Alarms of Berkshire County

Safely Working & Learning from Home

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In 2020, we spent more time in our own homes than ever before. Working remotely has become the “new normal” for millions of people, and distance learning from the kitchen table has taken the place of the classroom for many students. How does this dramatic increase in time at home impact your safety and security?

You may feel your home is better protected when you’re there—and for some risks, this is true. Most home burglaries happen in the daytime, when the house is unoccupied. So being home more often reduces your risk of burglary—but at the same time, other risks are increased.

Preventing Home Fires

30% of all fires in the U.S. occur at home (compared with only 9% on non-residential properties), and the leading cause of home fires is cooking. For many of us, increased time at home means increased time in the kitchen, so there’s a strong case for focusing the bulk of your fire-prevention efforts here: cooking fires result in more injuries and deaths than any other fire type.

The most important fire prevention strategy is to remain focused while cooking. Never leave food unattended on the stove or in the oven. Even stepping away to answer a call or email is a dangerous distraction—it can be very easy to forget about the dinner you were making until you smell smoke.

Now’s also a great time to ensure that you have working smoke detectors, that fire extinguishers are kept close at hand, and that your family members know how to use these.

Avoiding Electrical Overload

With kids and parents alike using plugged in devices throughout the day, the load on your electrical system can add up quickly.

  • Chargers and appliance cords should be regularly inspected for damage, and replaced when needed.
  • Avoid overloading outlets with too many devices, and unplug them when not in use.
  • Never plug space heaters into extension cords or power strips, as these cannot handle the necessary high current flow.

Securing Your Workspace

If you’ve bought sensitive files or expensive equipment home from the office, you should take extra precautions to protect it. Secure your workspace from theft and loss, as well as from household accidents caused by children or pets. If you have a home office or a dedicated workspace, keep it locked when you’re not in there, if possible. Many security systems allow alarms to be set for select rooms—see if yours includes this option, or get in touch with us for assistance.

Securing the Home’s Exterior

Extra precautions should be taken for the safety of children who are home during the day. A video doorbell provides security as well as convenience for handling unexpected interruptions throughout the day. Standalone doorbell cameras are available, but integration with your existing camera system offers better reliability. Teach children not to open the door until an adult has checked the feed and given the okay. When this is not possible, teach children not to open the door to anyone they don’t know, and never to let someone into the house—even if they say they are with the cable company, for example—without permission.

Keeping exterior doors locked is another habit that the whole family should adopt. Ensure that children on a hybrid schedule or who can come home independently (should school let out early) have the passcodes they need to enter the house as well as a good understanding of how to arm and disarm the security system. In place of traditional keys, consider switching to key fobs which can disarm the security system while allowing entry.

One Step Further: Caring for Your Loved Ones from Afar

Staying home and socially distanced may also cause you concern about an elderly relative or loved one with a medical condition that you can no longer visit. In this case, a personal alert pendant can give you peace of mind. These devices are typically worn as a wristband or on a lanyard. In a medical emergency such as a fall or sudden illness, they can push the device’s panic button to signal our central monitoring station. Every second is critical in these situations, and our trained specialists will send help quickly.