Saturday, October 6

Videofied Cameras an Effective Deterrent to Farm Theft

Every year at this time, we hear reports of farm theft and cattle rustling. Leaving in rural areas means property owners must travel greater distances more frequently to keep an eye on their assets. Recently there was a report in Saskatchewan of an agricultural producer who caught fuel thieves in the act with a trail camera commonly used by hunters to trail deer movement, even in the dark. That got me thinking about how a monitored camera might have also helped catch those thieves, when I wrote this article....

SecurTek Videofied Technology Helps Reduce Post-Harvest Thefts 

The last days of harvest are high risk times for agricultural producers seeking to protect their valuable commodities from agricultural theft. SecurTek Monitoring Solutions reminds farm and ranch operators that real-time video alerts are a cost-effective way to deter burglaries and even catch thieves in the act.

"The shorter days, increased crop hauling traffic and busy schedule of agricultural producers around this time of the year make it difficult for farm operators to maintain their usual vigilance", according to Claude-Jean Harel, a Product Research Analyst with SecurTek. "The cost of guard solutions, land lines and conventional security systems make it sometimes prohibitively expensive for farmers to adopt these technologies and protect their fuel, tools, machinery, grain or livestock."

In times of high commodity prices like these, risks of theft are compounded. If police authorities do their best to raise awareness about farm theft and investigate these crimes when they occur, the responsibility of protecting agricultural assets ultimately rests with owners who are advised to work together, walk around their property putting themselves in the shoes of a thief, set up locked gates and avoid leaving unattended machinery or baled feed in fields for extended periods.

Unfortunately, any farm operation can become the target of burglars. When controlling access to vulnerable sites seems unfeasible,
SecurTek’s Videofied system may be the right tool, believes Brigadier Security’s Pat Thompson:

"Now the buzz word in the industry is Verified Video. So when the perpetrator enters the premises, it sends a video clip to SecurTek or the client who can immediately access it on his smartphone. They can see exactly who's there. Is it a guy with a hoodie? Is it a cat? Or just an employee that's wandering around on the property."

Polices forces increasingly require that alarms be verified before they actually respond, especially in rural areas, notes Thompson. "We've rolled it out in Canada, and we've had success with it. There's locations that we've put systems in where they've had to hire a guard 24 hours a day, so you can imagine the expense of that. Now, you replace that with a couple of cameras that are basically the eyes and ears of the guard, and they realized the savings with video, versus hiring a full-time person."

Videofied systems feature battery-powered cameras, independent of the power grid and ideal for isolated settings. They are also moveable, allowing farmers to relocate them strategically to better serve their needs through harvest season and beyond.

Cold Temperatures Mean Higher Risks of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It feels like fall these days. Which means its is the furnace that's kicking in, rather that the air conditioning unit. It is the end of summer for adults and a sign that snow is on it's way. Kids anticipate this time while parents are scrambling to cook and freeze garden crops, rake leaves, blow sprinklers out and everything else. But don't forget a few other chores that need to be looked after, including maintaining your furnace in top shape. I found out a few scary facts when researching this article earlier this week.

Colder Weather Highlights Need For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Warns SecurTek 

As colder weather sets in this fall, tens of millions of furnaces are being called back into service across North America. October is a busy month fo SecurTek monitoring station attendants, who always assign a high priority status to carbon monoxide alarms.

Station attendants know lives may depend on rapid intervention by emergency responders, according to SecurTek’s Director of Stations Wendy Zaporosky:

"When night falls, especially, our teams know a lot of people depend on us to keep watch over them in their homes. When carbon monoxide alarms are triggered in the middle of the night, our monitoring station attendants know rapid intervention makes a difference."

In the United States, households can expect to average one home fire every 15 years, or five fires in an average lifetime. According to the
National Fire Protection Association, one home fire is reported every 85 seconds in the US. In a 2007 report published by the Council of Canadian Fire Marshalls and Fire Commissioners, it was estimated that 73 per cent of all fire deaths in Canada resulted from home fires. Risks of fire casualties in cold-climate regions are particularly heightened when heating systems are reactivated in the fall.

Ask yourself these questions: when was your furnace serviced last? have you changed the filter lately? A dirty filter might result in the heat exchanger becoming hotter, causing cracks through which carbon monoxide could escape to critical area in your home, while you sleep.

"Fire response organizations everywhere recommend the use of carbon monoxide detectors bearing the certifications in effect in their jurisdiction," notes Vito Valentini of
Guardian Security Solutions in Calgary. His company installs wired models equipped with battery backups, an essential component of residential security systems. "They will emit an alarm signal when the level of carbon monoxide is high enough to pose a major health risk and poison human beings."

Think of them as a key line of defense in the preservation of safe conditions for life in your home. When coupled with working smoke detectors on every floor of your home, integrated monitored systems ensure that if the alarm goes off, someone notifies the fire department and makes sure responders get to your home -- both when you’re not there, and when you are there but unable to call for help yourself.

On November 4, when you set clocks back one-hour around your house, why not use the opportunity to check or replace batteries on all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. You will be set and safe for winter.

SecurTek's Medical Alert for Elderly Parents Allows Caregivers to Take Holidays

When writing this article on fall prevention education lately, I asked myself how many children of older parents don't leave town for holidays for fear of what might happen to their parents while they are away. Everyone needs a holiday, but it's not a holiday if you spend it worrying about how your mother or father is doing at home.

Fall Prevention Education Helps Reduce Risks of Injury at Home

Educating families and caregivers about the risks and consequences of falls in home settings is one of the best ways to keep North American households safe, according to safety experts. Fall prevention should also include discussions to establish protocols and signals on how to react in case falls and injuries do occur.

"Find something that works" says Michael Brenholen, Director of Operations and Client Services for
St. John Ambulance in Saskatchewan. "Make sure the people who know about the signal, know what to do when they get the signal and follow-up if something does happen."

Brenholen has delivered injury prevention training for years. He points out that -- whether the victim of an accident or providing assistance -- knowing one’s limits is key:

"Getting help is a primary goal in any emergency situation where somebody gets hurt, calling 911 as soon as possible can be critical. We don’t want people dealing with a situation on their own, if it is above what they are capable of doing. There are a number of issues that need to be adressed. If they can’t reach the phone themselves, somehow that help needs to be recruited."

While he emphasizes the need to maintain safe home environment, free of obstacles or features like sharp drops on the floor, Brenholen recognizes the role communication systems among neighbours, family members or through paid monitoring services like SecurTek’s Medical Alert can play in emergencies. "It is good to have back-up plans. Most people haven’t thought it out or don’t have a plan," he notes.

According to the
Public Health Agency of Canada, one-third of people age 65 and over have a fall every year, with half of them experiencing more than one fall. Falls are the most common cause of injury among seniors who are nine times more likely to be hurt in a fall than someone under age 65. Nearly two-thirds of injury related hospitalizations for seniors are the result of falls, and roughly half of all falls occur in a home setting.

Jeff Beer knows first hand the toll falls take on seniors and their caregivers. He runs
Independent Living, a supplier of mobility aids and personal care products to the elderly and persons with disabilities:

"We all too often see people walk into our store after they have sustained an injury. Their bruises tell their story more vividly than anything could. They are often accompanied by a family caregiver, concerned about ensuring their safety and limiting risks of greater injury down the road."

As a result, Beer started offering
SecurTek’s Medical Alert to his clients. It is a monitored solution available 24 hours a day to respond when help is needed. The client wears a communication bracelet or pendant linked to a control panel in the home, equiped with a strong two-way speaker. In the event of a fall or personal emergency, the wearer presses a personal help button which will prompt immediate response by a trained attendant who can call family, friends or the appropriate emergency services, depending on the client’s needs.

For someone who is unable to pick up the phone to call for help, Medical Alert provides that extra peace of mind. For the growing number of family members and caregivers who worry about a loved-one’s safety. Systems like SecurTek’s Medical Alert provide that extra reassurance that they will no longer be alone in times of need.