All posts by Darrell

Darrell Shephard is a security systems specialist and the owner of Safe & Secure 24/7 a business specialising in private and commercial building and vehicle security. Connect with Darrell on Google+

What would an Alarm System do for You?

What Would and Alarm System do for You?

In addition to providing peace of mind, a good alarm system will add a valuable extra layer of security making you less likely to become a vicim of burglary.

It will provide immediate notification and on site noise deterrent if the worst were to happen.  Additionally it may help minimise damage from smoke, fire, gas, flood etc by providing early notification of such emergencies.

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We are not into scaremongering for the sake of making a sale but the following scenario does often happen.

Imagine you’ve just come home from a long day at work, or equally a quick trip to the shops.  Everything seems normal on the outside,  and then you open the front door.

Your stomach drops as you try to take in what you can see all around you: The patio door glass smashed, mess and the contents of drawers scattered all over the floor, cupboards all open, gaps where the TV and Hi Fi used to be.

Equally the same scene could confront you any day when you arrive to open your business.

This will be the event that spurs many people into getting an alarm system installed.

Alarm Systems

Choosing the alarm that is right for your home/business and your budget is no easy task – there are so many different systems and options within systems available and it is a world filled with jargon.

Our alarm systems are easy to operate and individually designed around your needs and budget and we recommend systems that we trust not to let you down they can be very simple with just an audible bell box right through to advanced commercial systems calling professional monitoring.

We have no doubt that an alarm system adds a layer of protection that makes it less likely you will be the victim of burglary.

With our alarms you can also add many other safety detectors for example smoke detectors.  If you were to suffer a fire in your absence, rather than rely on a neighbour or passer by to notice and call the fire service, the alarm will notify you or a professional monitoring service (your choice) as soon as it detects, smoke, water, gas etc

The alarm will provide peace of mind during your absence with a live feed to an app on your phone or tablet device.  The two pictures below show an app that you can have on your phone and from anywhere in the world, you can check that your alarm is set, you can unset and re-set it should you need to and check that each of your detectors is working properly.

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We have installed many alarms systems including wireless alarms in Shrewsbury and locally in Welshpool and Newtown and other towns and villages throughout Mid Wales and Shropshire.

We have installed many domestic systems and also commercial alarms, including a Jewellers shop in Shrewsbury Town Centre and a Computer Shop in Newtown, Powys.  Here is what a few of our customers say:

alarms.safeandsecure247.co.uk/testimonials

WHY ARE WE DIFFERENT TO OTHER COMPANIES?

We consider that we are different to many other companies read here to see why:  http://www.safeandsecure247.co.uk/blog/what-makes-us-different/

NEW WEBSITE please contact us or visit our new alarms website at alarms.safeandsecure247.co.uk for more information

Lock Snapping Fact or Hype?

LOCK SNAPPING, is it Fact or Hype?

We are aware that lock cylinder snapping has become an issue within the areas we cover over the last couple of months when it never used to be a real issue locally so we have reviewed this blog for anyone that may be concerned.

Please be assured that we never seek to scaremonger for the sake of making sales, this blog is intended to just present the facts to enable you to make better informed decisions.

There has been lots of media attention about lock snapping over recent months, is it fact or mere hype?  I have decided to try and set out the facts and give some advice to those who may be vulnerable.

Typical euro profile cylinder
Typical euro profile cylinder

 

This in the main applies to euro profile cylinders as shown.  These are usually found on UPVC and composite doors although can be used in mortice locks on timber doors.

 

SO WHAT IS THE ISSUE AND HOW VULNERABLE ARE YOU?

The original design of these cylinders means that most of them have an inherent weakness enabling the possibility of them being quickly snapped and pulled out of your door. This enables enables a burglar to open the door in very short time.  In my experience,  the vast majority of doors locally are fitted with the most basic types of cylinder which can be vulnerable.

In order to snap a cylinder, a potential burglar has to be able to grip the cylinder end with an implement or tool, so if your cylinder is protruding beyond a few millimeters,  it could be vulnerable,  the best fitted cylinder will always be flush (or within a couple of mm) with the external handle face plate.

If your cylinder is flush or as near as damn it to the face plate that is a good start and makes life a little more difficult for the potential burglar, however you are not out of the woods because many handle sets can be easily broken of the door, exposing your cylinder and making it easy to snap.

ANTI-SNAP CYLINDERS

We stock, a range of  anti-snap cylinders.  If anyone attempts to snap these cylinders they will snap at a sacrificial  point making unauthorised entry extremely difficult for anyone other than a trained locksmith.

When you return to the property with a key however, you will be still be able to open the door easily with your key.

HOW CAN YOU MAKE YOUR DOOR MORE SECURE

As I have highlighted there are two potential areas of weakness, the cylinder itself and the handle set.  I would always advise that to get the best advice you ought to consult your local locksmith as this is a developing area with many new products coming onto the market.

A good locksmith can also offer other services that you cannot achieve elsewhere for example if you are going to upgrade your lock cylinders anyway wouldn’t it be good to have just 1 key to fit all of your locks rather than a big bunch? If you are a landlord, bed and breakfast or other establishment that temporarily give out keys, you could have patented restricted profile cylinders and padlocks that prevent the person to whom you have issued a key from getting a copy cut meaning you have much better security control.

Fell free to visit our Safe and Secure 24/7 Website for more information and see what our customers say

 

MLA Expo 2015

We have just spent a really interesting weekend at the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) Expo 2015. http://www.locksmiths.co.uk/mla-expo/

We undertook a number of training sessions in order to hone our skills to be able to provide our customers an even better service.

The Expo itself has the very latest in security with over 95 exhibitors from all around the world, so we can be assured that the products we offer are the very best they can be.

Networking with other small independent Locksmiths and Security businesses from around the UK is also great, it enables us to ensure that our prices are keen and competitive and also gives a fascinating insight as to how other locksmiths tackle the common and not so common problems.

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Don’t forget we provide domestic and commercial locksmith services 24/7 365 days a year for towns such as Newtown, Welshpool, Shrewsbury, Telford and all villages and towns in between in the Counties of Powys, Shropshire and South Gwynedd.

For a complete overview of or range of locksmith services have a look at our web page at http://www.safeandsecure247.co.uk/services/home-security/locksmith.html

Additional Features our Alarm Systems Can Offer

There are a number of additional features to our alarm systems that we’ll highlight over a couple of blogs.

If you have taken the trouble to fit smoke detectors in your house or commercial premises, thats excellent.  I have a number throughout my house wired to the mains and all connected together, great you might think.

What happens though if they are activated when you are out or away on holiday and they are not wired to a fire alarm system? Well I guess it has to be no option but fingers crossed that a neighbour might check out your premises if they happen to be around and if they have done that, hopefully would then call emergency services if they smell smoke.

If you have one of our alarm systems however and add compatible smoke detectors the outcome in the event of activation is very different:

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Depending how the system is set up, either you will know instantly via your mobile phone that one or more has activated allowing you to take immediate action, or if you invest a small amount in professional 24/7 monitoring services, they will be instantly notified and the fire service called.

Similarly in the case of Flood, Temperature fluctuation high or low, natural gas, carbon monoxide etc.

Our alarm systems are adaptable and not just excellent intruder alarm,  they offer complete protection. There is no longer any need to leave the protection of you home, commercial premises or other building to chance.

We regularly fit alarm systems throughout, Powys. Mid-Wales, Shrewsbury and Shropshire, give us a call any time to discuss a system to meet your needs or visit our website at

 

http://www.safeandsecure247.co.uk/wireless-alarms-cctv.html

It’s Been a While

It’s been a while since our last blog but we are back!  Blogging is one of those things that you are never sure if anyone actually reads it and finds it useful or whether it just attracts all the really annoying spam.

Anyway, our blog is back in business, if anyone does read it and has a locksmith or security related topic you’d like us to blog about, then please contact us and let us know.

 

New Generation Visonic PowerG Range of Alarm Systems

We are now installing the new generation Visonic PowerG range of alarm systems which laughably is one of the best wireless systems currently on the market

These are suitable for domestic and commercial applications and come with a vast range of optional wireless detectors in addition to the extensive intruder options such as smoke, gas, Carbon monoxide, temperature high or low, flood.

For gadgety people, there is a neat LCD arming station option enabling users to swipe in and out with prox tags as well as oversea the system.

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This system can include silent alerts and non alarm chimes (driveway alert etc)

There are also outdoor and outbuilding suitable detectors.

There is an option of 365 24/7 professional monitoring otherwise the system can phone or text up to 4 numbers.

For more details call us for a chat or drop us an email.

http://www.visonic.com/Products/PowerG-Wireless-Property-Protection

Insurers Minimum Security Requirements

I reckon that 60% – 7o-% of the properties I attend that do not meet their insurers minimum security requirements, both domestic and commercial premises. Most people don’t even know that insurers have minimum security requirements as part of the policy.

If you fail to meet the minimum requirements they may refuse to pay out if you are burgled even if entry was through a point of entry that itself does comply.

Usual requirements read something like this (But you need to check what your own insurer says)

  • A 5 Lever British Standard (BS3621) mortice lock (or approved equivalent) fitted to the final point of exit. (ie the last door you leave when you leave the premises).
  • All other external door to be fitted with a lock as at 1. above or to have locking bolts fitted internally to the top and bottom.
  • All windows that can be accessed from the ground to be fitted with key operated locks.

We will gladly assist you to meet the standards.

Questions To Ask When You Phone A Locksmith

There are a few questions you ought to consider asking when you phone a locksmith;  Why? because it could save you lots of money and some locksmiths are simply better than others.

So,  questions you should ask when you phone a locksmith whether it is an emergency lock out or for some routine work.

WHAT WILL IT COST?

Ask for an estimate of how much the work will cost,  personally, I always give callers an estimate of how much any given job is likely to cost them and will if at all possible give either a fixed price or maximum cost;  always ask if any estimate quoted includes VAT.

I am surprised that the vast majority of people never ask about cost, don’t ever by too shy to ask because any reputable locksmith will provide an estimate based on the average time it takes to do a particular job.

Most locksmiths charge by the hour and will estimate how long the job is likely to take, if you are given the hourly rate check that if they run into a new hour whether they will charge the whole hour or just the actual time taken.

Depending on they type of job, they may in some circumstances be able to provide a fixed quote although this could work out slightly more costly than the hourly rate as it is necessary to allow for unknown variables that might lengthen the time taken.

Clearly any estimate is just that, based on a customers’s telephone description it is impossible to determine all the variables that could cause delay but when the locksmith is working on site they regularly update you, explaining any issues and also provide you options based on what they find to enable you to make properly informed decisions.

WHERE IS THE ACTUAL ATTENDING LOCKSMITH BASED?

There are many so called locksmiths that advertise National coverage.  Whilst I can’t comment on their actual coverage they do not cover all areas and some sub-contract to anyone they can get, others might travel large distance which of course adds to the costs. Many of these companies charge considerably more than your local reputable locksmith some considerably more.

If possible check out the website which should have the address from which the locksmith operates.

HOW WILL THEY GO ABOUT THE JOB

If you are telephoning a local reputable locksmith, you are likely to speak to the locksmith that will be attending, if this is not the case then ask to speak to them.  You don’t need to know the full technical details but they ought to be able to reassure you they are not going to just get the drill straight out and cause damage that might not be necessary.  Drilling locks is usually the last resort.

WHAT ASSOCIATIONS DOES THE LOCKSMITH BELONG TO

Anyone can become a locksmith with no training, whilst some very good locksmiths choose not to belong to any of the associations, you have to be wary of potential “cowboys” too.  There are a number of locksmith associations for example the Master Locksmiths Association which ensure a level of good workmanship and reasonable charges etc, check out the association webpages if you have time and the locksmith attending should have identification or certification proving their membership.

IS YOUR LOCKSMITH CRB CHECKED?

As previously stated, anyone can set up as a locksmith, and you are going to trust them with keys to your property, or safe etc etc, if they are CRB checked this ought to prove they have no previous criminal convictions for dishonesty, once agin they ought to be able to show you documentation ort certification proving the CRB check.

WHAT DO OTHER CUSTOMERS SAY

If you are able to do so, have a look at the website, and see if there are any customer testimonials.  (Be slightly wary because some unscrupulous individuals can just make these up)  Have a good look at the website to see if it seems genuine and that your locksmith is a member of the local community if possible

SECURITY ADVICE

Many local reputable locksmiths over time become security experts, some have other previous security expertise to add weight to that expertise an can offer other services for example free no obligation security surveys so that you can be made aware of any security vulnerabilities you may have.

You have to put a lot of of trust in any locksmith you employ so don’t be afraid to ask the necessary questions including price estimates to help build that trust.

If you don’t ask a few questions, you might end up paying far too much or having a door that looks like this:

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Ten Simple Tips To Make your Shed or Outbuilding More Secure

Shed and Outbuilding burglary is a continuing to be a problem in the areas we cover on the whole, they tend to make easy targets and it needn’t cost the earth to make them more secure.

Below are ten simple tips to make your shed or outbuilding more secure. There are a couple of issues with sheds and outdoor buildings that many people may not realise; the total value of everything they contain is likely to be far higher than you might at first think and secondly, it is likely to contain many tools and implements that an opportunist burglar could use to enter your home.

1. Consider the approach to your shed or outbuilding, do you shut/lock access gates?

2. Preventing unwanted visitors entering your property is what you need to achieve, but nobody wants their home looking like a prison surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, and that is not necessary. Mother nature provides an environmentally friendly, attractive and particularly effective alternative – the prickly bush, these can be extremely effective when planted around perimeter areas. Don’t go for height particularly at the front as this could hide unwanted visitors on your property from sight. A high hedge can be great for an opportunist theft as they are confident of not being seen while they are up to no good.

3. There are many forms of driveway alert that sound in the house when someone enters your drive these start from as little as £30.

4. Consider motion sensitive outdoor lighting. During the hours of darkness lighting can not only be a comfort factor for the occupant, it is an excellent deterrent for would be opportunist burglars who clearly do not want to be seen. Be sure to fit them out of reach so they cannot be tampered with and if they are bright halogen lights, not pointing directly at neighbours houses so as to cause a nuisance.

5. Starting with the outside of each shed or building, ensure the walls are as secure as they can be, mend any holes that someone could crawl through or make bigger etc.

6. Install the best security locking devices possible, ensure that padlocks and fittings are sturdy and function properly, and if an outbuilding leads directly into your home make sure that the connecting door is especially secure. Replace and properly secure any cracked windows, and consider adding wire mesh or grilles.

7. Secure any particularly valuable items with padlocks and chains to ground or wall anchors. If you use high quality security it would necessitate a thief having to use a noisy angle grinder rather than relatively silent bolt croppers.

8. Consider locking other smaller valuable tools items such as chainsaws etc to the same ground or wall anchors at least locking lots of items together to make them very difficult to move.

9. Consider CCTV or if that is beyond your budget, you could consider a high quality dummy CCTV camera.

10. Consider an alarm, these can range from a simple shed alarm which sell for less than £10 through to a properly installed alarm system either as part of or separate to the house alarm.

 

Just in case the worst does happen despite your best efforts, check that you have sufficient insurance cover for your sheds and outbuildings and that tools and equipment of significant value is covered. Ensure you comply with your insurers minimum requirements, such as locking ATVs to ground anchors as otherwise your insurance may not pay out. Make a note of the serial numbers of valuable tools and equipment, Mark them in some way either with a property marketing solution or by putting your postcode in a way that cannot be easily removed. Always consider asking the advice of your local reputable locksmith who should be able to assist with general security advice as well as product specific advice and will offer an installation service should you require it.

Do You Leave Windows Open at Night in the Summer?

Do you leave your windows open at night in the summer?  

If the answer is yes, it might not have crossed your mind that many burglaries take place with burglars entering through open windows whilst the occupants sleep.  Even if they are first floor windows it may be surprisingly easy to climb using drainpipes or items in your or a neighbour’s garden.

Luckily it is an easy problem to resolve and at the same time will alleviate any concerns you might have about the hazard of open windows if you have small children.

Below are a couple of devices available to prevent your windows from being opened wide enough to climb in or fall out.

Child Safety Lock
Child Safety LockCable restrictor

 If you live in Mid Wales or Shropshire, we’ll be happy to advise on the best type of device that suits your window type and specific requirements otherwise your local reputable locksmith should be able to assist.