first thing you should do is seek advice from professionals. This is particularly important when moving into an older house that may have hazardous materials.
    Ask a construction professional to inspect the home for hazardous or toxic materials such as lead paint and asbestos. Next, ask a professional electrician to ensure that there are no electrical problems that may start a fire. Also check the drainage, plumbing, gas, heating system and other systems in your home before moving in.
  2. Install a Home Security System
    Residential alarm systems are great deterrents for burglars, reducing home break-ins by up to 60 percent. They also help to alert the authorities when your home has been invaded, reducing the extent of any loss or damage.
    Buy your home security alarm from a reputable company that deals in residential alarm systems. Consider purchasing an integrated security system that includes CO detectors, fire alarm, motion sensors for doors and windows, video surveillance, and other vital features. Professional installation will give you and your loved ones peace of mind.
  3. Change the Locks
    It is good practice to always change the locks when moving into a new home or apartment, to prevent intruders, including the previous owners, from accessing your home. Look for the best locks and install them yourself, or ask the local locksmith to change them for you. Ask the locksmith to install multiple locks if there is a high incidence of break-ins in your area.
  4. Secure Your Doors and Windows
    Besides adding quality locks to your doors, consider reinforcing the windows to prevent intruders from accessing your home through these vulnerable points.
  5. Introduce Yourself to Your New Neighbours
    Your neighbours are invaluable assets when it comes to protecting your valuables. They can raise the alarm when there is unusual movement on your property, act as witnesses to a crime or watch your property when you are away on holiday.

Final Tip: Set Up Home Insurance

Finally, don’t forget to set up home insurance before initiating the move. The policy can protect you against costs of unexpected events on your first night or week, such as vandalism. Some insurers can even give you better rates if you have installed a residential alarm system.

The post Moving Into A New Home? Follow These Security Tips appeared first on Calgary Alarm Inc..

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Sliding glass doors are a great addition to your patio. With their unique construction, featuring large areas of glass and gliding tracks, homeowners can enjoy plenty of natural light and regulated ventilation. However, you will need to consult a security alarm company to keep your home safe.

Burglars love sliding glass doors too. The large glass surface area makes it easy for them to spot valuables in your home before breaking in. The locks are usually weak and easy to “pick.” And if need be, the burglar can break the glass to intrude your home. Reports also suggest that many people forget to lock their sliding glass doors.

If you include the fact that these doors are positioned in the backyard where there is minimal risk of intruders being spotted by neighbours or passersby, it is clear that homeowners should employ more stringent security measures to protect their families and possessions. Here are a few tips to secure sliding glass doors.

  1. Invest in Better Locks
    The lock in most sliding doors is a simple latch that can be easily bypassed. Consider installing better locks, such as:
  • Security bars—These are durable metal poles that are fixed to the doorway and then extended to the gliding door to keep it in place. Simply fold the bar when you want to open the door.
  • Double bolt locks—These locks are comprised of two pieces: one piece is fixed to the door frame, while the other one is fixed to the sliding door. When the door shuts, the piece on the frame is seated inside the one on the door. The piece on the frame has an allowance where you can insert a metal bolt to secure the door.
  • Upgrade Your Alarm System
    If you have a home alarm system, ask your security alarm company to wire in the sliding door so that the alarm sounds whenever the sliding door is opened, without disarming the system. Consider installing:
    • Door sensors—These will trigger the alarm when the door is opened, and possibly scare off burglars.
    • Install glass-break detectors—These will trigger your home security alarm when the glass on your sliding door is broken.
  • Strengthen the Glass in Your Doors
    Glass surfaces are usually the weakest points in your home, but there are several ways you can make sliding door glass more durable, including:
    • Installing impact-resistant glass—You can consider replacing your existing door with impact-resistant sliding doors that offer a lot more resistance to breaking. However, they are heavy and costly.
    • Installing a security window layer—When applied to glass, this protective sheet makes it more resistant to breakage.

    Final Tip: Properly Maintain the Tracks and Rollers

    Even with a home security system, your sliding glass doors can still be a point of intrusion if poorly maintained tracks and rollers prevent the door from closing and functioning properly. Clean the tracks regularly and adjust the rollers as need be to stop thieves from simply lifting the door to gain entry into your home.

    The post 7 Tips To Secure Sliding Glass Doors appeared first on Calgary Alarm Inc..

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    Quality, strategically positioned video surveillance cameras can help you catch intruders in the act, or deter them and keep the crime from ever happening. Installing a video surveillance system is a smart investment, whether it is intended to protect your own resources or to provide peace of mind to your customers . Below are some of the things to consider when choosing a surveillance system.

    Camera Features

    The success of your video surveillance system largely depends on choosing the right cameras. There are different types of cameras available with a variety of features. The cameras you choose will depend on whether they will be used indoors or outdoors; whether you want them to act as a visual deterrent or to be discreet; and the camera shape that appeals to you.

    Common options include:

    • PTZ – They are extremely versatile, with pan (left/right movement), tilt (up/down movement), and zoom (in/out) capabilities. They can also rotate 360-degrees and view directly down. They can be used indoors and outdoors.
    • Box – They carry their own power supply unit, and are mostly used indoors. A housing is required for outdoor use.
    • Mini Dome – They are great for discreet indoor and outdoor use, and are vandal resistant.
    • Bullet – They come with infrared lighting, and are great for indoor and outdoor use.

    Field of View

    The size of clear image that a camera can capture depends on the focal length of the lens. Cameras with a short focal length lens have a larger field of view, whereas those with a long focal length tend to magnify a scene for more detail, decreasing the field of view. The choice depends on the size of area you want to view with each camera.

    Resolution

    This is the measure of noticeable detail in a specific image. Higher resolution cameras (1080p) offer more clarity and a higher quality image. A short focal length lens camera with a high resolution can allow you to view the license plates, faces, and other things in more detail in the entire area. However, the files will also be much larger in size. Cameras with long focal length lenses don’t require very high resolution.

    Lighting Technology

    There are different technologies that allow you to capture usable video regardless of the lighting conditions, including Infrared LED Illumination, Digital Slow Shutter, Digital Noise Reduction, and Day/Night movable IR filter technology.

    Periodic Assessment of Your Video Surveillance System

    It is not just important to have the best video surveillance system in place, you should also re-evaluate your entire security system frequently. A thorough assessment will ensure that any repairs and gaps in the security system are addressed promptly before any security breach. There are new technologies arising all the time, so staying up-to-date on security trends will also allow you to take advantage of the newest products. This way, you can stay ahead of potential criminals.

    The post How To Choose The Best Video Surveillance System appeared first on Calgary Alarm Inc..

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    Being a homeowner can come with a lot of worries, especially surrounding the safety and security of your family. There are many options for residential security systems, especially as technology advances, making smart home monitoring and home automation more attainable for all.

    There are many reasons people choose to install residential security systems. They protect us and our families, including our pets, from fire and other environmental emergencies, as well as deterring burglars and alerting everyone should a break-in occur. There are also many ways to customize your residential security system, which can be helpful for those who are living with special needs, small children or elderly relatives.

    What are the must-haves for superior home security? We’ve compiled a checklist here:

    • The Basics: A basic home alarm system uses sensors to detect break-ins or environmental changes. Motion sensors are usually installed by doors and windows, as well as smoke and CO2 detectors in vulnerable areas such as the kitchen.
    • Control Panel: Your residential alarm system can be controlled centrally from a control panel and keypad installed by the door, as well as a key-fob remote.
    • Two-Way Voice Services: In an emergency, it can be difficult to think clearly. You may not be able to reach the phone in time. With two-way voice services, you will be connected to the dispatcher as soon as the alarm is triggered. They will be able to speak to you as well as hear you, and hear what is happening in the house. This is especially helpful for children, or for those who are vision impaired or otherwise differently abled.
    • Skyguard GSM Transmission: This takes away the need for a traditional phone line, so the alarm will still be triggered and emergency services alerted in case the phone lines have been cut.
    • Interactive Video Surveillance and Image Sensors: Interactive video surveillance and image sensors allow you to view video or have images sent to you in real time, from wherever you are, using a tablet, smartphone or computer.
    • Guard Response: False alarms can be costly, and guard response can prevent them. Once an alarm is triggered, uniformed guards will be sent to your home to check the perimeter

    As you can see, there are many options for home security, all of which can be tailored to suit your unique home and needs. Contact Calgary Alarm today to discuss which residential security is right for you.

    The post Your Residential Security Checklist: Essential Features To Keep Your Home Safe appeared first on Calgary Alarm Inc..

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    There are many reasons you may consider a DIY home alarm system. They are widely available at stores, and are an inexpensive option for those who want to ramp up their home security while saving money. While there are many effective DIY home alarm systems available, they are also difficult to install, and if installed improperly they can make it even easier for burglars to enter your house.

    A DIY system is difficult to install, especially if you choose a hardwired system. Many alarm systems sold now are wireless, but these come with flaws too, including:

    • Limited Detection Range: Wireless devices have a maximum range that they can be placed in in order to sync with and work within the security system. If these wireless sensors are not properly placed within range, they will not work.
    • Battery Check: Many people forget to check the batteries on their home appliances, including their DIY alarm systems, and don’t realize the batteries have died until it is too late.
    • Physical Barriers: Furniture and other physical barriers in your home can block wireless signals between sensors. If you are inexperienced in installing home alarm systems, you may not be able to gauge where these physical barriers will impede your alarm system.

    A big advantage of having a home alarm system professionally installed is that you know it is being installed by someone with experience, who has done this many times before. They will know where the best places to install sensors are, as well as what areas are at higher risk for burglary entry.

    Another advantage, and probably the most significant one, is that professionally installed alarm systems usually come with an alarm monitoring system as well. A monitored home alarm system will contact emergency services as soon as it is triggered. In case of an emergency, such as a fire or a break-in, you may not be able to phone the police, or may be delayed. Home alarm monitoring provides you with the most possible safety. This can also include two-way voice activation so that you can communicate with the dispatcher once the alarm has been triggered.

    While DIY home alarm systems may be tempting, there is no substitution for the skill and experience offered by a professional company. Especially if you have children, or live with elderly relatives, pets or people who are less physically able, your alarm system should be specially adapted and installed with this in mind. A home alarm system should provide the maximum amount of safety and security for you, your family and your home.

    The post Why You Should Avoid DIY Home Alarm Systems appeared first on Calgary Alarm Inc..

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