National Preparedness Month

Disaster Preparedness Checklist for Home Security Systems

September is National Preparedness Month, which is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a part of the Department of Homeland Security. National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools and communities.

The Electronic Security Association (ESA) joins with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security in encouraging families to create an emergency plan. ESA also recommends that families include their home’s security system in their plan.

Below is a downloadable checklist that can help you plan ahead and prepare your home’s security system for a disaster.

Include the contact information for your security provider on your family emergency contact list. This will make it easier to alert your provider if you need to evacuate or relocate. Use a secure, password-protected, web-based platform or app to store this information.

Make sure security passwords and passcodes are up-to-date and everyone with permission to access the property has memorized the passwords and codes.

Educate yourself and your family so that everyone knows how to use the system to its full potential.

Set up an emergency communications plan for your family. Include a safe, familiar location for your family to meet in the event of a disaster. Schools and places of worship often provide emergency shelter.

Check with your security provider to understand how your system operates in the event of a power outage and how long it may be operable. Most systems have back-up batteries and will remain operational for a certain amount of time during a power failure, so make sure your batteries are in working order and appropriately charged. As a rule of thumb, optimum operation comes from batteries that were installed within three years and have not experienced multiple outages. However, it is always best to check with your security provider as they have the proper diagnostic tools to determine functionality.

Did You Know?

Security and surveillance systems can be connected to a back-up generator, so the systems continue to function once electrical power is out. Discuss this option with your security provider.

If you have a smart home security system that is connected to your smart phone, make sure the app is properly installed on your phone, as well as the phone of key family members. Through video and audio surveillance, you can monitor your home and property in real-time. If a power outage occurs, this feature may not work for the full duration of a storm, but it can alert you to issues so you can start immediate repairs upon return. Again, consult with your security provider to determine if an uninterrupted power supply was installed that will provide battery backup on your cameras.

Consider new technologies, such as disaster detection sensors that can detect and alert you to life-threatening issues, including: carbon monoxide leaks, changes in temperature and flooding.

Fires are common during and in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Ensure your smoke detectors are working properly and are connected to your security and fire alarm system. One way to better prepare your home for a disaster is to use a security solution that includes instant alerts, which can be sent directly to your smart phone. Both you and the monitoring station can be notified the moment your smoke detectors are activated. Video surveillance cameras can be programmed to send a live feed from the area in which the sensor has been triggered. This real-time technology allows you to react quickly and keeps first responders current to events taking place on the property.

If you live in an area that is prone to evacuations and are concerned about vandalism, consider a professionally-installed and monitored security system. Through real-time audio and video surveillance, your security provider can verify the intrusion with local authorities, so they can prioritize and respond accordingly. More importantly, it frees you to focus on evacuating your family to a safe location.

More information about National Preparedness Month and developing a family emergency plan can be found at Ready.gov.

 
     
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