Home Security Tips to Protect Your Family and Business

Security Tips


A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.

Safety tips:

Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.

To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:

 Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
• Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
• Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
• Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.

Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.

Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.

Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.


According to the Home Safety Council's State of Home Safety in America Report, fires and burns are the third leading cause of unintentional home injury and related deaths. Fire safety and survival begin with everyone in your household being prepared. The Home Safety Council offers tips to to reduce the chance of fire in your home.

         Prevent Fires Caused by Cooking:

  • Always stay in the kitchen while cooking.
  • Keep things that can burn, such as dishtowels, paper or plastic bags, and curtains at least three feet away from the range top.
  • Before cooking, roll up sleeves and use oven mitts. Loose-fitting clothes can touch a hot burner and catch on fire.
  • Always stay by the grill when cooking. Your grill may stay hot for a long time. Keep children and pets away.
  • Keep grills at least ten feet away from other objects, including the house and any shrubs or bushes.

    Prevent Fires Caused by Matches and Lighters:
  • Many young children are badly burned or die playing with matches and lighters.
  • Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet.
  • If you must keep matches or lighters in your jacket or purse, put them in a place where children cannot see or touch them.

    Prevent Fires Caused by Heating:

    Space Heaters
  • Space heaters need space. Keep them at least three feet away from things that can burn, such as curtains or stacks of newspaper. Always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.

  • Have a service person inspect chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves and central furnaces once a year. Have them cleaned when necessary.

    Fireplaces and Wood Stoves
  • Keep things that can burn away from your fireplace and keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace.

    Prevent Fires Caused by Smoking:

  • Use “fire-safe” cigarettes and smoke outside.
  • Use large, deep ashtrays on sturdy surfaces like a table.
  • Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before dumping them in the trash.

    Prevent Fires Caused by Candles:

  • Only light candles when an adult is in the room. Do not allow children to keep candles or incense in their rooms.
  • Always use stable, candle holders made of material that won't catch fire, such as metal, glass, etc.
  • Blow out candles when adults leave the room.

    Prevent Fires Caused by Gasoline and Other Products:
  • Gasoline is very dangerous. Inside a garage or home, gasoline vapors can explode with just a tiny spark.
  • It is best not to keep any gasoline at home. If you must keep some, use a special safety container.
  • If you can, keep the container in an outdoor shed away from your home. Close all the openings.
  • Never bring or use gasoline indoors. Use it as a motor fuel only.

    Other Products
  • Read the label of everything you buy. If you see the words “Caution,” “Warning,” “Danger,” or “Flammable,” be very careful.
  • Close the lid on all dangerous products and put them away after using them.
  • Store them away in a safe place with a lock.

    Keep Your Family Safe At Home

  • Make a fire escape plan for your family. Find two exits out of every room. Pick a meeting place outside. Practice makes perfect – hold a family fire drill at least twice each year.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. There are two kinds of smoke alarms – photoelectric and ionization. If possible, get some of each kind or buy “combination” smoke alarms that have both types of sensors.
  • Put them inside or near every bedroom. Test them monthly to make sure they work. Put in new batteries once a year.
  • Know how to put out a small pan fire by sliding a lid over the flames.
  • Teach every family member to “Stop, Drop, Roll and Cool” if clothes catch fire by dropping immediately to the ground, crossing hands over your chest and rolling over and over or back and forth to put out the flames. Cool the burned area with cool water and seek medical attention for serious burns.
  • Consider having a home fire sprinkler system installed in your new home, or when you remodel.
  • Learn how and when to use a fire extinguisher.


It's wonderful to have a state-of-the-art security system protecting your home -- as long as you use it.

"Burglars have a special fondness for homeowners and business managers who neglect to arm their security devices," said Matthew De Gennaro, vice president of Staten Island, N.Y.-based Video Surveillance Corp. "Intruders appreciate any additional help people unknowingly provide to make their criminal activity easier."

De Gennaro provides these tips for protecting your family, home or business property:

  • Don't assume you know someone just because they look familiar. Potential burglars have been known to case a home while making a delivery or providing a service at the property.
  • Remember this: If a stranger uses your bathroom -- and the bathroom has a window -- it's simple to unlatch the window lock and return at a later time to burglarize the home.
  • Don't leave your children's expensive toys in the yard. To a burglar, costly kids' playthings translate to expensive grownup possessions within your home.
  • With colder months, many homeowners have begun making winter travel plans. In the event of snow, arrange to have a neighbor walk up to and away from the entryways of your home. Clean, unblemished snowdrifts in front of a house are a telltale sign to burglars that no one is home.
  • If you plan to be away, make sure you put your paper deliveries on hold; and have someone collect your mail and remove any handbills left at your door.

    "A little bit of diligence can go a long way in safeguarding your home," De Gennaro said.


Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are an important line of defense in the home, and they give consumers valuable escape time.

About two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms, or in homes where consumers have removed the alarm's batteries or where the batteries are dead. Recently, there were tragic deaths in homes where alarms could have made a difference:

  • In Citra, Fla., a fire killed five children on November 8. Their home did not have smoke alarms.
  • In Penfield, N.Y., a 54-year-old man died of CO poisoning in November. Prior to his death, the home's CO alarms reportedly beeped and were removed from the house.

CPSC and USFA recommend that in addition to having working smoke and CO alarms, consumers should follow these safety tips to prevent fires and CO poisoning:


If your CO alarm sounds check to see if it is plugged in properly, or if battery-powered, check the battery to be sure the device is operating. If you suspect that CO is leaking in your home, follow these steps from the Home Safety Council:

  • Place space heaters on a floor that is flat and level. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials; and place space heaters out of the flow of foot traffic. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • To prevent the risk of fire, NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater close to any sleeping person. Turn the heater off when you leave the area. See CPSC's electric space heater safety alert for more space heater safety tips.
  • Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater. Even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of a fire.
  • Have fireplace flues and chimneys inspected for leakage and blockage from creosote or debris every year.
  • Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire, and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
  • Store fireplace ashes in a fire-resistant container, and cover the container with a lid. Keep the container outdoors and away from combustibles. Dispose of ashes carefully, keeping them away from dry leaves, trash or other combustible materials

    Preventing CO poisoning
  • Schedule a yearly professional inspection of all fuel-burning home heating systems, including furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, water heaters, chimneys, flues and vents.
  • NEVER operate a portable gasoline-powered generator in an enclosed space, such as a garage, shed, or crawlspace, or in the home.
  • Keep portable generators as far away from your home and your neighbors' homes as possible -- away from open doors, windows or vents that could allow deadly carbon monoxide into the home.
  • When purchasing a space heater, ask the salesperson whether the heater has been safety-certified. A certified heater will have a safety certification mark. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features. An unvented gas space heater that meets current safety standards will shut off if oxygen levels fall too low.
  • Do not use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space, unless they are designed specifically for indoor use. Always follow the manufacturer's directions for proper use.
  • Never use gas or electric stoves to heat the home. They are not intended for that purpose and can pose a CO or fire hazard.


Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that is difficult to detect because it is odorless and invisible. As a result, it is known as “the silent killer.” According to the CDC, 450 people die and nearly 21,000 CO exposures occur each year.

CO is produced by fuel-burning appliances and equipment in our homes. If you have heating, cooking or power equipment that uses fuels such as oil, natural gas, coal, wood, propane, gasoline, etc., then your home is at risk for potential CO poisoning. Homes with attached garages are also at risk, because vehicles left running in the garage can cause CO to seep into the home.

CO poisoning can be prevented by proper care and use of household equipment. CO alarms can provide early detection if CO leaks or accumulation occurs. Both are important for your safety.

  • If you suspect CO poisoning in your home, call the appropriate responding agency, usually your local fire department or 9-1-1. Keep all emergency response numbers posted by every telephone.
  • CO alarms are different from smoke alarms, and have different functions. CO alarms do not provide early warning of a fire. Smoke alarms do not provide early warning of CO exposure. Your home needs both CO and smoke alarm protection.

Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to symptoms of the flu, and can include headache, dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath. To distinguish between symptoms of flu and CO poisoning -- if you feel better after leaving home and then worse again when you return, it may be CO exposure causing the symptoms.

If your CO alarm sounds check to see if it is plugged in properly, or if battery-powered, check the battery to be sure the device is operating. If you suspect that CO is leaking in your home, follow these steps from the Home Safety Council:

  • Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to symptoms of the flu, and can include headache, dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath.
  • To distinguish between symptoms of flu and CO poisoning -- if you feel better after leaving home and then worse again when you return, it may be CO exposure causing the symptoms.
  • If your CO alarm sounds check to see if it is plugged in properly, or if battery-powered, check the battery to be sure the device is operating.
  • If you suspect that CO is leaking in your home, follow these steps from the Home Safety Council:


October is National Crime Prevention Month and is a time when communities across the country raise awareness about crime and what can be done to help prevent it. Did you know that in any given year, property crimes -- including burglary -- outnumber violent crimes almost 8 to 1?

And statistics show that a burglar will spend 45 minutes deciding which home is going to be his next target but only three minutes actually burglarizing the residence.

With this in mind, the security experts at Schlage have come up with a Top 10 list of things you can do help to keep your family and home from becoming crime targets.

  • Make sure each exterior door has a solid core and is protected by a high-quality deadbolt, including the door linking the garage and house. Also, secure all windows with quality locks -- even those on the second floor.
  • Invest in a home-security system with central monitoring, and if you move into a home that already has a security system, change the entry code.
  • Keep your property well lit at night and install motion sensors on exterior lights. The last thing a burglar wants is a spotlight shining on him as he creeps up to the house. Also keep your landscaping trimmed so shrubs don't hide your windows and consider planting prickly shrubbery near windows (think holly bushes).
  • Never leave your home unlocked and don’t “hide” spare keys outside -- crooks will find them. Even better, consider installing a keypad lock on your front door so you don’t have to worry about keys. While we’re talking about the outside, remember to use a padlock or cable lock to secure gates and fences around your home.
  • Working parents with latchkey kids should consider a remote entry/home-management system that lets you use your cell phone to monitor cameras at home, unlock doors, turn lights on and off and receive text alerts when the kids come home from school.
  • If you’re going away, even for a few days, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house and collect newspapers and mail (or have deliveries stopped until you return). Also, put a few lights on timers so it looks like someone is home.
  • Don’t let your kids play alone outside or in public places.
  • Never put your child’s name on clothes, jewelry, hats, back packs and other belongings that people can readily see.
  • Teach your children to never say “I am home alone” when they answer the phone. Tell them to let the answering machine pick up or say “my mom and dad are busy and can’t come to the phone.”
  • If your child rides a bike to school, make sure he or she has a high-quality bike lock and remind him/her to attach the bike to a secure object (like a bike rack).


If a fire or other emergency happened in your workplace, would you know what to do? Planning ahead and staying calm can mean the difference between safety and injury.

"We're calling everyone to action to start thinking about fire safety not just at home, but at your place of work or any building you're in," said John Drengenberg, global consumer affairs manager at UL. "Preparation now could lead to an effective escape in the event of a fire."

UL safety professionals offer these common sense steps that should be taken now to prevent serious injury or even death in the event of a workplace emergency.


  • Know the location of the nearest fire alarm; know how to use it and be familiar with its signal.
  • Learn the location of the two nearest exits from your work area.
  • An escape in the dark might be necessary due to smoke or power failure, so count the doors, desks, work stations, etc., between your work space and the nearest exit.


  • Call 911 -- do not assume anyone else has called for help. When talking to emergency personnel, remain calm and give the dispatcher as much information as possible.
  • Never take the elevator during a fire. You may be trapped if the power goes out.
  • Feel a door handle with the back of your hand for heat, then feel the door itself, starting from the bottom and moving to the top. If the door is hot, do not open it as smoke and flames may rush into the room. If the door is cool, open it slowly and be prepared to quickly shut it if smoke or heat rushes in.
  • Leave quickly and close doors as you go to contain fire and smoke.
  • Use another exit if you encounter smoke or flame during your escape. Heat and smoke rise so cleaner air will be near the floor. Get as low as possible to the floor and move toward the exit.
  • Once outside, move away from the building and stay out until emergency personnel say it is safe.
  • If coworkers are still inside, notify the fire fighters. Do not attempt to rescue coworkers yourself once you have made it outside.


  • If you cannot escape safely, remain calm and protect yourself by closing as many doors as possible between you and the fire.
  • Seal all cracks where smoke can enter by using wet materials such as jackets, towels, etc.
  • If there is a telephone in the room where you are trapped, call the fire department emergency number and tell them exactly where you are located.
  • Wait at a window if possible and signal for help by waving an object that can be seen from a distance.
  • Open a window for air, but do not break it as you may need to close the window if smoke rushes in.
  • Try to remain patient as rescue can take several hours.


  • Conduct regular mandatory fire drills at least twice a year.
  • Post building evacuation routes throughout workplace buildings.
  • Employees with special needs should be included in the emergency planning process.
  • Fire exits and doorways should never be blocked or locked. Promptly report any signs of malfunction or blockage to building management.
  • Commercial buildings are constructed with fire-resistive materials that repel fire spread, allowing occupants greater time to evacuate. Ultimately, fire safety, whether at home or the workplace, should be practiced by everyone.


False alarms not only negatively impact on your home and personal life, but they also affect your security provider and the community. False alarm fees can cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. It can also create dissatisfaction with your system, as well as the security provider. Additionally, police resources across the country are limited, and should never be wasted. Thousands of police and fire patrol hours are spent investigating alarm reports that turn out to be false.

You can take several steps to reduce false alarms. The first is to identify their causes.

For homeowners, some of the common causes are:

  • Using incorrect keypad codes.
  • Failing to train authorized users.
  • Failure to secure doors and windows once the alarm is turned on.
  • Wandering pets.
  • Re-entering the home just after leaving without disarming (assuming the exit delay is long enough to compensate.)
  • Objects hanging by or around motion detectors.
  • Weak system batteries.
  • Faulty equipment.
  • Acts of nature (strong winds, electrical storms, etc.)
  • False alarms due to faulty equipment or acts of nature are rare. The single largest cause of false alarms are human error.

    Once the causes are identified, some basic steps should help reduce false alarms:
  • Properly train all users (e.g., babysitters, relatives, children, visitors, etc.)
  • Secure doors and windows before turning on alarm.
  • Inform the monitoring center of new pass codes and arming codes, and new or removed authorized users.
  • Service and maintain the system (including batteries) properly.
  • If there is a question as to whether or not the system is working properly, immediately contact the security provider to check the status of the system and devices.


Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning.

  • Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm. This is a great way to get children involved in fire safety in a non-threatening way.
  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code® requires interconnected smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
  • Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
  • Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
  • Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cellular phone once safely outside.
  • If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency.
  • If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won't compromise your security - but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
  • Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family's fire escape plan. When staying overnight at other people's homes, ask about their escape plan. If they don't have a plan in place, offer to help them make one. This is especially important when children are permitted to attend "sleepovers" at friends' homes. See NFPA's "Sleepover fire safety for kids" fact sheet.
  • Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately. Residents of high-rise and apartment buildings may be safer "defending in place."
  • Once you're out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.


Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible.

  • Make arrangements in your plan for anyone in your home who has a disability.
  • Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.
  • It's important to determine during the drill whether children and others can readily waken to the sound of the smoke alarm. If they fail to awaken, make sure that someone is assigned to wake them up as part of the drill and in a real emergency situation.
  • If your home has two floors, every family member (including children) must be able to escape from the second floor rooms. Escape ladders can be placed in or near windows to provide an additional escape route. Review the manufacturer's instructions carefully so you'll be able to use a safety ladder in an emergency. Practice setting up the ladder from a first floor window to make sure you can do it correctly and quickly. Children should only practice with a grown-up, and only from a first-story window. Store the ladder near the window, in an easily accessible location. You don't want to have to search for it during a fire.
  • Always choose the escape route that is safest -- the one with the least amount of smoke and heat -- but be prepared to escape under toxic smoke if necessary. When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to your exit.
    Closing doors on your way out slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.
  • In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice "sealing yourself in for safety" as part of your home fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in. If possible, open your windows at the top and bottom so fresh air can get in. Call the fire department to report your exact location. Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.



According to a variety of studies, businesses lose between $2 billion and $4 billion a year to their competitors. The losses are the result of a competitor’s learning the business secrets of others, many times through underhanded means.

Lock up and secure sensitive information and control access to these locked files. Safeguard your computer network via firewalls and a password-protected system, which is changed frequently.

Backup business information and store at a remote server or have a copy of this in a secured second location.

Purchase and use portable shredders for your discarded sensitive documents and watch closely what winds up in your trash. If you have a large amount of documents to be discarded, consider a commercial shredding company.


Locks and keys are the basic safeguards of any business. They are the first layer of security.

The type of lock and key system you have will be governed by how much security you need and your budget. Even the best system will fail if it’s not managed correctly.

Keys can be lost or stolen, so a system in which keys are marked “DO NOT DUPLICATE,” is a good investment. A numbered system, which can be audited and updated, will ensure good key accountability.

When employees leave the company or a key is lost you should consider changing locks and keys. Remember, locks and keys are useless if not properly controlled.



In the winter or when working later hours, it’s not uncommon to arrive or leave in the dark. These employees can be susceptible to safety issues or criminal attack.

Employees often walk to their cars after work with things on their minds or are preoccupied and fail to be alert or pay attention to their surroundings. While walking to a vehicle an employee should be aware of what is happening around them and return to a safe place if uncomfortable.

If possible, leave in groups and wear brightly colored clothing to improve visibility. Another consideration would be to carry items such as pepper spray, a whistle or battery powered personal alarm device.


In the winter or when working later hours, it’s not uncommon to arrive or leave in the dark. These employees can be susceptible to safety issues or criminal attack.

Employees often walk to their cars after work with things on their minds or are preoccupied and fail to be alert or pay attention to their surroundings. While walking to a vehicle an employee should be aware of what is happening around them and return to a safe place if uncomfortable.

If possible, leave in groups and wear brightly colored clothing to improve visibility. Another consideration would be to carry items such as pepper spray, a whistle or battery powered personal alarm device.



Statistics (and common sense) show that doors and windows are the most frequent points of attack in a burglary.

Make sure all doors and windows have the proper structural integrity and that they are closed and locked properly. More often than not, thefts or other incidents occur simply because a door or window is left unlocked.

Check to see that large objects such as rocks, planters, ashtrays, tools, etc. are not located by entry points. These items could be picked up and used to break open a door or window. Secure items inside such as ladders and hand tools that could be used to gain access to windows or the roof.

If your location has a security fence, make sure that vehicles aren’t parked directly next to it (including inside the fence) providing criminals with cover to cut the fence or an easy platform to use in climbing over the fence.

(from State Farm Insurance)

You know it's important to install smoke alarms in your home. But you may not know that the kind of sensor in your smoke alarm makes a difference in what kind of fire it's best at detecting.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are two main categories of sensors in smoke alarms: ionization and photoelectric. Alarms with ionization sensors contain two plates that generate a small, continuous electric current. When smoke enters, it disrupts the current flow, setting off the alarm. Ionization sensors respond quickly to hot, flaming fires.

Photoelectric detectors rely on light beams and light receptors (photocells). When smoke gets between the beam and receptor, the change in light on the photocell triggers the alarm. Photoelectric sensors respond quickly to cooler, smoldering fires.

While both types of alarms meet safety standards, a third kind—a dual-sensor smoke alarm—combines both ionization and photoelectric sensors in one unit for more universal smoke detection. Some states now require that new homes be outfitted with dual-sensor smoke alarms. Though dual-sensor smoke alarms generally cost more than models with only ionization or photoelectric detectors, the added cost is small compared to the potentially life-saving benefit of detecting different types of fires quickly.

For added protection, consider purchasing smoke alarms that can be interconnected, so that when one alarm is triggered, all the others sound, as well. This can provide greater peace of mind in a home with multiple levels and/or widely separated rooms. Traditionally, interconnected alarms had to be linked by wiring, but newer models allow wireless connectivity.



Each year, fires take lives and burn numerous structures resulting in mounting costs that have an enormous impact on families, communities and businesses. Fires also have devastating impacts on the environment and wildlife.

The International Code Council Foundation offers fire safety and awareness tips.

•  More than half (55 percent) of home fires caused by candles start because the candle is too close to combustible materials. If you burn candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.

•  Plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.

•  Smoke alarms should be installed inside each sleeping room/bedroom, outside of sleeping rooms/bedrooms and on each level of your house. Test your smoke alarms each month and change the batteries at least once a year

•  Purchase an ABC type extinguisher for putting out all types of fires. Fire extinguishers should be mounted in the kitchen, garage and workshop to put out small fires. If there is a large fire, get out immediately and call 911 or your local emergency number.

• When lighting a gas fireplace or gas space heater, strike your match first, then turn on the gas.


Increasingly, businesses are allowing their employees to telecommute and entrepreneurs are running businesses from their homes. Offices are standard in many homes today and are equipped with the latest in computers, scanners, printers, faxes, and other expensive equipment.Remember, it is important to secure yourself and your equipment when you’re working from home.

The National Crime Prevention Council offers home office safety tips.

• Install solid doors and good deadbolt locks on all exterior doors -- and use them.

• Hang window treatments that obstruct the view into your office. You don’t want to advertise what equipment you have.

• Consider installing motion-sensored lighting that will come on if someone is walking around your yard.

Keep bushes and trees trimmed so that you can see into your yard and neighbors can see your house.
Install a wide-angle viewer in the door of your home office if it is detached from the main house.

Look into an alarm system. A basic system can be purchased for less than $100, plus a monthly monitoring fee.

• Keep a cellular phone handy.

• When meeting a client for the first time, arrange to meet in a public place, such as a coffee shop or the library—not your home.
Let someone know when and with whom you have appointments.
Review your insurance policy -- almost all policies require an extra rider to cover a home office. In the event something does happen, you want to be covered.

• Mark your equipment with identification numbers and keep an updated inventory list (with photos, if possible) in a home safe or a bank safe deposit box. It’s a good idea to keep back-ups of your work in a secure, separate location as well.

• Use the same caution with deliveries as businesses do. Anyone making a delivery to your home office should be properly identified before you open the door. Do not let the person enter your home.



Often there is an increase in residential burglary and theft in the warm weather months. At times, we leave our windows open for ventilation when we are not home. In a vast number of summertime burglaries, the burglar gains entry through an opened or unlocked door or window.

We also see an increase in theft of personal property, because there is a tendency to leave items, such as bicycles, unattended at parks.

The Seattle Police Department offers summertime security tips.

•  Most of these thefts can be prevented just by giving things a second thought, rather than just "leaving them for a second."

Home Security

•  When you are away from home, close and lock your doors and windows. If you want to leave windows open enough for ventilation, but not wide enough for someone to gain entry, use a dowel for sliding glass windows cut to allow the window to open no more than 4”. For double hung windows, consider sash pins. Some windows have stops installed on the inside track, which will also prevent the window from being opened to far.

Yard Work
•  Don't make it easy for the burglar! Make sure even if you are just running for a quick trip or working outside that you don't leave your doors unlocked or visibly opened.

•  When working in the yard in the back of the home, do not leave the front door open and/or unlocked.

• If you have a garage or storage unit that is out of your line of sight while you are working in the yard, be mindful of what are you showing in plain view to anyone who may be walking or driving by.

• Gardening tools, lawnmowers, other yard tools, ladders… all tend to be stolen more in warm weather months. Make sure you lock them up in the garage, shed, etc.

Heat In Cars

• Remember to NEVER leave pets unattended in a hot vehicle with the windows rolled up. If you leave a pet in a car, roll the windows down enough for ventilation and provide a dish of water. Better to leave the pet at home rather than in a sweltering car.

• Children SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT UNATTENDED in cars, even for a short time.


Families should decide on at least two emergency escape routes from a home and should teach children how to escape safely through windows and practice this, because windows "provide one of the fastest, easiest alternative ways out of a burning residence," it says. Every family member should know how to operate the windows used for fire emergencies, and everyone should be able to get out through a window at all times without using tools, keys, special knowledge, or significant effort.

The message includes a reminder about burglar bars, grates, and window guards. "When youngsters are around, close and latch your windows. If you need ventilation, only open windows they cannot reach. Be sure to keep furniture -- or anything children can climb -- away from windows. And teach your children not to play near windows. And finally, never depend on insect screens to prevent falls. Insect screens are designed only to provide ventilation. They will not support the weight of a child or prevent their fall," it says.

It list nine tips:

The National Crime Prevention Council offers home office safety tips.

• Windows provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. Determine your family's emergency escape plan and practice it. Remember that children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire. Help them learn to safely use a window under these circumstances.

• When performing household repairs, make sure windows are not painted or nailed shut. You must be able to open them to escape in an emergency.

• Keep your windows closed and latched when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows that a child cannot reach.

• Keep furniture -— or anything children can climb -— away from windows. Children may use such objects as a climbing aid.

If you have young children in your home and are considering installing window guards or window fall prevention devices, be aware that the window guards you install must have a release mechanism so that they can be opened for escape in a fire emergency. Consult your local building code officials to determine proper window guard placement.

• Some homes have window guards, security bars, grilles, or grates covering windows. Those windows can be useless in an emergency if they do not have a functioning release mechanism. Test them today because time is critical when escaping a fire.

• Do not install window unit air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape or rescue in an emergency. The air conditioning unit could block or impede escape through the window. Always be sure that you have at least one window in each sleeping and living area that meets escape and rescue requirements.

• The degree of injury sustained from a window fall can be affected by the surface on which the victim falls. Shrubs and soft edging like wood chips or grass beneath windows may lessen the impact if a fall does occur.



Do the Smoke Alarm Audit:
Do an audit of your home’s smoke alarms. (If you don’t have UL listed smoke alarms, make a plan to install them on each level of the home, especially near sleeping areas). Check placement: Smoke rises, so smoke alarms should be located on a ceiling or high on a wall.

Alarms mounted on the ceiling should be at least four inches away from the nearest wall and those mounted on walls should be four to twelve inches down from the ceiling. Test your alarms and be sure that they can be heard in bedrooms even when the doors are closed. If not, install smoke alarms in the bedrooms. Make sure that your kids know what the alarms sound like. Replace alarms that are older than 10 years and replace any alarm that has been painted over.

Make Extinguishers Handy:
Be sure that you have at least one or more UL listed fire extinguishers in your home. An ABC-type extinguisher is a good all-purpose choice for fires in the home. Check the gauge located on the extinguisher to see if it needs to be replaced or recharged. Also be sure that the fire extinguisher is in an easily accessible location. Remember that fire extinguishers are not designed to fight large or spreading fires.

Your number one priority is to have an escape plan and to get out safely. If the fire is small and contained and the room is not filled with smoke, get everyone out and call the fire department; then, you may use the fire extinguisher to control the fire.

Talk Prevention with Your Kids:
Talk to your kids about how they can prevent fires. Children under age five are especially curious about fire and need to start learning about the tremendous danger.

Take the mystery out of fire and make sure that your kids know the following safety tips:

• Never play with matches, lighters or candles.

• Never play with electrical cords and never put anything in a socket.

• Blankets or clothes should never be thrown on top of lamps.

• Don’t turn up a heater without a grown-up’s permission.

• If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll.

Look at Your Home From Your Child’s Perspective:
Think about how your child sees potential fire hazards in your home by getting down on your hands and knees with them and taking a look around. See any dangling cords that could cause a problem if pulled? Enticing heaters or other appliances? Make adjustments to your home according to what you find.

Avoid Overloading Sockets and Cords:
Do a walk-through of your home. If you see sockets with too many cords plugged in or even too many extension cords around the house, it may be time to have extra outlets installed by a professional. Always pay attention to the acceptable wattage for cords and lamps. Also look for extension cords that are “tacked up” or run under a rug as these could be a real fire hazard for kids and adults.

Tips: What Intruders Don't Want You To Know (from

Our lagging economy has spurred a dramatic increase in burglaries and home invasions across the country, with agencies reporting an increase in 2010 after falling for a number of years. What is especially troubling is that these crimes have increased in the suburbs and small towns – places where it rarely happened before.

The numbers reflect what we have been hearing from listeners all over the country. The bad economy has caused an increase in crime and it is happening everywhere,” said home security expert, Alan Young.

Over the past three months, Young has conducted nearly 100 radio interviews, giving listeners tips on how not to become victims of a growing burglary and home invasion epidemic. Young is CEO of Armor Concepts LLC and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, The Today Show, and The Discovery Channel, as well as numerous local news segments.

Young’s common sense approach to home security, which focuses on economical ways to keep from becoming a victim, has suddenly made him a very popular guest for radio show hosts. “It was really interesting to hear his common sense approach to security. I know that it made me think, especially the part about alarm systems, “ said Georgianne Kiricoples, host of the “Breaking Through” radio show.

According to Young, there are three keys to making sure that your home is secure.

The first is simple: “Use some common sense. Don’t post vacation plans on Facebook and don’t post vacation photos while still on vacation. Many burglaries are committed by someone you know or by someone connected to someone you know. Letting the world know that you’re not home is an easy way to become a target.

”The second key is to make your home a less attractive target than your neighbor’s home. Sounds crazy, but according to Young, “If you and your neighbor are being chased by a dog, you don’t need to be faster than the dog, just your neighbor. Make your home a less attractive target and thieves will go somewhere else – unless you have something that they really want.” Steps to making your home less attractive to burglars include cutting shrubs and properly lighting the inside and outside of your home.

The third key is to secure the exterior of your home. “Most people think about home alarm systems as home security. An alarm simply tells you that someone is inside your house and police response times are often greater than 20 minutes. A home alarm is the equivalent of having OnStar in your car.

Would you not buckle your seat belt because OnStar will call the police after you have an accident? Alarms are a good addition to your home’s security but 85 percent of all break-ins are through a door. Secure your doors and you greatly increase your likelihood of success against a burglar.”.

For door security, Young recommends a kit that reinforces the jamb, locks and hinges on an exterior entry door. The kit can be installed in about 30 minutes by a do-it-yourselfer and is guaranteed to help prevent kick-ins. He also recommends upgrading your deadbolt to an ANSI certified Grade 1 lock.

“Security does not need to cost a lot, it just needs to work. Anyone that tells you otherwise is taking you for a ride. With a little common sense and a little effort you can effectively secure your home,” Young said.



Links in this section:

Using Fire Extinguishers

Reduce Fire in your home

Protect your Home from Burglars

Home Heating Safety

Protect Against Carbon Monoxide

10 Tips to Keep Your Home & Family Safe

Workplace Emergency Tips

Eliminate False Alarms

Basic Fire Escape Planning

Putting Your Fire Escape Plan to a test

Document Security

Key Control

Closing Procedures

Arriving at or Leaving Work

Perimeter Security

Alarm Advice

Fire Safety Awareness

Home Office Safety

Summertime Security

Window Safety Tips

Five Tips Stopping Five

What Intruders don't Want you to know