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Security When You’re Travelling

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At this time of year many of us are dreaming of  winter sun, booking festival tickets or making plans for an eagerly awaited summer holiday. This can all be very exciting, and the preparation is often a big part of the fun, but it’s important that measures are also taken to keep yourself and your home safe while you’re away.

At Home

  • When you leave for your trip, do a final check to make sure that all doors and windows are locked (including those of sheds and outbuildings), and that your burglar alarm system is set. This may sound obvious, but it can be easy to forget to do this in the midst all of your final travel preparations.
  • Turn off any utilities that you won’t need while you’re gone. Cutting out your gas, electricity, water etc will not only save you money on utility bills, but will also limit the possibility of electrical fires, explosions and burst pipes inflicting your home while you’re away.
  • Check with your insurer that you’re covered for events that occur when you’re away from the home. In most policies this will be the case, but there are sometimes limitations on the length of time that you’re covered for, so it’s always worth double checking.
  • Don’t post your plans on social media sites like facebook or twitter! As tempting as it might be, social media can be used by burglars to pick out the easiest and most fruitful homes to target.
  • If your alarm system is monitored, make sure you contact your security company and inform them of any changes that need to be made to your key-holder contact list while you’re away. It’s not the best receiving a phone call to say that you’ve been burgled, but it’s even worse when you’re on the other side of the world and can’t make it back quickly!
  • Ask a neighbour to park on your drive occasionally while you’re gone to help create the illusion that the home is occupied. This is enough to make a burglar think twice before targeting your home.
  • Make sure that any valuables are out of view from passers by, and consider registering them  on Immobilise, the UK National Property Register. Remember; if you’ve logged it you’e got a better chance of getting it back.

While You’re Away 

 On holiday, all you want to do is relax, unwind and forget about your usual worries. It’s especially easy to do this when you’ve taken a few precautions to protect yourself and your belongings!
  • Before you go, make a note of serial numbers on any insurance policies, travellers’ cheques and even your unique passport number. Keep this information separate from the corresponding items in case they are lost or stolen.
  • Try not to flaunt any expensive possessions, and keep them in your hotel safe -along with your passport and travel documents- when they aren’t on your person.
  • Never hang bags or jackets on the back of your chair where they are out of view. Doing this creates easy targets for pick-pockets and petty thieves.
  • Don’t store all of your money in one pocket/bag. Spread your money between different sections of your bag and pockets to minimise the potential impact of being robbed.
If you’d like help with making your home more secure please contact a member of our office team by calling us on 0191 270 0808. Alternatively, leave a message and your details below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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Fire Alarm Response Change – Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service

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Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) are changing the way that they respond to Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA) activations.

FirefighterAs of June 1st 2015, TWFRS will no longer respond to AFAs received from non-residential premises between the hours of 8:00 – 18:00, unless manual confirmation is received (ie a 999 call confirming the fire), or  the premises has been granted special exemption. This change will come into play in an effort to reduce the number of false calls attended, so that our Fire & Rescue teams can focus more of their time on attending real emergencies and carrying out vital training and community work.

Automatic Fire Alarm Systems play a crucial role in keeping buildings, contents and occupants safe by providing early warning in the event of a possible fire. This allows for occupants to evacuate the building at the earliest opportunity and contact emergency services. However, false activation can also occur occasionally, which can cause disruption to the business  premises as well as to the Fire & Rescue Services.

Common Causes of False Fire Alarm Activation Include:

  • Fumes from cooking (eg. Burnt food or fumes from built up deposits in ovens)
  • Cigarette smoke (including that which may have drifted into the building through open doors/windows).
  • Increased temperatures due to hot work such as welding or cutting (though premises that are set up for this should ideally be fitted with special high temperature heat detectors).
  • Accidental or deliberate damage to break-glass call points.
  • Testing or maintenance work done without informing the alarm receiving centre, or that’s carried out by a non-professional/using incorrect testing procedures.
All of these instances can be avoided by practicing good Fire Safety awareness and by ensuring that your business is using the most appropriate fire detection solutions for your premises & line of work.
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What This Means To You 
If you’re a business owner in Tyne & Wear, you should consider how the changes being made by the TWFRS will affect your premises and update your Fire Risk Assessment & Evacuation Plans Accordingly. You may need to consider giving additional training or briefings to any staff who are designated as Fire Wardens/Marshalls/Keyholders so that they are aware of what to do in the event of a fire during these times.
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It is also a good idea to have a professional fire alarm maintenance company performing regular visits to carry out preventative maintenance.  This will minimize the possibility of technical issues with your system, as well as ensure that the correct testing procedure is being used.
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For more advice, please feel free to contact a member of our office team -we’re always happy to help! You can call us on 0191 270 0808 or email to info@tynesidesecurity.co.uk.
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Source:  www.twfire.gov.uk.
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Remember: in an emergency or where you know there is a fire in a building, dial 999 immediately!

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How Much Does A Home Burglar Alarm Cost?

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One of the questions that we’re most frequently asked on when we first speak to a customer is “how much does a burglar alarm cost?”. Unfortunately, because there are so many different types of system on offer, this can be tricky to answer. The main things that will effect the price of your alarm system are:
Response Type
Your burglar alarm system can be designed to act in a number of different ways in the event of an activation. The most basic option is usually an ‘Audible only’ system, which will sound when an intruder is detected. The middle level offered is usually ‘keyholder response’, in which case your system will contact a designated list of people – with access to the property- and inform them that there has been an activation. Top level response for your home alarm system is ‘Police Response’, where a confirmed intrusion will cause your alarm contact agents to dispatch the local police.

You can also fit what is known as a ‘speech dialler’ to an audible only system for a small one-off fee, which will send a recorded message to designated phone numbers if your alarm goes off. 

Wired Vs Wireless
It’s a common misconception for customers to assume that a wireless burglar alarm system will be more expensive than a wired system because it is newer technology. However, it’s actually often the case that a wireless system works out to be cheaper, as it means that less time is taken and fewer cables are needed.

Size 
The size of your system will naturally have an effect on the price quoted to you; an averagely sized system with 4 or 5 zones will cost less than a larger system with 20+ zones.

NSI Gold LogoInsurance requirements 
If you’re thinking of having a home alarm system installed, make sure you speak to your insurer about any requirements they have about mentioning it on your policy. Many insurers will specify a certain grade of system, or say that it must be installed by an NSI Gold approved company, such as ourselves, before they will take it into account. These system ‘grades’ may have an effect on your quotation price because of the equipment or response types required.

Equally though, a professionally installed and maintained home security system can often bring preferential terms, and an average saving of around 7.5% on your home insurance premium!

More Advice
To get an exact price for your home intruder alarm system, or for more information on other home security systems, please contact our office team to book your free survey.

Call us on: 0191 270 0808

or email to: info@tynesidesecurity.co.uk

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Tyneside Security supply, install and maintain Security Systems across the whole of North East England. This includes intruder alarms (burglar alarms), CCTV, and  fire alarms. We also install security lightingaccess control systems and much more. The first step is to organise a free survey with one of our Security Experts, who will determine your exact requirements and give you a no-obligation quotation for your bespoke security package. The system will then be fitted by one of our experienced and Highly Reliable Engineers, who will look after your system for years to come.
Tyneside Security operates right across the North East of England including Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Northumberland.

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Our Top 10 Home Security Tips

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 Agility 3 Intruder Alarm System - Home Security 1) Lock up.
This one may sound obvious, but locked windows and doors are your first line of defence against an intruder. Establish a security routine for use when leaving the house and going to bed, making sure to check that all doors and windows are securely locked, and that your burglar alarm is set.

2) Use a timer on your lights and radio when you are out of the house.
If you’re going on holiday, or spending an evening out of the house, it is a good idea to use a timer for your lights or a radio; this will create the illusion that there are people in the house, making you less likely to be targeted by burglars.

3) Protect your glass.
Putting a protective, clear film over your windows will make them considerably more difficult to smash, meaning that any potential criminal would have to spend longer breaking into your property. Alternatively, you can have ‘shock detectors’ fitted to windows as part of your alarm system, causing an alarm if someone is trying to smash or bump the window open.

4) Fit a visible external alarm.
A visible alarm, even if it is just a dummy, acts as a very effective deterrent against burglars. It shows very clearly that your home is fitted with security devices, and that it would be a hassle to burglarise. In fact, over 90% of convicted burglars say that they would completely avoid a home with an intruder alarm system.

5) Keep valuables out of sight.
Don’t leave valuables near doors or windows where they are on display for passing criminals, attracting them to your home. Thieves have even adopted a method called ‘fishing’ in which they put a hook through windows or letterboxes, seizing items such as car keys without even entering the home.

6) Dispose of packaging carefully.
You should always be careful when disposing of packaging as it can act as an advertisement for the contents of your home. Tape boxes inside out so that the old contents is not known, and take rubbish directly to a disposal site if possible.

7) Don’t answer the door to strangers.
You should always check who is at the door before opening it. If you do not know the person, or you weren’t expecting them, you are under no obligation to answer. Remember: a genuine tradesperson will always carry an ID card, and will be more than happy to present it before entering your home.

8) Don’t advertise your empty home on Social Media.
Modern day burglars are turning increasingly to social media channels such as FacebookTwitter etc. in order to determine who and when to burgle.  They use methods to find out your schedule and whereabouts, as well as to eye up your possessions, from  the safety of their home. Take a look at our blog on how burglars are using social media for our top tips for staying safe online.

9) Keep your grounds clear.
If you’re going away at any point in the year, it is a good idea to ensure that your grounds are kept neat while you’re gone. Overgrown grass or piled up snow is a tell-tale sign that your home is empty.

10) Get rid of the ‘hidden key’.
A lot of households keep a spare key ‘hidden’ under a plant pot or doormat as a fall-back. The problem with this though, is that burglars are all too wise to it and know exactly where to look. If you must keep a spare key somewhere, keep it at the home of a trusted neighbour or relative.

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What To Do If You’ve Been Burgled

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Burglary  is a very stressful, confusing and emotional experience for victims. Through all of the commotion, it can be difficult to think of the best way to handle the situation. Practicing good security will help to reduce your chances of being burgled, but if you should become a victim of this terrible crime, here are some tips on what to do next:

  • If you’ve come home to the awful realisation that you have just been burgled, as difficult as it may be, don’t touch anything. By picking items up or tidying things away, you run the risk of accidentally tampering with crucial evidence.
  • Contact the police. It is usually a good idea to wait for them outside of the home or in a neighbour’s house. There is always a possibility that the burglar is still inside.
  • Whilst waiting for the police to arrive, you may wish to contact your bank, building society or other card providers to explain the situation and cancel your cards. Doing this within 24 hours will usually mean that you can get your money back if they have been used by the thief. However, every case is treated individually.
  • Once the police have arrived, you need to compile a list of what has been taken. Add as much detail about each item as possible, including any identifiable marks and serial numbers if you know them.
  • The next step is to contact your home contents insurer. Usually, they will either take details over the phone, send an assessor to visit your home or send a claim form to you in the post. They will require your crime number and list of stolen items.

Support

Following a burglary you may feel vulnerable or frightened, so it is important to remember that victim support is available to help you return to normality.

 

Security Review

Once you’re back on your way to normality, conduct a security review of your property to see how you can protect your home in the future. Some things that you can look at are:

  • Your home security routine – before you go to bed at night, or before you leave the house, you should always be carrying out your home security routine. This should include locking all doors and windows, putting valuables away out of site, and making sure that your burglar alarm is set.
  • The age and reliability of your burglar alarm system (if you have one). Over 90% of surveyed burglars say that they would completely avoid a home with an intruder alarm system
  • Whether the locks on your property are sufficient for securing your home. If you’re unsure about this, ask your local locksmith for advice on what types of locks meet your requirements. 
  • Your grounds. Is the area around your property well lit? Illuminating the outside of your property will remove the cloak of darkness which burglars often rely on. 
  • Social media – are you giving away information on your social media profiles that can make it easy for someone to determine when you are away from your home? You can find out more information about this by reading out post on how burglars use social media. 
If you’d like the help of a Professional Security Expert to review the security of your  home, contact us today on 0191 270 0808 to arrange your free survey.

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Security tips for Christmas Day

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Christmas Eve 

The night before the big day you’ll likely be making your final preparations for the festivities approaching. And, whether you’re peeling the vegetables or putting gifts under the tree (or both!), it’s vitally important that you also keep up your usual night time security routine. Make sure that you secure all doors and windows, set your burglar alarm systemand keep valuables hidden away from view. If you’ve lay Christmas gifts out under the tree, it’s probably a good idea to close your blinds/curtains!

 

Christmas Day 

With all the fun of the big day, your home is likely to be a buzz with excitement and activity, with visitors coming and going throughout the day. Make sure, though, that you don’t use this as an excuse to leave your doors unlocked and your home vulnerable to attack. Unfortunately, burglars don’t take time off for the holidays.

Festivities

 

If you’re heading out this Christmas, be sure to run through your home security routine before leaving; making sure that doors and windows are secure, the alarm is set, and any valuables are out of view.  It is also good practice to leave a light or two on in the house to make it look occupied. However, you must never do this with decorative lights and decorations, as this poses a great fire safety hazard. If you’re attending a party, make sure that you don’t post about your plans on Social Media sites, as this will advertise your empty house to potential intruders. –Over 75% of convicted burglars believe that other burglars are using social media to choose targets.

 

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