Wildfire Safety

California’s fire season is now year-round. With wildfires liable to break out at any time, it’s more important than ever to be prepared for a fire. If you find yourself in the midst of a fire without time to prepare, though, what should you prioritize? Here are Valley Alarm’s top tips for wildfire safety:

1) Follow Evacuation Orders

evacuate during wildfire

IF YOU HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED BY AUTHORITIES TO EVACUATE, DO SO. DO NOT HESITATE.

If you have not been instructed to evacuate, be ready to do so even before you get the notice. Evacuate as soon as possible.

If you wait to evacuate, the roads could be clogged with traffic by the time you leave. Be ready to leave as soon as you can.

2) Know Your Evacuation Centers/Stay Informed

Check your county’s official websites and social media feeds for information on official evacuation centers and any major updates for area residents. If checking websites, be sure to look for those that end in .gov or .org. If checking social media, look for accounts with a blue verification checkmark next to their name. Here is a partial list of resources in and around the LA and Ventura Counties:

CAL FIRE Statewide Fire Map
Website

Ventura County Fire Department
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Ventura County Emergency Information
Website

Los Angeles County Fire Department
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Orange County Fire Authority
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Riverside County Fire Department
Website
Twitter
Facebook

3) Important Documents

remember your passport important documents during wildfire

If you can grab them before you need to evacuate, remember your household’s:
•Birth certificates
•Social Security cards
•Photo ID, like passports and driver’s licenses
•Vehicle and property titles/deeds
•Legal documents, like wills and marriage licenses
•Photo albums
•Hard drives, especially those with sensitive information

4) Safety in Numbers

Stick together – no matter what, there’s safety in numbers.

5) Wear a Mask Rated N95 or N100

n95 n100 mask wildfire

Wildfires burn more than wood – you’re breathing in plastics, fibers, and other harmful chemicals that can make you sick. These particles can stick around in the air for long after the wildfire’s gone – check the FDA’s Air Quality Index for more information on the air quality in your area. To provide some protection from hazardous particles, wear a particulate mask rated N95 or N100 that has two straps around your head. Make sure that you have a good seal around the edges. You can find N95 and N100 masks at hardware stores.

6) Designate Point People

Make sure that you have at least three people outside of the wildfire area who know where you are and if you’re okay. In the event that authorities ask you to limit cell phone usage, they can let others know that you’re all right and where you are. Social media sites like Facebook may also have the option to mark yourself as “safe,” which can also put loved ones at ease about your safety.

Wildfires don’t give much warning – it’s important to be ready when one strikes. Stay safe, and see more about early fire detection here. To learn how we can help you prepare your house with fire alarm systems, contact us for a free, no-obligation fire safety consultation.

 

 

Halloween Safety

It’s Halloween!

Goblins, ghouls, and mountains of candy abound. We at Valley Alarm hope you have a safe and spooktacular holiday. Here are our best tips to maximize your Halloween safety:

1) The Early Bird Gets the Gummy Worm
To get first pick of candy and to be home by bedtime, eat dinner early and hit the trick-or-treating trail before dark.

2) Be the Light
Who doesn’t love a flashy costume? Add some extra-visible pizazz with glow sticks and flashlights. Your home should be lit up as well; burglars often scout neighborhoods for empty homes during Halloween.

3) Stay on Track
For the safest trick-or-treating experience, only trick or treat at houses that you
know and trust. Steer clear of unlit and undecorated houses.

4) Skip the “Take One” Bowl
If you’re out and about, leaving a bowl of candy with a “Take One” note might seem like a courteous thing to do. However, it could signal to burglars that your house is empty.

5) Safety in Numbers
Kids should always stay within a group accompanied by a responsible adult.

6) Save your Pictures for November 1st
Someone watching your social media feed might see that you’re away if you post photos live. Lower your chance of a break-in by living in the moment: wait a day before posting those great costume party pictures.

 

We hope that you all have a fun night – we hope this helped improve your Halloween safety! For more on making your home a safer place, check out our free downloadable Emergency Contact List.

Contact us today!

Free Emergency Contact List

Do you have an emergency contact list?

School is officially back in session, which means busy nights. In all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget a few precautions, like an emergency list. Download your free emergency contact list below and read on to see the 5 most important security skills that your child should have.

Emergency contact list
Click to download your free emergency contact list!

1) Lock Doors and Windows: Make sure that your child knows how to lock and unlock the doors and windows in your house, including deadbolts.

2) Know Who to Call in an Emergency: Print out the above emergency contact sheet and fill it out. Make sure that your child knows where it is and how to find it. Put it somewhere that they can easily access.

3) Know your Emergency Plan: The only thing worse than an emergency is not knowing what to do when one happens. Write out an emergency plan and make sure that your children know it well. Cover where to go in case of an emergency, who to call, and what to do.

4) Establish a Communication Routine: Set up communication guidelines with your child if you haven’t already, even if it’s just texting you when they get to a friend’s house.

5) Teach Caution: Your children should know to question the world around them. Only open the door for people they know, and if need be, have an identification question at the ready that both your child and a family member or friend would know the answer to.

 

Want to know more about keeping your house safe? Read on to learn about six ways that an interactive security system can make your life easier.

Be Cool: 101

How to Stay Safe in Record Heat

Warm, Spanish-style house in Los Angeles. Smart thermostats can help keep your home safe and cool.
Smart habits and technology can make for a truly cool house, inside and out.

July was the hottest month ever recorded in the state of California, and it looks like things aren’t about to cool down yet – especially not in Los Angeles County. It’s important to know how to stay safe during high temperatures in fire country. You’ve heard about ways to keep yourself safe in the heat — drink lots of water, wear sunscreen, and stay inside during the hottest parts of the day — what about your home? We’ve put together some helpful tips on how to keep your home cool, safe, and sound.

Inside

  • If your house is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pets! Make your room temperature one that you and your furry friends can all enjoy.
  • Give your oven a rest; using your oven heats up the rest of your house, too. If you have to, save oven use for the morning or evening. Avoid baking during the hottest part of the day. Remember, many recipes can be adapted for the grill, even baked desserts!
  • Keep your home’s internal temperature to 76°F or warmer to avoid overtaxing the power grid.
  • Check to make sure that your thermostat is in working order. Consider installing a smart thermostat if you don’t have one already. The CDC says that air conditioning is the best way to prevent heat related illness and death. Smart thermostats can ensure that no matter where you are, your home’s temperature is under control.

Outside

  • Make sure that your home has 100 feet of defensible space. Clear away all brush within 30 feet of your residence.
  • Water plants in the evening or early morning to ensure maximum water absorption.
  • Exchange information with a friend or neighbor and check on each other if the temperature skyrockets. We’re stronger together.

Wherever you are, have a safe and fun August.

Want more information on how to keep your home cool with the latest smart thermostats? Contact one of our security specialists today!