Home Safety

The Importance Of Installing A Family Security System
by: Daphne Succes

There is nothing more important than preserving the safety of your family and home. Whether you are away on vacation and the house is left unattended or you work late at night and want your spouse and children to be safe, a family security system may be the answer.

A family security system will typically feature a keypad, which is programmed with a set of numbers used to activate, or deactivate, the alarm system. If any disturbances should occur, the alarm would sound and authorities would be notified. Many family security alarm companies offer this feature, but others require that the homeowner notify the authorities directly. For this reason, it is a good idea to have cordless telephones placed conveniently throughout the house and make sure that you understand the system contract completely.

Many burglaries occur when a home is empty, which is why many choose to install a family security system. An alarm will likely frighten the perpetrator and protect your home from any unwelcome entries. A family security system is designed to protect the family and their belongings. The home that you live in and the items contained inside were purchased with hard-earned money. A family security system is one way of making sure that nobody is able to take that away. While many family security systems can be self-installed, it is recommended that a trusted professional take care of the installation. This is not a home feature that you can afford to have improperly installed or fail when you need it the most.

A few common sense acts will help to keep your security code a private number that only your family knows. Never give the family security system code to anyone for any reason and make sure that your children understand the importance of this. In addition, study the family security code and memorize it. Never leave it written on a piece of paper and allow it to float around the house or simply be thrown away. Did you know that many criminals search through garbage in order to gain private information? You do not want your family security code to be available to them so, once your code is memorized, use a paper shredder or scissors to make sure the written numbers cannot be placed back together before throwing them away.

As a final thought on family security systems, they are designed to protect you and your family. If a system is so complex that you feel like a prisoner in your own home, it may be time to find another system. A family security system should not be difficult to operate and should not be intimidating. It should make your family feel secure and anything less is just plain unacceptable.

About The Author
Daphne Succes, Writer, Business Owner, Motivator and Self-Starter Independent Consultant for Passion Parties http://www.daphnespassion.com.

The dangers of outdoor fireplaces

The idea of having a fireplace in the backyard has become quite popular over the years. Like an indoor fireplace, it includes a chimney and is surrounded by brick or stones. Outdoor fireplaces are usually built into or against a wall, and though this is the most expensive method, the price will depend on your choice of design: a ready built unit or decide to have one custom built. No matter which way you choose, you can expect to pay anywhere between just a few thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars and up for an outdoor fireplace.

An element of danger exists with all types of fireplaces, but the potential danger is even greater with portable fire pits, possibly because they are not as permanent as an indoor fireplace. Because a fireplace exists within a structure, it must adhere to existing building codes, but a portable pits relies on the homeowner to make sure that it is used in the safest way possible. The importance of safety when using outdoor fireplaces can never be stressed too much as is apparent in an article that appeared online about a family who sustained $50-$60,000 in damages as the result of a fire pit that was being used on a wooden deck. The patio stones that had been placed underneath the fire pit were unable to prevent the transfer of heat to the deck boards, and the structure caught on fire.

In order to assure safe operation and reduce the dangers of outdoor fireplaces, it is recommended that they be kept away from anything that is combustible and not placed any closer than ten feet from the house or other combustibles. Additionally, before retiring for the night, the homeowners should ascertain that the fire is completely out.

An outdoor fireplace can be a nice addition to your home, but you have to be willing to take the extra precautions that are necessary. Unlike a barbeque grill, gas or charcoal, that sets several feet from the ground, an outdoor fireplace is low to the ground. As such, it cannot be used near the house or on any kind of combustible surface. As long as you're willing to take the extra precautions, it's something you can certainly enjoy with a great deal of pleasure.

Home Safety research results
Home Emergency Survey
Prepared by the Ketchum Global Research Network
July 28, 2005


The Ketchum Global Research Network conducted a survey related to Americans' experiences with and preparedness for home emergencies.


The Ketchum Global Research Network worked with Opinion Research Corp.'s Caravan Services to field a survey of a nationally representative sample of 684 homeowners. The survey was conducted via telephone from July 22 to July 25, 2005, and the results have a margin of error of ± 3 to 3.5 percentage points.


Electrical or other fire is the number one home emergency about which American homeowners are most concerned (52%). Other situations asked about - such as vandalism, mold, and standing water - were ranked fairly evenly in terms of how concerned Americans are about these types of home emergencies.

Top Home Emergency Concerns

Women (28%) are significantly more concerned than men (21%) about vandalism.

Residents in the South (29%) and Northeast (24%) are more concerned than those in other regions about standing water or flooding as a result of rain. Recent weather events - particularly in the South - may have contributed to a heightened concern about rain and flooding among residents in this region.

  1. Though Americans are concerned about a number of home emergencies, only one-third (34%) have actually experienced one in the past year. Electrical surges were the most frequently experienced home emergency among respondents (11%).
    • Other emergencies experienced over the past year include standing water/flooding as a result of rain (8%), mold (7%), sewer back-up (6%), standing water/flooding resulting from problems with appliances or plumbing (6%), standing water/flooding resulting from a burst pipe (4%), roof damage (4%), vandalism (3%), and smoke/odor damage (2%).
    • While the majority of Americans are concerned about electrical or other fires, only 1% have actually experienced a fire in the past year.
  2. Eighty-eight percent of Americans are aware that there are companies that can help restore homes from water, smoke, and fire damage. However, less than one-quarter of those who have experienced an emergency have actually hired one of these companies.
  3. Of those experiencing a home emergency in the past year, 44% spent $1,000 or less (including amounts covered by insurance) to repair the damage. Similarly, 40% spent $1,000 or less (excluding amounts covered by insurance).
    • Ten percent of those experiencing a home emergency spent over $10,000 repairing the damage (including insurance coverage). Only 2% spent that much when insurance coverage was excluded.
    • The average amount spent by homeowners (including amounts covered by insurance) was $4,100. The average amount spent excluding insurance coverage was $2,5001.
  4. One-third of respondents who experienced a home emergency said that their lives were back to normal in less than 24 hours.

Time Elapsed Before Life "Back to Normal"*All respondents

**Experienced a home emergency in the past year
1 Excludes $0 responses

  1. Nearly half of those who experienced a home emergency in the West (46%) were back to normal in less than a day. Those in the South and North Central regions took a bit longer to recover. More than one-third (36% in South, 35% in North Central) said that more than a week had passed before their lives were back to normal.
  2. Two-thirds of homeowners (65%) say that they do not budget specifically for home emergencies. However, 44% of those in the South say that they do.
  3. Despite a lack of budget, the majority of homeowners (84%) say that they are prepared in the event of a home emergency.

Homeowners' Preparedness in the Event of a Home Emergency

  1. Older homeowners claim to be the most prepared. Forty-two percent of those age 55-64 and 40% of those age 65+ say they are "very prepared" in the event of a home emergency.
  2. Women are more likely than men to agree that home emergencies are inconvenient, expensive and traumatic, and that they were unprepared for their last emergency. Men, on the other hand, are more likely than women to consider themselves "Do-It-Yourselfers".

Home Emergencies Create Drama in Homeowners' Lives

  1. Nearly half of homeowners in the South (49%) agreed that they were unprepared for their last home emergency. This is significantly higher that homeowners in other regions.
  2. Homeowners are divided as to how they would handle a common home emergency in the future. While 49% say they would attempt to fix it themselves, 45% would call a professional, and 6% say they do not know.
    • Women, older homeowners, homeowners in the Northeast, and single homeowners are the most likely to say they would call a professional.

Calling in the Professionals

Implications for ServiceMaster

  1. While most homeowners are aware that home emergency restoration services exist, few have used them for past home emergencies, and nearly half say they would attempt to fix a problem themselves in the event of a future emergency. A clear opportunity exists for ServiceMaster to tout the benefits of its services, particularly its approach to addressing common home emergencies about which homeowners are most concerned.
  2. Reaching out to female homeowners, as well as older homeowners and single homeowners, will help ServiceMaster deliver its message to market segments that are most primed for professional home emergency assistance.

% who say they would call in a professional in the event of a common home emergency

Virtual House Tours Could Offer Too Much Information

We are becoming more aware of the dangers of the internet these days with articles of online predators hiding behind screen names, posing as imposters controlling their victims as if they were puppets on a string, sucking them into a "Web Of Deception."

Computers are used in the transmission of crime often in three capacities. They may be the target of the offense, the tool used in the offence or they may contain evidence of the offence. Everything from sex predators, e-mail scams, fraud and even burglary. Yes, even burglary enters into the equation with the possibility that burglars could target homes via the internet.

The real estate industry's version of armchair viewing, otherwise known as "Virtual Tours," could be giving the "bad guys" too much information. Too much information about your most important investment: your home.

Selling your home is stressful enough without the added stress of a break and enter.

Virtual tours are increasing in popularity as they give home buyers a real impression of the inside of the home and a vivid look at the outside surroundings. Some realtors may deny or play down the dangers of advertising your home on the internet; however, this concern affects not only home sellers but also home buyers whose future home may have been advertised on the internet.

Once a home has been exposed on the internet, particularly on "Virtual Tours," it could remain a risk for robbery for several months as information may have been downloaded and stored on a thief's computer.

Having a home available for anyone to inspect can represent a grave danger. The only people who should be allowed to inspect your home are those who have been identified and qualified. The Internet allows anybody who owns a computer and is hooked up to the web to take a tour through your home.

I don't want just anybody looking through my home, unless they are a genuine buyer accompanied by a realtor.

The safe procedure is quite simple. The homebuyer usually checks out an area before they buy a home. They visit with the real estate agent, who takes great care to ensure that only genuine buyers are allowed to inspect your home.

If you must advertise your home on the internet, make sure that you go over the details with your realtor very carefully. Details like removing precious items before the filming of the tour or having their computer professional remove them through a Photoshop software program after the segment has been filmed. It is very important as a home owner to view the video before it is displayed over the internet, checking for security deficiencies.

Meeting with your real estate representative and ironing out the details is crucial. After all, you are the person holding the strings when it comes to protecting your home.