Archive for the ‘Home Security’ Category

Heavy Winds Increase Fire Risk – Fireproof Your Home

Friday, January 17th, 2014

With recent Santa Ana winds raging, fire risk is higher than normal, which bodes the question: Is your home fireproof? Consider doing a fire safety survey of your home and check out the tips from the NFPA on how to fireproof your home on our infographic below. If you don’t have a fire safe already, don’t delay! Some valuables are irreplaceable and can only truly be protected in a fire resistant safe. Check out our inventory of fire safes here and leave us your questions in the comment section below.

A Behind the Scenes Look at Safe Cracking

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Can safes really be cracked, or is it all a Hollywood illusion? In the recently released blockbuster film, Now You See Me, a team of magicians known as the Four Horsemen, are masters of every trick in the book, including safe cracking. One of the Four Horsemen, Jack Wilder, claims that, “Nothing is ever really locked.”

So is it true? And is it as easy as these grand thief actors make it seem? Well, the most popular method of safe cracking is simply stealing the entire safe and hauling it to another location where the safe cracking time can be unlimited. In fact, by putting all of one’s valuables in a safe that’s fairly light and not bolted down, one is basically packing a suitcase full of treasures for the burglar to haul away, making it an easy steal. Since this is such a common burglar method, we highly recommend bolting your safe down. For more info on how to do this, see our article: To Bolt Down or Not to Bolt Down…That is the Question.

With that being said, safe cracking IS possible and can be attempted inside a person’s home, when the burglar is not able to haul the safe away to a more secure location. The complexity and the likelihood of success for the burglar depends highly on a safe’s burglar rating.  The Underwriter’s Laboratory (U.L.) has developed a burglar rating for home security safes called: Residential Security Container (RSC), which equates to a safe being able to withstand 5 “attack” minutes of rigorous prying, drilling, grinding, punching, chiseling and tampering attacks using common tools found in a home, specifically a: 3lb. hammer, 18” pry bar, screw driver, grinder, and drill. You may think: 5 minutes, that’s all? The point is that 5 minutes of “attack” time can take 15 to 20 minutes of actual time on the clock. Statically, burglars are only inside a house for 8-10 minutes in a typical home burglary and in that time they have to find the safe, figure out what tools they’re going to use, etc. By that time, getting to the actual safe cracking time is not very likely. Want even more security? Higher security safes are available and come with a commercial (for banks and jewelry stores) burglar rating like TL-15, TL-30, or TL-30×6 (the number represents the number of minutes that the safe can withstand an attack).

You’re still probably thinking: but what about those guys in the movies who are actually able to “crack the code” and open the safe without all the brutal attack tools. Well, we can’t say that it’s not possible, but the masterminds who have learned that skill are very far and few between. The time required can be hours, and they are definitely NOT your typical home burglars. Want to know more about safe cracking or think you can figure it out? Check out our behind the scenes video looks at how mechanical locks and digital locks work HERE. Most of all, keep your safe secure by following these tips: bolt your safe to the floor and make sure it has an RSC and/or a TL burglar rating!

To Bolt Down or Not to Bolt Down…That is the Question

Monday, September 30th, 2013

We are regularly asked if a safe should be bolted to the floor. The answer is easy – YES, it should be!

Whether it’s a home safe, gun safe, jewelry safe, or any other kind of safe, bolting it down gives you more security. However, there are sometimes issues that must be considered when determining whether or not to bolt your safe to your floor, so evaluate which of the following categories you fall into, and plan accordingly.

Concrete Slab –Whether in the garage or inside the house, if you have a concrete slab floor, the only question is: why not? If the safe is bolted to the floor, a thief will have to work VERY hard to tip the safe over or remove it from your premises. 

Ground Floor, Raised Foundation – Generally, the floor in this situation is plywood, laid over 2×8 floor joists. There are two methods for bolting in this situation:

1.     The easy approach is to drill four lag bolts into the plywood floor. This will stabilize the safe some, but if someone is able to rock the safe or get under it with a pry-bar, they are likely going to be able to break it loose, so this is not the optimum choice, but it’s better than nothing.

2.     The better solution is to drill through the plywood flooring from inside the safe and come up from underneath the house with a carriage bolt (a bolt that you cannot release from the “head” end) and tighten the nut and washer from inside the safe. *The issue with this is that we don’t ask our Maximum Security crew to crawl under houses – most are not very pleasant to crawl underneath. We will however, drill the hole(s) for free, and then you just need to finish the job from that point.

Upstairs Location – Like a raised foundation, the flooring is generally plywood over floor joists. Bolting the safe to the floor will slow down a thief, but will not keep a determined thief from being able to break the safe loose. For this reason, we recommend that a safe going upstairs should weigh at least 450 pounds. Having moved thousands of safes we know that this is too much weight for a couple of burglars to pick up and put in the back of a pickup truck!

Have a question about one of these categories or want more information on bolting your safe to your floor? Leave us a comment below!

 

 

Home Security Audit Checklist – Just For You!

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Print it out and do your own home security audit!

Burglary Numbers on the Rise in California: Be Prepared

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

For some reason lately, it feels like we’ve been hearing more stories of local burglaries than in the past. So naturally, we went to Google to find out what’s going on and look what we found!

Top headlines over the past few months:

And the list goes on! Although it will be awhile before we see actual stats for the current year, one fact is stunning: According to the FBI crime statistics, a burglary occurs somewhere in the U.S. every 15.4 seconds, and 87% of those burglaries are considered to have been preventable. So what can you do to best be prepared? To help with your home security, we’ve come up with some easy burglar entry protection tips to start implementing at your home right away. (more…)

3 Important Considerations for Safeguarding your Valuables

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Success in life has many great benefits, including the ability to invest in objects of value. After working hard to acquire these items, you want to make sure that your valuables are protected, as certain items are easy to carry off and frequently the target of would-be thieves.

Enjoy the things that matter without fear or worry by taking the following precautions:

1.  Keep an Updated Inventory

Creating a catalogue of valuables will help ensure that everything is where it should be, and to more easily target an absence if something goes missing. In addition, you’ll be able to prove ownership to authorities or insurance agents in case of emergency. Having a dedicated file for receipts and notes about purchases is a great start in protecting these valuables. Keep electronic records by scanning these documents; you won’t have to worry about digging through the hard copies trying to find a proof of purchase. Another great way to start an inventory of your jewelry is to use a video camera to create a visual record. Walk through your house and narrate the video by describing each item as you film it, then upload the final product in a secure place. Make sure to redo your catalogue at least once a year – or more frequently depending on how often the content changes.

2.  Store Valuables in a Safe Location

There’s no better place to store truly irreplaceable items than behind a solid, locking door. You might think that you’ve found the “perfect hiding spot,” or that no one would have the opportunity to access your belongings, but you might be surprised at how many people come and go from your personal spaces on a regular basis. There’s always the chance that a burglar will break in to your home or place of work, but as with other crimes, often the responsible party is someone you know, such as an acquaintance, employee, or contractor. Finally, starting the habit of always putting your valuables in your safe will help you avoid the unfortunate scenario of wondering if you misplaced an important item, or if it was taken.

3.    Insure Valuables for the Right Amount

Normal homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover certain items, even if the value of those items falls within your limit for damages. Expensive items will most likely need to be cataloged and insured separately. An insurance agent will gladly help you find the amount of coverage that’s right for you, and will even come to your home or place of work at your convenience. Make sure to compare several offers and do some research before committing to a policy and prevent ending up with the wrong type of protection.

It doesn’t take a lot to save you the stress, anger, and potential heartache of lost or stolen treasures. Protect your valuable belongings using a secure, quality jewelry safe.

What tips can you give for protecting precious belongings? Give us your answers in the comment section below.

5 Simple Steps to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Dumpster DiveHelping you secure your valuables in quality safes is our primary business, at the same time we want to do what we can to help you stay safe in other areas as well.  Home safes, jewelry safes, and gun safes are an important part of your big picture security plan.  It is also important to protect your good name, your personal identity and your personal valuables.  Approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totaling upwards of $50 billion.  That means, 7% of all adults have their identities misused resulting in approximately $3,500 in damages per person.
How do identity thieves steal your personal information?  It could be as simple as dumpster diving; looking for old bills and documents that you haven’t properly disposed of, or as complex as people working in trusted positions such as medical offices or government agencies taking your personal information and using it in inappropriate ways.
While you can’t put all the elements of your personal identity in a security safe, there are ways to protect yourself and your information.

  • Read your credit reports, every 12 months you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three nationwide credit companies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion).  Visit Annual Credit Report to learn more about this.
  • Shred all documents that show personal information on them before you throw them away.  Check out Shred Wise to learn more about shredding options.
  • Install and USE a home security system to keep the bad guys OUT!
  • Don’t respond to anyone or anything asking for your personal information, and make sure if you are putting personal information on the web that the website is encrypted. Look for “https” at the beginning of the web address, the “s” stands for secure.
  • Don’t send information over a public wireless network to any website that isn’t full encrypted and secure.

If you are a victim of identity theft, immediately call one of the three credit reporting companies and post a fraud alert.  The first company will then contact the other two companies to ensure the your account is flagged at each of the agencies. Once the alert is posted it will remain there for 90 days.  You may also file a complaint, aka an FTC affidavit, with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).  Take this affidavit to your local police department and file a police report.  These documents combined comprise an identity theft report: for more information visit the FTC’s Identity Theft web page.

Six Most Effective Safety Measures to Protect your Home from Mishaps

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Are you planning to go for a vacation? Or perhaps you stay outside home for long hours and sometimes even for a couple of days and get worried over your home and family’s safety? To have your home safe from dangers like future break-ins, fire break out and also to restore your peace of mind, here are some tips you may find most helpful:

As reported to KUSA, the media channel based in Denver and also according to the local reports from Times-Picayune, Colorado and New Orleans police are taking the burglary offenses most seriously and providing the residents with effective tips to prevent such mishaps.

1. Protect your Vacation Home: Use Home Security Systems

Colorado police is especially emphasizing on the home security systems to help protect your home from those stealing hands. Automatic timers on laps can be really effective to create the illusion of your home remaining occupied when it is actually vacant.
Here, any kind of home automation system can come to your big help. With the provision of auto-adjusted lighting system you can preset the time for your lights to go on and off automatically. Even from outside home you can arm or disarm the security system.

2. Install Audible Burglar Alarms & Buzz

And as we are told in brief, the local police of New Orleans have recorded a 13% raise in the burglary rates and strictly prescribed the residents to install an audible security alarm. Most importantly, the advertising of these anti-intrusion alarms come as a favorable deterrent for burglars.
As is the case with yard sign and window decals. These safety equipments scare away the thieves informing them your home is under supervision. Moreover, to your assurance, the current FBI report states that 9 out of 10 convicted burglars have admitted they would avoid stealing from a house that has a monitored security system. So when your home is under professional monitoring, the intruders get a clear threat on how dangerous it can be if they ever try to sneak into your house.

3. Other General Tips to bar away Intruders

For further safety tips, you can follow some basic guidelines to have your vacation home full proof from burglary.
• Have your daily subscription cancelled while you will not be home. You can either receive them on mail after coming back or can just discontinue the service temporarily. Otherwise the piling newspaper in front of your door gives the potential thieves clear indication of none is home as of now. Or, you can ask your neighbor or friend to collect them for you every morning and get them while you are back.
• If situation permits, you can leave your car in the garage so that it seems like someone is always home. For this you can hire a taxi or rent a car to reach your holiday destination or up to the nearest airport.
• You can ask a friend or neighbor to sleep at your place while you are away. Keep the arrangements for food and snacks sufficient so that they do not need to leave the house unprotected to arrange for some.
• Also make sure you have plugged off your landline and answering machine while you are gone. When the messages keep on popping up on the answering machine none to receive them, the burglars get clear idea of you absent from the house.
• Avoid sharing your holiday plan with friends or relations where you may be overheard. And most importantly, do not share your personal detail on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. The tech savvy burglars take the easiest way like getting information on these sites and them making your vacant home their soft target.
• Emphasize upon locking all your doors and windows properly. Seal all the places that might be crawled under and don’t forget to check the locks if they are working properly. Moreover, install professionally monitored door and window sensors.
• It would be best if you go for professionally monitored door/ window sensors. The sensors come up with loud alarm sounds detecting unrecognized activities at the entrances. That will inform your neighbor of the potential risk and also the person you may have asked to sleep over at your place.

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Thieves Outwit Alarm Systems

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Home BurglaryA recent run of home burglaries in Texas suggests that thieves have learned to outsmart residential security systems. With knowledge of typical installations crooks are able to quickly enter the home, gather their loot and escape. When home safes are in use, protected valuables are secure while other items are easily snatched up.

Police indicate that homes are being broken into through back doors and windows. This way crooks can gain entrance without passersby seeing them. Once inside the thieves stay to the back of the house avoiding any visibility through front windows. Staying out of front rooms also means they are clear of locations where motion sensors are most frequently positioned.

There are plenty of valuables to be found in bedrooms, offices and family rooms that are often located in the back of homes. Should they run across a security safe, they may try briefly to open the safe but any quality safe will hold it’s own. Burglars will quickly move on to more accessible items.

While an alarm system will deter some burglars and shorten the stay of others, a home security safe will provide you that last line of defense that can make all the difference for the heirloom jewelry you look forward to passing on to your granddaughter.

When shopping for a good home safe consider one that provides quality burglar and fire protection. Simply the word SAFE on the box is not enough. A plastic interior is a sure sign of a safe to avoid! At a minimum look for a safe that is certified by Underwriters Laboratory as a Residential Security Container (RSC) and also includes 1-hour of fire protection.

The experts at Maximum Security Safes would be happy to consult with you by phone or in person in our showroom. We can help you select the right home safe for your specific needs. Call Maximum Security Safes at (800) 538-0600 today!

7 Most Common Causes of House Fires

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

house fire

House fires, not something I want to think about, but they are a real possibility. The National Fire Protection Association reports that there are as many as 400,000 house fires every year in the United States. It isn’t something we should ignore. With our most valued possessions at risk, the old adage, prepare for the worst and hope for the best, is a good approach. That means, take precautions to prevent the most common causes of house fires, and consider a home safe to protect key valuables as your last line of defense, just in case.

A recent National Fire Protection Association report indicates the most common causes of house fires. Below is that list and suggested precautions.

Cooking. The #1 cause of house fires, accounting for 42% of reported incidents, is cooking. Open flames from the stove and intense heat in the oven easily result in a fire when unsupervised. Most often food or cooking tools catch fire and quickly lose control. While giving up cooking all together may be a bit extreme, paying extra attention and never leaving the kitchen while preparing food is an easy way to reduce this risk.

Christmas Trees. Every winter families all around the world bring large trees into their home to celebrate a beloved holiday. However, Christmas trees can easily become a significant hazard. Dry tress combined with strings of lights quickly turn into fire sticks. Before placing the tree in your home cut off an inch or so from the bottom of the trunk, removing any dead wood that would prevent the tree from soaking up water. Be vigilant about watering your tree, keep it hydrated! Also be sure to turn off Christmas lights when you go to sleep at night. Or, avoid the risk altogether by getting an artificial tree!

Smoking. Smoking is the source of many of house fires leading to almost 1,000 deaths a year. Lit cigarettes accidentally dropped on any number of household items can quickly become large fires. Only smoking outside will reduce this risk significantly.

Candles. An estimated 18,000 house fires are caused by candles each year. Most of the incidences are due to negligence. Leaving a lit candle unattended can quickly lead to a fire. Numerous flammable materials in the vicinity of a candle can easily catch fire. Reduce this risk by trimming the wick of your candle to help limit the size of the flame, or use battery operated candles.

Appliances, Heaters, Children Playing with Fire. Other common causes of home fires include over use of appliances, home heating, and children playing with fire. Faulty or over-used appliances can easily cause a fire with just a few sparks. Heating systems, especially space heaters and wood stoves, can ignite household items nearby. The curiosity of young children can also lead to threatening fires. Playing with matches, lighters, and candles led to 56,300 fires between 2005 and 2009. Keeping these items out of the reach of children and educating them about the importance of fire safety can help reduce this risk. In the event that a house fire does occur a home safe, in particular a fire safe for the home, will keep important documents and precious valuable safe while you focus on getting your family to safety.

While we can’t eliminate all potential causes of house fires there are some basics that are well worth keeping in mind. Take these precautions and consider purchasing one of the many home safes to protect your most important valuables. Safes for the home are an excellent barrier for items of both monetary and sentimental value.