Keep Your Cool

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.   
Mike Pagnutti

President

m.pagnutti@northernsecurity.ca

705-675-1003

1-800-565-0887

Protecting The Basement

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.

Mike Pagnutti
President
705-675-1003
1-800-565-0887

Post and Share…but not too much

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.

Mike Pagnutti
President
705-675-1003
1-800-565-0887

The Water Could Be Rising

Spring is in the air!  It’s the season to open up the windows to hear the birds and neighborhood kids splashing in the puddles.  The grass is wet and the sump pump is working to keep your basement dry.

Last spring I heard my sump pump running…and running…and running.  Much longer than usual.  I decided to see what was going on.  It was working and cycling normally, but for some reason, it had decided to take a little vacation at some point and wait to start working again.  The carpet wasn’t wet but it came up a good 10″ higher than it ever should have.

It started me thinking.  What if it took a permanent vacation while I was at work? What would happen to my basement? I decided to look into possible solutions.  Maybe it’s time you did the same.

This is around the time of year that sump pumps and backup kits start hitting the box store sale flyers.  It can be as simple as a battery backup to a whole second pump assembly. I opted to change our pump for a new model, battery backup, and flood sensor.  That’s right! We installed a flood sensor and tied it into our alarm system.  I’ll get a phone call from the monitoring station before the water even makes it to the carpet!

What are you doing to keep what matters most safe? Are you keeping the flood waters at bay?

Give me a call or email if you want to talk about anything security related.  I’d love to hear from you.

Mike Pagnutti
President

m.pagnutti@northernsecurity.ca
705-675-1003
1-800-565-0887

Time to keep an eye out

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.

Mike Pagnutti
President
705-675-1003
1-800-565-0887

Who’s Inside The House?

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.

Mike Pagnutti
President
705-675-1003
1-800-565-0887

Who’s at your door?

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.

Mike Pagnutti
President
705-675-1003
1-800-565-0887