Home Security Drones

With smart home security systems becoming more common and camera doorbells being the norm for quite a few homes, you might be wondering what’s next for home security.

Well, it’s looking like in the next few years we may be using drones for home security! Currently drones are only being used for security commercially, but tech giant Amazon have just announced the ‘Always Home Cam’ which is a camera attached to a drone with enclosed propellers for indoor use only. And we all know normally where amazon starts, others follow.

We are going to look at how drones are currently used for security and how they could be used for home security in the future!

 

Home Security Drones

It’s being predicted that by the end of 2025 the drone industry is likely to reach $129.3 billion dollars, which should tell you it won’t be long until they are in and around our homes. Here’s why they are good for security, not just in the home, but commercially as well;

1.      Enhanced Security

With powerful drones you can have eyes on your home and business at all times, no matter your location. Some security drones have now, using AI, have become so advanced that they can detect suspects even if they are concealing a weapon. Drones can also communicate with any motion sensors you have, meaning they can deploy when the sensor is tripped, this means you will have eyes on the incident quicker than a person on foot or a static camera. This is especially useful if you have a very large facility.

2.      Cost Effective

If you need your business or home monitored 24/7, employing round the clock security is very expensive. Using drones can cut this cost right down. Once you’ve paid out for the drone system, you won’t have to pay a weekly wage or adhere to any requirements that employees need. You can set the drone to do scheduled patrols, eliminating the risk of human error and reducing risks all together. This means your business and home is more secure.

3.      No Risk to Human Life

If your home or business experiences a break-in, it’s much safer to send a drone to check out what is happening, especially if the intruder is still on the property. No matter how much a drone costs, it can be replaced if damaged or destroyed, this cannot be said of human security guards.

Home Security Drones Guide by Keytek Local Locksmith in UK

 

The Ring Always Home Cam

Never one to stay stagnant, Ring (owned by amazon) are always finding new and innovative ways to protect your home and advance home security.

Ring are one of the biggest players in the home security industry and are famous for their camera doorbells. Jamie Siminoff, founder of Ring, said that he heard customers expressing a wish to be able to check if they had le the door ajar or the stove on, and so the idea for the Always Home Cam was born.

What is the Always Home Cam?

The Always Home Cam is an autonomous indoor security camera that will fly at a pre-set, personalised route around your home, for ultimate peace of mind. As with all Ring products, the Always Home will integrate with the other Ring security products and is controlled by the Ring app. Once set in ‘away mode’ the Always Home will automatically fly your chosen route, if triggered. The camera will live stream the images to your smart phone so you are able to see what is going on.

Features of the Always Home Cam

If you are worried about privacy, Ring have taken some steps to keep you safe. The camera is physically blocked when the drone is docked, so no images can be recorded. The camera itself will only record when in flight. Ring has also made the Always Home emit a humming noise when recording, so everyone will be aware that its recording and that it’s in motion.

The always home has object avoidance technology, so the risk of it banging into walls and furniture is minimal. Its propellers are covered, so the chance of serious damage in minimal, but founder Jamie has said “you should keep it away from your Van Gough”.

Where Can I Get It?

The Always Home Cam is still in its development stages, so you can’t just go out and buy one. Ring are looking for people to work with them to improve and adapt the Always Home functionality, before it’s released to a mass market. Currently the Always Home Cam is available exclusively by invitation.

Looking at how Ring and its parent company Amazon have always been front runners in technology and home security, we are pretty confident that these will be available to buy soon and then become something of a standard security practice within a few years.

 

Sunflower Labs

Started in 2016 by three guys who wanted to innovate the security world, Sunflower Labs have created a security system using security drones. Creators of The Bee (a drone) and the Beehive (the docking system), this drone in a box solution can integrate with your existing security cameras and sensors to provide ultimate home security.

When triggered the beehive will open, allowing the Bee to take off in under 5 seconds. The Bee has the capability to respond to any unauthorised activity within 4 acres in under 30 seconds. Once you have planned a path the Bee will navigate it autonomously, perform the sweep and land safely back in the ‘beehive’. You will not need to control the drone manually.

Much like the Always Home, the Bee has real time object detection, so can navigate around obstacles with ease. It can also learn what the best flight paths are and improve future sweeps. With its property map and Geofencing the Bee should always stay inside the set perimeter of your property. If the bee detects an intruder, you will get clear visual conformation and it will track them, even if the lighting isn’t good.

The beehive is the main brains of the operation with the Bee designed to land safely back in the beehive every time, even in winds up to 30km! However, in an emergency, detailed built in protocols meaning the Bee lands and will disarm safely. When the Bee lands in the beehive it charges automatically and will reach full charge in only 22 minutes, even from complete depletion.

These are only available for commercial and business properties, but keep an eye out, Sunflower Labs may expand into home security solutions.

 

What This Means for Home Security Drones

Home Security Drones guide by Keytek Local Locksmith in UK

With Amazon leading the way with an indoor drone for home security, you can be pretty sure other companies will also be working on their own version. Much like video doorbells, home security drones will slowly become the norm and become more and more integrated into society.

How to Stay Safe Now Restrictions are Lifted

Last Updated: 04/04/2022

As of April 1st 2022, all Covid restrictions have been lifted and this means a return to normal life. However, some would argue that there is no normal after Covid. Although all government restrictions are lifted, you may want to consider ways to keep yourself safe.

Covid-19 will be part of our lives, possibly forever, and it’s up to individuals to make personal decisions to minimise risk. It’s true that all activities will now carry a Covid risk, but it’s no longer beneficial for people to stay in their homes. There are actions you can take to protect yourself and others around you. We will go through the ways you can keep yourself safe and stop the spread of the virus.

 

What Are the Rules as Of April 1st 2022?

All the legal restrictions surrounding Covid-19 have been lifted as of 1st April. As of the 19th July, we were free to not social distance, there was no limit on the amount of people that can meet, there were no restrictions to any parties or venues, no need to wear face masks and no longer needing to work from home.

Now from 1st April 2022 we no longer need to test for Coronavirus and will have to pay if we want to test. If you do test positive, it’s strongly advised that you stay at home for 5 days or until you feel better but is not legally mandatory. If you do leave home, it’s recommended you wear a mask and avoid others whilst outside.

 

What Do Businesses and Venues Have to Do?

All the businesses that were made to stay closed throughout the pandemic are now open, including nightclubs, discos and adult entertainment venues and all capacity limits are lifted. This also means that pubs, cafes, and restaurants no longer have to provide table service and follow social distancing rules.

Although there is no legal reason for venues to provide any Covid protection, they should implement protocols to keep customers safe. Find out how to Stay Safe at Large Events..

Businesses should try to implement ways to keep their employees and customers safe, such as allowing the employee to work from home if able or paying sick if they get Covid, but this is at the business’ discretion with what they decide their policies are. Find out how to stay safe whilst working from home.

 

So, What Can You Do To Keep Yourself and Others Safe?

Face Coverings

Although you are not legally required to do so, you may want to continue to wear a face covering in public venues. Face coverings help slow the spread of coronavirus by preventing droplets in the air from spreading, a known way that Covid-19 spreads.

Fresh Air and Ventilation

When a person has Covid-19 and they talk, cough or breath, they will release droplets and aerosols that can be inhaled by another person. Fresh are blows these particles away, so sitting near a window or making sure there is sufficient ventilation in an indoor venue will help stop the spread of coronavirus. You can also make use of your extractor fan and leave it running to improve the ventilation in your home when you have guests. Basically, the fresher air you let into your home the less likely you are to inhale infectious particles.

Testing at Home

It’s well known that 1 in 5 people that have Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus without knowing it. Rapid lateral flow testing, although no longer free, is a great way to detect if you are positive and protect those around you.

The early detection of the virus will enable people to self-isolate quicker, which will slow the spread of the virus.

 

Personal Hygiene

Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser on a regular basis is a good way to reduce your risk of catching coronavirus. The Gov.uk website say that washing or sanitising your hands after the following;

  • After coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose

  • Before you eat or handle food

  • After coming into contact with surfaces touched by many others, such as handles, handrails and light switches

  • After coming into contact with shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms

  • When you return home

 Don’t Touch Your Face

It’s advisable to touch your face as little as possible. Your hands touch a lot of different surfaces during the day and this is where you might pick up Covid, as surfaces can become infected with Covid-19. So, if you touch an infected surface and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose, you can become infected with the virus. But washing or sanitising your hands after touching a surface will reduce your risk of transferring the infection to yourself.

 Coughing and Sneezing

Covid is also transmitted by coughing and sneezing, so to protect others you need to cover your mouth every time you sneeze or cough. An uncovered sneeze or cough will greatly increase the chance of those around you catching the virus. Government advice on this is;

  • Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze.

  • If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand.

  • Dispose of tissues into a rubbish bag and immediately wash your hands.

No Close Contact

One of the major ways Covid spreads is through close contact with someone who is infected. They spread the virus through; speaking, coughing or sneezing, that could then be inhaled by you. This is why we have all been following social distancing guidelines and but because the government are no longer enforcing these doesn’t mean you have to stop. You might want to consider remaining 2 metres apart, especially if you are spending a prolonged time with them.

 

Living With Covid-19

Even though restrictions have been lifted, that doesn’t mean Covid-19 is gone. The virus is something that we will have to get used t and deal with, much like the flu. We all have a roll in stopping the spread of the Coronavirus and taking step such as the ones we have explained will protect you and those around you.

 

Find a Covid-19 Safe Locksmith

Here at Keytek® we have been ‘operating as normal’ throughout the pandemic as our trusted Locksmiths were considered key workers, getting you into your homes securely and safely. Although there are no government guidelines anymore, we still aim to keep both our customer and our engineers safe.

Covid-19 Measures

We recommend to all of our engineers that they wear a face mask and gloves, continue to social distance, and sanitise their hand and all their tools.

If this is particularly important for you, please let us know on the phone when we book in your job, and we will make sure we make you feel comfortable during the visit.

What If I Am Self-Isolating?

If you are self-isolating as a vulnerable person, please let our team members know upon calling and booking in our services. We will ensure that we put your health first and will avoid entering your home unless necessary and will carry out the work on the threshold of your door.

If you or your household are self-isolating due to a positive covid-19 test, please call to rebook us in at a later date when you have finished the required self-isolating period to keep us all safe.

Locksmith Questions

If you have any other questions or queries, please do not hesitate to ask our team members on the phone, the Locksmith whilst they’re at your home or by emailing us at feedback@keytek.co.uk.

Call a Locksmith

We hope we have been able to answer some of your questions and settle any worries you may have had before calling out a Locksmith. Find a local Locksmith to you, or alternatively, give us a call on 0808 164 2928. We can’t wait to help!

Should I get a Guard Dog?

You might have seen in the newspapers recently that a number of the England Football Team have purchased guard dogs for their homes, after a spate of break ins. These dogs can cost upwards of twenty thousand pounds and take months to train. So, are these dogs worth the time and money? We will take a look at whether they are an effective security measure.

 

History of Guard Dogs

It’s unclear exactly when humans started using dogs for protection, but some of the first recorded protection dogs date back to 150BC in Rome. These early farmers would use dogs to protect livestock and they would introduce the dogs to livestock when they were puppies, so the dogs would ‘imprint’ and feel protective urges.

By the Middle Ages dogs were being used to hunt, protect and even catch criminals. In the 19th century the first recognisable breeds of today came in to being. Most notably the modern-day Rottweiler, who herded livestock, but also protected merchants’ money.

The first recognised formal police dog training started in Belgium in 1899, which then spread across Europe using mostly German, Belgian, and Dutch Shepherd Dogs, which is still the case today.

 

Guard Dog vs Protection Dogs

You might not have known that there is a difference between a guard dog and a protection dog. There are also other categories of security dogs.

 

Guard Dog

A guard dog will be specifically trained to be exclusively a working dog, not a family pet. Guard dogs are generally used within the police or military. Usually a guard dog cannot ‘turn off’ their training, there are three levels of guard dog training and a dog can be trained in each;

 

Alarm Dog

Normally a large breed with a loud deep bark. An alarm dog will bark when someone approaches, but will not attack. It’s hoped the bark will be enough to deter any intruders.

 

Sentry Dog

These dogs are mostly used to guard the outside of a large building, such as a factory or warehouse. Sentry dogs tend to roam free, without a handler and will attack any intruders.

 

Attack Dog

These types of dogs are trained specifically to attack or kill, when given a command by an owner or handler. Dogs like this are designed to be used by police dogs or within the military service. Attack dogs tend to not be sociable and do not make suitable pets (unless custom training is given).

 

Protection Dogs

Protection dogs tend to be family pets that are trained to protect and defend their families in any threatening situation. The breeds used for protection dogs tend to be extremely loyal and will truly be part of the family unit. They should be socialised with children and other pets, and even neighbours. Most of the protection dog breeds will need to be specifically behaviour trained and will need to be taught their position within the family. They can be dominant, so it’s important that the owner establishes their role as the alpha. These breeds do have a natural instinct to protect, but this will need to be built upon from a young age.

The main difference between a guard dog and a protection dog is the training. So, depending on what your needs are will influence which one you require.

 

Chaperone K9

If you have seen the press about the footballers acquiring guard dogs then you would have seen that they are mostly from a company called Chaperone K9. This family run business provides a high-level security dogs while maintaining high standards in dog welfare. They tailor each protection dog to the needs of their client. When purchasing a protection dog from Chaperone K9 you have a detailed consultation to discuss your needs with their expert trainers. From this they will identify the best breed of dog for you family and develop a bespoke training package. Dogs are trained from 8 weeks old and are sourced from vetted and trusted breeders. By the time you receive your dog, they will have had 2 years of intensive training. Owners are encouraged to be part of this training process, so that they and the dog can fully bond and develop a close relationship. Owners will also need to undertake some dog handling training, so they are fully confident when the protection dogs handed over. Chaperone K9 do offer ongoing support and will be on hand to help with any difficulties new owners have. To find out more visit the Chaperone K9 website.

 

Are Guard Dogs Effective?

Advantages of Guard Dogs

  • Intruder Deterrent

Just the presence of a dog can deter a burglar, so the presence of security dog should work even better. Burglars like to work in the dark and quiet, so a barking dog making a scene should force a burglar to leave. Also the threat of a dog bite should also stop a bugler in their tracks.

  • Personal Protection

A dog trained to attack can help protect you from harm, if an intruder turns violent. This may offer you piece of mind and make you feel more relaxed in your home.

  • The Illusion of Security

Even if you and your dog are out of the house, a ‘beware of the dog’ sign can give a burglar enough hesitation to move on.

  • Instant Protection

If you are home when someone enters your home and you call the police, there will inevitably be a response time. If you have a guard dog present in your home, your protection will be instant.

 

Disadvantages of  Having a Guard Dog

  • Your Dog Could be Harmed

If your dog tries to protect you then they could get hurt, possibly fatally, in the process which can be distressing for you and your family, especially younger children.

  • Your Dog Could be Stolen

If your intruder isn’t just a chancer and has planned the break-in, part of the plan could be to take your dog. Not only are they beloved family pets, they are also worth a lot of money – especially if they are a pedigree dog.

  • They Can’t Call the Police

If your dog is home alone and someone breaks in, are unable to alert the authorities. So, if their presence doesn’t make a burglar leave or alert a neighbour, an intruder will be left to their own devices.

  • They aren’t Video Recorders

If you are using a dog as your only form of security system, then they won’t be helpful in identifying an intruder if a break-in is successful.

  • They Could Harm Someone who isn’t an Intruder

The owner of a guard dog will be liable for any damage done by the animal. Which means you could be in trouble if the dog harms an innocent party, or even if it harms an intruder.

 

guard dogs law UK

Guard Dogs and the Law

There are of course laws around owning a guard dog that you must adhere to. If you do have a guard dog in your home, then you must follow guard dog laws in the UK.  You must have clear signs stating the fact at every entrance and fence to your home. This mean that you are completely covered if someone is injured by your guard dog. If there is not ample warning in and around your home signifying a guard dog, then any damage done while you dog is not restrained will make you liable. It is also required within UK law that there is a handler who has complete control over the dog present at all times.

There are certain breeds that must not be used as guard dogs, by law. As of 1975 dogs banned from being guard dogs are;

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro

If you are found to have a guard dog of these breed then you could be prosecuted and fined up to £5000.

It is also in UK law that a guard dog be on a lead when out in public, this is in case an incident occurs and the owner isn’t close enough to respond quickly.

 

Is a Guard Dog Worth Investing in?

If you have the resources to fund one, and your lifestyle requires an extra level of protection then it could be something to consider. Dogs have been used for thousands of years for protection and are still used by the police and army to this day, meaning that they are an effective way of protecting your home and family. However, the most effective way to keep your home secure is to use a mix of security measures, such as security cameras and alarms, so these used with a protection dog is a good way to maintain your homes security.

To find out about other ways to protect your home visit out Home Security Hub.

Sea Swimming Safety 2021

As the weather warms up (hopefully) and the days get longer the pull to go swimming at the beach and in lakes become stronger. Swimming is a great way to relax, cool down and exercise but we all know it comes with some dangers that we may face, swimming in open waters poses a higher threat so ensure you’re clued up before taking the plunge with our top tips below!

 

Plan Ahead Before Arriving

Planning ahead before going swimming is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your safety. The top three things to do before arriving at your destination are:

  • Check the weather and tide timetable

Of course you know it is dangerous to swim during a storm due to higher winds and waves but ensure there are no predicted high winds before you leave and make a note of the tide changes so you don’t get caught stranded.

 

  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach.

A lifeguard is able to help in an emergency and can spot when the sea becomes too dangerous to swim in and so will alert all those to get out of the water. If you’ve not been to this destination before you can always chat to the lifeguard about where to swim, especially if you plan on doing water sports such as surfing or SUP. Please remember even if there is a lifeguard manning the beach you are still responsible for your own safety when swimming in open waters.

 

  • Swim with others.

Make arrangements to swim with others so two or more of you can assess the situation, if you do find yourself in an emergency hopefully one of you will be able to call for help. If you’re going alone, find an area with other swimmers in.

 

Arriving at your Destination

Planning ahead is the first step to swimming in the sea safely but you should always reassess when you get to your chosen location, things to look out for are:

1. Observe the water and the waves

Watch the water for a little while, is it behaving as you’d expect or are the waves higher than you’d like? Are they breaking apart? Are there any rip currents? Read further on for information on how to spot a rip current.

 

2. Beach surface

The surface of the beach can affect the waves and how you enter and exit the water safely, is it a sandy, pebbled, rocky, muddy beach?

 

3.Look out for rocks.

Are there any rocks or obstructions in the sea that could cause you harm? Could you be thrown against them if the tides change? Could they cause you to cut and bruise yourself? Is anyone behaving dangerously near the rocks or obstructions such as jumping into shallow waters?

 

4. Is the tide behaving as expected?

 

5. Are there any danger areas along the beach that could cause you to get stuck in the sea or stranded on an island?

 

 6. Are there boats in the water?

 

7. Are there surfers or other water sports happening in the water nearby that could potentially be of harm?

 

Entering and Exiting the Water

One last sea check before you take the plunge. Plan your entry and exit routes, especially if you plan on swimming a long distance. Look out for the following:

1. Look out for any currents, tidal flow and which way the wind is going.

2. Look out for any hazards you may encounter along the stretch of beach and water you plan to swim in by walking up and down your route.

3. Plan your exit so that you can get out of the water easily, no rocks, less seaweed and no slippery silt or mud is preferable.

4. Never jump into cold water to prevent cold water shock. Slowly submerge yourself in so your body has time to acclimatise.

 

What to Wear in the Sea

What you wear in the sea can also affect your swimming capabilities and help protect you if in danger.

Wetsuit

We all know how cold the sea is even in the summer months in the UK so if you plan on swimming in the sea often investing in a wetsuit is a must. It will also help you swim faster which is great if you find yourself in trouble.

Silicone Hat

A brightly coloured silicone hat will not only keep your head warm but it will make you easier to spot in the water if you need help.

Goggles

Avoid salt water in your eyes with a good pair of goggles. Consider mirrored lens goggles to help you see on a bright sunny day.

Tow Buoy

A tow buoy is a brightly coloured, light float which helps others keep track of you in the water such as lifeguards or boaters. You can also use the buoy to take a quick rest on should you need to.

Swim Socks and Gloves

Keep your hands and feet warm by donning a pair of swim gloves and socks, the last thing you want is numb fingers and toes.

Keeping Children Safe when Sea Swimming

A day at the seaside is great day out for all the family but the water can be fear inducing when your children are near, here are some top tips on keeping your children safe at the beach:

Inflatable’s

Keep your rubber rings and dinghy’s for the pool, unpredictable winds can float them out to sea and put your children in danger.

Supervise in the Water

Even the best little swimmers can get caught out in the waves and tides, never let your children in the sea without keeping a close eye on them. Always be close enough to grab them as a wave can pull them under at any moment.

Lifeguard

Chose a lifeguarded beach and when you arrive visit the lifeguard hut and ask for a safety wristband. There is a space for you to write your telephone number on and teach your children to go to the lifeguard hut if they get lost. The lifeguards will look after them and give you a call if they are lost.

 

Waves

As well as tides there are several waves that you need to be aware of for your safety when sea swimming, they include:

Spilling Waves

Found on flat or a slightly sloped beach, the wave tumbles down the front of the wave and is good for swimmers.

Plunging/Dumping Waves

These occur on steep beaches and suddenly break with power, enough to knock you off your feet. We’d avoid swimming here.

Surging Waves

Found on steep and rocky beaches, they may not break but instead will have a strong backwash and undertow which will carry you off out and under the sea. Avoid swimming here.

 

Rip Currents

Finally, we’re on to rip currents. These occur when there is a buildup of water from tides and waves, they can take you out to sea scarily fast. To identify a rip current look out for the following:

  • Debris on water surface, floating away from the beach.
  • Sea debris, seaweed and sand churning.
  • Lack of waves, they may break either side of the rip current or you may not see any at all.

If you get stuck in a rip current it is important to remain calm, don’t fight the current and swim along the shoreline until out of the current. Once you have escaped the rip current you will be able to swim directly back to shore.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

We hope you’ve found our blog informative to keep you safe when swimming. If you liked this one why not check out some of our others including Staying Safe this Summer: 2021! and Luggage Locks – The Guide to Luggage Security.

 

 

Swimming safely in the sea

Commuting Safely to Work

How to Commute Safely to Work

 

Now that restrictions are starting to ease and you may be heading back into the office, you might need to think about keeping yourself safe as you make your way to work. As well as Covid considerations, there are other safety aspects of travelling to work that you need to be aware of. Whether you take public transport to work or drive yourself, there are always risks. We will go through the potential risks of commuting to work and how to be aware and avoid them.

 

Commuting During the Pandemic

 

Public Transport

Obviously using your own private transport during Covid is the safest way to commute, but that isn’t an option for everyone. So lets look at the ways you can keep yourself safe from Covid on public transport.

Avoid touching things– sounds obvious, but using contactless payment options is a great way stop the spread of coronavirus. If you do end up touching a ‘frequently touched’ surface then try to wash or antibac your hands as soon as you can. This is because coronavirus can remain on surfaces such as plastic and metal for a while.

Be aware of your face– on average we touch our faces around 16 times per hour, so if you have contaminated hands, you need to try not to touch for face. This is the same with gloves, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with gloves, they will also be contaminated if you touch a surface that contains the coronavirus. Its actually safer to not wear gloves and use hand sanitiser regularly.

Don’t fidget– where possible try not to adjust or touch your mask, you risk contaminating it. It’s important that you always wear your mask correctly on public transport, to protect yourself and others.

Maintain social distancing– if possible, try to travel during non-peak hours and always keep at least 1 metre plus from those around you. There should be social distance markers on public transport, so try to follow the guidance.

Improve ventilation– if at all possible open any windows on the bus or train you are on. This is especially true if you are in a car share or taxi as you can’t socially distance when in a car.

 

Walking to Work

While walking to work is one of the safest ways of commuting Covid wise, it does pose some other risks that you need to be prepared for. Unfortunately you are more at risk walking alone if you are a woman, try to employ as many as our tips as you can.

Plan your route– if you haven’t walked to work before then its important you check before you set of the route you will take. If you do need to stop and look at a map or your phone, then make sure you stop where lots of people are.

Let someone know- it’s vital that you let your colleagues know that you are walking to work and what time you are likely to arrive. Exchange phones numbers with a colleague if possible, so you can let them know if there are any issues.

Walk with confidence– try to make eye contact with those you pass by, and keep your head up, this will make you less likely to be an attacker’s target.

Wear the right shoes– this is more than just a comfort thing, its for safety as well. Wear shoes that make it easy to make a quick getaway, if you’ve ever tried to run in heals or flip flops then you know what we mean. Try to wear flats or trainers, you can always change your shoes when you get to the office.

Safe clothing– try to wear clothing that makes you visible, such as bright colours or reflective bands and strips. This is more important in winter when its darker for longer.

Stick to public areas– if at all possible, try to walk where there are lots of people, where you can be seen even if it takes you longer. Taking shortcuts through woodlands or secluded fields puts you at risk.

Be aware of your surroundings- it’s advisable not to wear headphones when walking as it makes it easy for someone to sneak up on you undetected. Same principle if you are staring at your phone while walking, you need to keep your eyes a head and be alert to what’s happening around you.

Traffic safety– you must always walk into the direction of oncoming traffic; this means you will be able to see the traffic coming towards you. It also means a vehicle won’t be able to pull up behind and surprise you.

Extra steps– carry a personal alarm that admits a loud noise when activated. Keep your valuables hidden and finally trust your instincts, if you see someone who looks suspicious then cross the road.

To learn more about walking alone safely then read our blog on keeping yourself safe.

 

Driving

When it comes to commuting, driving to work, is the safest way Covid wise, however you need to make considerations for other road users to keep yourself and them safe. Speed is a major factor in accidents and its pedestrians that you need to watch your speed for. Shockingly children that are hit at above 20 miles an hour will nearly always die, but under 20 will nearly always survive. So, when driving through a built-up area, especially near school, you need to watch your speed.

You also must resist the urge to look at your phone while driving, not only is it illegal, looking at your phone means you are more likely to be in an accident. The best way to avoid temptation is to keep your phone on silent out of arms reach. Some modern cars come with screens and can connect to your phone, but this needs to be done when you are stationery.

 

What to take away…

 

Whether you drive, walk or get public transport when commuting to you must keep yourself safe. This applies to Covid as well as your general safety. Hopefully you have learned some useful tips that will keep yourself on the way to work.

Stadium Security

With big events opening up again with big crowds, it’s important that you stay safe. However, especially in big stadiums, governing bodies also have a duty to keep you safe, not just from Covid. We are going to look through some of the ways you are kept safe at football matches and other large events.

Wembley Stadium

Wembley is one of the biggest stadiums in the UK, it’s used not just for holding football matches but also concerts and other events. So, it has one of the best security processes around, some of which are more obvious than others.

We have the obvious and common place policies;

Bag Checking-

Any bag you take in will be checked. There are no cloakrooms at Wembley Stadium, so you have to keep your bags with you. This means that they don’t allow any bags bigger than a standard rucksack inside.

Screening-

You will also pass through what they call ‘screening arches’. Essentially, it’s like going through the detectors at the airport. This is so they can check nothing dangerous is coming in. There isn’t a risk to anyone going through these, including pregnant women and people with pacemakers.

Drinks-

Wembley stadium have a policy of not letting people in with drinks from home. This is to stop any nasty chemicals potentially being sneaked in this way. If you have a valid medical reason to bring liquids in then this will be allowed.

Then there are those security measures that might not be so obvious;

Counter terrorism-

On any given day at Wembley Stadium there are around 50 on-site security members of staff and a control room that’s monitored 24/7. All staff members are also bag searched on arrival; all vehicle arrivals must be booked in advance. If anyone is to visit Wembley Stadium during non-event days then they are logged in advance and given a temporary ID on arrival that must always be visible. Wembley Stadiums also takes the extra step of having external patrols and liaising with their neighbours to share information on any incidents or potential threats.

Event days-

The security measures ramp up on an event day, meaning there is more on-site staff. Even staff that work at Wembley stadium on non-event days have their ID passes reissued to specific event day passes, meaning no one can sneak in using a stolen ID badge. That’s not the only security measure staff have to go through on an event day. They also need to walk through the screening arches and have their bags checked. Once that has happened their bags are given a unique event day seal. Wembley Stadium works with the Met Police and brings in the K9 unit to sweep the venue and to search any incoming cars. There are also police at the venue to support the existing staff that work at the stadium.

 

Other Stadiums

 

Wembley isn’t the only large stadium in the country; other large venue spaces also need to have safety procedures. No matter the event stadiums must adapt to the needs to any possible threat, large or small. Advancing technology means security firms have more tools at their disposal to protect against threats, but it also means that any perpetrators have more ways to infiltrate. These are some of the techniques stadiums use to protect you.

 

Fully trained security staff

All the technology in the world cannot be equal to well trained staff. Security staff is the first line of defence against threats, they will have many roles in the stadium including; screening the public on entrance and security guards within the stadium. Continuous training off all staff is key to maintaining safety.

 

Modern Security Equipment

It’s not uncommon for large stadiums to use body scanners for all guests on arrival. This is a repercussion of attacks on event spaces over the past few years; they need to stop a person bringing in anything that can cause harm. Social media is a huge player in today’s security field, so some security companies employ a monitor on social media algorithms to keep an eye on any chatter that could be a threat. No stadium has confirmed this, however there has been rumours of facial recognition technology being used. This would scan and detect any known threats and alert security personal to their presence. This would work well especially for a football matches, so that any trouble makers can be stopped before they even get into the venue.

 

Security Zones

When it comes to very large stadiums a good tactic is to zone it off so that dedicated staff and resources can be employed for each zone specifically, this saves things being missed. This also works well if there is an incident during an event, the organisation of the zones can provide safe and effective exit routes as well as strategic entrance points for police and other agencies.

 

Planned evacuation plans

If the worst is to happen and there is an incident, a panicked, stampeding crowd can cause as much damage as the incident itself. After the tragic events of the Hillsborough Disaster, stadiums have strict plans to get spectators out quickly if needed. Each evacuation plan will be unique to the venue, but all staff must be thoroughly briefed and confident on how to follow it through.

 

The Hillsborough Disaster 1989

 

If you are a football fan or not, you will have most likely heard of the Hillsborough Disaster. In 1989, 96 innocent football fans lost their lives after a series of errors led to a surge of fans being sent to overcrowded pens, resulting in a fatal crush.

This terrible incident changed the way that football is watched in the UK. The Taylor Report that was commissioned after the disaster stated that all of the teams in the top two divisions of the English game had to play in all seated stadiums. Before this up to 30,000 fans were squeezed into single terraces behind the goal at Manchester United’s Stretford End, the Holte End at Aston Villa’s home ground and, of course the famous Kop end at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium. Another contributing factor to the disaster was the use of metal fences, this was to stop pitch invasions however these made it impossible for fans to escape the crush, these have now been removed from all UK stadiums. Stricter rules on capacity have now been enforced and emergency exit strategies are in place.

The police and other security services designed and enforced security rules with the mindset of preventing hooliganism. Hence the huge metal fences and fans were separated from each other to prevent fights, by using cages known as pens. Woman and children were actively discouraged from going to matches because of these measures, which tells you a lot about the conditions of the stands. After Hillsborough the mindset changed, stadiums are now safety led, meaning the number one priority is fan safety.

 

What to take away…

So, if you are someone who visits stadiums regularly, then you can be happy in the knowledge that there are procedures in place to keep you and others safe. Always best to bare this in mind when you are standing in the long security line to enter the event. However, it is up to you to keep yourself safe. Also, it’s important to respect those around you, football matches can be highly emotional environments, but everyone is there with the same goal, to have a good time, so keep yourself in check when around other fans.

 

 

How Hillsborough disaster altered English soccer

5 Important Security Measures Taken By Stadiums

https://essma.eu/news/article/counter-terrorism-measures-at-wembley

Amazon Echo vs Google Nest

If you are looking to buy a smart speaker for your home, then the best one for you will depend on your needs. However, there are two huge players in the market that will cover most people’s needs: Amazon Echo range and Google Home. Let’s face it, with Amazon and Google, you know you’re getting a top of the range product, no matter which one you go for. However, picking between the two might be harder than you think. Even within the Amazon and Google ranges, there are different versions and devices you can choose from. With both the voice assistants on these devices becoming more useful and smarter with every update, either device with be able to answer your questions, set timers, set your alarms and much more, with just your voice.

Putting the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices next to each other, they do have similar features and designs; however, there are some differences that you need to consider before choosing which is best for you. Not forgetting that once you have chosen between Amazon and Google, you will then need to choose which device within the ranges will suit your home best.

Have a read of our Ultimate Guide to Home Security for more tips on how to secure your home, and read more about having Smart Home Security.

 

Voice Assistants

Both Echo’s and Google homes have ‘wake’ words to activate the voice control, for Echo’s you simply say ‘Alexa’ and for Google home ‘Hey Google’. Both devices let you control other smart home appliances such as lights or thermostats with voice control.

Alexa seems to be easier to use if you only use the set phrases Alexa likes, but Google assistant is less fussy, you can shout lots of combinations of words at it and its more likely to understand you compared to Alexa. But learning Alex’s set phrases means you can find out more info and uses a wider selection of ‘skills’ with third party apps. Both devices work with big brands such as Phillips and Hive, but you get slightly more integration with the Amazon Alexa.

 

Design 

When it comes to the design of the speakers, we will compare the latest models of each device which are the Google Nest Audio and the 4th generation Amazon Echo.  

The new Echo is spherical in design and comes in a choice of colours; charcoal, twilight blue and glacier white. It also features a LED light ring at the base that adds extra visibility.  

The Google nest has an oblong design and comes in only two colours; charcoal and chalk white. Its rounded corners and 4 led lights do give a sophisticated feel. 

If being good to the environment is high on your list of priorities then both devices have become greener. The Nest Audio is made from 70% recycled material and the Echo fabric and metal components are made from 100% recycled material.  

 

Sound Quality

Amazon have been on a mission to make the sound quality in the Echo better, and in this latest version they have added a 3.0-inch woofer, duel firing tweeter and Dolby processing, so you are getting some pretty decent sound quality with all that. In the Google Nest Audio, does also have a 3.0 woofer; however it doesn’t feature an audio jack so you can’t connect it to speakers.

You can use both of the devices for hands-free calls and play music through a variety of music apps, such as Spotify on both and Google play music and Amazon Music.

 

Price

There is a variety of devices to choose from in both the Amazon and Google range. The cheapest you can get a Google device is around £29, which is for the Google nest mini. Whereas the cheapest Amazon device you can buy is the Echo Dot for around £49.99. If you are looking at the other end of the price scale, Amazon now offer the Echo Show 10, which features a smart display, and you can find that for around £239.99. The most expensive Google speaker is the Nest Hub Max, which also offers a 10-inch display, for around £189.

The prices of the Amazon Echo and the Google Home Nests, are quite similar, however Google probably comes out as the cheapest overall.

 

Are They Safe?

With all this advancement and new technology to help secure your home, people are questioning how secure Alexa or Google is. One main thing that concerns people is that their smart home devise is always listening. Clearly they are listening for any commands you might throw at it, but how much can it hear? Well they do record what you are saying and sends it to a server, but that only when it’s triggered by you saying their wake words. They do have a habit of being triggered by things other than your voice television or radio for instance, so there is a chance snippets of your life will be sent to a server and stored. Amazon and Google have some of the best security in the world to keep this data safe, so it is unlikely that anyone could access this data and use it. However nothing is 100% secure, so there is always a small chance that something could happen.

If you choose to have an Smart Speaker in your home then you will never have 100% privacy. If you did have complete privacy every home assistance device would be completely useless. You can however make your smart speaker more secure with a few simple steps. Mute it when it’s not in use, this will turn off the ‘always listening’ function until you unmute it again, this is easy for both Amazon and Google and there is a ‘mute’ button which you simply press. It’s also wise to disconnect the calendar feature, as a hacker could gain access and know when you are planning to be away from home.

 

Hacking

Anything that is connected to the internet is potentially hackable, so there could be a risk of hacking with a Smart Speaker. It’s more likely that the hacker is your child who asks Alexa or Google to send them toys, which if you have the shopping mode enabled, could happen. There is also a risk that someone with hacking skills could turn your Amazon Echo or Google Nest into a listening device. But you have to weigh up the risks. Why would someone want to listen in on the average person’s life? There are easier and more effective ways to get someone’s bank account details. Some security systems that work with Alexa or Google let you control the door locks with your voice, so we suggest you enable the mute function while you are out of the house to stop people from doing this

There has also been some talk about hackers being able to control smart speakers by using ultrasonic frequencies. This has been named ‘Dolphin Attack’. It involves hackers broadcasting a frequency too high for the human ear to hear, but is audible for your microphone on your smart product. In theory a person would be able to ‘whisper’ commands you cannot hear to your smart device, and if your smart lock is connected, potentially open your door. As advised before, turning off your microphone function when leaving the house is the best way to protect against this kind of attack.

If it’s the fear of a burglar hacking you smart door or alarm system and getting in to you home, that’s stopping you from getting an Amazon Echo or Google Nest, then rest easy. Most burglars are opportunistic and are more likely to kick your door in, smash a window or pick a lock to gain entry to your home. The fact that you have a camera on your door bell or a smart security system may even put burglars off from breaking in, as they are more likely to be identified and caught. On the other hand, when you have a flashy or expensive security system, you run the risk of thieves thinking you have items worth stealing locked inside. But this can be the case with a smart lock, or non smart lock that is out of the ordinary.

 

The Google Nest Range

Google Nest Audio- £89.99

A speaker that is 175mm tall and 124mm wide, features 3 microphones, comes in two colours. No display or touchscreen.

Google Nest Mini- £49

The smallest Google speaker at 50.8mm tall and 101.6mm wide, voice controlled and features better sound quality with 40% stronger bass. No display or touchscreen and it comes in 4 colours.

Google Nest Hub- £49.99

This is more than a speaker, it features a 7-inch touchscreen display and is 118mm high and 178mm wide. It has 2 microphones and comes in a choice of four colours.

Google Nest Hub Max- £219

Google’s largest home hub, it stands 182.55 mm high and 250.1mm wide, this is good device to make video calls and for leaving video messages. It features a 10-inch touchscreen display, 2 microphones and comes in a choice of 2 colours.

 

The Amazon Echo Range

Inspired by Star Trek, the creators of Alexa wanted to be like the crew of the USS Enterprise, who would simply shout out ‘computer’ then give commands or ask questions to the all-knowing devise. The guys behind Alexa wanted to replicate this, but felt that ‘computer’ was a word used to commonly is everyday life. And thus Alexa was born, as having a word that has soft vowels and contains an X is unusual. Amazon Echo devises and Alexa have advanced leaps and bound since its original conception and the dream of having a voice controlled assistant is a reality, as now over 12,000 products have ‘Alexa Skills’.

Amazon Echo Dot- £39.99

Amazons smallest home product at 40.3mm by 90.9mm this is one of the cheapest ways to get Alexa in your home. It uses wi-fi and Bluetooth to connect has a 3.5mm stereo audio output so you can use an external speaker.

All-new Echo- £89.99

The Echo is bigger than the dot, standing at 133 x 144 mm round. It features 76.2 mm neodymium woofer 20 mm tweeters. It also connects using wi-fi and Bluetooth and also features 3.5mm stereo audio output.

Amazon Echo Studio- £189.99

This beast is Amazon’s biggest and most expensive home device being 206 x 175mm. It features three 51 mm midrange speakers, one 25 mm tweeter, one 133 mm woofer with bass aperture to maximise bass output.

Amazon Echo Show- £64.99

Amazon touch screen device has an 8-inch display and 52 mm neodymium speakers with passive bass radiator. Like the other devices, the Show uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect, but also has the 1 MP camera with built-in cover.