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When planning to move to a new state, city or neighborhood, it usually pays to read up on local news, local crime and local events to get an idea on what’s happening! You want to be prepared for anything and everything, right?
The population growth in the Myrtle Beach area aka The Grand Strand shows no sign of slowing down: we have welcomed a lot of new residents in the last 18 months and there is no sign that things are slowing down anytime soon.
The housing market along the beach is competitive, houses are built left, right and everywhere in between and frankly, the roadways are busier than we’ve even seen them before!
If you are planning to move to the Grand Strand in the near future, or if you’ve just arrived, keep reading!
If you are still in the planning phase of moving to the Myrtle Beach area, may we suggest you read up on several topics.
If you’ve arrived on the Grand Strand and getting your bearings, you already know and might have experienced some of the challenges that come with a growing community like ours.
Congested roads, overcrowded school, a competitive housing market driving prices up, up and up and increased crime are all part of this growing community along South Carolina’s beautiful shoreline.
It’s simple math:
More houses are being bought and sold, the population is growing steadily, Horry and Georgetown Counties are building more schools, roads and hospitals – and with all these new people moving in, crime rates are going… UP!
The Myrtle Beach area has been a draw for those criminals who want to hide for years and years. As millions and millions of tourists pour into the Grand Strand each year, hiding out is an easy thing to accomplish! The transient community that is Myrtle Beach is a perfect place for petty criminals, human traffickers, thieves and convicted felons.
In this 2021 article, we read
According to the FBI’s latest US Crime Report, Myrtle Beach, SC is now officially the 3rd most dangerous city in the United States.
The best way to keep your neighborhood safe is to communicate and take preventative action. Even if you live in a safe neighborhood, it’s important to understand the risks you run by not protecting your home.
Here is the best way to keep your neighborhood safe: communicate with law enforcement officers and with neighbors. Then take action!
Did you know that most people purchase a home security system AFTER they are the victim of a crime? Why wait? Why go through this trauma, this anxiety, if it can be prevented? The same is true for your neighborhood! Why wait until cars are broken into, or vandals destroy property?
We suggest a neighborhood watch program as described here.
The last thing we want to mention is… that crime happens.
You can’t prevent crime, but by being prepared, you can prevent the severity of the crime – and reduce the time it takes for law enforcement officers to come to the crime scene, increasing the chance the criminals are caught!
Our clients homes are monitored by COPS Monitoring and have been for the past 10+ years!
While we as parents should be talking with our kids often about stranger-danger, it’s a subject that is often overlooked or dismissed as scary or as a difficult conversation to have.
Many parents rely on the school system to help educate their kids about imminent danger, both online and offline. Professionals encourage parents to keep the lines of communication open and talk with their children often about the dangers of befriending new people in-person and online.
This article provides tips on how to get this most important conversation started. Don’t stop there. Make it a topic of conversation often. Don’t think kids will know it all the first time the subject of stranger danger comes up.
Let’s start with the beginning.
Know what the schools are teaching your child about sex, human trafficking, cyber security, human trafficking, abuse, self defense and more. Be aware what they are teaching, at what age, and what might be missing from this line up.
If you know your child has sex ed for a semester, lean in on that and have your own talk with your child. If the school is offering a self-defense class during PE, aks your child to demonstrate some moves and ask them when they should use self defense. Build upon what your child already knows about stranger danger and online danger to star the conversation.
Don’t go into too many details when talking about difficult subject. Be clear, honest and get to the point quickly.
At the same time, use easy to understand words and a vocabulary that matches their age. Don’t use hard to understand words unless you are willing to repeat yourself over and over. Explain things in simple ways.
Take time to listen: Once you’ve explained something about stranger-danger or cyber security, stop to listen. Ask the kids if they have any questions!
Talking about stranger danger and online predators is not a one-and-done conversation! Use news stories are a catalyst to bring it back up and to continue the conversation. Let your children read news stories that talk about cyber security, human trafficking, especially if the cases are about kids meeting strangers online. Talk about what went wrong.
Use real life examples to talk to kids about what can go wrong. Being abducted, opening the door for strangers, meeting someone online who is not who they say they are. Trusting strangers. Don’t ever lay the blame with the kids: always make sure your child knows to come to you with concerns for themselves or a friend.
It’s easy to say “do this, do that”, but be sure to emphasize what NOT to do! Especially if you talk about using technology to keep kids safe: talk about using security cameras, an alarm system and the importance of phone tracking and being in touch with family members at all times.
No matter what stories you read online about kids being kidnaped, hurt or deceived, don’t judge them in front of your child. Your child needs to know they can come to you even if they’ve made a mistake!
Last but not least – always, always, always keep your door open for follow up questions! Kids are curious and might need clarification. Stranger danger and the danger online predators pose won’t disappear just because you’ve mentioned them to your child. As your child grows into their teenage years, continue education them about these topics.
Arm your child with knowledge, confidence and self-defense tactics!
Heather of Strand Security teaches self-defense classes to kids, teens and adults on the Grand Strand. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details, and check out Myrtle Beach Self Defense today!
Kids are going back to school and that means parents who work outside of the home, will have help with caring for their kids after-school.
Whether it’s a babysitter, family member, neighbor or whether your child teenager is old enough to come home to an empty house, it’s important to go voer home safety rules every so often. Take the month of August to reevaluate your family safety plan.
Being aware of potential danger is the first stop to preventing harm!
School bus safety and rules come from the school district. Take the time to go over the school bus rules with your child so that they know what to expect. It is important to tell your child(ren) to let you know that the ride to and from school isn’t safe any longer for a variety of reasons (bullying, unsafe driver, unruly students, heat or cold)
If you child walks home alone, or with a group of friends, make sure you have a system set up to check on them each day right after they arrive home. Go over the rules (no lingering, don’t bring friends home) so that you both know what to expect!
When is your child ready to stay home alone after school? It depends on each child as well as the area you live in, technology you currently have installed in your home, the maturity level of the child and the state you live in (law)
Read more about how to know your child is safe to stay home alone after school.
If you think your child might be ready to be home alone without a babysitter or after-school care, read this!
If you do need to give a babysitter, tutor or neighbor access to your home, it’s important to have a security system installed with a mobile app so that you can have a visual of what’s going on at home!
Tips about how to handle a stranger at the door, from a previous article here on the Strand Security Blog. We suggest you share the following with your teenager who might be home alone!
1 Take a look at the Stranger.
Try to get a look at who is knocking on your door. You may need to find a window in the house that makes your front door visible or use the peephole if you have one. You must have a way to see who is at the front door without opening it!
2 Keep Your Phone on You.
Have your phone visibly on you for the knocker to see. If a situation should occur you will have easy access to call 911.
3 Call Out to Someone in the House.
“Can someone get the door?” or “I’ll get it”
Maybe you are alone but the knocking stranger does not have to know that! Make it evident that there are others in the house with you. This can deter any planned unwanted activities.
4 Do Not Ignore Them.
Sometimes the first reaction is to just ignore a stranger’s knock all together. However, in doing so, you are silently announcing that your house is empty and now is a good time to break in. So, it is better to say something no matter the time of day. A majority of break-ins occur during the day when people are thought to be at work.
5 Request Their Identity.
If a utility worker knocks at your door, ask for them to prove their identity with the company they work for. You can always call the subject’s company to check if they have sent someone to your house.
6 Do Not Share Information.
Strangers may take advantage of you by saying they are in trouble, hurt or in need of help. As much as we all would like to help our fellow citizens, it may be a better choice to let them know you are calling 911 and help is on the way.
Technology can help in this situation! Read more about which devices can help here.
THIS is the time to talk to your kids and teenagers about online safety: cyber security! Not when they start to act strange, not when they are upset, scared or sad. Talk to them before leaving them home alone for extended periods of time!
Set rules, boundaries and check in often!
Last but not least… house rules are house rules whether you are home as a parent, or not! Make sure you instill a sense of responsibility in your child or teenager, to build mutual trust. Respect goes both ways. Always be sure to tell the kids you’ll be checking the cameras remotely if they are home alone. They need to know you can see them or talk with them.
Your house, your rules, and that includes rules for friends and rules for pets, too!
We wish you, your family, your kids a fantastic 2021-2022 school year. We are here to help you navigate it all. If you need smarthome solutions to keep your family safe, need (additional) security cameras, or a panic button for your employees or elderly parents, we can help you with all of that!
If you are thinking a home theater would be great to have at home, we can help with the design, installation and servicing for that as well! Just give us a call!
School is back! Schools in the Myrtle Beach area go back on August 17!
Those big yellow school buses will be rolling back out of storage where most of them have been all summer, and the roads will be filled with not just these buses, but also with many young, new drivers!
Road safety and school bus safety is just one piece of the larger puzzle of keeping your kids safe and secure as school starts back up!
What does it take to keep your kids, your family safe as they go back to school?
Planning! This article will give you guidelines for putting together a back-to-school family safety plan!
The first thing to remember is that going back to school means new routines.
Maybe your child’s mode of transportation has changed, s/he is attending a new school, has a new carpool or babysitter, or maybe you moved and have a completely new routine to establish.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to write down new routines and make sure everyone in the family is on the same page! That means going over the new transportation plan as a family – during a family meeting, and making a backup plan for when things change!
Next, going back to school will bring new friends. That’s an exciting part of growing up: creating new friendships with classmates. This is also the time to keep repeating conversations about what to expect when visiting friends’ home. Talk about gun ownership, bullying, and other things that might happen. If you child is too young for a cell phone, make sure s/he knows your phone number, and be sure to meet the parents and be straight about what you expect. “If you go on the boat, I expect my child to wear a lifejacket at all times.” Your child should know these same ‘rules’ and be expected to adhere to them.
At the same time, when your child brings a new friend to your home, you as a family need to include that person in your family safety plan. Explain the pool safety rules, riding bikes rules etc. Don’t expect your child’s friends to stick to your rules: most likely you will have to reinforce them over and over until they’ve visited a few times. Your responsibility for your child’s new friend includes riding in your car, water safety etc.
This is a family matter – keeping friends safe at your home – so adding it to your family safety plan is important!
We also know from personal experience, that as your children grow, new after-school activities are added to their calendars. That means new buildings, new sports complexes, new car pools, new coaches and teammates. You certainly will want to add all this information and expectations toy our family safety plan!
Know who will pick up, drop off, how to reach the new coaches, new tutors, new babysitter!
Last but not least, back-to-school in South Carolina means going back to school during an active hurricane season! Your family safety plan needs to include reference to your hurricane prep plan! Be aware of supplies you might need to purchase now, a generator that might need to be serviced and links to your school districts email and social media platforms as you need to keep an ear out for important hurricane related announcements!
Failing to create a plan, is planning to fail!
Writing down a plan gives you peace of mind and less stress as you navigate the new school year ahead! With as many chances as we’ve seen in the last 18 months, it’s fair to assume more changes and adjustments are on the horizon! Planning and anticipating what’s next can help you alleviate stress and worries. Being prepared for whatever comes at you will accomplish many goals, one is staying safe and secure at home!
Stay safe and secure this fall, and give us a call if we can help you accomplish this in any way!
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is
a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels.
CO is found in fumes produced by furnaces, kerosene heaters, vehicles “warmed up” in garages, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, portable generators, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.
How deadly is Carbon Monoxide?
Every year, at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning. Most of these accidents happen in the home.
Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. it is important to know the signs and symptoms of CO Poisoning as to prevent a deadly outcome!
As CO gas is colorless and odorless, it’s hard to detect without technology!
Here are the general signs and symptoms of CO poisoning per the Mayo Clinic:
If you suspect that you or a family member have nee exposed to this deadly gas, don’t wait. Call 911 immediately and get help!
Let’s look at places in and near your home for potential hazards.
If you are like a lot of South Carolinians, you might have a camping stove among your hurricane supplies. Do NOT use this type of stove inside your home!
Watch this video on how to prevent CO poisoning when using a generator during the hurricane season!
Another potential cause of CO poisoning is charcoal when used inside a home, a garage, or even a vehicle, or tent. Do NOT use charcoal anywhere but outside in a well-ventilated area!
Do NOT leave your car running indoors! If you have an (attached) garage, do not run the engine, even with the garage door open. ONly ever leave your car running outdoors.
Any gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers to heat your home can emit Carbon Monoxide. As a reminder, this gas is odorless and colorless.
Do NOT use unvented fuel-burning appliances in any room where people are sleeping. If they were to malfunction, anyone in the room could be overcome by the deadly gas and never wake up.
Be sure to get your chimney swept each year before using your fireplace, and to not black vents or chimney. CO can build up quickly.
Here is the good news.
CO poisoning is entirely preventable
Prevention + Detection make CO poisoning totally preventable. Carbon Monoxide Detectors are your back up for when an indoor system (like a dryer, oven or stove) fails.
System Sensor carbon monoxide (CO) detectors provide the highest level of CO protection available. Our system-connected devices enable 24/7 central station monitoring that ensures occupants or building management will be alerted if the detector goes into alarm, is disabled, or has reached its six-year end-of-life and needs to be replaced. Furthermore, this system monitoring provides an extra level of protection in cases when occupants are unable to respond to the alarm.
We recommend your Co Detectors be hard-wired into your existing home security system. Give us a call today and we can make that happen ASAP.
It’s time to make a plan!
No one wants their family to get hurt or worse, and therefore it is imperative you have a family meeting to talk about safety rules as they pertain to all things fire!
In a previous article we touched on Summer Water Safety Tips and we believe this article is JUST as important.
Ready? Let’s review how you can keep your family safe from fire this summer!
You and your children should sit down and create a written fire safety plan. Need to know what that looks like? Start here.
Next up, be really prepared by not just purchasing several fire extinguishers for your home, but learning where and how to store them, as well as learn how to use them!
Fire is oh so tempting.
Summer is a great time for families to relax and to spend more time outdoors. What’s more fun than making an open fire for roasting marshmallows or hotdogs. Kids love this activity.
Be sure to assign at least one adult to supervise the fire and the children at all times!
When grilling outdoors, it’s easy to forget something and think about running back inside to the kitchen to get the forgotten item.
Instead of running back inside and leaving the hot grill unattended, use your phone to call or text a family member to bring you more oil, spices, meat or veggies! Safety first!
Before starting a fire to burn garbage or firewood, always check with the local fire department or county to see if a fire ban is in place. Summers are hot and dry in the South. One spark can easily set off a huge forest fire. Don’t be that person. Always call, check and adhere to local fire guidelines.
While the 4th of July just passed, we aren’t out of the woods as far as fireworks. In many states, fireworks are illegal so that means when tourists visit the beach, they are tempted to buy and set off fireworks!
Last but not least, this is last fire hazard can be so deceiving yet is so dangerous!
Let us know if we can help you with any of your home or commercial security needs this summer.
The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 until November 30, 2021. NOAA predicts this will be yet another active hurricane season.
“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”
As we are coming out of a Pandemic, life as we knew it is no more. Many of us are now working from home, requiring internet access to work. this means that while you may want to “ride out a hurricane at home” as you’ve done previously, this time around you will need to evacuate in order to work because of that needed access to electricity and Wifi!
NOTE: renting a car is nearly impossible these day – to find one available, or to find one that’s affordable. This is a result of a global chip shortage that has disrupted auto production.
We found this article by consumer reports to be helpful in finding ways to rent a car, but in case of a hurricane headed your way, you will NEED to have secured transportation before hand!
While cars are hard to find (to rent OR buy) there is a shortage of other supplies as well, leading to soaring prices. Wood is another hot commodity that’s become up to 3x the price.
If you do not have hurricane shutters, or leftover plywood from previous hurricane prep, NOW is the time to get that wood! While it’s expensive now, it will be more expensive and nearly impossible to find once a hurricane approaches the Grand Strand.
Want to keep an eye on you home, your cars, your business, your boat?
Smarthome technology will let you keep an eye in-real-time on what you leave behind when you evacuate. Get your loved ones out of the way of a hurricane and keep yourself abreast of what’s going on at home!
Start here (FREE DOWNLOAD)
No matter what you decide: evacuate or stay, you have to have a detailed plan.
A failure to plan is a plan to fail!
Don’t get caught without a hurricane prep plan.
To stay up-to-date on all thing Atlantic Hurricane Season & Grand Strand Hurricane prep, join our Facebook Group today!
We are here to help you if you need guidance.
Do you have kids? How about pets? Are you expecting a new addition to your family soon? Many of our blog readers and customers have families. We do too! We have three teenagers and we an adorable dog named Henry: you might have visited our office and met him.
During the pandemic, many families adopted new pets as they had more time to spend at home! Having a new family pet brings joy and laughter, but also new responsibility and safety and security hazards.
While we as adults can certainly have accidents at home, we generally know how to keep ourselves safe and secure. It’s a little different for kids and pets: they love to explore new things, and by nature, are curious about the world around them. It’s even more important to set some safety rules and guidelines when you have both kids and pets!
In honor of National Kids and Pets Day on April 26, 2021, we present this article with tips to keep your kids and pets safe at home.
From National Day Calendar:
“National Kids and Pets Day on April 26th raises awareness of the importance of picking the right pet for children at the right time. It’s an important decision that can lead to a lifetime of bonding between pet and child.
The day also celebrates the bonds children and pets can share and a day remember safety where our pets and children are concerned. There are many benefits of having a pet in a child’s life. From fostering natural nurturing abilities to developing responsibilities, pets have a lifelong impact on a child’s development.
It is also important to remember that small children as well as the pets may not know their limitations and should not be left alone with each other. They should always be supervised to prevent injury to both the child and the animal.”
This includes indoor as well as outdoor play time! Kids and pets needs to have an adult nearby to supervise their playtime and while it’s tempting to leave the room to take care of chores, don’t. Pets are unpredictable and they can get triggered by your child’s behavior. Take your child with you when moving from room to room, or separate the child and animal (crate or gate, or even closed room) when you are not able to supervise.
Outdoors, always supervise around pools, and in the yard!
A pet needs to feel safe and secure and when their sleep, feeding time or playtime is interrupted, they can get annoyed, or even aggressive. To avoid this happening, teach your child to leave the pet alone during these activities.
Cat litter boxes look like fun sandboxes to young children. Cat’s waste carries disease and you do not want your child to play with the cat’s waste. At the same time, a dog carries diseases as well: teach a child the proper way to dispose of a dog’s poop.
While you may play games with your dog or cat that can be labeled ‘roughhousing’, don’t allow your child to play those same games. It is most likely that you as the adult in the home are the alpha. A dog or cat will accept certain dominant behavior from you, the alpha, but not from a child that is smaller. To avoid this happening, avoid playing these types of games in front of the children, as they often emulate what they see! Games to avoid include tug-of-war, picking up the pet and spraying it with a hose.
It’s hard not to mention dog bites when we talk about kids, pets and safety. Prevention is so very important and that is why supervision of kids and pets at all times is THE MOST important rule to stick to!
Here are some crazy statistic to wrap you head around.
Teaching children the right to play and care for a pet is another important safety measure.
We love our children and we love our pets. We know you do too! Stay safe and secure in your own home at all times!
As the south heats up, we spend a lot more time outside. When we spend more time outside, our home opens up as well and new security issues can arise as we might be a bit more careless around our home as far as security and personal safety is concerned!
Enjoy your Spring days, but don’t let your guard down.
Whether you live in South Carolina, or elsewhere, take head and prevent crime and personal tragedies by taking safety and security measures before accidents and crime happen!
Open doors and unlocked and open windows invite trouble. Criminals always look ofr easy ways in and if you don’t know this statistic, it should scare you just a bit:
Most burglaries happen between the hours of 10 AM – 2PM.
That means during the day when you least expect it and when your guard is down. Therefore, always alarm your home, even if you are home and don’t leave doors unlocked and windows open when you do leave.
While swimming pools in the south offer relief from heat and humidity, they are a safety hazard for families with kids. Did you know that children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates?
Tips to help your family stay safe in and around the water
Read more about pool safety here.
When the weather cooperates, we tend to want to go outside and exercise. While bikes may have been locked up all winter, now that it’s springtime, these are parked either outside or in an open garage.
Bikes are an easy ‘steal’ for a criminal looking for a quick win.
We’d love the opportunity to talk with you. Give us a call anytime at 843-318-6392 with your concerns and questions.
As we spend more time online, Cyber Security continues to be a threat to our security, our finances and even our personal well-being.
In today’s article, we will outline several of the most common ways criminals fool folks like you and me!
One of the most common scams is imposters pretending to be someone they are not.
One example is when a well-known brand is running a giveaway or contest. An imposter duplicates this brand, even going as far as creating a landing page for the fake contest! Next, they start messaging the followers of the real brand, telling those followers that ‘they won’, and asking them to log in, or click a link.
Don’t fall for fake social media accounts! Don’t engage with them, click a link or give out your password.
Instead, take a good look at the account that’s messaging you:
When in doubt, don’t click! It’s fairly easy to spot a fake once you are on the lookout and you are aware!
There are also plenty of people pretending to be one thing and then really not being that person. There are bots and fake accounts all over the internet.
You can spot fake personal accounts by checking the date they joined that platform, who their friends are, and if their settings are set to the point you can’t find out anything about them. If that’s the case, most likely they are hiding something
The main purpose of fake social media accounts is to get close to you to try to influence your decisions and gain access to accounts and financial information, or to reach someone else who is in your circle of friends.
Make a rule not to friend anyone you don’t know or haven’t met in real life, or anyone who has just a few friends.
If someone you’ve just met starts messaging you and you don’t like it, block them and cut ties with that person or bot immediately.
A phishing attempt looks like the following: an official-looking email comes to your inbox, stating that your bank, your Facebook, your credit card… need to be reverified. That they lost information. That you need to re-enter your password, or your social security number, or you need to log in. Never, ever, ever click on email like that.
Instead, go to the source on the internet. Go to your BROWSER and log in to your bank, your credit card account or Facebook to see if there are any messages or warnings there. If not, it was a phishing attempt!
Be aware of those with bad intentions. While someone might seems ok, it’s easy to create false accounts and pretend to be someone you are not.
If you have teenagers and elderly parents, talk to them about the signs of online grooming by experienced criminals to get control over you, your financials and your life. They might gain access to an important accounts, eventually blackmailing you into giving them access to everything.
It might seem that this person loves you, but in reality they are just a criminal trying to take advantage of you.
Signs to look for when suspecting online grooming happening to you or a loved one:
Last but not least, secure all your accounts with 2 factor authentication aka 2FA.
It’s offered to prevent hacking. Online giants such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, banks and most other financial institutions urge you to use 2FA to prevent hacking.
Set up 2FA on all accounts. Use it. Encourage others in your household to do the same.
It can save you from losing your account, money and access to important account.
Strand Security is here to help you! If you are worried about your Wifi security, home security or cyber safety, come to us with your questions or concerns. We have years of experience and will be happy to answer any questions you have.