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PSI - Your Partner in Safety

Seattle PSI is committed to promoting personal safety for every person all of the time. In today’s world, safety should never be taken for granted. Call 206.322.3186 for a free consultation.

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Effective and Affordable Home-Security Solutions

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY THE SEATTLE TIMES, 10/4/2013

You spend time and money to create a nice home. How can you protect it from intruders without it costing a fortune? It’s easier than you think.

Chris Hsiung, a lieutenant with the Mountain View (Calif.) Police Department, says that the best home security involves multiple deterrents to dissuade opportunists and thieves from making your home a target.

Contrary to what you see on TV, Hsiung says most homes are burglarized during the day when residents are out. “Burglars do not want to confront anybody. At the first sign of occupancy, they’re gone,” he says. “They just want to grab property and sell it. The criminals know that when someone is in the house, it changes the crime classification.”

Because of this, thieves frequently pose as solicitors, he says. If no one answers the door, that’s their cue to head around back and break in. Outsmart a thief with these eight home security tactics. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Who Will Hear Your Smoke Alarm When You Are Away?

A monitored system will.

You’re ready to leave on vacation and you’ve thought of everything. The car has been serviced, the newspaper stopped and the mail held at the post office. All that’s left is to activate the security system and you’re on your way. That’s everything. Well, almost everything.

fire-statsYour house may now be secure from break-ins, but what about fire, the potential danger within? You may already have battery or AC powered smoke detectors, but who would hear them if you’re not there? If they are not connected to your security system and are not monitored, who would call the fire department before everything you cherish is destroyed?

Fire can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime. A burglar won’t steal your family photo albums, but a fire will. Jewelry can be replaced, but baby pictures can’t. Even though you have a monitored security system, without monitored smoke detectors, your home will never be secure against one of the most dangerous intruders.

You can have the complete protection you need with a series of smoke detectors that can be monitored and easily integrated into most new or existing First Alert Professional security systems. The same system that guards your home’s security will guard your home against fire. Turn your security system into one that not only monitors against intruders that can be frightened away, but also one that can’t—fire.

Monitored smoke detectors protect you even when you’re not on vacation

family

  • While you’re at work, school or out for the evening
  • When teenagers are home alone
  • In homes where there are elderly, disabled or hearing impaired
  • If you are overcome by fumes from a smoldering fire
  • If you are unable to reach the phone for any reason
  • 24 hours a day, whether your system is armed or disarmed, whether you’re home or away

How a monitored smoke detector works with your security system

Smoke detectors are a logical extension to your home security system. Whether they are installed with a new system or added to an existing one, the smoke detectors can be connected directly to the security control panel monitored by Protective Systems.

When smoke is sensed at any one of the protected locations in your home, the detector will send a message to your control panel, which will then cause all the evacuation horns to sound. The panel will then relay the emergency signal to your monitoring service where the message is received and a response made. The monitoring center may call to verify the alarm. The local fire department is then notified, so that help is on the way, whether you are home or away.

“But I already have a smoke detector.”

You may already have a battery-operated or hardwired AC smoke detector in your home, but how do they compare to a monitored system?

Battery-operated—Battery-operated detectors have two major problems. First, they are rarely connected to other detectors, remote warning devices or a central monitoring station. If they are located outside a bedroom, a sound sleeper may not hear them, especially if the bedroom door is closed or just partially open. If detectors are located on a different level of the home than the bedroom level, then the likelihood they will wake up sleeping family members is further diminished. A second problem with battery-operated detectors is their batteries – if they are not periodically replaced, the detectors will not work! Too many fire deaths occur in homes where detectors fail to function because their batteries are dead, disconnected or removed.

AC Powered Detectors —Many AC powered detectors are not connected to other detectors or remote warning devices. Even those that are only connected to other devices can provide a local warning of fire. If no one is home, a fire can develop without anyone taking action to protect valuable property.

monitored-smoke-detectorMonitored Detectors —When located on all levels of a residence and in all bedrooms, provide the best kind of early warning fire protection. If monitored detectors sense a fire developing, they signal an alarm control, which activates all evacuation horns throughout a residence and sends a fire alarm signal to the central station, which will notify the fire department. Monitored detectors provide fire protection when you are home or away. As part of a home security system, monitored detectors provide both an AC primary power supply and a rechargeable back-up battery.

Where do I put smoke detectors?

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends: Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or in the early morning. For extra safety, install smoke detectors both inside and outside the sleeping area. Smoke detectors should be installed on the ceiling or 6 to 8 inches below the ceiling on sidewalls. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke detectors at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible.

Ionization or Photoelectronic?

Smoke detectors do their job using one of two technologies: ionization and photoelectronic. Either technology can detect a fast flaming or slow smoldering fire, but response times can vary. We can help you select the one that’s best for your home.

Your Care and Concern is Our #1 Priority
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What Is the Seattle False Alarm Program?

Prior to 2004, the Seattle Police Department responded to an average of 25,000 alarm calls a year with over 97% of them being false, taking needed patrol officers off the street, wasting a valuable resource. Since the False Alarm Fine Ordinance was passed in 2004, the Seattle Police Department now responds to fewer than 11,000 false alarm calls a year. Despite this reduction, responding to false alarms costs the City of Seattle an excess of one million dollars annually. The 2004 ordinance is designed to protect Seattle residents and business owners including:

  • Billing alarm companies directly for use of police services including alarm registration and false alarm fees.
  • Basing the registration and alarm fees solely on cost of recovery for police dispatch and response.
  • Not billing for false alarms that are canceled by the alarm company prior to police dispatch.
  • Only licensed alarm companies may operate in the city, and those companies must use enhanced call verification prior to requesting police dispatch.
  • Requiring physical evidence of need for a police dispatch to consider an alarm call valid (an alarm signal, open doors, or open windows are not considered valid alarms).
  • Waivers may be obtained once every 7 years for owners who attend an alarm user workshop or switch to private guard response.

false-alarm-feesTo help reduce the chance of accidental activation of an alarm and possibly being responsible for an alarm fee, we recommend that you review your alarm system instructions:

  • Consider storing your key fob inside some kind of device that would not allow accidental trips.
  • Deactivate panic buttons if they are not needed
  • If your alarm is silent, you may not even realize that you activated the alarm until officers arrive. Consider an audible alarm.

During a time of duress, instead of activating your panic button, call 9-1-1, putting you in direct contact with police dispatch to provide vital information for responding officers. Activating an alarm, instead of calling 9-1-1, allows precious minutes to elapse before the police are aware that a priority response is necessary.

At PSI, we are dedicated to reducing the incidences of false alarms. If you have questions regarding the use of your system, contact us at 206.322.3186 or visit: www.seattle.gov/police/programs/alarms/default.htm. It could make a big difference in reducing your risk of false alarm activations.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Seattle Police Department’s False Alarm Unit 206 684-7713 or false.alarms@seattle.gov
  • City of Seattle Revenue and Consumer Affairs 206-684-8406
  • AlarmWatch (Protective Systems Central Station) 800-303-0586