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Fireplace Safety with a Home Alarm Safety System in Los Angeles

November 29, 2013
As the weather gets colder, and homeowners start to fire up their wood stoves and fireplaces, the use of these appliances increases fire danger for millions of families around the country. Whether a family uses a wood stove as a primary heating source, or whether the fireplace simply provides some comfort on a mild Los Angeles night, families need to remain current on fire safety and fireplaces.

According to the United States Fire Administration, common causes of residential fires include improperly maintained chimneys and stovepipes. Homeowners must not forget to maintain fireplaces, as well as ensure their home alarm safety system is hooked up to the smoke detectors.

Soot and Creosote Prevention

One of the best ways to keep fireplaces safe is to reduce the buildup of a contaminant called “creosote” inside the chimney. Creosote can impede airflow and increase fire danger. Preventative maintenance and smart use of the fireplace should ensure low buildup during the season. For example, when a fire burns in the fireplace, glass doors should remain open. This helps improve airflow and aid in the combustion process, which reduces sooty buildup in the chimney.

In addition to taking steps to reduce the buildup of soot or creosote, a yearly cleaning of the fireplace as well as an inspection should reduce fire danger. Many systems in the home need to be inspected on a yearly basis and this includes installations such as chimneys and devices like wood stoves. The company hired to perform the inspection should specialize in chimney operation and maintenance.

Smart Habits During Fireplace Usage

A clean chimney is a safe chimney, but there are also a few things to remember about safe operation of a fireplace. For example, the fire should never be lit with a flammable liquid. Additionally, materials like cardboard and trash shouldn’t be burned, even though it might seem like a good way to recycle. Also, use wood meant for burning, not moist wood that can increase the rate of contaminant buildup in the chimney.

Additional Safety Devices

All homeowners know that installation of smoke detectors offers essential protection against fire danger, but those systems aren’t meant to sit on the wall like a decorative painting. Test the smoke detectors on a quarterly basis and make sure the home alarm safety system will notify the alarm company if fire breaks out and assistance from the fire department is needed.

Installation of a carbon monoxide detector is another essential device for homes with fuel-burning appliances, and the alarm company can suggest devices that will pair well with the smoke detectors used in the home.

Another helpful component to ensure safety of the fireplace is the installation of a thermometer in the flue to keep track of the temperature and make sure that creosote buildup isn’t causing dangerously high temperatures that could result in fire. Creosote is incredibly combustible, and if it gets too hot or thick, a chimney fire could erupt.

With an open flame burning inside a home, there is always some danger of fire even if a family has taken every necessary precaution to prevent a wayward spark from turning into a home fire. Revisit fire safety each season when temperatures dip and the family starts using the fireplace. Also, make a plan for evacuation just in case of an emergency.

The Importance of Alarm Systems in California

November 27, 2013
Residents of Los Angeles live in a city that does have some high crime rates, but there are ways to protect family and home with alarm systems. Any residence is a potential target for a burglar, and security system installation reduces the chance that a family’s life will be disrupted by theft through damage to the home and potential harm to the occupants.

Tips Before and During Installation

It’s essential to discuss the design and scope of an alarm system you’re your security alarm provider because every residence is different and needs do vary. Some homes may require a system complete with security doors, safe rooms, and gating, but not every residence requires such a state-of-the-art approach. However, there are decisions that every homeowner must make no matter the extent of the alarm system.

Consider the following tips when designing home security protection in Los Angeles:
  • Always change the locks when installing a new system
  • Ensure all installation wires are hidden so they can’t be cut
  • Illuminate every entrance with sufficient light
  • Eliminate gaps around doors and windows

General Guidelines After Installation

There are many levels of alarm systems that may be installed within the average residence. Some families might choose a few simple surveillance cameras while other residents might consider an extensive security system that ensures every facet of the home is protected. All homeowners must realize that all systems require maintenance and upkeep after installation.

To maintain the best level of security in the home after installation, consider the following:
  • Check references of all domestic workers or anyone with access to the home
  • Check the system yearly to ensure all batteries function and the system is active
  • Don’t leave keys under the doormat… ever
  • Always let neighbors know about a pending or lengthy absence

Making the Home Even Safer

Beyond the physical changes made to a home with security system installation, there are also some simple tactics a homeowner may use to increase the effectiveness of any alarm system. Burglars rely upon expected behavior from homeowners, and making it difficult for a thief to get what he wants requires some creativity.

Remember the following theft reduction tactics to improve family safety:
  • Never store valuables in the bedroom since that’s exactly where a burglar will search
  • Turn on the radio during the day if no one is home to dissuade burglars
  • Put a security sign in the yard whether it’s monitored or unmonitored
  • Keep doors locked even while in residencebecause theft may occur at all times

Remember to Obtain a Permit

It wouldn’t be the first thing a person thinks about when installing an alarm system, but the City of Los Angeles does require its residents to obtain a permit for a monitored alarm system. The cost for a permit is $37 for the first year and requires a $30 renewal each year thereafter. However, if a resident chooses to install a security alarm that isn’t monitored, a fee waiver may be approved.

High-quality home security is one of the most significant methods for leading a safe life in southern California. Ensure family safety and security by investigating options from security alarm companies in your area.

​Fire Alarms and Careful Cooking: Top Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving

November 26, 2013
Thanksgiving is a time of gathering together to celebrate all of the blessings one has received throughout the year. It is also a time for the four F’s: family, food, fun, and, unfortunately, fires. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Thanksgiving is the day the United States experiences the most home cooking fires. These types of fires cause massive amounts of damage to people and property. Luckily, there are steps everyone can take to decrease their risk of falling prey to a home cooking fire.

Test Fire Alarms Before Cooking

Once a fire has begun is not the time to find that a fire alarm is not in proper working order. Testing fire alarms ensures that smoke will be detected immediately, which gives the Thanksgiving Day chef ample time to put out any fires that might occur.

Never Leave Food Unattended

The oven and stove are in use throughout the day. Cooks often step aside to take a break while appliances remain in use. FEMA states that this action is the number one cause of home cooking fires. If one must leave a stove unattended, the oven and all elements must be turned off until the cook can return.

Avoid Loose-Fitting Clothes

It is rare for clothing to catch fire during meal preparation. However, when clothing items are ignited, the incident is more likely to be fatal. Chefs can help to avoid injury by wearing short-sleeved shirts or those that fit closely to the skin.

Clean the Cooking Space

Spilled grease and food can easily ignite. Make sure the cooking space is clear from residue and debris. Don’t forget to clean the microwave, roaster, and any other heating elements that may be employed.

Choose Healthier Options

Most fires are started by those who choose to fry their food. Instead of using heavy grease and oils, opt for baked or roasted turkey. Slow cooked turkey is another good option that produces a moist, tasty bird. Choosing to use the oven instead of the range not only increases health, it also decreases the worries associated with home cooking fires.

Keep Small Children Occupied

The holidays often bring a large number of small children together. Keep them playing safely away from heat sources by planning activities well in advance. Appoint other adults to act as babysitters throughout the day, set aside a room in the home as a kids’ only play area, or give them their own chores that keep them safe while they help with Thanksgiving preparations.

Strategize the Cooking Schedule

Rather than employ the oven and range throughout the day, plan the meal ahead of time. Most dishes can be made a day or two before Thanksgiving. Store foods like cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie safely in the refrigerator until it is time to reheat them for the big day. This relaxes the burden on the stove top and on the chef.

Install Fire Systems

More than simple battery powered fire alarms, fire systems can be installed to cater to the needs of every home chef. These systems react immediately to the threat of fire. They can also detect heat and gas. When appropriate, fire systems release agents that extinguish the fires as well.

Plan ahead when cooking for Thanksgiving to keep everyone safe and satisfied!

Los Angeles Security Systems: Even the Celebrities Are Doing It

November 5, 2013
Expensive cars, luxury furnishings, and state-of-the-art entertainment systems are just some of the amazing features of the average celebrity home, and keeping those treasures safe with a security alarm is required of every famous person in Los Angeles. Although many exceptionally famous people have guards stationed at their palatial homes, sometimes it’s the security system that wards off a would-be burglar.

Alarm System Keeps Celebrities Safe

Burglars in Los Angeles recently attempted to steal from music superstar Rihanna, but were reportedly thwarted by an alarm after the security system activated. Rihanna was in Australia on a music tour and was not in the residence at the time of the attempted burglary. Those familiar with the crime reported that the burglars only managed to break a window before they were scared off by the alarm system.

Tom Cruise is another celebrity who takes security quite seriously, and his home in Beverly Hills not only has a security gate, but also features a guard shack, a series of surveillance cameras, and a thick perimeter of trees that reach 50 feet tall. There’s also a camera that sits low to the ground that captures the license plates of anyone entering the property.

Some Celebrities Forget their Security Systems

Some celebrities have come close to harm because they didn’t have an alarm system or didn’t have one activated to protect their homes and family. Actor Nicholas Cage revealed that while he and his wife slept, intruders broke into his home and stole a leather coat. The burglars even entered the couple’s bedroom.

Rapper and actor LL Cool J also had a scary run-in with a burglar when he actually got into an altercation with a thief in his own home. The actor sent the burglar to the hospital with a broken nose and jaw. Properly installed and activated security systems can help homeowners avoid the need to fight off intruders, putting themselves in danger.

These and other break-ins of the rich and famous have led to an increase of security installations, with many famous people choosing to install a hefty entry gate and incredibly advanced features like facial-recognition devices that allow or prevent entry into the residence.

The average Los Angelino often won’t have the means to afford a gate that costs a million dollars; however, all residences today may be well-protected by wireless surveillance systems and other classic security devices like proximity alarms and timed lighting.

A homeowner who lives in a modest residence might operate under the false assumption that such a home might not offer temptation to a burglar, but even the sparsest of homes is a target for a thief. Burglary is one of the oldest crimes known to man, and there are millions of break-ins a year in the United States.

Although the Los Angeles Police Department counted 7 percent fewer break-ins within the confines of the city in late 2013, the total property thefts in LA reach several thousand with over 1,000 burglaries occurring in just late September and early October of 2013. Additionally, the city counted thousands of motor vehicle thefts and other types of burglaries in that short time. Protecting a home with a security alarm is essential for all residences in Los Angeles and the surrounding county.

Fire Safety Recommendations for Children’s Sleepovers : Los Angeles Security Services

November 1, 2013
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) declares that 92 percent of civilian deaths due to fires in buildings occur in homes. Children playing with fire accounted for a large percentage of fire-related child deaths. Kids playing together during a sleepover are likely to be more adventurous, and the young guests are often unfamiliar with the family’s fire safety and evacuation plan. Here are a few tips to equip parents with knowledge and tools to keep children safe during sleepovers.

Visit the Home Where the Sleepover Will Occur

Get a firsthand look at the fire safety measures in place in the hosting home. A good home security system in California also includes carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. The best system includes fire sprinklers, but adequate fire extinguishers are sufficient. Look to see if there are smoke detectors inside the bedrooms. Statistics prove that detectors far away from bedrooms are often not heard. Ask if the detectors are centrally wired or connected so that if one goes off they all sound.

Whereas individual battery-powered detectors are good, centrally wired home security systems that include smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors are better. They not only set off the alarms in all of the detectors, they sound the alarm at the main control panel. Also, the monitoring agency is automatically notified so the appropriate emergency personnel will be dispatched.

Ask About the Sleepover Host’s Fire Safety and Evacuation Plan

As a premier Los Angeles security services company, Pacific Alarm strongly recommends that for any sleepover the parents in charge have each guest learn the evacuation plan and meeting place. Do a fire drill to teach it. The guests need to know how to get out and where to meet. It can save the lives of the sleepover guests, and the refresher is also good for the family members who already know the plan. When taking a child to a sleepover, discuss with the host parents the need for a fire drill so the child knows the plan. If there is no plan, the NFPA recommends to not permit the sleepover. This is good and potentially lifesaving advice.

Conditioning Children to Always be Aware of Fire Safety

It is an easy thing for a parent to ask a child where the closest exit is, and if they see any fire safety devices such as detectors, fire extinguishers and sprinklers when in a new building. Be consistent at each new place. Visiting the dentist, stopping at the grocery store, walking into a mall and even visiting the home of a relative or friend are all opportunities. Soon the child will by routine look for the quickest way out and whether or not there are fire safety measures in place. It is a fun game that can reap huge benefits if a real emergency occurs, and the conditioning will help in preparing the child to get out no matter where the location.

Helping Parents Who Have No Fire Safety Plan

The first time a parent refuses to let a child go to a sleepover due to concerns such as fire safety, the hosts of the sleepover are likely to be upset. Instead of letting emotions rule, point out the real benefits of having a fire safety plan that includes an evacuation plan, meeting place and fire drills.

All parents are responsible for the safety of their own children. Fire is a killer that takes hundreds of lives every year. Simple fire safety plans and tools in place can prevent needless loss of life. A sleepover is one of the most fun and memorable events in a child’s life. It should be as safe as possible so children can enjoy them and parents do not have to worry.