Here are some helpful articles on how to keep your business and home safe and protected. We offer custom-designed, security systems for New Jersey businesses and residential homes. With the most cutting edge security solutions in the industry, you can trust GCSI Security Group’s highly qualified experts.

Security Systems

False alarms are a nuisance for all involved, especially for the responding authorities. These alarms distract the authorities from real emergencies and tie up their resources. Some municipalities can even fine you for excessive false alarms.

Here are some tips for avoiding false alarms:

  • When allowing visitors and house guests to operate your alarm system, make sure they know how to properly use your system.
  • Wireless keyfobs may help reduce the human error by simplifying the arm and disarm process.
  • Make sure all doors and windows close and secured properly. Unlocked doors and windows, in some circumstances, may move or shift which may cause a false alarm.
  • Pets can often create many false alarms. Make sure your system has been designed for your specific pets. Please contact GCSI for more information.
  • Due to the design of most motion detectors, certain conditions can be created that may cause false alarms. Some of these conditions include the movement of large plants, balloons, or decorations. To reduce potential false alarms, attempt to place these items out of the range of your motion detectors or out of the path of moving air. For more specific information about your motion detectors please contact our office.
  • False alarms can also be generated by pests, spider webs, or even dust near your smoke and motion detectors. Be sure to have them cleaned regularly.
  • The disorder created during remodeling and construction may generate false alarm conditions. Any changes to your security and fire system during construction should be completed by a trained alarm technician. Please contact your alarm company before starting any remodeling or construction project

Keeping your home safe while you are on vacation.

With Summer upon us, we are officially entering into “vacation season”. One of the last things you want to worry about while on vacation is the safety of your home.

We all know burglars like “easy” targets. A vacant home can be the easiest of targets if you do not have the proper plan in place to secure it.

When preparing to leave for your vacation, it is a good idea to use a checklist to make sure you haven’t left your property vulnerable to intrusion. Here are a few items that should be on your list.

Mail and newspaper delivery: You want to either ask a neighbor or relative to make sure your mail and newspapers are picked up daily. Also, have them check for flyers left on the door. If you do not have anyone you trust, another option is to put a “hold” on your mail and newspaper delivery for the time you will be away from home.

Keep your vacation private, but not a secret: Do not publicize you are leaving your home unattended for a period of time. You do want to alert a trusted neighbor or family member, so they can keep an eye on your house.

Create an illusion that someone is home: Use timers for your lights. Also, set a radio to auto-on at certain times a day. Invest in motion sensors for outside lighting.

If you are gone for more than a week hire someone to mow your lawn: An unkempt yard allows a possible intruder to know that someone could possibly be away.

If possible leave a car in the driveway: If you don’t have a car being left at home, ask a neighbor to park one of theirs in your driveway. Try to give the appearance you are coming and going.

Social Media: Even though it is tempting to let your social media circle know that you are planning or are going on vacation, it is better to keep it off of the internet until after you return.

Make sure everything is locked up: Walk around your house (inside and out), right before you leave, and check to see everything is secure. If you own a home security system, make sure it is armed.

If you are going on a road trip pack up the quickly the morning of, not the night before: Luggage sitting in a car is alerting everyone who sees it, that you are ready to leave your house unattended.

Following these simple home safety practices can help keep your home safe and protect your valuables. Ultimately, the best way to keep your home safe is to install a monitored security system. With a monitored alarm system installed, you can feel peace of mind, even if you are not home.

If you would like more information on the benefits of installing a home security system, please call the GCSI Security Group at (877) 589-6111.

Here are some fire safety tips:

  • Draw a floor plan and escape route for each level of your home
  • Make sure there are at least two exits planned for every room
  • Choose a safe meeting place outside of your home
  • Practice your plan
  • Teach family members to “Stop, Drop, & Roll”
  • Sleep with doors closed to keep out fire and heat out of rooms
  • Learn how to use your fire extinguisher
  • Be sure to have your chimneys and fireplaces inspected and cleaned by a professional
  • Never leave a candle unattended
  • Always stay in the kitchen when cooking
  • Be sure that all your stove and oven pilots are lit
  • Decorate your home with flame-retardant or noncombustible materials
  • When using your outside grill place your grill in a safe distance from your home or anything that could catch fire.
  • Smoke detectors should be on every floor and in every bedroom of your home
  • For battery operated smoke detectors, be sure to test your detector and change your batteries every year
  • For monitored security system smoke detectors, be sure to set up a maintenance program with your alarm company to have your detectors professional cleaned and tested.
  • It is important that you are aware that VOIP & Digital Phone services can adversely affect your electronic security/life safety systems leaving it incapable of communicating with the central station.

    If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at 877-589-6111.

    We would like to inform you about the potential impact that new types of phone services may have on your security/life safety systems. Commonly referred to as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and digital telephone service, these new phone options are rapidly growing in popularity. These technologies allow you to make telephone calls via a broadband connection instead of using a traditional landline phone service. The benefits of these technologies include enhanced features and lower costs compared to traditional services. Typically, these new types of phone services replace your landline service.

    We encourage you to check with us before making any changes to your existing telephone service. If you have already switched to VoIP or digital phone service, it is extremely important that you contact us immediately.

    In almost all cases, your security/life safety systems rely on proper operation of the telephone line, and its associated special security wiring, to reliably communicate alarm signals to the central station. There are several important things to consider before making the decision to use VoIP or digital telephone service:

  • With a self-installed VoIP service, such as Vonage or AT&T’s CallVantage, your alarm system may lose its connection to the telephone service rendering the system unable to send alarm signals to the central station. VoIP technology may also cause your alarm signals to get scrambled as they are sent to the central station.
  • With digital telephone services offered by cable or telephone providers like Comcast & Verizon, your system may be unable to consistently and reliably send alarm signals to the central station. This technology may also cause your alarm signals to get scrambled as they are sent to the central station.
  • In addition to the security system’s battery back-up equipment, VoIP and digital phone services may need additional battery back-up equipment to maintain communications in the event of a power failure.
    There is a significant risk that your security/life safety systems will not be able to communicate an emergency signal to the central station.
  • For the utmost reliability, there are new security communication solutions available that use digital wireless transmission or the Internet to reliably send alarm signals to the central station. These services allow you to take maximum advantage of cost savings from VoIP or digital telephone services while maintaining and even improving, the reliability of your security/life safety system. We would be happy to discuss these options with you.

    MAKE THE SWITCH TO 4G NOW
    When it comes to life safety, failure is not an option.

    Avoid Service Disruption

    Major network carriers—including AT&T—are prioritizing 4G over slower alternatives including 2G. Many mobile phone users have already upgraded to 4G. Due to the upcoming “sunset notice” issued by AT&T, 2G service will be fully transitioned out in the near future. This transition can occur in your location at any time without notice. Why wait?

    IntelliPath™ 4G

    4G—the same lightning-fast wireless technology millions use on their mobile phones—is one of the most reliable methods of alarm signal transport. With Honeywell’s IntelliPath 4G, the system finds the best signal in the area—helping to make sure alarm signals get through.

    What is the 2G sunset announced by AT&T?

    AT&T is shutting down the older 2G network, which doesn’t support high data speeds, city by city in a process called 2G harvesting. This harvesting process begins to take 2G frequencies and convert them to 3G frequencies over time, eventually shutting down the 2G network once all frequencies are harvested out. The goal is to get 2G subscribers to move to newer 3G networks. By shutting down 2G and using the same space on the airwaves for 3G, AT&T can increase data capacity by more than a hundred-fold.

    Why haven’t I heard about this?

    Much of the attention around the 2G sunset has been focused on cell phones. Your old Motorola Razor was 2G. Your business or home alarm communicator that relies on the 2G network will also have to be upgraded so it will continue to operate without any technical issues.

    Why is the 2G wireless network being eliminated?

    Data use on wireless networks is increasing as more and more people embrace smartphones and tablets. AT&T must shut down the 2G network and use that space for 3G and 4G networks that will increase data capacity and speed.

    How does the 2G Sunset impact alarm systems?

    Many wireless alarm systems communicate via cellular networks like the 2G, 3G and 4G networks. Some wireless alarm systems were installed with a 2G compatible GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) device that will only communicate via the 2G wireless network. Therefore, when the 2G network shutdown occurs in your area, these systems will no longer be able to communicate alarm signals.

    Will I be required to upgrade to a 3G/4G option once the 2G sunset is complete.

    Yes. Once AT&T and other carriers shut down their 2G networks, all 2G devices, including your alarm communicator, will no longer function. An upgrade to a 3G/4G option will be required to continue to communicate to our Monitoring and Dispatch Center.

    You mention AT&T specifically, but are all carriers harvesting 2G networks? Can’t I just change carriers?

    Your current security panel is carrier-specific based on proprietary alarm messaging services in your area. It is not possible to switch carriers without an equipment change, and only then if the appropriate alarm messaging service is available in your area.

    For more information, please read the articles below.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-08-03/att-2g-network/56758432/1

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/t-sets-deadline-2g-sunset-195541799.html

    Home Security Tips

    Exterior Doors:
    Exterior doors should have quality deadbolt locks with no less than a 1″ throw
    All latch-strike plates on your doors should be secured with at least 3″ screws
    All exterior doors should be solid hardwood or metal-clad
    Exterior doors should have wide-angled peepholes at heights everyone can use or a voice intercom system
    Your doorframe should be strong enough and tight enough to prevent forcing or spreading
    Door hinges should be protected from removal from the outside
    Locks should not be able to be reached through a mail slot, delivery port, or pet entrance
    Install storm and screen doors with adequate locks if you like to leave your front door open during the day
    Change the locks whenever you move into a new home
    Do not place spare keys under a doormat, in a planter, on a ledge, or in the mailbox. Give them to a trusted neighbor.
    Be sure to trim your landscaping so that it does not block the view of entry ways into your home from the street or public areas
    Exterior entrances should be lighted properly
    Be sure to always lock your doors when you are home and every time you leave your residence

    Sliding Glass Doors:
    Make sure your sliding panel is secured from being removed from the track
    Your sliding glass door should have at least one of the following:
    Track lock
    Insertion pin lock
    Hinged door bar
    Metal or wooden dowel in track

    Garage Doors:
    The door from your garage to your living quarters should have locks that are sufficient for an exterior door, because this door is also an entry/exit door for your security system
    The door from the garage to your living quarters should be made of metal or solid wood
    If your overhead garage door is equipped with an automatic opener make sure it uses a “rolling code” to deter “code grabbers”
    Overhead garage doors should be kept closed and locked at all times
    To avoid leaving your overhead garage door open, a remote door position indicator can be installed in the interior of your home to show you that your garage door is either open or closed

    Windows:
    Windows should be secured with auxiliary keyed window locks
    Have your auxiliary window locks installed to allow ventilation while remaining locked
    Keep the keys readily available for emergencies
    If you don’t have auxiliary locks make sure your windows are secured by pins, nails, or dowels
    Windows should have screens or storm windows that lock from the inside
    Sliding windows should have a dowel in the track to avoid being pried open
    Basement windows should have a second lock or be covered with a grate or grille
    Always leave one opening as fire exit
    Place security bars around windows with portable air condition units
    Trees and shrubbery should be kept trimmed back from upper floor windows
    Ladders should be stored where an intruder cannot access them
    Replace or repair any broken window as soon as possible
    Always make sure all windows are securely closed and locked, even if you are just leaving for a few minutes

    Outdoor Security:
    Keep areas around your house, garage,or yard lit at night
    Outside entrances should have a bright, working light to illuminate visitors
    Motion sensors are a great way to control your exterior lighting
    Your house number should be clearly displayed and at least 4″ tall with a contrasting background on post near your street and/or on your home
    Use big, bold numbers on your mailbox
    Never put your name on your mailbox
    All outdoor storage sheds, pool houses, or other exterior buildings should be kept locked
    Bicycles, grills, and other valuables should be locked away or locked to a stationary point
    Fence and gate latches should be kept locked by a weatherproof padlock
    All vehicles should be kept locked and windows shut
    Plant prickly or thorny shrubbery near windows to discourage loitering or hiding
    If you travel often or spend a lot of time in your backyard, consider having a surveillance camera system installed to monitor the exterior of your home
    Displaying alarm company signs, neighborhood watch signs, or dog decals on windows or in your yard can be a deterrent for burglars

    Interior Security:
    Use automatic timers for lights
    Always arm your security system
    Keep window shades and blinds closed when you are not at home
    When answering your door make sure you know who it is before opening the door
    When recording your answering machine message make sure not give out your name, any times you may not be home, or any unnecessary information
    Keep an up-to-date inventory of the valuables inside your home. Your records should include makes, models, serial numbers, photographs, and videos (Do not keep these records in your home – secure them in a safety deposit box)
    Engrave your driver’s license number (not your social security number) on valuable items that could be stolen
    Use a fire rated safe or safety deposit box for valuable items and paperwork

    While on Vacation:
    Do yard work before you leave
    Discontinue mail and newspaper service when away for an extended period of time
    Arrange for a friend or neighbor to come by and check on your home
    Do not leave a message on your answering machine letting callers know you are away
    Leave a radio on and tuned to a talk-radio station
    Set at least two timers to turn the lights on and off in a logical sequence
    Set a timer for your television or radio to allude that someone is home
    Leave a vehicle in your driveway or ask a neighbor to park at your house

    Your Alarm System:
    Always use your system
    Be cautious about who you give your alarm codes and keyfobs to
    Since many people are desensitized to sirens and alarms, make sure your alarm is connected to a central station where authorities can be dispatched if needed
    In case your telephone service is disrupted, a back-up cellular connection is an important added security measure for alarms connected to central stations
    Be sure to test your system weekly and have your alarm company service your system on an annual basis
    Exterior Doors:

    Exterior doors should have quality deadbolt locks with no less than a 1″ throw
    All latch-strike plates on your doors should be secured with at least 3″ screws
    All exterior doors should be solid hardwood or metal-clad
    Exterior doors should have wide-angled peepholes at heights everyone can use or a voice intercom system
    Your doorframe should be strong enough and tight enough to prevent forcing or spreading
    Door hinges should be protected from removal from the outside
    Locks should not be able to be reached through a mail slot, delivery port, or pet entrance
    Install storm and screen doors with adequate locks if you like to leave your front door open during the day
    Change the locks whenever you move into a new home
    Do not place spare keys under a doormat, in a planter, on a ledge, or in the mailbox. Give them to a trusted neighbor.
    Be sure to trim your landscaping so that it does not block the view of entry ways into your home from the street or public areas
    Exterior entrances should be lighted properly
    Be sure to always lock your doors when you are home and every time you leave your residence

    Sliding Glass Doors:
    Make sure your sliding panel is secured from being removed from the track
    Your sliding glass door should have at least one of the following:
    Track lock
    Insertion pin lock
    Hinged door bar
    Metal or wooden dowel in track

    Garage Doors:
    The door from your garage to your living quarters should have locks that are sufficient for an exterior door, because this door is also an entry/exit door for your security system
    The door from the garage to your living quarters should be made of metal or solid wood
    If your overhead garage door is equipped with an automatic opener make sure it uses a “rolling code” to deter “code grabbers”
    Overhead garage doors should be kept closed and locked at all times
    To avoid leaving your overhead garage door open, a remote door position indicator can be installed in the interior of your home to show you that your garage door is either open or closed

    Windows:
    Windows should be secured with auxiliary keyed window locks
    Have your auxiliary window locks installed to allow ventilation while remaining locked
    Keep the keys readily available for emergencies
    If you don’t have auxiliary locks make sure your windows are secured by pins, nails, or dowels
    Windows should have screens or storm windows that lock from the inside
    Sliding windows should have a dowel in the track to avoid being pried open
    Basement windows should have a second lock or be covered with a grate or grille
    Always leave one opening as fire exit
    Place security bars around windows with portable air condition units
    Trees and shrubbery should be kept trimmed back from upper floor windows
    Ladders should be stored where an intruder cannot access them
    Replace or repair any broken window as soon as possible
    Always make sure all windows are securely closed and locked, even if you are just leaving for a few minutes

    Outdoor Security:
    Keep areas around your house, garage,or yard lit at night
    Outside entrances should have a bright, working light to illuminate visitors
    Motion sensors are a great way to control your exterior lighting
    Your house number should be clearly displayed and at least 4″ tall with a contrasting background on post near your street and/or on your home
    Use big, bold numbers on your mailbox
    Never put your name on your mailbox
    All outdoor storage sheds, pool houses, or other exterior buildings should be kept locked
    Bicycles, grills, and other valuables should be locked away or locked to a stationary point
    Fence and gate latches should be kept locked by a weatherproof padlock
    All vehicles should be kept locked and windows shut
    Plant prickly or thorny shrubbery near windows to discourage loitering or hiding
    If you travel often or spend a lot of time in your backyard, consider having a surveillance camera system installed to monitor the exterior of your home
    Displaying alarm company signs, neighborhood watch signs, or dog decals on windows or in your yard can be a deterrent for burglars

    Interior Security:
    Use automatic timers for lights
    Always arm your security system
    Keep window shades and blinds closed when you are not at home
    When answering your door make sure you know who it is before opening the door
    When recording your answering machine message make sure not give out your name, any times you may not be home, or any unnecessary information
    Keep an up-to-date inventory of the valuables inside your home. Your records should include makes, models, serial numbers, photographs, and videos (Do not keep these records in your home – secure them in a safety deposit box)
    Engrave your driver’s license number (not your social security number) on valuable items that could be stolen
    Use a fire rated safe or safety deposit box for valuable items and paperwork

    While on Vacation:
    Do hard work before you leave
    Discontinue mail and newspaper service when away for an extended period of time
    Arrange for a friend or neighbor to come by and check on your home
    Do not leave a message on your answering machine letting callers know you are away
    Leave a radio on and tuned to a talk-radio station
    Set at least two timers to turn the lights on and off in a logical sequence
    Set a timer for your television or radio to allude that someone is home
    Leave a vehicle in your driveway or ask a neighbor to park at your house

    Your Alarm System:
    Always use your system
    Be cautious about who you give your alarm codes and keyfobs to
    Since many people are desensitized to sirens and alarms, make sure your alarm is connected to a central station where authorities can be dispatched if needed
    In case your telephone service is disrupted, a back-up cellular connection is an important added security measure for alarms connected to central stations
    Be sure to test your system weekly and have your alarm company service your system on an annual basis

    Smoke Alarms Save Lives

    3 out of 5 home fire deaths occur in homes with no or non-working fire alarms. The risk of dying in a home structure fire is cut in half by having properly installed and maintained smoke alarms.

    Smoke Alarms Save Lives: In the news recently, there have been many tragic stories regarding the loss of life due to fire. In a majority of the incidents, the cause of death has been due to the residence having no or non-working fire alarms. A fire can become life-threatening within two minutes of starting. It is imperative to be alerted immediately. Having a professionally installed, monitored fire system is the best way to keep your family and valuables from becoming a preventable statistic.

    Where Do I Put Smoke Detectors in my Home? A smoke detector should be placed on every level of your home, including the basement. You want to install one inside each bedroom, as well as place one outside any sleeping area. You want to have your smoke detector either on the ceiling or 6-8 inches below the ceiling on a sidewall. Smoke rises; the higher the location of your detector, the quicker you will be alerted to smoke or fire.

    Are There Different Types of Smoke Detectors? There are currently two different types of technologies used to detect smoke and fire. Photoelectric smoke detectors rely on an electric current, which produces a beam of light. When the beam is disrupted, an alarm will sound. It is most effective to warn about a smoldering fire. Ionization smoke detectors contain a very small amount of americium-241 within an ionization chamber. They create an electric current between two metal plates, which sound an alarm when disrupted by smoke entering the chamber. It is the most effective to warn about flaming fires. A qualified alarm consultant can help identify which type of alarm type would be most efficient for your residence.

    Why Should I Invest In a Monitored System? When you have a professionally installed, monitored fire alarm system in your home, you offer your family and valuables the best overall protection. If a fire is sensed, your alarm will activate all evacuation horns throughout your home. Even if you are on another level of your home, you will be alerted of smoke or fire. A battery-operated, single unit, the smoke alarm system does not offer this type of protection because the units are not connected. If there is a fire on a different level or area of your home, you may not hear the evacuation horn, especially if you are asleep.

    If your alarm is triggered a signal will be sent to your central station and they will promptly notify your fire department. Every minute counts in a fire situation, the quicker help arrives, the less damage to your home and valuables. While having a AC powered system (connected, but not monitored) in your home may alert you in all areas of your home, it will not help you if you are not home. A monitored fire system will alert the authorities to a situation whether you are there or not, potentially saving your valuables and even pets.

    How Often Should I Change My Smoke Alarms? Whichever type of system you are using, it is recommended that smoke alarms are replaced every 10 years. If you are using a combination of smoke and carbon monoxide detector, you should replace your system every 5 years.

    Tips for a Safe Grilling Season

    Summer is here and so is the grilling season! Grilling is a great way to cook up some amazing summer cuisine, but there are a few safety precautions you should know about before you have your first summer cookout. Annually, there are an estimated 8900 home fires caused by grilling. July, being the peak month for grill fires, followed by May, June and August.

    Your first step when buying a new grill is to read the owner’s manual to understand how to maintain, assemble, use, clean and store your particular grill. Below are some safety tips which are standard for all gas grills:

  • Check for gas leaks in cylinders before using grill first time each year. Use soapy water to check connections. Bubbles which expand indicate a leak
  • Grill only outside and place your grill in a well ventilated open area, at least 10 feet from any structure.
  • Always light your grill with the hood open and never lean over grill when lighting.
  • Never leave grill unattended and keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
  • If flame goes out, turn off gas, leave hood open and wait at least 5 minutes before trying to relight.
  • After you are done with cooking close gas valve on your grill
  • Clean grill regularly removing grease and fat residue from grills and spill trays
    Grill safely and have a great summer!!!
  • Connect To Your Home Or Business With Honeywell’s Total Connect

    Honeywell’s Total Connect allows you to watch over your family, home, or business whether you are there or not. With Total Connect, you gain real-time control of your Honeywell Security System, Z-wave enabled devices (for example; lights, lock, or thermostat), and can view live-streaming or recorded video. All from your IOS or Android, smart device.

    Some of the features available from Honeywell’s Total Connect:

    Arm and disarm your Honeywell Security System
    Control the lighting for your home or business
    Maintain an optimal temperature by controlling your thermostat
    Unlock or lock your doors from anywhere
    Connect to your video doorbell and see and interact with whoever is at your front door
    Create and control automated scenes to save you time, energy, and money
    For more information on contact us at (856) 728-8228 today!

    How To Choose The Right Video Surveillance System For Your Needs

    As technology continues to progress, video surveillance solutions are becoming more affordable for projects of all sizes. When thinking about installing a video surveillance system (CCTV), it is easy to feel overwhelmed. There are many camera and solution options available and a lot of circumstances to consider before making a decision. Before committing to a specific type of system, here are some important factors to consider:

    Environmental Factors: If you are planning on placing cameras in a “dirty” environment (one with high dust or exposed to outside elements) you want to make sure the cameras you choose have dust and moisture-proof housing.

    Obvious or Hidden: Cameras that are out in the open can possibly deter thief by their presence. A hidden camera is best to use if you want to gather information or evidence without the knowledge of the subject.

    Single location or wide area: Are your cameras needed to focus on a single location or to scan a wide area of space? Many cameras come with adjustable lenses and others come with pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities.

    Image quality: If you are monitoring an area with harsh lighting conditions you will need a higher resolution camera system. If the area is a well-lit area, a small area a basic camera system with a lower resolution should be sufficient.

    Data Storage: A simple security camera set-up can rely on memory cards installed in the cameras themselves. If you are looking for a long-term data storage with a large storage capacity you can opt for a NVR (network video recorder).

    Day or Night: If you are monitoring areas with no or low light, you will want to invest in a camera system that offers infrared LEDs.

    Surveillance systems can be fully customized and designed. They can be integrated with most existing security systems; including door sensors, motion detectors, alarms, access control, and more. It is important to work with an experienced security consultant to make sure all your assets are protected and needs are met.

    If you would like more information on the benefits of installing a Video Surveillance System, please call the GCSI Security Group at (877) 589-6111.