Preventing Holiday Burglaries

The Rochester Police Department just sent out a crime alert with some great tips on preventing burglaries this holiday season.  You can sign up for similar alerts and crime reports from RPD here.


Updates and the Tip of the Month

It’s been a busy month or so at Custom Alarm and we thought we’d share all the happenings here in one spot.

First and foremost, THANK YOU to everyone who helped with donations to Custom Alarm’s March for Babies team.

The CCi Team: (Front Row) Leigh Johnson, Chris Streiff, and Liz Hauger. (Second Row) Melissa Brinkman, John McMahon, and Ryan Olson.

You helped us raise almost $1400 for the March of Dimes and their research and education programs.  We may have gotten wet, but the walk was a lot of fun as all of the walkers would attest – just look at our smiling faces! Our Wellness Committee continues to look at upcoming walks to see about putting teams together, so keep an eye out for more announcements and look for the folks with Custom Alarm shirts at your next event!

Speaking of the CCi Wellness Committee, they have developed a new tobacco policy for the Custom Alarm grounds and employees.  As of January 1, 2011, Custom Alarm will be a tobacco free company.  This means that there will be no tobacco use of any kind allowed on CCi property, in CCi vehicles, or by CCi employees while on the clock.  It’s just one of many things the Wellness Committee is doing to help improve the health of everyone here at Custom Alarm.

Continuing with our theme of physical fitness and activity, the Custom Alarm softball team celebrated our first victory of the season last night with a 10-8 victory over “Miller Time”.  Our next game is this upcoming Wednesday, May 12th at 7:15PM on McQuillan Field VII (all the way at the end of the complex on the right side), so come on out and cheer us on to a 2-0 record!  More info on the softball team, including links to the schedule, standings, and directions to McQuillan Field can be found here.

I also wanted to post another reminder about the construction on Salem Road SW as it is affecting traffic getting to our office.  More info can be found in the previous post I did on the subject.  Also, a friendly reminder to give yourself some extra time and to be patient (no pun intended) when traveling around the downtown Mayo campus on 2nd Street SW.  The construction is not just affecting 2nd Street, as shuttles are being rerouted to different pick-up and drop-off points as well.  More info on that can be found here.

Last, but certainly not least, we are kicking off the first in an ongoing series of posts: The Custom Alarm Security Tip of the Month.  This month’s tip seems pretty obvious, but it’s one of those things that people don’t think about all that often:

May is the time of year to get your lawn and garden ready for a summer full of BBQ’s, bocce ball, bean bags, and badminton, but remember to put away all your tools when you are done working in the yard.  Burglary and theft are crimes of opportunity, so don’t leave anything lying around that a thief could take, or a burglar could use to gain entry into your home.  Things to be especially aware of are shovels, rakes, and other things that can be used to break windows or pry open doors.  Also, don’t leave your extension ladder out after cleaning the gutters, it’s an open invitation for burglars to gain access to a second story window in your home or one of your neighbors’ homes.

In addition, think about the types and placement of trees, shrubs, and other plants in your lawn and garden, and make sure they are kept neat and trimmed.  Poorly placed and/or overgrown plants can give burglars all the cover they need to break into your home unseen.  Keeping your yard neat and tidy not only looks nice, but it makes your home less appealing to would-be thieves as well!

Check back or subscribe to our RSS Feed or e-mail updates for more monthly tips from CCi, and check out these past posts for tips on dealing with door to door salespeople and help with operating your security system.

Warning! Road Closed Ahead

As you know it’s orange barrel season once again, and this time, it’s affecting how you can reach our office.  There is road construction on Salem Road SW from the intersection with Greenview Drive SW to the intersection at Bamber Valley Road SW, and the road is closed for that entire length (see a map here).

Thankfully, the construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of August.  Until then, the easiest way to get to the Custom Alarm office is as follows:

  • From the North: take Highway 52 South to the 16th Street SW Exit.  Turn left onto 16th Street SW.  Turn left onto Greenview Drive SW.
  • From the South: take Highway 52 North to the 16th Street SW Exit.  Turn left onto 16th Street SW.  Turn left onto Greenivew Drive SW.
  • From the East (coming into Rochester on Highway 14): Turn left onto South Broadway Avenue.  Turn right onto 16th Street SW.  Turn left onto Greenview Drive SW.
  • From the West (coming into Rochester on Highway 14): Take the Highway 52 South Exit.  Take the 16th Street SW Exit.  Turn left onto 16th Street SW.  Turn left onto Greenview Drive SW.

As you can see, the moral of this story is that the ONLY way to reach our office is off of 16th Street SW, and the easiest way to get there is via Highway 52.  Hopefully these directions help those of you who need to see us in person while the construction is going on.

One last, but very important note, please remember to be safe and slow down in construction zones this summer.  Not only will you be protecting yourself and the construction crews, you won’t have to worry about this guy coming after you…

Slow down in construction zones or else...

Custom Alarm is Marching for Babies

Walking for a Reason

Please help the Custom Alarm Team as we raise funds for the March of Dimes’ upcoming March for Babies.  A number of our employees will be participating in the six mile walk on Saturday, April 24th, 2010, and we would love your help as we support this great cause!

As you may or may not know, the March of Dimes is an organization that helps mothers to healthy, full-term pregnancies as well as providing support to help babies born prematurely.  You can find out more about the March of Dimes and sign up to walk in the March for Babies here.

If you would like to help us out, you can donate online by going to our team page.  Also, feel free to leave a comment letting us know if you’re walking in the event and we’ll see you at the Eagles Club on April 24th!

We Need Your Help!

We are very proud to announce that Custom Alarm has been named a 2010 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award® winner by the US Chamber of Commerce.  There are 100 businesses nationwide who were recognized, 75 Blue Ribbon Award Winners and 25 Free Enterprise Honorees.  These businesses are honored for their critical role in creating jobs and growing the economy.

As a Blue Ribbon Award winner we are also eligible for the Community Excellence Award, which is decided by online public voting now until March 12th.  The award is designed to highlight a business that has found success in the eyes of its community.  We hope you can cast your vote to help us win the Community Excellence Award.  Please follow this link, click on the VOTE HERE button, and select Custom Alarm from the drop down list.

We also want to extend our congratulations to our friends at Corporate Web Services (CWS) who are one of the 25 Free Enterprise Honorees.  As a very satisfied customer, we know personally that their recognition is well deserved.  Over the years they have proven time and again what a great company they are by providing superior service to their customers and contributing a great deal to the Rochester community.

These awards mean that two Rochester companies are among the top 100 small businesses in the United States.  This is a great recognition not only for our companies, but for the Rochester community and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce as well.

They Still Have Openings

We recently received word that there are still openings for the Rochester Police Department’s CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) program.  This is a free program with classes on Thursdays starting in April, and running for 7 weeks (our previous post on this training can be found here).

Also, the RPD is offering a class on Crime Free Multi-Housing for apartment managers and owners.  The class is on Saturday, April 10th, and topics include building safety, working with the RPD/County Sheriff, and information on gangs and drugs in Rochester.  The cost is $35 to attend and includes a workbook, lunch, and refreshments.

You can find more information on both classes here.

Welcome Home!

Visit Custom Alarm at the Home Show!

It’s time for the 31st annual Rochester Area Builders Home Show.  The show runs this Friday-Sunday (February 12th-14th) at the Mayo Civic Center in downtown Rochester.  We will be exhibiting in Booths 832 & 833 located in the Arena (our usual spot).  Show hours are Friday 3:00PM-8:00PM, Saturday 9:00AM-6:00PM, and Sunday 11:00AM-4:00PM.

Highlights of this year’s show include:

  • 4 unique playhouses in the Garden Area.
  • “Happy Hour” at the Home Show on Friday, February 12th – Admission is half-price during “Happy Hour” from 5-7 PM!
  • “Family Fun Day” at the Home Show on Saturday, February 13th – Check out our booth (and many others) on Saturday for a fun, family friendly activity and/or give away.
  • “Taste of Rochester” on Sunday, February 14th – Come in and sample food and drink from five local restaurants.

You can find more details on the Home Show and all the activities going on here.  In addition to the events planned on these days, Custom Alarm is offering some new and exciting demos and specials throughout the show, so be sure to visit with us!

2010 Community Emergency Response Team Training

We just received word from the Rochester Police Department that they are now taking registrations for the 2010 class of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training.  These classes train citizens to be first responders in case of a disaster in our community.  Space is limited, so sign up quickly if you are interested.  Details are as follows:

2010 CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Training @ the Rochester Police Department

Dates: Thursdays, April 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20

Time: 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM each day

Location of classes:  Rochester/Olmsted County Government Center

All classes are free and participants are required to attend all 7 classes

Participants must have a partner that lives in the immediate neighborhood or work in the same workplace as the program is set up for team members to work together.  Each participant will receive a free duffle bag filled with emergency tools and supplies.  This class is FEMA certified and funded.

Class schedule:

Disaster preparedness (natural and terroristic)

Fire safety/fire suppression

Light search and rescue

Disaster medical operations (Triage, First-Aid)

Team organization and planning

Disaster psychology

Mock disaster drills to test learned skills

To date, the Crime Prevention Unit of the Rochester Police Department has trained over 224 individuals or 112 neighborhood, apartment, and business teams.  These teams will act as first responders to a local disaster.  Rochester was the first CERT Program to save a life in the state of Minnesota.

The first 12 teams (24 individuals) registered will be accepted,  as class size is limited to individual hands on training.

To register e-mail or call 507-328-6890

Baby, It’s COLD Outside.

Don't let this happen to you.

As you may have heard, the extremely cold weather we’ve been having is wreaking havoc with in-building fire suppression systems.  We averaged more than a call per week to our Central Station in the month of December for “sprinkler flow” that was caused by a burst pipe.

So how can you protect your home or business from water damage?  One answer is as simple as having a low temperature sensor installed and monitored.  These devices are designed to detect when temperatures drop to dangerous levels and can alert you before your pipes burst and dump thousands of gallons of water into your building.  You can also have water detection sensors installed to detect any water leaks and try to mitigate the damage.

It looks like the temperatures are going to rise in the next week or so, but keep in mind what RFD Battalion Commander Steve Belau said in the PB article above:

Generally, fire sprinkler system pipes don’t burst until after a cold snap and the water begins to thaw.

You never know when the next cold snap will hit, and it’s always better to prevent a problem instead of cleaning up afterward.  You can click here to request more information on low temperature sensors, water detection sensors, and other ways to keep your home or business safe this winter.

Winter Weather Safety (Part 1)

This is part one of a three-part series covering things you can do to prepare for winter storms.  Parts two and three will talk about the differences between winter storm warnings and watches, and traveling safely in winter weather.  Information provided in these posts courtesy of the American Red Cross, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Enjoy!

With the winter months just around the corner, we thought it would be a good idea to post some winter weather safety tips.  Here are some easy things you can do to make sure your family and your home are prepared for winter weather and the possibility of winter storms.

Have the following easily accessible or assemble a disaster supplies kit including:

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least 3 gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
  • NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Extra blankets in case the heat goes out.
  • Extra warm clothing, and a warm jacket, gloves or mittens, hat, and water-resistant boots for each member of your household.

It’s also a good idea to winterize your home.  In the event that inclement weather heads our way, and you know it will (snow in October anyone?), stay tuned to your NOAA Weather Radio and local radio and TV stations for the most up-to-date information on winter storms.  Come back tomorrow and Friday, or subscribe to our RSS feed, for parts 2 and 3 of this series.