Martin Systems security tips give you information to protect your house.

Burglars and the Holidays

Holidays are a memorable occasions when families and friends get together to celebrate.  It should be a wonderful and happy time for all. Sadly, burglars look at holidays differently. They see this as an opportunity to burglarize your home for jewelry, TV's, money, gifts and anything else they can sell quickly and efficiently.

What do burglars look for when casing a home:

  • Thieves look for an easy entry with favorable avenues for escape.
  • Burglars look for signs of no occupancy
    • Outdoor lights staying on for a full day.
    • Piled up newspapers
  • Look for keys under mats, rocks, flowerpots and above door ledges.
  • An easy place to enter
    • Unlocked Doors
    • Unlatched Windows
  • Your Last Name posted in your yard.
    • Burglars may use it to call directory assistance to get your phone number to confirm you are not home.
  • Voice-mail messages stating “We are away”.
  • After Christmas, don’t pile not broken-down gift boxes at the end of your driveway for the garbage man.
  • Homes with hollow core exterior doors, simple locks, and no security system.

Keeping Your House Secure

With 40 years of home security experience, Martin Systems knows safeguarding your family starts with protecting your home.  We have put together a few home security tips, that will help you get started, on securing your home and protecting the ones you love. Our tips are inexpensive and easy to implement.

  1. Install a Martin Systems alarm system – Having a home alarm system is one of the best forms of home protection.  Our alarm systems can immediately inform a UL Central Monitoring Station.  The station dispatches police/emergency response authorities and informs homeowners of any potential dangers.
  2. Hide all wiring – Burglars usually case for wiring around the exterior of your home. When the time is right, the burglar will cut it to disable your security system. Keep your home security wires concealed.  With a Martin Systems alarm system, all wiring will be hidden during installation.
  3. Install ANSI Grade 1/UL rated deadbolt locks – According to the ANSI Grade 1 specification, all exterior doors should have a bolt that projects at least 1 inch into the door frame and can withstand 10 hammer blows without giving way.
  4. Use interior door hinges – Today, most front exterior doors will have interior door hinges.  However, many exterior doors to patios and garages still swing outward and have their hinges exposed. For the best home security, remove the door and move the hinges to the inside of the house.
  5. Replace the locks – Losing your keys can happen.  When this happens, you should replace all the locks for optimal home security.
  1. Don’t hide your key around the exterior of your house – Many of us know not to do this, but probably do it anyway due to the fear of being locked out of ones own house.
  2. Use security bars on sliding doors and windows –  Place a security bar along the bottom track of the door or window. The security bar will prevent the door/window opening from force.
  3. When buying/replacing windows – Look for burglar-resistant glass or windows with many small panes of glass instead of one large pain of glass.
  4. Make your house look occupied – When burglars case a house, they look for unoccupied homes.  Use automatic timers or home automation to turn lights on and off while you’re away.
  5. Use motion activated lights near your entrance – An ingenious way to keep burglars away is by employing motion activated lights. Lighting with motion sensors will automatically turn on the lights when someone is in a specific area. Burglars definitely do not want to be in easy view while committing a crime.

Water-Proof Tips

Your finished basement is your pride and joy. You’ve already spent thousands of dollars and countless hours converting your concrete dungeon into comfortable living space. The last thing you need is a tidal pool of ground water or sewage infiltrating your new home office or wet bar. A simple flash flood or a cresting creek can easily transform your new carpeting into a massive, moldy sponge. Your basement isn’t "finished" without some flood prevention steps, actions to protect your home when flooding does occur and an emergency plan to provide for your family's welfare until you can return to your home. You need layers of protection for the adequate safety of your family and property.

  1. Focus on prevention. Long before you’re in a flooding situation, look around your property for ways to divert rain water away from your home. Important considerations are extending rain gutter down spouts away from your home and making sure the grade of your yard surfaces slope away from your home.
  2. Clean the rain gutters in the spring and after all the leaves have come down in the fall. Blocked gutters will cause all of the roof water to dump directly against your foundation, increasing the likelihood of basement flooding.
  3. Extend the rain gutter downspouts well out and away from your home. Do notconnect the downspouts to your foundation footer drain tiles or to underground dry wells. This will only cause the roof water to further saturate the ground and cause flooding in your basement.
  4. Walk around outside in your yard during a heavy rain storm. Watch to see if water is ponding next to your home and if surface water is being directed toward your home. If this is the case, seek a local landscaper or excavation contractor for advice on ways to regrade your yard so the surface water is directed away from your home.
  5. Provide emergency power. Install an automatic emergency generator to provide electric service for essential circuits like your furnace or electric heat, well pump, refrigerator, septic tank pump and sump pump in the case when power is lost. Without emergency backup power, you may return home to unnecessary basement flooding, frozen water pipes and a flooded septic tank.
  1. Install a sump pump. An automatic sump pump should help keep water leakage normal amounts of rainfall from building up in the basement. As long as the sump pump tank has an opening in the lid, the sump pump will act like a huge floor drain and keep the water from getting deep.
  2. Install a backup sump pump. The sump pump is your first line of defense against basement flooding. However, the most reliable sump pump available in the industry is still a mechanic device and can fail. A backup sump pump system, preferably with at least a battery-operated pump, configured with a switch device to begin working if the main is out of commission, greatly reduces the chance of flood. Some systems come with additional security features such as an alarm that goes off whenever the battery operated is started.
  3. Make an emergency family plan. Plan ahead with your family so that everyone has each other cell phone and other contact numbers. If you live in an area that is prone to historic flooding, plan ahead of time where you’ll be able to stay until flood waters subside. Keep in mind that all your neighbors will probably need housing too. As local hotels are usually inundated during flooding events, try to arrange ahead of time with some local family members away from the flooding area to have temporary housing if ever needed.
  4. Have flood insurance. Add flood insurance onto your existing homeowner’s policy. Flood insurance is provided by the government and is fairly inexpensive. In the USA, if your home insurance agent does not provide flood insurance, contact FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for local agencies that do.