Spring is finally upon us! The birds are flying over head and tulips are pushing their way towards the warm sun. This is also time of year where we, as automobile drivers, need to be much more aware. We’ve all spent the last few months not having to watch out for people on bicycles or motorcycles. It’s easy to take that second glance when pulling out in traffic to see if there is a bike that was hidden the first time you looked.
This motorcycle season will be the 52nd year of riding for my dad, 23rd for myself, and 7th (as a passenger) for my young son. Needless to say, we really enjoy riding, working on, and looking at motorcycles. Its easy for us to spot them in traffic…or even tucked behind a barn…but that’s a different story. I know that not everyone notices bikes as easily as our family. Many motorcyclists have exchanged their black leather jackets for something more eye catching to try and draw the attention of other drivers. Some are even installing extra lights to be more noticeable. The easiest suggestion I can make is that everyone should ALWAYS assume somebody is coming. Here’s an interesting Road and Track article that explains how easy it really is to miss something while driving.
Bicycles add their own element when it comes to awareness. They’re silent and being ridden all over the place! You never know where they’ll appear. Kids (and some adults) are riding them on the roads, sidewalks, and across front lawns. Even the most vigilant of drivers can be caught off guard by an unpredictable cyclist. The MTO has come out with several helpful articles (HERE) to help educate riders both young and old.
All I ask is that this spring, you take some time to enjoy that warm sunshine and keep your eye out for two wheeled motorists. We all share the responsibility of keeping each other safe while out on the road.
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.
Anyone who knows me would say that I love technology. I can unlock our front door from anywhere that has cell reception or WiFi. I enjoy gadgets, relays, and automation. Even if you’re like me, remember that keeping what matters most safe doesn’t always have to be some high tech and elaborate setup.
I was talking with a lifelong friend one day about these emails. He mentioned his grandmothers “low tech” approach to home security. She’s been a widow for as long as I’ve known her and has always been a resourceful, independent woman. She kept a pair of her husbands old rubber boots and would periodically place them outside the door. Nothing says someone is else in the house than a pair of dirty well used boots that couldn’t fit the sweet little lady who’s usually home.
You can take this idea one step further by setting an extra place at the table when you’re not home or if your closet is visible through the window in your front door, pick up an extra thrift store jacket and hang it up.
Simple or elaborate, the choice is yours. The point is that you want to do something to keep the bad guys wondering who’s in the house.
Do you have any low tech ideas for home security? I’d love to hear them. Reply in the comments or give me a call to talk about anything security related.
Online shopping is on the rise. Eight out of ten Canadians now shop online. I’m not here to talk about your shopping habits. I’m here to discuss the pickup of those deliveries.
How many home deliveries do you think are made in a year?
According to Canada Post, they delivered 900,000 a day during the “slow” summer of 2015. (Report) That rate is increasing on an annual basis. They now routinely have Million Parcel Mondays. That’s where Canada Post will deliver a million or more parcels in a single day. It’s on Mondays because of the surge in weekend shopping online.
But what about all of those deliveries? What if they don’t require a signature? They’ll sit on your front step or hanging out of your mailbox until you get home. It’s wonderfully convenient for you….and the bad guys.
Here are a few quick tips you can use to make sure that new shirt is still there when you get home.
- Have the packages delivered to your office or somewhere you trust.
- Get a PO box and pick up all of your mail there.
- Install a camera that’s motion activated so you get notified when someone is near the door.
My family and I use all three of these methods. Our favorite is the doorbell camera. It serves double duty because we know when someone rings the doorbell, can chat with the person at the door, and even unlock it…RIGHT FROM OUR PHONES!! It also notifies us if someone is just lingering around at the bottom of the stairs. Of course we sell it, so I like it.
Do you know who’s at your door right now? Call me so we can make sure you do.
I know it seems a little counter intuitive to talk about exterior lighting while the days are getting longer but the timing is right.
On March 12th, we move our clocks ahead an hour. A recently published paper presents estimates of the effect of ambient light on violent crime. They found a large decrease in robberies being committed when daylight-saving time begins in the spring, with a particularly significant drop during that extra hour of sunlight in the time right after work. It makes sense – more light equals less crime.
For this post, I say, “Let’s keep things bright and the bad guys running!”
Having the exterior of your house well lit helps to dissuade our enemies from lurking around and trying to access your home. You have several options for lighting. One of my favorite looks is down lighting professionally installed in the eves all around the house. Since that setup wouldn’t work with our house, we sourced out solar powered motion lights. It’s a flood light and motion sensor that’s charged during the day by a small solar panel. You can also opt for low voltage pathway/spot lights or wall sconces.
At minimum, the extra lighting will certainly add to your homes curb appeal. If the bad guys are prowling your neighborhood, they’re not likely to go near the house that’s well lit. That is the goal, isn’t it?
If you like these tips, come and check us out at the Home Show this weekend. We have some pretty cool give-a-ways at our booth. Not your typical pen or hat…something actually useful!! I’ll also be giving two free seminars on home security – Seminar times are Saturday at eleven and Sunday at noon. I’ll be going over all things security related from the street view right down to the sump pump. Don’t miss out.
Our storefront will still be open on Saturday for our usual services including automotive key cutting.
In fact you should test out our newest service right now!
Text “TIPS” to 450-990-4691 to get a free estimate on your replacement car key.
We’ll save you even more money by giving you an extra 10% off your chipped key.
Four things to remember:
- Bad guys like lurking in the shadows – Keep things well lit.
- Check us out at the home show – It’ll be fun!
- Make sure you adjust your clock – You don’t want to be late for work on the 13th
- You’ll pay more at the dealer for car keys – We’re faster, and you don’t need an appointment.
See you Saturday and don’t forget to text us.
One afternoon during the first winter we lived in our house, I happened to look out our bedroom window at my neighbor and his son. They had lived in the neighborhood for years and were about to walk along the creek that runs along our back yards. Dad wearing his snowshoes and son carrying his snowboard. It had been quite cold and the ice was solid…or so everyone thought. I watched as dad stayed on top and his son fell through up to his armpits. Everyone was fine and I will admit that, once he was safe, I did giggle at the resulting pandemonium. When it comes to ice safety, I’m far from an expert. There are a few tips I can pass along that I have picked up over the years.
- if you’re new to the area, ask the locals
- check the ice thickness yourself (you can’t always trust the locals)
- don’t assume the ice is safe – especially where the water is moving
7 cm (3 in) or less STAY OFF
10cm (4 in) ice fishing, walking, cross country skiing
12cm (5 in) one snowmobile or ATV
20-30cm (8-12 in) one car or small pickup
30-38cm (12-15 in) one medium truck (pickup or van)
Ice thickness source: https://www.adventuresmart.ca/water/icesafety.htm
Now…since we’re always on the subject of safety…I feel that I should send out the reminder that today is February 13th. We’re talking frozen creeks but you’ll be in hot water if you forget Valentines day.
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There’s a little sleep walker moving throughout the house. Even if you haven’t experienced it first hand, you’ve undoubtedly heard a story or two.
It sounds cute and innocent…a little one opening the cookie cupboard. Sleepwalking should not be taken lightly. What if it was the front door instead of a cupboard? Now you have a little person out in the yard at night. The potential dangers are everywhere.
There are several preventative measure that can be taken to protect the safety of these little ones. It can be as simple as bells attached to the door knob and a few baby gates to an elaborate automated alarm system. As always, here are a few links to more detailed tips…Here and Here
Speaking of kids, for the last three years, Northern Security has made a difference during the holiday season. A friend and Rotarian, asked us if we would purchase a crib for their “Fill A Crib” campaign. We purchased two and asked our customers and family to donate diapers, food, snow suits, and baby gates. This year, is no different our crib has been delivered and is waiting for your donations. Every donation gets you a ballot to win free monitoring, basic alarm system, or a chipped automotive key. Each has a value of over $200!!!
I encourage you to take the time to come by our office to drop off a donation. This is the time of giving and there are several families who are struggling to make ends meet.
Thank you for letting us help to protect what matters most to you safe.
Monetary donations to food banks make a major impact. Because they are able to purchase bulk amounts of items needed, these charities can enjoy a 5:1 ratio when purchasing supplies. That’s right! a $20 donation works out to over $100 dollars worth of food! For the month of December, you can add a monetary donation to your Northern Security invoice.
This is the time of year that many of us start thinking about holiday visits to relatives or warm weather destinations. It makes good sense to think about your empty home whether you’re leaving for the winter, the week, or just the weekend. There are simple steps you can take to keep the bad guys guessing and not shout out to them that your home is vacant.
If you know a snowbird who leaves for the winter, pass this blog along to them and tell them I’ve included some solid tips for winterizing their home for an extended period. Here and Here
Quick side note: Neither article mentions putting RV antifreeze in the toilet or drains…flush the toilet first and then put it in the bowl. A cup or two down the drains keeps sewer smells out.
For the rest of us who are here for the winter months, some consideration needs to be taken when out of town.
Snow removal should be high up on your priority list. It doesn’t need to be pretty but snow accumulation SCREAMS empty home.
Lights on timers make it look like someone is moving around the house. Previous Security Tip Here
Our alarm systems can include a sensor for air temperature or water pipes. Yours should too. If your existing system doesn’t have this feature, we can certainly add it for you. Its far cheaper than your deductible when you have to call your insurance to tell them your pipes have frozen.
Social Media should be used to post photos AFTER the trip. We’re all excited to leave. Posting a selfie with your mountain of luggage is funny but sends out the wrong message
Unplug all non essential appliances. It takes 30 seconds to program the clock on your coffee pot. That’s less than the cumulative electrical waste of all these electronics sitting there idle while you’re gone.
Finally, lower the temperature on your thermostat. Most programmable units have a “Permanent Hold” feature that wont let the schedule resume. We can also integrate a thermostat into your alarm system so that it lowers the temperature whenever you’re away regardless of the schedule. Trust me…it’s cooler than the other ones on the market and if you call me, I’ll happily explain why.
I hope you find these tips useful. If you want to offer feedback or need anything security related, don’t hesitate to reach out. If you’re not close by, we can certainly find a security expert who shares our passion for keeping what matters most to you safe.
You’ll be hearing from me again before the holidays but if you’re leaving early, everyone at Northern Security hopes you have a safe trip.
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