Articles

HOW TO CHOOSE AN ELECTRONIC SECURITY COMPANY

  • ARE THEY LICENSED? The State of Illinois requires that any company installing an alarm system holds a license. Service Security Technologies, Inc. is licensed by the State of Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, License # 127-001243.
  • ARE EMPLOYEES BACKGROUND-CHECKED? Service Security's employees all hold a PERC card which requires security clearance from the FBI and State of Illinois. Our employees also carry company photo ID cards at all times.
  • IS THE COMPANY REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR SECURITY, OR ARE THEY JUST LOOKING TO GET A CHECK? Many times during our no-obligation 37-point Security Audit, we will make recommendations that are low cost or even free. We are always ready to answer questions you may have about our recommendations.
  • IS THE COMPANY REALLY A LOCAL COMPANY? Are they locally owned and operated? Is there local executive leadership that you can reach when you have a problem?
  • IS THE COMPANY EXPERIENCED? Always ask about the experience and credentials of the company & the employees who will service your account. Check references and ask if they build on their experience by attending continuing education and industry-related events.
  • IS THE COMPANY YOU ARE CONSIDERING AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF STATE & NATIONAL SECURITY ASSOCIATIONS? The Illinois Electronic Security Associationand Electronic Security Association as well as the Financial & Security Products Association are valuable resources for both you and your security provider.
  • DOES YOUR SECURITY PROFESSIONAL ACT PROFESSIONAL? Did he or she seem genuinely concerned about you and did she listen to your needs? Were they dressed for success or look like they just woke up?
  • IF YOU HAVE PETS, A TOP RATED SECURITY PROFESSIONAL WILL INCLUDE THE SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS OF YOUR "EXTENDED" FAMILY IN THE DESIGN OF THE SYSTEM. Remember approximately 40,000 pets die each year because of fire in the home.
  • ASK ABOUT THEIR TIME FRAMES. How quickly will the security company install your system after purchase? Also, find out how long there service is scheduled out.
  • COMPARE "APPLES TO APPLES". When comparing prices be sure to compare detection coverage and features. Not all coverage plans are the same.
  • DON'T BASE YOUR DECISION ON PRICE ALONE. Most people are rarely happy when they buy something because of its price alone. In most scenarios, decisions based on value have turned out the best. Look for a comfortable blend between price and value and purchase the best security that budget allows. If someone says they are the cheapest in town, don't argue with them. They likely know what their products and service are worth. Schedule a few minutes with us with us today to learn how Service Security Technologies stacks up and rest assured you won't need to rely on luck when you call us for your security needs.

PET FIRE SAFETY

Americans are pretty good at installing stand-alone smoke alarms to protect family members, loved ones and pets in the event of a fire. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reports that 96% of homes in the US have these smoke alarms. The batteries are replaced regularly and there is peace of mind in the idea that they will provide due warning in the event of an actual fire in the home.

But what happens when you're not at home and your stand-alone smoke detector goes off?

NOTHING.

Pet owners should consider Monitored Smoke Detection Services as an extra precaution. These security systems alert the fire department directly, allowing help to arrive quickly. Monitored services like these increase the chances that your pets will be safe.

Many pets will die in house fires because they are unable to get out of the home as well. This often happens when the family is away, as rescue personnel are frequently unaware of pets needing help. Firefighters are now trained to look for window alert signs and make attempts to save pets. Post a sign at all entrances stating that your home has "Animals Inside", the number and type of pet. If your pets are crated or confined to an area of the house, note that, too.

When you are not at home, keep your pet on the ground floor to increase its chances of being rescued. Since smoke rises, pets kept upstairs may die of smoke inhalation before being rescued.

If you are home and a fire starts, you should include your pets in your evacuation plan. (See our article "Create a Fire Drill Plan for Your Family".) Experts have said that one of the main reasons pets do not survive fires is because they are trapped in their crates. Your fire plan should account for crated pets and how to free them during evacuation.

Consider microchipping your pet. In the event of a fire, the microchip could help you reunite with your pet if he or she gets lost.

SOME TIPS:

  • Listen to your pet! Animals have the ability to smell smoke long before humans. If your pet is acting strangely, look into the situation promptly and be prepared to gather your family and follow your evacuation plan.
  • Believe it or not, almost 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners' pets, according to a new data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association.
  • Remove stove knobs. Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house a stove or cooktop is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
  • Invest in flameless candles. These candles contain a lightbulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
  • Locate Your Pet's Hideaway. Know their hiding places. Remember, during a fire, your pets will be terrified, and they'll most likely run to in the places they feel most safe. If you don't know their common hiding places, you could run out of time to save your friend. Find all the best cubbyholes and niches, map them out on a piece of paper, and include the map in your fire escape plan.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for each pet. The kit should contain some of your pet's food, his veterinary paperwork, prescription medications, if any, and photo/description of your pet. You may have to board your pet at a kennel or other facility until you get settled after a fire, and they will require proof that your pet has current vaccinations.
  • Secure Your Pet During Danger. Always evacuate your pets on a leash or in a pet carrier. Just as with fireworks, pets will panic at the smell of smoke, and they may bolt when outside, making them impossible to find. Put your dog on a leash; you can carry a cat in a carrier.
  • Create An Open Access. Leave an outside door open. If you must evacuate and can't find your pet in the house, leave a door open that leads to the outside, and then call the pet's name once you get out. With luck, he'll hear you and head for your voice, although this works better for dogs than cats. Be prepared; he'll be panicked. Be sure to have a designated meeting place near your home for everyone to meet so everyone will be accounted for away from the fire.

SHOPPING FOR A SECURITY SYSTEM

If you have ever shopped for a security system for your home or small business, I am sure you have heard the phrase "Basic System", "Basic Package" or something similar. If you have ever wondered "What is a basic security system?" or "Why would I want a basic system?" If so, then this article is for you.

As its name implies, this is usually the base level of protection offered by the company. Most often the basic security system will include the:

  • Alarm panel
  • Interior siren
  • Keypad
  • 2 door/window contacts
  • Motion detector

This may sound like a lot of equipment to you. However, there are other options to consider to protect your home and family.

First, let me say that there are exceptions where, financially, the basic system is truly all that you can afford. Certainly, a basic security system is better than nothing; HOWEVER, that is the exception not the rule.

You would not lay a foundation for your home then move your furniture in before the walls and roof were up. Why then would you want to stay with the base level of security? Why are there so many basic systems "protecting" businesses and families? In some cases the alarm company was focused more on making a sale than protecting the property. Enhanced security protection requires more experienced alarm companies whose employees are knowledgeable enough to design and install more than just the basics. Other times, a consumer may be misled into believing the base system will provide adequate protection. Lets take a look at ways to enhance your security system to increase your level of protection.

First, there is no substitute for an on-site evaluation by a security professional. Don't be fooled to believe that you can have effective coverage without someone taking your habits and physical location into consideration.

So where does your quest for essential protection/detection begin? In my opinion, the first level of enhancement should always begin with fire detection. There is simply no other intruder more ruthless than fire. Fire is indiscriminate. It takes everything. It does not care where you live, how safe your neighborhood is, how young or old you are or how you voted in the election. It wants and takes everything.

Most homes built since the late eighties have some form of fire protection that meets code today. The detectors built in with your home were likely installed by your home builder's electricians. They are an effective noise maker in the event of a fire, but they cannot call for help. Additionally, they may not be the best suited detector for your home. How can you upgrade the fire protection for your home? This requires a licensed alarm contractor to design a system for your dwelling. Some of the components are:

  • Ionization smoke detector when smoke enters the detector, it interrupts a tiny electrical charge, which triggers an alarm condition
  • Photoelectric detectors which trigger an alarm condition when smoke interrupts a tiny beam of light
  • Fixed heat detectors-This is the most common type of heat detector. Fixed temperature detectors operate when a heat sensitive alloy reaches a point of changing state from a solid to a liquid.
  • Rate of Rise Heat Detectors-These detect a rapid rise in temperature, usually 12-15 degrees in a minute, thus triggering an alarm condition

When planning to enhance your existing fire coverage, look at the following areas to enhance your protection beyond what the code may require: (These are only points of interest-check with your local fire department or AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) for the codes for your specific area.

Smoke Detectors: (Photoelectric or Ionization)

  • To local code-check with your local fire marshal or call us for recommendations

Heat Detectors: (Fixed or Rate of Rise)

  • In attic-especially if HVAC units or water heaters are present.
  • Garages-especially if garages are attached and very important if garages have a bedroom above the garage
  • By electrical panels
  • By HVAC units (i.e. closet, attics)
  • By water heaters (i.e. closets, attics)
  • Kitchens
  • Laundry Rooms
  • Special rooms/workshops where flammables may exist

FYI-Check out some great fire safety information at http://www.firesafety.gov

CREATE A FIRE DRILL PLAN FOR YOUR FAMILY

MAKE A HOME FIRE ESCAPE PLAN.

  • Work together as a family to draw a map of your home. Find two ways out of every room, especially the bedrooms.
  • Mark these things on your map: doors, bedrooms, smoke alarms
  • Put a big star on the place outside where everyone will meet.
  • Be sure emergency numbers are posted next to every phone and are on cell phone contacts. Children need to memorize 2 things:
  • 9-1-1
  • The street name and number for your home

TEST YOUR SECURITY SYSTEM &/OR SMOKE DETECTORS

  • Test your security system. If you are not sure how to do this, contact the company who sold your security system to you or who monitors it. Test all of your smoke detectors. If a fire happens at night, the detectors will wake you up in time to get to safety, and, if monitored, will alert the fire department.
  • Be sure you have at least one smoke detector on every level of your home and inside every bedroom.
  • There are different types of smoke detectors: ionization AND photoelectric. See our article "Shopping for a Security System" for more information.
  • Smoke detectors don't last forever. If yours are 10 years old or older...or if you're not sure how old they are, replace them with new smoke detectors.
  • Put new batteries in your security system components & detectors once a year, or when the system signals the power is low. Pick a holiday or birthday to remind you to do so. Keep extra batteries on hand at all times so your security system & detectors are always working. Choose a brand you can trust.

CLEAR THE WAY

  • You may have as little as 2 to 3 minutes to get your family to safety if there is a fire. Keep your exit routes clear at all times.
  • Be sure stairs are cleared of all objects and that your doors and windows open easily. Actually try them to be sure your child could open a window latch and show them how to do so. Let them know they should open windows ONLY if there is a fire or smoke, and that it is a very grown up task you are showing them.

WALK THROUGH THE PLAN WITH EVERY MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY.

  • Show your children exactly what to do when the siren goes off.
  • Roll out of bed and crawl over to the door. Use the back of your hand to feel the doorknob & around the cracks of the door for heat.
  • Let children know that if it feels cool, it's safe to open the door a little and peek out. If there isn't any smoke, go out the door to your meeting place outside.
  • If the door or the space around it feels warm, it might mean there is a fire near the door. You'll need to use your second way out...most likely a window.
  • To exit from an upper story window, it helps to have an escape ladder. Don't practice actually going out from an upper floor as the risk of falling is great. Use your ladder only in a real emergency.
  • Remember, smoke rises. Teach your kids to "get low and go" if they see smoke. Bend down or crawl on your hands and knees to the nearest exit. The air will be clearer and easier to breathe near the floor.
  • Children and older adults often sleep through the sound of the siren or smoke alarm, so they'll need help getting to safety in a real fire emergency. Assign an adult to help every member of the family who needs it. Make this part of your plan.

DO THE DRILL.

  • Be sure everyone knows what your smoke alarms or siren sounds like. Start your fire drill with one of those sounds if possible.
  • Take your cell phone or portable phone with you.
  • Have the assigned grown-ups go to each child's room. Watch them roll out of bed and crawl over to the door. Make sure they feel around the door before opening. Tell them it's cool.
  • Watch them open the door a crack and peek out. Follow them as they crouch or crawl quickly using their primary escape route out the door to the meeting place.
  • Close all the doors behind you.
  • Once you get to the meeting place, pretend to call the fire department. Ask the kids if they know what the number is. Ask them to tell you the address of your home.
  • Stress how important it is to get out and STAY OUT. Once you escape, no one should ever go back inside for any reason. The fire department has the training and equipment to go inside a burning building.

TALK ABOUT THE DRILL.

  • Tell your kids what a great job they did. Reassure them that in a real fire, you will be there to help them get to safety. But it's always good for everyone in the family to know the plan.
  • If possible, run the drill again. This time, pretend the door feels warm or they see smoke in the hallway when they peek through the crack.
  • This means you'll use your second way out. Tell your kids to keep it closed. Turn on the light in the bedroom. Grab a white tee shirt or towel and kneel by the window. Wave the shirt so people can see you from outside.
  • Tell your children you will come to the room to help them out. (If you have a fire escape ladder, explain how you will use it.)
  • Keep practicing until you can be sure that everyone in your home can get to the meeting place fast -- try to get there within 3 minutes.
  • Put your escape plan on the refrigerator where everyone can see it. When guests come to visit overnight, ask your kids to talk them through the plan. Practice a home fire drill at least twice a year.

A great site for kids and fire safety info and activities: http://www.sparky.org

If you have family pets, include them in your evacuation plan. For tips on how to do this, see our article on "Fire Safety for Pets".

Call today! We're the right security company for you.
815-877-9700

SERVICE SECURITY TECHNOLOGIES is fully insured, and is licensed as a Private Alarm Contractor Agency by the State of Illinois Department of Professional Regulation
License # 127-001243, WI D.O.C. License No:1120177

Fill out the form below and we will give you a call.

We're the right security company for you.

From one of our bank customers:

My biggest concern was how good of a picture from the video surveillance I would get if I needed one in a crisis. You gave me numbers of customers to contact so we could go see the equipment that your company had already installed and that gave me a great comfort level. Someone can tell you the quality will be there but until you see it there are doubts. 

Your company took care of everything with the IT personnel of our bank and that was seamless. There was very little interruption of daily business when the surveillance installation was going on. I find your Open-Eye video surveillance system very reliable and easy to use.