Using ‘Liquid Hell’ for Home Security

If you’ve watched the YouTube videos, you probably have a good idea why pepper spray goes by the nickname “Liquid Hell.” And chances are that watching on YouTube is as close as you ever want to get to it.

For decades, law enforcement agencies have used this potent combination of plant extract, liquid and aerosol propellant as a non-lethal deterrent. Some civilians also carry it — and occasionally use it — for self-defense or home security.

Pepper spray cannister with pistol grip

Homeowners interested in adding another layer of protection may consider augmenting their professional security monitoring with secondary measures. Before you incorporate pepper spray into your home security plan, however, you should familiarize yourself with the ins and outs and pros and cons.

What it is and how it works

The active ingredient in pepper spray, oleoresin capsicum (OC), is an inflammatory agent derived from the chemical that makes chili peppers taste hot. The difference is that OC contains higher concentrations of this chemical than even the hottest pepper.

Pepper spray has quick and debilitating effects on the eyes, skin, nose and throat. The eyelids involuntarily squeeze shut and the capillaries of the eyes become dilated, causing impaired vision. Breathing becomes difficult as the spray irritates the mucous membranes. Contact with skin creates an intense burning sensation.

Depending on the circumstances, the effects of pepper spray can last several minutes or a few hours.

Some of the pros and cons

Advantages of pepper spray for home security include:

  • It’s inexpensive and generally easy to obtain
  • It doesn’t require extensive training
  • It incapacitates without using deadly force

Drawbacks of pepper spray for home security include:

  • Trigger locks can be tricky to disengage
  • You’ll need to be a safe distance away from the target (8 feet or more)
  • It has a shelf life and loses its effectiveness after a few years

Should you consider pepper spray?

It’s up to you to evaluate the pros and cons of pepper spray thoroughly. After, all no home security plan is completely foolproof. Each one comes with various risks and rewards.

To get the expert opinion of someone who’s been trained and certified to use pepper spray, talk to an officer from your local police department.

Above all else, the decision of whether to use Liquid Hell for home security should be an informed one.

Driveway vs. Garage: Where’s the Best Place to Park Your Car

It’s the age-old security question: Should I park the car in the driveway or the garage when I go on vacation. Well, if you don’t have a garage, you’ll definitely be parking your car in the driveway. However, if you do have a garage and don’t know if you should leave your car in the driveway or parked in front of your house to make it appear as if you’re home, consider the pros and cons of each scenario.

Car in the driveway

Pros:

  • Makes it look like someone is home, which could discourage thieves from trying to break into or steal your car.
  • If you have a neighbor watching your house, you could possibly get them to move your car so it is noticeable it has been moved to different locations or positions. Or maybe even have them park their car in your driveway, too.

Cons:

  • An empty driveway might send the signal to a burglar that the house is empty, too.
  • The car is easily accessible and if a burglar is unsuccessful breaking into your home, they might be successful breaking into the car instead. Or if they are angry because of a failed attempt at breaking into your home, they might see your car and vandalize it out of anger.

Car in the garage

Pros:

  • Your vehicle is not easily accessible to burglars when it’s stowed away in the garage. It stays protected and locked up in a safe place.

Cons:

  • If your home looks locked up and vacant, it could tip off a burglar who may recognize that no one is home. No signs of people (i.e. – a car in the driveway) put a burglar at ease and make them less worried about breaking into a home if they know no one is home.

Whether you choose to keep your car in the driveway or lock it up in your garage, consider taking additional preventative steps toward keeping your home safe – such as investing in a wireless home security system. There are also many home security tips you can check out to learn how to secure your home while you’re away on vacation.

A professional provider like ADT can help protect your home with home security options and 24-hour monitoring from a series of state-of-the-art, interconnected monitoring centers.

Don’t Fan the Fire with Pine Needles

Having an attractive lawn is important to many homeowners. When choosing suitable, organic and safe landscaping materials – avoid pine needles.

Pine needles and pine straw do more harm than good. While they help control weeds and can sustain a wide variety of plants, shrubs, trees and flowers, they also pose a major risk to homes. Pine needles are hazardous because they act as a natural fire accelerant. Homes with vinyl siding are especially at risk, as they are more susceptible to catching fire and burning quickly than a brick or stucco home.

The three main places around your home where pine needles pose the biggest threat are:

  1. Gutters
  2. Roof
  3. Within 10 feet of the home

It’s extremely important to keep gutters clear of pine needles, leaves and other debris. If they build up in your gutters and come into contact with flames, a fire will surely spread. Even if your home has screens or other types of gutter coverings, debris and pine needles can easily collect behind the gutter on the roof. Pay special attention in the fall and winter, as the leaves and pine needles typically come down in droves.

While they may help protect plants and trees from cold weather, pine needles are very hazardous to your home. You may have to forego putting out a layer of pine straw in your yard during the fall and winter months to ensure that your home is safe from any fire hazards you can prevent.

Many home security systems come with monitoring to help protect against fire. Find out if this type of monitoring is available with your home alarm provider, so that you can keep your family, home and belongings safe from fire.

Find the Perfect Hiding Place for Your Security Camera

Even if you’re not an Oscar-winning filmmaker, a hidden camera can still help you capture the action. You can get up-close-and-personal with your subject matter, but still go undetected. Consider the importance of a concealed viewing area. When it comes to home security and filming on location, follow a few key steps for maximum results.

  1. Investigate the surrounding area for the optimal viewing location. Look for a place that adequately hides the camera and other equipment. Be mindful of recording angles and the range of the camera, so that you have a better idea of where to aim the camera and how close or far away it needs to be to the desired viewing area.
  2. Indoor vs. outdoor security cameras. If you’re installing the camera outside, take into account that the camera will be exposed to the elements (weather, sunlight, etc.). You might need to place it under an overhang or a roof to avoid getting rained on. Wireless security cameras work best for indoor hidden cameras because there are no wires to conceal.
  3. Hang it high. Whether the hidden camera you’re installing is being used indoors or outdoors, it should be placed high enough that it’s out of reach to avoid being tampered with. And make sure it’s thoroughly hidden to avoid be vandalized or broken.

Some home security providers offer security cameras as part of their monitoring packages or optional equipment. Be sure to check with the company you choose to see if cameras are available to you. Many big box stores and online retailers also sell security cameras that usually require do-it-yourself installation.

Five Easy Steps To Set Up a Neighborhood Watch Program

Don’t wait until a theft or vandalism problem arises in your community. Be proactive and form a neighborhood watch. Together with your neighbors and local police, you can have a safer community and be more aware of when something – or someone – seems suspicious in your neighborhood.

  1. Get in touch with your local law enforcement. Many departments have facilitators who can help you get started. Numerous resources are also available. Find out if an officer can come by and advise your group on the best ways to implement your neighborhood’s program. Police departments can also give you many home security tips that you and your neighbors can practice for added safety.
  2. Set up a meeting in your area. Have the initial meeting at a place that’s easily accessible for all who want to get involved. A church, school or community center in or near your neighborhood are all good places. Plan on having regular meetings – maybe once a month or once a quarter – but at least once a year. A social event the entire neighborhood can participate in, like a block party, is also a good way to build report with your neighbors and strengthen community ties.
  3. Select officers. The initial meeting is a good starting place to find out who is interested in being a part of the group and how much time they have to dedicate to the cause. Choose people for captain and co-captain positions who can help organize and keep records, such as residents’ contact information. They should keep citizens of the community up to date on any community news.
  4. Keep the community in the loop. Distribute a newsletter to residents as needed to inform them of any crimes or suspicious activities in the neighborhood. A website is another way to effectively communicate information, update neighbors of activities, etc.
  5. Other important business. Post neighborhood watch signs. These signs let anyone in your community know that people are watching out for each other and are on the lookout for anything or anyone who is out of place. Be sure to check with the police first regarding any regulations about where they can be posted.

Remember that while a neighborhood watch program is an effective way for local communities to keep an eye out on things happening in their area, it is not an alternative to law enforcement. Find out the law and regulations for neighborhood watch programs in your state before getting started.

You’re Just a Click Away From A Number of Home Security Resources

While a home security system is one way to help protect your home and family, a number of national organizations provide homeowners with an abundance of helpful information. Whether you need home security tips or ideas on how to form an effective neighborhood watch, the websites below serve as a guide for everything you want to know.

  1. Neighborhood Safety Network – The Consumer Product Safety Commission shows homeowners how to teach their communities about safety and health concerns. Neighborhoods and communities across the country will find information about product recalls, fire prevention, safety basics for kids and more.
  2. National Crime Prevention Council – Check out the Home and Neighborhood Safety page for insights on how to make your community a safer place. Tools and resources are available on this site for people looking to start a neighborhood watch program.
  3. National Safety Council – A great source for safety at home, work and on the road. Learn how to prevent and respond to accidents such as poisoning, falling and choking. Access the First Aid catalog and weekly OSHA updates.
  4. FEMA – Whether it’s hurricane or wildfire season, you’ll find preparation and survival tips to weather the storm. Find emergency shelters in your area and connect with local emergency personnel agencies. The FEMA website also provides a list of items you should include in a home emergency kit.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Visit this website for information on personal health and best practices for healthy living. You’ll find data and statistics on all types of medical topics and ways to diagnose and treat certain diseases and illnesses.

Don’t take chances when it comes to your health and well-being. Use these websites as resources and become more informed on issues that affect you, your family and your community.

Home security systems can help protect you against certain hazards, like burglary, but you can also be proactive and gain invaluable knowledge about how to keep yourself protected from everything from natural disasters to health issues.

Trimming Your Shrubs Helps Keep Out the Scrubs

While burglaries may be inevitable, there are things you can do around the yard to make your home less of a target. The next time something’s lurking in the bushes, make sure they are neatly trimmed so no one or nothing is hidden by an overgrown hedge. Follow these simple landscaping tips for added home security (and for a good excuse to tidy up your yard or embark on a long overdue home improvement project!).

Shrubs and bushes:

  • Keep shrubs and bushes near doors and windows trimmed to a height of no higher than 2 ft. tall, so burglars can’t hide behind them.
  • Certain types of plants, like stiff-caned shrubs or thorny bushes can help deter burglars from trying to gain access into a home when they are planted beneath windows, because they won’t want to risk getting caught in them or scratched up.
  • Prune tree limbs that are lower than six feet to the ground. This could provide access to second-story windows. Also, don’t place trellises in areas where they could be used as a ladder to gain entry to higher floors or windows.

Landscaping:

  • Large-sized gravel placed on the ground underneath windows allows you to know when someone is right outside by providing a noise deterrent. Avoid using large rocks that could be used to break windows.
  • Walkways and landscaping should lead people toward main entrances and away from private, concealed areas. Don’t have a straight line exit from your house, instead create an obstacle course to your driveway or the street using shrubs and plants when possible.
  • Plant tall, thorny or stiff-caned plants along fences. Let the shrubs grow a little taller than the fence so thieves can see there are multiple barriers to climb over. Keep fence gates locked at all times.

Street numbers:

  • House and apartment numbers should be easy to see from the street. Emergency responders need to be able to easily identify your home if you call for help.
  • Use black numbers (4 to 6 inches tall) on a white background. Paint the numbers centered at the end of the driveway if you live in a neighborhood with sidewalks. Post the numbers using black or white reflective materials (like tape) under a light near the front door for homes in areas without sidewalks.
  • Make sure the numbers are new and not faded. Apply a new coat of paint or replace them when necessary.

Reap the Insurance Benefits of Home Security

Losing property or having your home damaged as a result of burglary can take its toll on your family emotionally. But when the dust has settled and the police investigation is over, you may be on the hook for property damage or loss. That’s when you have to deal with your homeowner’s insurance company, which may or may not be a good experience depending on multiple factors, including the dollar amount of your damages and your level of liability for the break-in.

Having a home security system can make dealing with your insurance company much more convenient.

Prevent having to make insurance claims

Home security systems make it much more difficult for a burglary to enter your home and steal your belongings without being detected. The reduced likelihood that you’ll suffer losses may prevent you from ever having to make an insurance claim in the first place, saving you time and hassle.

Does your insurance company offer home security incentives?

Many insurance companies offer homeowners insurance discounts for customers with home security systems. Companies know that having a home security system makes you less of an insurance liability. Ask your insurance provider about specific incentives for your home.

Dealing with the insurance company is not something most people enjoy doing. A home security system can help prevent burglary in your home as well as save you money on your monthly premiums. Learn more about home security providers in your area today.

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