While the internet can serve as an invaluable learning tool and offer other benefits for our children, its use does pose certain risks. As many as 20 percent of kids will be subjected to some form of cyberbullying, and predators use the Web as a vehicle to connect with kids and attempt to lure them to a meeting place. What’s more, kids can be exposed to various types of inappropriate content while they’re online.
Consequently, knowing how to keep kids safe on the internet is an essential component of parenting these days.
Tips About Internet Safety For Kids
The following cyber safety tips for kids can help you protect your youngsters while they’re online:
Establish a set of online activity rules:
You likely have rules in place for where your kids are allowed to go, what time they must be home, setting aside time for homework, etc. Set some rules for internet usage, such as when and how long they are allowed to be online each day. The more time kids spend online, the more susceptible they become to the Web’s “dark side.” It also limits the time they spend engaging in normal, healthy childhood activities such as playing outdoors or hanging out with friends. Set parameters regarding when and how often your kids can go online and be sure to strictly enforce them. Create a list of acceptable websites they can to visit without your permission and post it by the computer as a reminder.
Teach them how to safeguard their privacy:
Instruct your kids not to give out information such as email addresses, home addresses or telephone numbers online or to provide any type of personal information strangers. Many proud parents also love to share photos and other news about their kids on Facebook and other social media sites. Unfortunately, this can also negatively impact their privacy and potentially expose them to individuals with bad intent. Think twice before posting information about your kids, and be sure to use social media site privacy settings to limit what you share to only those people you know and trust.
Instruct them on basic computer security:
Teach your kids the fundamentals of computer security, such as logging out properly and creating challenging passwords that are difficult to crack. Also, warn them of the dangers of sharing their passwords with anyone, including their most trusted friends. If your kids are old enough to go online on their own, they need to learn about what constitutes safe — and even more importantly — unsafe Internet practices. Educate them regarding setting strong passwords, detecting phishing emails and the dangers of posting or responding to inappropriate messages and photos.A simple rule to teach your kids is not to do anything online that they wouldn’t do face-to-face. Also, instruct them how to recognize cyberbullying and other online threats — and to tell you about them immediately if they occur.
Set up your household computers in open areas:
Placing your computers in open, high-traffic areas such as a living room or family room enables you to more easily monitor your kids’ online activity. If you have multiple computers in your home, limit the number that are connected to the Web to one or two. While it may seem intrusive, keeping a close eye on their social media activity is a good way to protect kids’ online security. For instance, many parents require their children to provide them with the password in exchange for permission to establish a social media account. Another option is to have your kids make you a friend or contact on all social media sites they use. Software is also available that can monitor your child’s online activities.
Take advantage your browser’s parental controls:
Popular Web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Google Chrome give you the option to adjust the security settings to restrict access to certain sites unless the user has a password. One of the most important steps you can take to protect children online is installing a reliable Internet security suite such as Norton Internet Security on every computer in your home.These products contain numerous safety features such as a personal firewall, phishing protection and spam filtering. Various Internet filter software products are also available that can prevent your kids from visiting inappropriate sites.
Talk to them about what they post online:
As your kids progress through their teenage years, much of their online activity will probably consist of engagement in social media. Be sure to have a conversation with them regarding what is and is not appropriate to post online — even a seemingly innocent comment could antagonize others and even be construed as cyberbullying. It’s also important to keep the lines of communication open regarding internet safety. Let your kids know they can approach you if they come across something that concerns or upsets them while online.
Warn them about issues such as plagiarism and hacking:
While the internet can be of immense help when working on school projects and reports, your kids should have a basic understanding of issues such as plagiarism and copyright infringement. If your child is particularly tech-savvy, explain the potential consequences of hacking.
Today’s generation of kids are exposed to the Internet virtually from birth. When used properly, the Web can serve as a valuable tool for educating and entertaining your children. However, Internet use can also leave your kids vulnerable to threats posed by sexual predators and cyberbullies — which can have serious and even tragic consequences. The good news is that you don’t have to resort to drastic measures like removing computers from your home or disconnecting the Internet to keep your children safe. Remember, it’s never too early to start protecting your kids’ online security — you’ll sleep better knowing you’re doing everything possible to keep your children safe.
A computer room, or data center, serves as the “nerve center” for many businesses these days. A fire in this area of your facility could destroy your expensive computer equipment — as well as the vital data it processes and stores. The resulting downtime and the loss of mission-critical information could have devastating consequences for your operation.
The following prevention tips can minimize your risk of a data center fire:
Manage the paper clutter: Don’t make your computer room a repository for stacks of paper documents or other combustible materials. If you print a lot of documents, keep the paper flow moving through and out of the room instead of creating large piles.
Inspect power cords: If yours is like most data centers, it’s full of power cords that connect all your computer equipment. Check the condition of the cords periodically and replace those that are worn or frayed.
Implement good housekeeping practices: Dust can accumulate on and around your computer equipment, which poses a significant fire hazard. Make sure your office cleaning protocols include regular cleaning and dust removal for your computers, servers, printers, copiers, etc.
Institute a fire response plan: Be certain the room has at least one fire extinguisher and provide training for your employees on how to use it. Integrate an escape route from the room into your facility’s fire evacuation plan.
Install a fire protection system: While you may have a sprinkler system in other areas of your building, water-based fire sprinklers are not a wise choice for a data center — water can damage your sensitive electronic equipment. A clean agent fire suppression system is a better option for a computer room environment.
Schedule regular fire inspections: A timely inspection of your company’s fire prevention systems will verify that your building is fully protected against the possibility of a fire. It will also ensure compliance with local fire codes — and give you peace of mind.
Contact Titan Alarm for All Your Business Fire Protection Needs
The safety of your family is a top priority. But when it comes to fire prevention, you might not be doing everything possible to prevent a potentially devastating blaze from occurring. Here are a few of the more common, but frequently overlooked home fire hazards you might not be aware of:
Allowing clutter near the stove: Approximately 40 percent of home fires start in the kitchen, with unattended cooking being the biggest culprit. However, excessive clutter is another “hidden” cause of kitchen fires. For example, some folks inadvertently place paper items such as recipe cards or paper towels too close to the stove. As a rule of thumb, keep any combustible products at least three feet away from the stovetop.
Cleaning the clothes dryer improperly: Most of know that a buildup of lint in the clothes dryer poses a significant fire danger. While many homeowners clean the dryer’s lint trap after each use, they may neglect to remove lint from inside or behind the unit. Lint that accumulates near the dryer’s heating element can ignite and cause a fire.
Letting sawdust buildup: If you have a home workshop in your basement, the sawdust produced when cutting wood can accumulate on surfaces and potentially ignite — even a thin layer that is difficult to see can catch fire. A standard household vacuum cleaner is not intended to handle sawdust; use a model that’s designed to pick up combustible dust when cleaning these work areas.
Leaving electrical outlets loose: Electrical outlets can loosen over time, especially if you plug and unplug items frequently. This can cause the blades inside the outlet to generate excessive heat that could cause a fire. If you have difficulty attaining a tight connection when plugging into an outlet, it’s time to consider replacing it
Keeping outdated appliances: That ancient coffeemaker, blender or space heater may still function properly, but it might not comply with updated fire safety codes. It may also contain frayed wires that pose a fire hazard.
If you live in or around Phoenix or Tucson, AZ, Titan Alarm can conduct a comprehensive safety inspection to help you uncover and address these and other hidden fire safety hazards. Contact us to learn more today.
Fire extinguishers play a vital role in any Phoenix, Mesa, or Tucson-area business’s fire protection plan. However, they don’t last forever. Even if you’ve never had to use one, the life expectancy of a fire extinguisher is only about 10-12 years.
Once they’ve reached that age, you’ll need to test the fire extinguisher to verify the integrity of the canister. If it’s still in good condition (the shell should be able to withstand a pressure of up to 500 psi), you can recharge the unit and possibly extend its lifespan by a couple of years.
A missing inspection tag that indicates the last time a unit was inspected or received maintenance
Damage to the pin or a missing pin
A broken or unsecured handle
How to Dispose of Your Expired Extinguisher
When the day finally comes to send a deceased fire extinguisher to that big firehouse in the sky, you’ll want to make sure you do it safely — don’t throw it out with rest of the trash, as it still may contain pressurized chemicals that can cause injuries or property damage if mishandled.
If the extinguisher still has a full or partial charge, try contacting your local fire department to see if you can drop it off at the station for disposal. If the department does not accept expired extinguishers, take it to a nearby hazardous waste disposal facility. If the extinguisher is empty but there is still some pressure in the unit, release it by squeezing the unit’s handle, then remove the head. Contact a recycling plant in your area to see if you can drop off the empty canister.
Contact Titan Alarm, Inc. for more advice regarding how to dispose of your outdated fire extinguishers. We’ll also be happy to schedule a safety inspection to ensure your Phoenix or Tucson company’s fire protection system is in peak operating condition.
It’s no secret that the sooner a fire receives a good dousing of water, the less likely it will spread throughout a home or business facility. Sprinklers can play a critical fire containment role — they will automatically activate during the early stages to keep a blaze under control until firefighters arrive at the scene. In many cases, sprinklers can even extinguish the flames.
Here are a few sprinkler system facts you might not know:
Sprinkler systems are proven lifesavers. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there has never been a recorded incident of more than two people being killed in a fire where there was a sprinkler system functioning at maximum capacity.
They cut down on fire-related injuries. The injury rate in fires where the building has a working sprinkler system is 41 percent lower than in buildings without one.
They can increase your chances of surviving a fire. The fire fatality rate in homes with a sprinkler system is 81 percent lower than in homes that don’t have one. However, only about seven percent of homes in the U.S. currently contain sprinklers.
Sprinkle systems can cut down on water damage after a fire. On average, firefighters use more than 3,500 gallons to put out a fire. Sprinkler systems typically use less than 300 gallons, significantly reducing the risk of water damage.
They can decrease your overall expenses surrounding fires. Fire-related property damage is around 70 percent less in homes with functioning sprinkler systems than in ones without them. Medical costs are 53 percent lower on average.
Sprinkler systems can save money in the long run. Many homeowners’ and business insurance providers offer premium discounts to building owners that install sprinkler systems. Consequently, sprinklers often pay for themselves in only about four years.
They’re extremely effective. In 60 percent of situations where sprinkler systems do not activate during a fire, it’s because someone had previously shut the system off.
They are set off by heat. Despite what many people believe, only the heat generated by a fire will activate sprinklers — smoke will not set the system in motion.
Contact Titan Alarm, Inc. to Learn More About the Sprinkler System Benefits
Installing smoke detectors is one of the most important safety steps any homeowner can take. But even the most reliable detectors won’t deliver maximum protection if you don’t locate them properly. The National Fire Protection Association recommends placing smoke detectors in these sections of your home:
Sleeping areas: Installing detectors in your home’s sleeping quarters is paramount — if a fire breaks out while you’re sleeping, you might not be aware of it until it’s too late. Place a detector in each bedroom and in the hallway where the bedrooms are located.
Non-sleeping areas: Install one detector on every level of your home that does not include sleeping quarters. Key areas include the living room/family room, near a stairway that leads to the upper level and the basement. Place the basement alarm on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairway that leads to the ground level.
Cooking areas: Make sure any alarms installed in or near the kitchen are at least 10 feet away from the stove or other cooking appliance to reduce the chance of false alarms.
Mount them high: Keeping in mind that smoke from a fire will rise, mount your detectors high on a wall — no more than 12 inches from the ceiling. If you’re installing an alarm in a room with a pitched ceiling, place it within three feet of the peak but not within the peak’s apex.
Keep them away from doors and windows: Avoid installing your detectors too close to doors, windows or air ducts — they’re prone to drafts that could interfere with the alarm’s function.
Consider installing interconnected smoke detectors: An interconnected smoke alarm system offers enhanced fire protection. When one unit detects the presence of smoke, it automatically transmits a signal to all the other connected devices. If you choose to install this type of system, make sure all your detectors come from the same manufacturer to ensure consistency and reliability.
Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips
Most of us know that smoke detectors save lives. They detect the early warnings of fire, which can provide enough time to escape before the flames engulf the structure. They can also prevent deaths from smoke inhalation.
The problem with smoke detectors is that we tend to forget about them once we install them. The only time many of us pay any attention to our detectors is when we hear that annoying chirping sound that warns us of a dead battery!
The Importance of Regular Smoke Detection Maintenance
Test your detectors at least once a month: Testing your detectors regularly will give you peace of mind and let you know if there are any potential maintenance or repair issues. Testing a detector is easy — with most models, you only need to press and hold the button that protrudes from the cover of the unit. If the alarm sounds, your detector is working properly.
Replace the battery once a year: By replacing your smoke detectors’ batteries on an annual basis, you’ll always have a fresh battery in the unit. Avoid using “long-life” batteries in older models, as this can inhibit their performance and even render them inoperable during a fire.
Vacuum them annually: If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your detectors, you’ll probably notice a collection of dust and debris in and around the unit. Excessive debris can cause detectors to malfunction. By vacuuming them once a year — a good time is when you change the batteries — you can prevent the build-up of dust.
Replace them when the time comes: Most smoke detectors experience a 30 percent failure rate after 10 years of service, so upgrade all the units in your home at least once a decade.
Top 10 Smoke Alarm Facts
Smoke alarms may be the most essential home security feature when it comes to keeping your family safe. They provide an early warning of the presence of fire that enables everyone to get out of the house before the blaze spreads. They’re also required by law by most jurisdictions in Arizona and across the U.S.
Here are 10 facts that will help you get the most benefit from your smoke detectors:
There are two types of smoke detectors — photoelectric and ionization. Photoelectric alarms are better at detecting slow-burning, smoldering fires, while the ionization version typically provides a faster response to flames. The ideal home security setup includes a combination of both types.
One smoke alarm in a home is not enough to provide sufficient protection. Install one detector on each floor, as well as in hallways outside of bedrooms. Place them on the ceiling or as high up on the wall as possible.
Test each alarm at least once per month. Many detectors have a button built into the unit you can press to hear if the alarm sounds. If it doesn’t, you may need to replace the battery.
Speaking of batteries, replace them in all your detectors once a year. Most detector models also produce a chirping sound that indicates the battery is running low.
You should replace your smoke alarms about once every 10 years. This reduces the likelihood of failure during a fire and gives you access to the latest upgrades in safety technology.
Strongly consider interconnecting all your home’s smoke alarms — with an interconnected system, when one alarm detects smoke, it will cause all the others in your house to sound as well, increasing the level of protection.
Carbon monoxide, an odorless, invisible, highly toxic gas, is another threat to your family’s safety. Consider installing multifunctional smoke alarms that also have carbon monoxide detection capabilities.
If you plan to paint the interior of your home, be careful not to paint over your alarms. Paint can block the airflow, making it more difficult for the unit to detect the presence of smoke.
Because of the importance of smoke alarms in ensuring the safety of your family, you don’t want to run the risk of an improper installation. Unless you have the necessary expertise, you should have a professional installer handle the task.
Your smoke alarms should be part of a comprehensive security system that also includes central monitoring. When your alarms detect the presence of smoke, it will trigger an alert to a remote monitoring team that can immediately determine the nature of the threat and dispatch first responders to your home. Professional monitoring can also reduce the likelihood of false alarms.
Contact Titan Alarm for More Information About Smoke Detectors
If you own a home in the Phoenix or Tucson area, Titan Alarm, Inc. can install a state-of-the-art security system that includes smoke detection and 24/7/365 monitoring. Contact us to schedule a free in-home consultation today.
We may think of an office as a safe work environment, especially when compared to job sites such as construction zones, mines and manufacturing plants. But offices pose a unique set of safety hazards, with fire among the biggest risks. According to National Fire Protection Association statistics, fire departments respond to an average of 3,340 office building fires each year, resulting in an annual average of $112 million in property damage.
Monitor cooking areas: Approximately 29 percent of office fires start in the kitchen area and are caused by unattended cooking or faulty equipment. Make sure your employees are following safe cooking practices and inspect the stove regularly to be certain it’s in good working order. Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand in the kitchen and provide training for your employees on how to use it properly.
Check your electrical, lighting and heating equipment: Occurrences such as frayed electrical cords, overloaded circuits and malfunctioning heating units account for about 23 percent of office fires. Be certain your equipment is in good condition and that you are not overburdening your electrical outlets, especially at workstations and in computer/data rooms.
Don’t allow trash and paper to accumulate: Trash, especially paper items, can pose a significant fire hazard in an office. Make sure you dispose of trash properly and do not allow it to pile up. Converting to a paperless office environment can help you cut down on the paper flow.
Police your smoking areas: If your office has a designated smoking area, make sure it is cleaned regularly and that your employees do not leave smoldering butts lying around. If your employees smoke outside, be certain they do so at a safe distance from your building.
Have a fire emergency plan in place: If a fire breaks out, your employees must know how to respond. Make sure they are familiar with the fastest, safest evacuation route based on their location in the building. Stage regular fire drills to ensure your workers are prepared for a fire emergency.
For further tips and assistance for your Phoenix-, Mesa-, or Tucson-based business, contact Titan Alarm today.
Any restaurant owner understands the importance of regular range hood cleaning as part of the establishment’s maintenance program. Keeping the hood and connected ductwork clean is essential for staying compliant with all national, state and local safety standards — a dirty hood will undoubtedly attract some unwanted attention from your friendly neighborhood health inspector.
Dirty hoods that have accumulated layers of grease can also pose an additional fire hazard that you don’t need — you already have enough to worry about with the fire-related risks that come with cooking and food preparation. Regular cleaning will help to prevent grease fires and improve the air quality in your kitchen.
According to the National Fire Protection Association’s most recent guidelines for commercial cooking operations, the appropriate frequency of your restaurant’s hood cleaning depends on usage and the volume of cooking you do. They recommend:
Monthly: For range hood systems in solid fuel operations
Quarterly: For systems that serve high-volume restaurants, like 24/7 diners
Semi-annually: For systems in cooking operations with moderate-volume
Annually: For systems in low-volume operations
What to Look for in a Hood Cleaning Service
Using a qualified, experienced professional hood and duct cleaning service can ensure your hood system remains in peak operating condition and will also significantly reduce your fire risk. But not all hood services are created equal — to find a reputable company in your area, start by checking with some of your fellow restauranteurs for recommendations.
You should also seek satisfactory answers to the following questions:
How long has the company been in business in the area? A local company will understand all applicable fire codes, safety requirements, etc.
What professional certifications does the company have?
What are some of the other restaurants in the area that the company serves?
What documentation does the company provide? A reputable hood cleaning company will furnish a detailed service report after completing the job.
If it’s time for a restaurant hood upgrade in Phoenix, Mesa, or Tucson, AZ, Titan Alarm can provide a state-of-the-art system specifically designed for your establishment. Contact us to learn more today.
Fire alarms have come a long away in their 65+ years of existence. Today’s fire alarm and detection systems are better and more reliable than ever — they’re able to notify first responders more quickly and even provide guidance to individuals as they attempt to escape a burning building. Alarm products are also available that can detect threats other than smoke and fire.
Advanced technology is at the heart of the improvements in fire alarm system performance. Examples of some of the more recent technological innovations include:
Phone apps: Virtually everyone carries a smartphone these days. Many fire alarm systems now provide access to downloadable apps that deliver instant alerts whenever a potential fire emergency arises. Company owners or property managers no longer need to rush to a fire alarm panel — which could be a great distance away — to investigate the situation. If the threat turns out to be real, the individual can also notify first responders promptly.
Carbon monoxide detection: Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and potentially lethal gas that may be produced in harmful amounts from malfunctioning heating systems or appliances. CO is often referred to as the “silent killer” because its victims may not notice its effects until it’s too late. The latest fire alarm solutions now include carbon monoxide detectors that can alert building occupants regarding unsafe CO levels.
Voice evacuation units: Emergency voice alarm communication systems (EVACS) are now available that can deliver pre-recorded or manual voice messages during a fire. They provide vocal reminders to all occupants regarding the safest evacuation route to take in an emergency. These systems are especially beneficial in buildings with visually impaired occupants.
Aspiration detection: Aspiration detection systems represent the latest development in fire alarm technology. They can determine the existence of a potentially dangerous environment — they’re even sensitive enough to tell the difference between smoke and dust. Aspiration detection devices are typically used to protect areas containing mission-critical assets — examples include computer rooms and data centers.
Contact Titan Alarm, Inc. to learn more about how the most recent advancements in fire alarm technology can benefit your business.
While many school systems these days are understandably focusing their safety training initiatives on how to respond to active shooter situations, fires still pose a significant risk. According to National Fire Protection Association statistics, fire departments in the United States responded to an average of nearly 5,000 structure fires per year in educational institutions from 2011-2015.
How to Prepare Your School for a Fire
Fire drills are an essential component of fire safety in schools. Regular drilling trains students and staff members on how to evacuate the building promptly during a fire emergency. Elements of an effective fire drill program include:
Consistent drilling. This is crucial for reinforcing the appropriate actions during a fire. According to NFPA guidelines, schools should stage drills once a month while school is in session. Schools located in areas with severe climates may drill less frequently based on the weather conditions.
Constant awareness. It is impossible to anticipate when a fire will break out. Thus, it is important to hold drills during different times of the day and under varying conditions to ensure students and staff members are prepared for every contingency.
Accessible plans of escape. Every room in the building should have a fire evacuation map posted in a visible location. The map should indicate two escape routes in case one path is blocked or inaccessible.
Calm procedures. Staff members should oversee the procession of students leaving the building and ensure they are moving in a quick, but orderly fashion. Rushing could cause a panic that leads to injuries.
Adequate staffing and planning. Students will special needs may need assistance during a fire drill. Designate a staff member or student “buddy” to be responsible for helping these individuals get out of the building safely.
School-wide participation. Everyone must leave the building during a fire drill — no exceptions. Use student rosters to account for every student.
Clear plans. Once the students have exited the building, make sure they remain at a predetermined location until they are cleared to go back inside.
Titan Alarm, Inc. can provide your Mesa-, Phoenix-, or Tucson-area school with a reliable fire alarm system that will enhance your safety efforts. Contact us for more information and to schedule a no-obligation fire safety consultation today.