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.
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.
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.
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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