Winter is upon us and it brings so many other things with it. My family and I spent the better part of this weekend getting ready for the coming months. We cleaned out the garage to make room for my wifes truck, winter tires installed, cold rated washer fluid topped up, and heavy jackets out of storage. Shovels and ice melter ready and waiting.
I grabbed my winter jacket and loaded it in my usual items as we went out for a bit of shopping yesterday. Keys, wallet, cell and gloves all put into different pockets. That leads me to a thought that came to me late last week as I was at a breakfast meeting. I had done my usual and left my fall jacket in the coat rack across the room. I sat staring at this row of coats and remembered that my wallet was still in the pocket of mine. I wasn’t worried because the room was filled with amazing people whom I trust, but it started me thinking…How easy it would be for someone to rummage through my jacket? How many times have I checked my coat while my car keys were still in it?
That leads me to our shopping trip today. As we walked the aisles, I did my usual and wandered along looking around. Anyone who knows me has probably noticed that I’m constantly looking at things. Doors, camera systems, locks…it’s what I do. Today I was looking at how many unattended purses were left in shopping carts. Sometimes for quite a while while the owner was reading a label or tending to a child.
I know it seems pretty unlikely someone would steal from a cart or coatroom, but the chance is always there. Looking around and judging your surroundings certainly takes practice. There is also a balancing point between paranoia and protection. I’m proof that we anyone can become lax when it comes to keeping a bit of our guard up. Being aware of potential dangers is one of the ways to help protect what matters most to you.
If you have a security question or tip that you would like to share, don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or one of my coworkers, We’d all love to hear from you
This is the time of year, when many gain some independence. Perhaps they’re an early teen letting themselves in after school or a young adult moving away to attend post secondary. Either way, being home alone can be intimidating at first. That’s why I’m passing these tips along to you so we can work together and help keep what matters most safe.
In keeping with the theme of my last email and school bus safety (here if you missed it) I figured I’d touch on leaving young ones at home. The interesting fact here is that Ontario does not have a minimum age listed in the law books. The CBC offered a great article about kids at home in March of 2016. There are courses offered to teach them the skills they need to start off on the right path. Here’s one course at the Sudbury YMCA if you want to pass it along.
There are several useful strategies for anyone who is living on their own. One of the easiest is to simply have a “check in” plan. It can be a casual daily wave to the lady across the street or an evening call to a loved one. By making friends with your neighbours, they’ll help to keep an eye on things when you’re home and away. They’ll also learn your routines and schedules as you’ll learn theirs.
I’ve gone over many tips in these emails and they can almost all be found on our blog. I can’t stress enough the importance of good locks and an alarm system. Combined together, they offer peace of mind for anyone on their own.
Give me a call or email so we can discuss some of the many options we have available to help you keep what matters most safe while you’re home or away. We have everything from smart phone enabled alarm systems to deadbolts.
Tomorrow is the first day back at school for most schools. My wife and I will wake our children by running into their rooms yelling like Nemo around his dad on his first day of school. (Here’s an 18 second YouTube Link in case you don’t know what part of the Disney movie I’m talking about)
Do you know what that means for everyone on the road?…SCHOOL BUSES!
Its time for every one of us to watch the roads for excited youngsters. We all know the rules and fines but can always use a reminder. I went to the MTO website (link) and pulled out the regulations.
Drivers: know the rules
When driving on a road WITHOUT a median:
- drivers travelling in both directions must stop for a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing
- when you approach the bus from the front, stop at a safe distance to let children get on or off the bus and cross the road
- don’t move forward until the red lights have stopped flashing or the bus begins to move
When driving on a road WITH a median:
- traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop.
Drivers can be charged if they pass a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing:
- First offence: $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points..
- Each following offence: $1,000 to $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time (up to six months)
Vehicle owners can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus, even if they weren’t driving.
If you’ve got young ones, it wont hurt to go to the site and check over the full list of tips to help keep our young riders safe.
Now that I have you thinking about driving and vehicles…I have to remind you that we can cut and program keys, fobs, and factory remotes for almost every vehicle on the road today. We save customers between $35-150 over the dealership and do the programming for you! No appointment necessary.
I’m always happy to write these emails and welcome any and all feedback. Don’t hesitate to reach out and discuss anything security or safety related.
I don’t know about you but I love this time of year. The days are hot and the evenings are warm. All I want to do is hang out in the sun. My wife and I will quite often sit on our patio and enjoy a coffee (or two) in the mornings or a glass of wine (OR TWO) in the evenings. We have an older house and keep the inside temperature low using the windows and breeze off the nearby lake as opposed to installing air conditioning.
Last week I was sitting out there and looking at the deck box right below our open kitchen window. It’s the perfect stepping stone to climb up and peer into the house. I know this because I’ve used it several times to scare our children as they sat at the table doing their homework. The downside is that it’s an easy way for a bad guy to gain access to our house. That’s also why we always close and lock the main floor windows when going to bed or leaving the house. That leads me to this weeks tip about security on your doors and windows especially when sleeping or away.
It can’t hurt to try and strategically open windows to maximize airflow while avoiding any compromise in safety. If you’re going to leave windows open, check to make sure they aren’t easily accessible from the outside. Make sure windows have working locks of some sort. Remember, a chunk of old broom handle is better than nothing! Try to avoid relying on the $9 lock holding you patio door. Trust me, when I say that it really doesn’t add much in the line of safety.
Finally, If you have a “window shaker” style of air conditioner, look at how its installed. How easy would it be for a bad guy to push it back into the house? If you’re like most people, it’s just stuck through one window and resting on the other one. Maybe it has a small screw to make sure it stays in place. Those units installed on ground level windows are an easy invite. In the past, I’ve screwed in an additional piece of wood top and bottom. I made sure the screws went deep into the frame of the window and into the air conditioner. This kept the unit from being pushed in or pulled back out.
One final piece. Lock your vehicles! Warm weather means that there are more people walking the streets at night. An article on Sudbury.com reported more than 200 reported thefts from vehicles from August to its writing in November.
I hope you’re enjoying these tips. If you ever want to discuss anything security related, don’t hesitate to reach out. Everyone at Northern Security wants to help you protect what matters most safe.
This spring I gave a few residential security talks at the Home Show put on by The Sudbury Home Builders Association . During my talks, I covered several topics including the pros and cons of window bars. I believe that everyone who has windows at or near ground level should have some sort of protection on them. That could range from bars, additional stickers warning of your alarm, or professionally applied window film.
One of the main advantages to window bars is that they’re an immediate visual and physical deterrent. Nothing says “You can’t get in here!” like a set of hefty bars blocking entry. They can range from flat bar on the inside of the window frame to elaborate square tubing that has a loose rod to slow an attack from a saw. I would always recommend looking at those manufactured to be quickly removable in case of emergency. The last thing you want is something meant to keep you safe keeping you trapped in your own basement.
If you have an alarm, make sure every one of your windows has a visible sticker. Should anyone be looking through the window, they’ll hopefully notice the sticker and not take the chance. If they do, make sure you have window contacts or glass break sensors installed to catch them. These can be easily added to any new or existing system.
The third method is one that very few people know about. It’s also my favorite. There is a film that goes on like tint and stretches like Saran wrap. If installed properly, it’s an excellent way to keep the bad guys out. They can still break the glass but the film will stretch and not easily let go. You can get it completely clear or tinted. Team that up with your alarm stickers and I think you’ve got a pretty good system. Visual, physical, and safe.
Whether you choose to implement one of the above ideas or not, I urge you to look at your windows and give some serious thought to how secure they really are.
Give me a call or reply to this email if you want to discuss any of these ideas and how we can help you implement them. We’re always here to help you keep what matters most safe.
Family vacations are something I think we all look forward to. It’s a time to just be together as a family. I’m sure everyone has that one trip they’ll never forget. I’ve sat through countless slide reels of my grandparents vacations from when my mom was a kid. The process of documenting and sharing those moments sure has changed. According to Statista in 2016, there were 21.3 million smart phone users in Canada. That’s a whole bunch of cameras ready to take pictures and post them on social media without even leaving the beach.
Here’s a couple cool social media facts for you:
Facebook – 1.94 billion monthly active users as of March 31, 2017
Twitter – 313 million active users – 2017
Instagram – 700 million active users – May 29, 2017
What does this have to do with security? Let me show you an example:
People constantly post pictures of their loaded up car, tweet about how they’ll miss their pets, or share an article about things to see at the Grand Canyon before a vacation.
Lets say you have 200 Facebook friends and post that picture of your luggage at the door.
All 200 of your friends can see it. They can also like or comment.
Sally comments “Have a great trip!! We’ll see you in two weeks” – Now all of her friends can see it – Add all 350 people who she’s friends with.
Frank (who knows Sally but not you) gives it a like – His 150 friends can now see it.
You just told 700 people that your house is going to be empty for two weeks. What if Frank has someone in his friends who’s a bad guy?
How’s that for a breach in security? I encourage you to think twice before posting details about your vacation before you leave. You never know who’s looking at those posts.
Give me a call or email so we can discuss some of the many options we have available to help you keep what matters most safe while you’re away. We have everything from smart phone enabled alarm systems to chains and padlocks.
May is the time to think about opening up!!
Winter is over and it’s time to thaw out our summer homes. Several of our friends have second properties that range from summer un-insulated shacks to beautiful year round homes. My family and I love going to visit and enjoy the fact that everything is there set up and waiting for them to arrive. My wife and I have had several discussions over the years about purchasing a camp. We’ve decided that we like our option. We have a camper and enjoy the “nomadic” lifestyle it provides us. We enjoy travelling from place to place and watching new sunsets. Each option has its merits and advantages. Unless you have the fully insulated year round second home, you’ll need to prep for winter if your summer “home” is in Northern Ontario. Have you or someone you know ever arrived at camp or their camper and “stumbled” through the opening process? I know we have.
Here’s a link to a checklist on opening up the camp and on de-winterizing your camper to help get you started.
One thing I’ve suggested over the years is that customers really like having their summer homes matched to the same key as their house. It saves starting a relaxing weekend by forgetting your keys behind. I’ll give you tips on hiding keys in a later email.
What are you doing to keep what matters most safe? Do you have checklists in place for your security?
Give me a call or email if you want to talk about anything security related. I’d love to hear from you.
Cover photo credit goes to my awesome wife, Stacie Pagnutti.