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

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. 

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4 Important Fire Safety Measures For Apartment Buildings

Even though an apartment building and a private home have the same amount of risk of experiencing a fire, the apartment buildings’ proximity to each other makes fires much more dangerous. Fire, heat, and smoke can travel throughout the entire building, putting all occupants of the building at risk. 

Owners of residential apartment buildings with three or more units are required by the New York City Fire Code to establish a fire safety plan that includes fundamental fire safety advice as well as information regarding the structure, such as the kind of construction, fire protection systems, and emergency exits. 

Here are a few tips that can prevent fires in apartment buildings: 

  1. Maintain at least one smoke and carbon monoxide detector in each unit

NYC law requires the installation and maintenance of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. 

  1. Make sure all fire escapes are clear and unobstructed

Each fire-escape must be accessible through one or more exterior doors or windows that open from the room, apartment, or suite, with a clear width of two feet or more and a clear height of two feet six inches or more. Any such window’s sill must be within three feet of the floor.

  1. Make sure your window security gates are approved by the FDNY

Some people put up security gates on their apartment windows to prevent an intruder from entering their home. Only New York City Fire Department certified security gates that open without a key may be installed on an outside fire escape window if your apartment building has one. 

  1. Know your exits 

Your apartment building must have two ways of egress (exits).

Your primary or first exit is the door to your apartment, which leads to either an unenclosed (not divided by walls and doors) stairwell or a public hallway with an enclosed stairwell leading to the street. Depending on the construction date of the building, your backup exit should be one of the following:

  • An additional enclosed stairway accessible from the public hallway. (newer buildings)
  • An enclosed fire tower (stairway accessible from the public hallway).
  • An outside fire-escape accessible from within the apartment through a window or door.

Prevention and planning is the key to protecting your building’s occupants and neighbors. 

Stay NYC Fire Code compliant with American Security’s turnkey fire systems. From design to completion, every phase of your project is handled by our factory-trained technicians with certifications ranging from NYS licensing to NICET.

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

Tips to Make your Building More Secure this Year

Smart business owners know a safe and secure building is of utmost importance, especially if you have tenants. It’s crucial to keep employees, assets, residents,  and whatever else that holds value in your building/business protected. 

Even with the best of intentions, crucial steps can be overlooked leaving buildings susceptible to break-ins, burglaries, and even fire. Crime to any extent can have a great effect on owners, staff, and residents. 

We have compiled a list of safety measures to help you make your building more secure:

  1. Surveillance System

Investing in a surveillance system is one of the most effective ways to monitor your building. Today, surveillance systems offer many features allowing you to customize your system to your needs, such as video and telephone intercoms and secure access control. You can also easily keep tabs on your building while you are away through a live feed on your phone, tablet, or computer. These features are extremely beneficial to those who are not usually at their buildings or business every day, such as apartment building managers. 

  1. Alarm Systems 

Break-ins happen every day, whether it be a retail store, office, home, warehouse, or factory. A burglar alarm makes sense for any location, no matter what the size. 

At American Security, we offer burglar alarms, CCTV, and 24-hour Central Monitoring. Highly trained operators rapidly handle fire, burglary, hold-up, low or high temperature, or medical emergency alarm signals. Learn more here about American Security’s alarm systems.

  1. Locks 

This might sound like an obvious step, but according to consumersadvocates.org, one-third of robberies occur through “unlawful entry.” This means burglars entered through an unlocked door or window. It’s important to update your locks regularly. For example, if keys are lost or stolen or an employee decides to move on you should immediately update your locks. Also, investing in a safe to further protect any valuables you have inside your home, office, or building is crucial in preventing theft. 

  1. Fire Safety Systems 

Aside from alarm systems, fire systems are also an important element in keeping your building secure. At American Security we’ll keep you in compliance with the NYC fire code. Our staff of design engineers and fire consultants are experienced in all types of fire safety systems. Learn more here.

Follow these simple tips and take a proactive approach to security this year to improve the safety of your building. Learn more about how American Security can keep your building safe and secure. 

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

7 Tips to Keep Halloween Extra Safe this Year

In honor of October being Fire Prevention Month, the team at American Security is giving you our top tips for fire and Halloween safety to ensure you and your family are extra safe this year. 

  1. Shop for Halloween costumes that cover the face and are flame-resistant.

Now that masks are the new normal, it is more opportune than ever to wear a Halloween costume that includes a mask or face covering. 

Additionally, we recommend that individuals shop for costumes and accessories that are flame-resistant, to prevent them from catching fire during this season when candles, fireplaces, and heaters are used more often.

  1. Make sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries.

In the event of a fire, you want to be sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Prevention is extremely important for safety!

  1. Don’t let young children handle sharp appliances when carving pumpkins.

Keep this fun and festive activity extra safe by ensuring any sharp pumpkin-carving tools are out of reach from young children. Children can outline their designs with markers, and leave the carving to an adult!

  1. Opt for an electric candle. If using a real candle, make sure it’s on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.

Everybody loves lighting a pumpkin spice scented candle during the fall season, but candles cause over 15,000 house fires every year. To be extra safe, consider using a battery-powered candle instead. If not, make sure your candle is placed on a steady and tidy surface where it’s unlikely to tip over and set other materials aflame.

  1. Vet your child’s costume for sharp or cumbersome objects.

Swords, canes, and sticks that come with many conventional Halloween costumes may pose a hazard to children. Make sure any accessorizing objects to a child’s costume aren’t too sharp or too long, in case they stumble or trip when walking around with it.

  1. Keep any open flames at least 3 feet away from a heat-producing device.

For optimal fire safety, it is recommended to keep any candles or open flames at least 3 feet away from a heat-producing appliance like a furnace, fireplace, or space heater.

  1. Avoid candles if oxygen is used in the household.

Oxygen administered for medical purposes is a dangerous fire hazard since oxygen can feed a fire. If oxygen is used by a member of your household, we advise avoiding candles altogether.

Use these safety tips for a fun and safe Halloween this season! 

About American Security

At American Security, we believe in keeping you, your property, 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

Commonly Asked Questions About Auxiliary Radio Communication Systems

The New York City Fire Code mandates that high-rise buildings have an auxiliary radio communication system, or ARCS. With the NYC Fire Code changing every couple of years, it can be hard to keep up with all aspects of the code. In this deep dive, we will answer the most commonly asked questions about ARCS and how you or your business can stay compliant.

What is an auxiliary radio communication system, or ARCS? 

An ARCS is a two-way emergency radio network that may be installed throughout a building to communicate with the Fire Department in the event of a fire or other emergency. 

What is an auxiliary radio communication system, or ARCS made of?

An ARCS has many parts, usually including a base station, an antenna network, and a radio console. The base station receives and conducts radio signals throughout a building. Antenna networks are carefully designed to ensure the quality of radio signals, and lastly, a radio console. This radio console, or main communication system is most frequently placed in the lobby or main area of a building.

Does my building need one an ARCS?

If your building is a newly constructed, high-rise building, ARCS installation is required. Additionally, all buildings over 75 feet tall are designated by the NYC Fire Code to implement an ARCS.

Who can install an ARCS?

Only companies with master electrician qualifications are permitted to install auxiliary radio communications systems. At American Security, we have a team of experienced professionals that are qualified to install ARCS.

We’ve installed an ARCS— what now?

After installing your ARCS, it must get certified by passing two inspections. Your ARCS must be inspected to ensure your newly installed system passes both a Commissioning Test as well as an FDNY Acceptance test.

Once your ARCS has passed all necessary inspections, maintenance is important to ensure your system will last a long time, but more importantly, will work properly in an emergency situation.

Does my ARCS only need to be certified once?

No. NYC Fire Code states that ARCS must be inspected annually and re-certified completely every 5 years. 

What if there’s a power outage?

Your auxiliary radio communication system works even when the power is down. You may use it to communicate with the Fire Department with or without power.

In summary, the installation of an ARCS keeps your buildings safe and compliant. While it may seem like a hassle to keep up with the maintenance of these systems and follow NYC Fire Code, many businesses find it helpful to enlist the support of security companies to design, install, and maintain the auxiliary radio communication systems your business or building may require.

Need help staying NYC Fire Code compliant?  Click here to talk to one of our experts to learn more!

At American Security, we believe in keeping you, your property, 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. 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.

Why Every Business Should Have A CCTV System

Want to protect your business? 

American Security’s Video Surveillance Can Help. 

At American Security, we believe you and your business can never be too safe. One of the most popular ways to control for potentially dangerous threats is by using CCTV,  or closed-circuit TV. CCTV is perhaps the most common technology businesses use to surveil their property. By using color digital cameras connected to digital video recorders, individuals and businesses alike can store images and video media instantly and retrieve them at any time and place.

There are three main ways CCTV can benefit your business:

  1. Protection

Video surveillance is a highly effective way to deter crime. 

Should a person or group try to cause harm to your business, the presence of surveillance systems may effectively dissuade criminals. 

Additionally, surveillance acts as a deterrent to theft or criminal activity happening in-house.  CCTV allows you to relocate items of value that go missing.

  1. Data Collection

CCTV may also be used for your business’s recordkeeping purposes. 

Video records and images of the premises is an excellent way to record who is entering your business and when. 

This is useful for Human Resources if logging systems go down, and even more useful in case video or image evidence needs to be provided to authorities.

  1. Remote Access

If your business is threatened on holidays or weekends, remote access CCTV allows you to quickly and efficiently alert authorities without ever putting yourself or your employees at risk. 

Additionally, CCTV allows your business to save costs associated with having an on-site guard. 

The benefits of remote access are especially relevant amidst the global pandemic. Remote access to your company’s premises is an excellent way to check in on your business while remaining socially distant.

Learn more about CCTV here.

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.

Security Should Be a Design Requirement

Architects & Security Engineers can make the biggest impact on your building security objectives. If security is treated as one of the design requirements, much like fire safety, your building can benefit from a reduction of crime and improved quality of life for your residents. Big bonus; you can avoid future costs of expensive security system add-ons and adjustments. 

Aesthetics and security can and should go hand in hand. Intelligent use of security design presents two opportunities to not only enhance the look and feel of your building but also enforce building protection in a major way: access control and surveillance.  

Access Control

The main function of an access control strategy is to deny access to unauthorized persons and potential criminals. In today’s day and age, technology has made access control easier than ever with biometric-based systems or smart-card reader systems.  Making sure your lobby and your residents are safe starts in the design phase of your building.

Surveillance

By keeping surveillance in mind during the design phase of your residence or building, you can make the most optimal use of environmental features, such as landscaping, natural lighting, building features, and overall space layout. As a building manager, you know by now the importance of being able to keep an eye on things, even when you’re not physically there, especially while managing multiple buildings in your portfolio. 

Wondering how to best incorporate the smartest security systems on the market today into your new building project?  Click here to talk to an expert to learn more!

At American Security, we believe in keeping you, your property, 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. 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.

3 Fire Safety Tips for the 4th of July

This Fourth of July, wouldn’t you rather worry about how well done the burgers are rather than how to put out a building or home fire? American Security’s fire safety systems can help keep you safe and in compliance with New York City’s Fire Code. Here are three tips to do just that!

  1. Open Your Gas Grill before You Light It

Always keep your gas grill open when lighting it. A closed lid can trap gas, leading to a build up. A single spark can ignite all that gas at once. Between the pressure of the built-up gas and the closed environment of the lid, you could end up seriously ruining someone’s day. 

  1. Maintain a Three-Foot Fire Ring around Your Grill

The U.S. Fire Administration suggests that you leave an area three feet wide around your grill or any open flames. This helps keep pets and children safe and also prevents spills or loose flames from causing damage to nearby buildings.

  1. Update Your Building’s Fire Safety Systems

NYC Fire Code compliance requires you to routinely update your building’s fire safety systems. That means checking smoke detectors, maintaining fire protection devices, and a whole load of other things. All this helps to reduce the risk of property damage or personal injury in case of a fire.

Stay Safe and Have Fun!

These three tips are just the tip(s) of the iceberg! American Security is glad to provide fire safety tips and solutions for the Fourth of July and all year round. 

Contact our experts today to find out how you can avoid fines and fires. Enjoy peace of mind this Fourth of July with American Security.
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.