Monthly Archives: September 2011

Don’t Forget to Reprogram Your Alarm System With the New 431 Area Code

The world’s gotten just a little bit bigger and in Manitoba you’ll have to punch in three extra digits to make a phone call, starting in October, 2012.

Manitoba has a new 431 telephone area code because the allocation of seven-digit phone numbers is soon to run out.

What’s the timeline for this change?

In July, 2012, ten-digit dialing (entering an area code with any call you make) will start to be phased in. When you dial just seven digits, you’ll first hear a recorded message with information about the pending change, then your call will go through.

After October 20, 2012, if you dial just seven digits, your call won’t go through. Instead you’ll hear a recorded message asking you to hang up and redial using the area code plus the telephone number.

How does this affect me in Winnipeg?

Even if you are just calling your next door neighbor, you’ll have to dial ten digits.

You’ll want to add the three-digit area code to any pre-programmed phone numbers. Your cell phone, your home phone, especially the numbers in your home security system that transmit information to the monitoring station.

But don’t worry. We can help.

Look for a letter from us (you may already have received it) about these residential alarm system changes. If you haven’t received your letter or still have questions, contact us.

Manitoba may be a little bigger, but we haven’t changed. You just have to press a few extra buttons to reach us.

3 Ways to Protect Late Night Workers

Liquor stores, service stations, convenience stores, small grocers. Employees who staff these types of businesses often work late at night and in many cases, on their own. The combination of these factors can leave these lone workers vulnerable to many dangerous situations.

As a business owner, you want to limit risks for your employees while maximising your business opportunities. So how can you provide a safe work environment for these valuable front line workers? Here are three strategies.

(1) Install a hold up alarm. Also called a duress alarm, these connect directly to a central monitoring station and can be located within easy reach of a worker behind the counter. This device can potentially save the life of an employee who encounters a violent customer late at night.

(2) Make your business less attractive to criminals. Studies by WorkSafe BC show that potential robbers choose targets which present the highest reward and the lowest risk of being caught by authorities. Try these. Increase the visibility from inside your store for your workers, reduce opportunities for concealed escape, install higher wattage lights both inside and out, reduce the amount of cash kept on hand, and post signs about low cash availability.

(3) Implement an automated check-in system. Lone workers are often at higher risk for accidents and physical attacks. And if an accident should occur, an injured worker may not be able to call for help. With an automated system, if an employee misses a check-in call, you’ll know right away.

Provide a safety net for your late night workers by implementing one or more of these recommendations.

Is Your Small Business Protected?

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Canadian economy. According to Statistics Canada, 75% of all businesses employ less than five workers and 95% employ less than 50. The small-business sector accounts for over 40% of Canada’s economic output.

But small businesses have some of the same challenges as larger firms with less manpower. And smaller organizations generally have lesser budgets and lower financial resources. That’s why security can be a larger problem for the small business owner. But it doesn’t have to be.

Every business should have basic strategies in place to combat intrusion, theft and damage. Here are security measures to help small businesses level the playing field.

Conduct background checks on potential employees. Many companies have weaker controls on tampering and theft by employees than by outsiders. Do yourself a favor and find out exactly who you are hiring.

Secure your computer systems. Every viable business includes at least a company network for employees and many process and store plenty of important customer financial data. Set up a secure firewall to keep outside eyes off your proprietary information. You’ll also want protection from hackers and malicious spyware and viruses. Find a reliable computer consultant and have your system reviewed regularly.

Install an integrated alarm and video surveillance system. You may think that a commercial security system is just for industrial plants and large businesses, but consider this. Your business has just as much valuable data and goods as a larger firm. And surveys show that as much as 47 percent of annual business losses come from employee theft. Just the threat of discovery will prevent many would-be thieves. Reputable alarm system providers can design a system that fits the size of your business and the types of goods and services you offer. And it doesn’t have to break the bank.

As a small business owner, you can’t afford to be without these essential security measures.

Opportunity Knocking: Should You Open the Door to Alarm Company Solicitors?

Buying a residential alarm system from a door-to-door salesman or over the phone is a little scary. How do you know if the salesman represents a legitimate alarm monitoring company? Do you want a stranger (who might be looking for homes to break into) to have the specific details about the layout of your home and possible security problems?

Here are some tips to help you find a reliable home security company.

Look for companies with long track records. Ask prospective alarm monitoring companies how long they’ve been in business. Check their references with other homeowners. If possible, ask your local police department about the company you’re considering. They may know of companies you should avoid.

Make the first move. If a salesperson shows up at your door unannounced or calls you on the phone, remove them from your list of potential providers. You want a local alarm company that will be there when you need them. Not an organization more interested in signing up as many homeowners as possible for long term monitoring contracts.

Ask for a detailed security review and quotation. Any home security company should be willing to visit your home (be sure to get the name of the consultant in advance) and evaluate your security needs. And they should ask plenty of questions and be willing to provide a detailed quote tailored to your specific needs.

When considering alarm monitoring companies, be pro-active. Get the home security alarm system that will protect your family, don’t just fill a monthly quota for a salesperson.