Thanksgiving Dinner Safety Tips

Did you know that Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires? According to the National Fire Protection Association, 1,630 home cooking fires were reported on Thanksgiving in 2018 alone! In most instances, the kitchen was left unattended while food was cooking.

At American Security, we believe there is no margin for error when it comes to life safety. Here are our top kitchen fire safety tips to keep in mind this Thanksgiving: 

  1. Never leave the stove unattended. If you are cooking anything— frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food— make sure to supervise the food. If you are going to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove. Often, fires can start in an instant. If you’re not there to manage it, you put your house at serious risk.
  2. Keep the cooking space clean. If anything surrounding the cooking area is highly combustible, you make the potential for a fire much more dangerous. When cooking this Thanksgiving, make sure to keep the cooking area tidy and free of combustible materials like papers, packaging, flammable liquids, oven mitts, towels, or anything else.
  3. Keep children out of the kitchen as much as you can. Children tend to be clumsy and move things around. The kitchen is full of potentially dangerous apparatus that should only be operated by adults. To ensure the kitchen is at its lowest risk for burning and fire potential, make it a kid-free zone!
  4. Don’t let pot handles stick out. If you have food cooking on the stove, make sure all pot handles are turned inward towards the back of the stove and out of the way of traffic. This makes them less likely to be run into or improperly grabbed by any children that might roam the kitchen.
  5. Practice traditional fire safety. That’s right! Teach the household the importance of stop, drop, and roll! Additionally, keep a fire extinguisher on hand and consider investing in a fire-smothering blanket or prepping your house for easy access around cooking time for the holidays. It’s better to be safe than sorry. 
  6. Dress for kitchen safety. Loose-fitting clothing is a fire hazard! Don’t risk catching aflame and make sure to wear form-fitting clothing and close-toed shoes when cooking in the kitchen, especially where there are open flames present. 
  7. Don’t drink and cook! Around the holidays, it’s traditional to get festive and have a drink or two. Make sure to stay sober when you are cooking and preparing meals, and save the drinking for later. Using kitchen appliances while inebriated is a huge fire safety risk.

If you’re a building manager in NYC, you might find it helpful to share these tips with your tenants. You’ll also need to ensure that in the event of a fire, your building is fire-code compliant and that your ARCS system is properly installed.

If you live in an apartment make sure you follow these apartment-specific fire safety tips: 

  • Make sure each unit has a smoke alarm that works.
  • Each apartment should have a carbon monoxide detector. (Fire code dictates a detector within 15 feet of the doorway to a sleeping area).
  • Throw away frayed or damaged electric cords that may pose a fire risk.
  • Prohibiting the use of highly flammable materials being stored in apartments like gasoline or high quantities of ethanol.
  • Keeping space heaters away from combustible materials.
  • Keeping the fire escape window easy to access.
  • Make sure building stairways are clear for fires!

This Thanksgiving, the team at American Security encourages families everywhere to enjoy the holidays safely. Follow these tips to practice utmost fire safety in the home and prevent getting burned. 

Looking for tangible fire solutions in your building? Check out our fire safety solutions here. To learn more about our CCTV, Virtual Doorman, Building Security, and full-service security systems, please contact us

Fire Safety Tips for Fall

Fall has fallen! With the turn of the season, it is important to protect your family and property from all of the fire hazards associated with autumn. 

Here are some of American Security’s top fire safety tips for the fall:

  1. Be extra careful with your candles

Autumn is a great time to light up those pumpkin pie-fragranced candles! But, candles are some of the most frequent causes of house fires. This season, make sure to exercise caution with your candles by always setting them on sturdy surfaces away from other flammable objects, lighting them only when attended, and blowing them out when you leave the house. You can also consider flameless alternatives like oil diffusers and plugin fragrances for a fire-safe way to make your home smell festive.

  1. Check on your furnace

With cooler weather comes a cooler household. Before you start turning on the heat, make sure to call your heating company to do a regulatory check-up on your furnace. Any leaks or damages can put your house in danger!

  1. Make sure your smoke alarms are working properly

This year when you’re changing your clocks for Daylight Savings, make sure to also swap out the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. And don’t forget to check and replace your fire extinguishers if need be. 

  1. Exercise caution with your fireplace

Want to make your living room extra cozy by lighting up the fireplace? Make sure to exercise extra caution. Make sure your fireplace is contained and that no extraneous flammable materials are close by. Consider investing in a fire-smothering blanket in the event that a fire spreads. Never leave a lit fireplace unattended and double-check that the embers are completely extinguished before going to sleep.

  1. Don’t burn those leaves

Burning your raked leaves isn’t only a fire hazard, it’s potentially cancer-causing! According to the Environmental Protection Agency, burning fall leaves releases carcinogenic chemicals. If you do choose to burn your leaves, be sure to see that the weather is not too windy and can be done in a secure area away from a house or other flammable materials.

All in all, fall is a wonderful time to enjoy all things fragrant and festive, though it does come with its seasonal risks. At American Security, we believe there is no margin for error when it comes to life safety, so we highly recommend you take these fire prevention measures to enjoy a festive and fire-free fall!

Learn about our fire protection services here: https://americansecurity.com/#fire

About American Security

At American Security, we believe in keeping you, your business, and your family safe at every level. We are proud to be the New York area’s top choice for multi-tiered security since 1979. 

Explore our security solutions

Checklist: How to Protect Your Home When You Return To The Office

As we get ready to return to normalcy and make our way back into the office, there is no better time to ensure our homes are secure and our families and valuables are protected. 

If you’ve been working from home for a while now, there is a good chance some of the habits you used to have to make sure your home is safe need some refreshing! We’ve provided a quick checklist to use before you leave home for work so you can have peace of mind while you sit through all of those in-person meetings we know you missed so much!

Going to Work Checklist:

  • All exterior doors are locked
  • All windows and sliding glass doors are closed and secure
  • Outdoor valuables are locked in a shed or covered and locked in place
  • Door leading from the garage to the house is locked
  • Security system is on and activated 
    • Need a building security system? Take a look at our Security Solutions to find the best for you. Need help or have any additional questions? Contact us!
  • Garage door is closed all the way

In addition to reinforcing your daily security habits, we suggest that all home security measures are audited several times a year. (PRO TIP: A good time to do this is at the change of each season as many security measures are seasonal!)

We’ve also put together a comprehensive home security checklist to guide you in your preparations for making sure everything you care for is safe and secure.

Home Security Checklist:

  1. Exterior Doors
  • All exterior doors are made from solid hardwood or metal-clad
  • All doors and entryways have a sturdy deadbolt
  • Any glass panels in doors are reinforced
  • Spare keys are kept with a trusted neighbor – NOT under a doormat/planter
  • All exterior doors have bright, working lights to illuminate visitors
  1. Windows and Sliding Doors
  • All windows have a lock or can be securely pinned
  • All windows have blinds or curtains that can be closed
  • All sliding doors have strong, working locks
  • All sliding doors have dowels or pins to secure them in place
  1. Outdoor Security
  • Shrubs and bushes are regularly trimmed so there is no place to hide
  • Potential dark areas around the house or yard are adequately illuminated
    • Use floodlights when necessary!
  • Outdoor lights are scheduled to be on in the evening
    • Use photocell or motion-sensitive lighting whenever possible
  • Address/house number is clearly displayed for emergency response
  1. Personal Property and Outdoor Valuables
  • Entrances to the garage/gate latches are lockable
    • Door leading from the garage to the house is solid hardwood or metal-clad w/ deadbolt
  • Shed doors are lockable with high-security, laminated padlocks
  • All valuables (grills, mowers, bicycles, etc.) are locked in a shed or covered and locked in place
  • Any firearms are stored unloaded and locked in storage boxes and secured with trigger guard locks
  • Valuables such as TVs and computers are inscribed with an identifying number approved by local police
  • A complete home inventory of all valuables is up-to-date and includes pictures

About American Security

At American Security, we believe in keeping you, your business, and your family safe at every level. We are proud to be the New York area’s top choice for multi-tiered security since 1979. 

Explore our security solutions

How to Prevent Burglars From Choosing Your Home

We hear about people experiencing break-ins all the time. When a burglar decides to break into a home, there’s a chance they will find a way to do it. While having a security system in place has been known to deter burglars from homes, that’s not always the case.  It is a lot easier to discourage burglars than it is to stop them after they’ve targeted your home. 

Here are a few preventative measures you can take to ensure your home won’t be targeted. 

  1. Lighting 

Lighting is key. When intruders are looking for their target home, they usually gravitate more towards properties that are not brightly lit. Having a dimly lit yard or poor lighting makes it hard for passersby or your neighbors to see what might be going on. Ensuring that you have bright lighting around your home will deter intruders from targeting your home. 

  1. Hide Your Boxes/Valuables

Whether you just bought a new TV or something else of high value, be careful where you dispose of its packaging. A lot of people don’t think about unboxing a new TV and what might happen if they put the box in front of their home to get rid of. This is giving intruders a direct link to what they can find inside your home. Be wary of what you showcase, whether it’s inside your home, visible through your windows, or packaging on the curb in front of your home. 

  1. Secure Points of Entry 

The most common way for a burglar to enter your home is through your windows. With this in mind, you should focus on securing all points of entry of your home. Always make sure you are keeping your windows firmly latched and your doors locked at night. Burglars have an eye for being able to tell when locks are cheap, or if the windows of your home are easily accessible.

  1. Home Security System

If you don’t already have a security system installed, you should consider getting one. Home security systems not only act as a deterrent to intruders, but they also alert the authorities in the case that an incident does occur. Taking preventative measures when it comes to home security is crucial. The safety of your home and family are not worth putting off. Take a look at our Security Solutions to find the best for you. Need help or have any additional questions? Contact us

About American Security

At American Security, we believe in keeping you, your business, and your family safe at every level. We are proud to be the New York area’s top choice for multi-tiered security since 1979. 

Explore our security solutions

5 Tips For Improving Your Commercial Building Security

Whether you run a small business, a large commercial operation, or a mid-sized warehouse, threat to security is always a concern. If you own a commercial building, it’s important that you don’t leave its security up to chance. It’s crucial that you secure your commercial building and take steps to prevent any possible break-ins.

Be proactive; don’t wait for something to happen before taking the necessary steps. Follow these tips to maximize your security and your safety.

Install a Monitored Alarm System
The first thing you can do to improve the security of a commercial building is to install a security alarm system that is monitored 24/7. In order to prevent break-ins and burglaries, having a monitored alarm system is essential.

Install Video Surveillance
Keep track of anyone entering your building at various times and points with CCTV or closed-circuit television. CCTV’s are video cameras used to observe an area, connected to a recording device or IP Network, and monitored in a control room. With American Security’s security monitoring systems, we install color digital cameras or state-of-the-art digital video recorders with storage up to a month or longer. Retrieve your surveillance footage almost instantly at any time. Learn more here.

Upgrade Your Lighting
Yes, upgrading your lighting is considered a security boost. Having strong, up-to-date lighting allows you to light up any dim areas as much as possible so that any suspicious activity is hard to miss. Installing lighting with motion detectors adds another layer of security to your building. Make sure your building’s walkways, doorways, windows, and parking areas are adequately lit.

Access Control Systems
Access control systems are a form of keyless entry. With an access control system, you no longer have to worry about who needs a key to get into your building. It also allows people to easily enter the right buildings and offices, without concern of a security breach. Many forms of access control are available to fit the needs of you and your building.

Increase Security in Parking Areas
Parking lots or areas of commercial buildings usually get overlooked when it comes to safety and security measures. However, it is important to keep these areas in mind when improving or evaluating your security. Increasing security in your parking lots will ensure the safety of your employees, not only when they are in your building, but on your property as well. Thieves or muggers use parking lots as a common area to wait for their victims. They may also find an opportunity to break into vehicles. Try adding extra personnel security and security cameras.

Follow these commercial building security tips to ensure the safety of your building. To learn more about American Security’s security solutions, visit our website at https://americansecurity.com/#products.

About American Security
At American Security, we believe in keeping you, your business, and your family safe at every level. We are proud to be the New York area’s top choice for multi-tiered security since 1979.
Explore our security solutions

Essential Home Security Tips and Best Practices

It is never pleasant to consider, but a burglary takes place every 25.7 seconds. If we zoom out to the totality of the situation, the latest FBI burglary statistics estimate that there were 7,196,045 property crimes committed in 2018 and those victims suffered losses at an estimated $16.4 billion. Whether you have just moved into a new home or have been at your residence for many years, it is always a good idea to assess your home’s security and strive to make your home & family safer. Our security experts have put together 3 best practices to help secure your residence.

1. Lock Your Doors, Sliding Doors & Windows

This may be simple in concept, but to this day, about 30% of all burglars gain access to a dwelling through an unlocked entry point such a door, window, or balcony.  So whether you put a sticky note by the front door or set a reminder on your phone, lock all your doors and windows before leaving. A few other tips to enforce security around your main entry points are:

  • Install sensors for your sliding doors & windows
  • Go old school and secure your sliding glass door with a dowel 
  • Plant bushes under your first-floor windows 
  • Don’t forget the garage – install a home automation system and never leave the garage unlocked ever again

2. Set Up a Security System

A home is 33% less likely to be broken into if there is a visible home security system in place. To choose a system you feel comfortable with, evaluate the vulnerabilities in your home and neighborhood. Check out the latest crime statistics in your neighborhood or call your local police department and ask questions. When choosing your home security system, keep these factors in mind: 

  • Customer service and brand reputation
  • Extra monitoring capabilities like smoke and fire protection
  • Sensor capability for doors, windows, and other entryways
  • Does the system come with security cameras?
  • Does the company have access to 24/7/365 central station approved by the New York City Fire Department?  \

3. Secure Your Wifi

Having a cute Wi-Fi name like “ILoveMyWifi” is wonderful and may make your home feel cozy, but in this day and age, considering the technology and how connected everything is, you may be giving criminals direct access to your home. Here are a few tips to secure your Wi-Fi network from cybercriminals:

  • Enable Encryption and Two Factor Authentication 
  • Rename and hide your network 
  • Create passwords that are as strong as a fortress 
  • Use a firewall 

At American Security, we believe in keeping you, your property, and your family safe at every level. We offer advanced and customizable home security options from video surveillance to fire alarms and beyond. American Security is proud to be the New York area’s top choice for multi-tiered security since 1979. Give us a call today to speak with an expert and experience the American Security difference.Visit our website at www.americansecurity.com or contact us to learn more about our solutions today.

Is your NYC building prepared for an active shooter situation? Protect yourself.

In this changing world, it’s important to be proactive and know how to keep your building safe in the event of an active shooter situation.

Active shooter training is becoming a regular part of the life safety training given to corporate and government employees, tenants in buildings, and schools. In New York City, all high-rise office buildings are required to have Fire Safety and Emergency Action Plans and regular drills. Stay prepared and stay safe. As a building manager, you’re not going to want to risk what can happen if you’re not careful – follow our tips to keeping your building safe if there is ever an active shooter in your building.

Here’s how to keep your building’s residents protected in the event of an active shooter situation:

NYC’s official active shooter protocol is the following – Avoid. Barricade. And if absolutely necessary, though this is rarely necessary if you do A and B…confront. In other words – run. If you can’t run, hide, and if you can’t hide…fight.

When fleeing an active shooter, your tenants will need to be aware of all building exits and the fastest way to get to those exits. This is why drills are important. Keep in mind that in an active shooter situation, most people won’t want to leave because 1) they’re paralyzed by fear, 2) they’ve let the normalcy bias take over (those aren’t gunshots – fireworks, maybe?), or 3) they think hiding should be their first course of action. Running, with hands visibly in the air for any law enforcement on premises, is the most important line of action and tenants should be trained to do so with regular drills.

Once safe, tenants must call 911 without assuming somebody else already has.

However, in the event that tenants are not able to escape, they will need to barricade themselves in a secure location from the shooter. A locked door is the most effective way of barricading yourself from an active shooter.  Active shooters look for easy victims and rarely attempt to penetrate a locked door. Advise tenants to turn lights off and put phones on silent so as to not draw any attention to their location.

Keep your building protected with the following tools:

  • Burglar Alarms: Do you have burglar alarms installed? A burglar alarm makes sense for any location, no matter what the size and can be life-saving in a critical time like this one.
  • Proper Access Control: The number 1 deterrent to an active shooter is simple – a locked door. Active shooters will rarely go out of their way to break a door in, they will simply move on. Lock your doors! American Security offers a wide variety of access control solutions from proximity, biometric, fingerprint, to all-in-one smart-card readers. Systems can range from 1 to 65,000 users, and 1 to 1,000 doors.
  • Central Station Monitoring: Make sure your security provider offers central station monitoring. Highly trained operators rapidly handle fire, burglary, and other alarm signals with our central station monitoring. American Security contracts with a Central Station that is both UL listed and New York City Fire Department approved.

Stay safe, New York. Avoid. Barricade. Confront.

Is your building covered? It is if you’re with American Security – #WeHaveYouCovered.

When it comes to life safety, there is no margin for error. That’s why our customers have been relying on American Security to protect their homes, businesses, and facilities since 1979. We have been installing monitoring and maintaining security, fire and interactive video systems throughout the tristate area and specialize in commercial and multi-family housing applications.

Visit our website at www.americansecurity.com or contact us to learn more about our solutions today.

Never a Dull Moment At SSI Summit for Seth Barcus

This week, our Director of Security and Interactive Services, Seth Barcus  was interviewed by Total Tech Summit about why he thinks the SSI summit has become a must-attend event.  The Security Sales & Integration Summit will host 135 security integrators for 2.5 days of idea and best practice sharing, market information and high-quality engagements with sponsoring companies. Seth began attending the event 2 years ago, and plans to keep on coming as long as the event continues!

The networking aspect of the event offers tremendous value to Seth as well as hearing from successful CEOs and learning about what they’ve done to bring their companies forward. “That stuff is priceless”, he says.

“For me, bringing the knowledge outside of our industry into our industry and making sure we’re all up on what’s going on around us and what will seep into our business was tremendous.”

Seth Barcus, Director of Security and Interactive Services,
American Security

You can view the full article here.

American Security Systems | Employee Spotlight | Sean O’Neill

Sean O’Neill, CEO of American Security

At American Security, we know our people are our most valuable asset. Each month we recognize a member of our team for their outstanding contributions to our organization in our American Security Employee Spotlight. This month we’re honoring our forward-thinking, innovative leader and CEO, Sean O’Neil.

Sean is an exemplary leader and inspiration to us all here at American Security. Don’t just take our word for it – Check out New York Real Estate Journal’s bio of him below: 

Check out  New York Real Estate Journal’s interview with Sean O’Neill.

Sean O’Neill, CEO of American Security Systems, sat down with the New York Real Estate Journal for a Question & Answer session.

O’Neill joined the team at American Security as CEO in 2015 after acquiring the business from its founder, Larry Dolin. Ihad positioned myself as the ‘next generation buyer,’ seeking a well-established security business with a legacy to carry forward. Since its founding in 1979, American has become one of the largest independent providers of interactive security and fire services in the tristate region.

O’Neill spent most of his career on Wall Street, investing in and growing businesses in North America before deciding to pursue his dream of owning and operating a business.  In late 2013, nearing the completion of an MBA program at INSEAD, he raised seed capital from a group of entrepreneurs to finance a search to buy the right business. After nearly two years and countless emails, letters, phone calls, and meetings, he accomplished what he set out to do.

Upon completing the acquisition of American, O’Neill relocated back to New York with his wife, Julia, of ten years and their three daughters.

 

Thanks for reading this week’s American Security Employee Spotlight. Stay tuned for more.