Effective January 1, 2018, the “Maryland Smoke Alarm Law”, new House Bill 1413 (law) went into effect.  This Bill was actually approved back in 2013. As I read through the House Bill, it was very clear that the intent of the Bill is designed to save lives. Highlights of the State Law for Residential Smoke Alarms.

To have a smoke detector installed, contact us right away!

First, what is a smoke alarm?

A “Smoke Alarm” as defined by the new law is a single or multiple station device that detects visible or invisible products of combustion and includes a built-in internal alarm signal.
HS Tech group DOES NOT install “Smoke Alarms,” we install “Smoke Detectors,” so what’s the difference?

A “Smoke Detector” is a system connected smoke sensing device tied to a fire alarm control panel or household warning panel.

The difference is simple; the new law pertains to “Smoke Alarms” not “Smoke Detectors.” The devices HST installs (“Smoke Detectors”) connect to our security/fire system and are monitored 24/7. If there is an issue with one of our sensors, the keypad will notify you, and we will receive a trouble signal as well. When the device goes into alarm, it will notify the proper authorities, the Fire Department, regardless of whether your system is armed or disarmed.

A “Smoke Alarm” will typically just make noise and will not contact anyone for help, if you are not home, the noise will go unheard.

The intent of the law is simple; the State is mandating that you comply with the law.  Depending on when your home was built and what type of devices you currently have installed, you have several options. If you would like the specific definitions, please download the Bill and review the section that pertains to the year your home was constructed.

If your “Smoke Alarms” are older than ten years, you need to replace them.

There are several types of replacement devices available at your local hardware store, or we can recommend an electrician depending on what you have in your home. Types of “Smoke Alarms:”

  • Worry-Free 120-Volt Hardwired Inter-Connectable Smoke Alarm with 10-Year Battery Backup
  • Standalone ten years sealed battery-operated smoke detectors
  • Combination Devices – Smoke and carbon monoxide with 10-year sealed batteries
    Photo Electric or Ionization are two different types of Smoke Alarm Technologies

The requirement for a “Smoke Alarm” with sealed, tamper-resistant units incorporating a silence/hush button and using long-life batteries pertains to battery only smoke alarms.

Again, this law does not apply to smoke detectors as defined by the law above. The law gives Fire Prevention Commission responsibility. If you have questions, please contact your current security company or an electrician for more information.  Most powered smoke detectors that are connected to your home’s electrical system should be replaced by a licensed electrician.

I will add, that there is no harm in replacing smoke detectors that are ten years or older, it is a life safety device, but those used by HST are monitored by the main control for trouble, low batteries and alarms.

HS Tech Group is happy to announce that Alexander Santos of White Marsh, Maryland is the Winner of the Spring iPad Mini Contest.

When the Santo’s were in the process of building their new home; their builder informed them they would be meeting with HS Tech Group to review their security and technology options. Mr. Santo’s reminded me when posing for this photo that we’ve been securing his home since 2007, and his system is still going strong. We appreciate the feedback and his confidence in our service. It’s always a pleasure reconnecting with our customers and hearing how they’re doing.

Congratulations to Alex and his family!

HS Tech Group is happy to announce that Nancy Filsinger is the winner of our Fall/Winter iPad Mini Contest

Back in 2001, when building their new home in Perry Hall, Maryland, the Filsinger’s chose HS Tech Group for their home security needs. After fifteen years, the Filsinger’s are still in that same home and remain part of the HS Tech Group family. It’s been our pleasure, and we hope the Filsinger’s allow us this privilege for many more years to come.

Congratulations Nancy!

When disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act.

Prepare now for an emergency.

Learn how to protect yourself and cope with disaster by planning ahead. The following checklists will help you get started. Discuss these ideas with your family, then prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it–on the refrigerator or bulletin board.

Home Emergency Kit Checklist

  • High Priority Items
  • Battery-powered radio with batteries
  • Flashlights or battery-powered lantern with batteries
  • Water to last three days, at least one gallon per person per day, and don’t forget your pets!
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable items
  • Manual can opener
  • First aid supplies
  • A watertight, portable container for important papers
  • Prescription medications
  • Blankets
  • Infant formula, diapers, and wipes
  • Pet supplies
  • Non-prescription drugs
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Bleach
  • Disinfectant
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Feminine supplies
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Dust mask
  • Garbage bags
  • Signal flare
  • Whistle
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Jumper cables
  • Toys and games for kids

Once you have these basic items, build a more extensive kit. For more information, visit:  www.baltimorecountymd.gov/go/emergency

During an emergency, stay tuned to your local radio or television station for more Information, visit:  www.baltimorecountymd.gov/go/emergency 

Family Emergency Planning

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes. It is important to plan in advance how to contact each other and where you will go.

Family Emergency Plan:

  • Compile a list of contact information for the family member.
  • Cell phones may not work during an emergency if the system is overwhelmed so consider a variety of phone options.
  • Learn to send text messages for emergency purposes.
  • Establish an out- of- town contact.
  • Keep a map in your kit if you are unfamiliar with area roads.
  • Designate a meeting place in case family members to get separated.
  • Remember to include your pets in your emergency plan.
  • Review and store insurance policies and other secure documents in a safe location where you can easily retrieve them if you need to evacuate.

Implementing Your Plan:

  • Make sure every family member, including children, understands the family emergency plan.
  • Ask about emergency plans at your family’s workplaces, daycare centers, and schools.
  • Talk to your neighbors about working together in the event of an emergency.
  • Practice and update your emergency plan.
  • Remember to change smoke detector batteries when moving clocks ahead

During an emergency, stay tuned to your local radio or television station for more information.

Severe Thunderstorms

Baltimore-area summers bring the threat of severe thunderstorms. Thunderstorms bring the risks of lightning strikes, injury or damage from hail, high winds, and power outages.

Before a storm:

  • Go indoors, if possible.
  • Avoid standing under trees or other tall, open structures.
  • Leave the water immediately if swimming in pools or lakes.
  • If boating, go to land and seek shelter immediately.
  • Have your flashlight or battery operated lanterns ready.

During a storm:

  • Don’t use corded telephones (cell phones are safe). Computers, wash dishes or take a bath/shower; lightening can strike plumbing and electrical wires.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • If inside a car, do not touch anything metal.
  • If outside, seek a low-lying away from trees or other tall, structures.
  • When thunder roars, go indoors!

After a storm:

  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
  • Listen to the radio or television for information on conditions in your area,

During an emergency, stay tuned to your local radio or television station for more information.

Flooding

Flooding is one of the most devastating and deadly natural disasters that occur in the Baltimore area.

Before a flood:

  • Make sure your flood insurance policy is up-to-date.
  • Check supplies in your 72-hour kit.
  • Keep your car fueled.
  • Purchase a weather alert radio.

During & After a flood:

  • Follow all emergency instructions given by local authorities regarding evacuation.
  • Never drive through standing water-“Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
  • Do not let children play in flood waters; it is polluted and dangerous.
  • If fresh food has come in contact with floodwater, throw it out.
  • Boil drinking water before using.
  • Test wells for contamination after a flood.

During an emergency, stay tuned to your local radio or television station for more information.

Pet Safety

Pets are important members of many Baltimore County households. Be sure to include your pets in your emergency plans.

Evacuation

  • If at all possible, take your pets with you.
  • Before you go to a hotel or shelter, make sure that they accept pets. If you cannot take your pets, develop a “buddy system” with neighbors to make sure that pets will be cared for, or arrange to board them with a friend, relative or professional outside of the affected area.

An emergency supply kit for your pet should include:

  • Three days of food or water.
  • A waterproof container in which to keep medications and medical records.
  • Extra collar, identification tag, leash, and emergency information.
  • Crate or pet carrier.
  • Sanitary supplies-newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags, litter box.
  • Photo of you with your pets (to aid with identification if you get separated).
  • Familiar items such as toys, bedding, treats, etc.

Or call 1.800.BE.READY

Take the time now to get yourself and your new pet ready!

During an emergency, stay tuned to your local radio or television station for more information

Humanim – The American Brewery Project

Situated in the heart of Baltimore City, this historic landmark was built in 1887 and operated as the “American Brewery,” one of the largest breweries in Maryland.  The building was modernized in 1931 after the brewery was sold to the “American Malt Company” but had not been occupied since 1973.  In 2007, Columbia, MD based non-profit organization Humanim, decided to embark on an ambitious redevelopment plan that would serve as their Baltimore headquarters.  The company provides workforce education and development to people with barriers to employment.

The Challenge

To integrate 21st-century technology into a one-hundred and twenty-year-old structure.  We had to work around the original equipment, and virtually every room was surrounded by large windows.  To preserve the historical integrity, window shades and even temporary shading solutions were not permitted.

The Result

HS Tech Group incorporated a variety of audio and video components that blended into the space where it was installed.  We positioned drop down screens for presentations and selected projectors that were designed to perform well when a large degree of ambient light was present.  Our technicians were also careful when mounting the flat screen tvs to the building’s original brick walls.  Since many of the rooms were home to some of the original brewer’s equipment, we decided to use circular speakers that reduced the amount required to provide ample sound, and they were acoustically forgiving where sound would be easily reflected.

This luxury apartment community near Fort Meade conveniently located in Anne Arundel County features too many amenities to list. From the 58,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space to seven attractive floor plans, this community has it all.  HS Tech Group was asked by The Dolben Property Management Company who worked with us on the Mill Run project to come up with something similar that would complement their luxurious accommodations.

The client wanted to offer a well-appointed Clubhouse/Great room with a full kitchen and billiards room, equipped with TV’s, music, and iPod dock; ideal for entertaining or unwinding after work.

The room also features an area with computers making it convenient for checking email or booking a dinner reservation.  We also installed a theater room, perfect for relaxing with friends or catching up on the latest sci-fi or action adventure.  After experiencing the movie on the Hi-Definition screen and hearing it through the amazing 5.1 surround sound – you won’t ever want to leave.

Naval Academy (Bilderback-Moore Navy Lacrosse Hall of Fame)

The Naval Academy’s Memorial Stadium has been the home field for the Navy Midshipmen since 1959.  In 2007 the stadium underwent a renovation that included the construction of the Bilderback-Moore Navy Lacrosse Hall of Fame.  Recognized for their 100-year tradition of Navy Lacrosse, the Hall of Fame committee worked tirelessly to ensure this project would suitably honor their past accomplishments.  Their vision was also “forward thinking”; they wanted a facility that would help attract tomorrow’s new recruits.

The Challenge

HS Tech Group first learned from the athletic department about the project after it was nearly 90% complete. Normally this wouldn’t be a concern; however, the Hall of Fame committee was insistent that our security devices not interfere or impede with the rooms distinguished appearance.

HS Tech Group was also able to convince the committee to include additional measures to protect their priceless trophies and celebrated memorabilia.  Many of the irreplaceable items reside in glass display cases surrounding the hall.

The Result

HS Tech Group was able to provide a discreet security solution that met the demands of the committee.  After securing the perimeter of the building, HS Tech Group also included modules that notify authorized personnel when there is a breach of security or unauthorized visitor activity.  Along with some other confidential enhancements, the project was a success.

Located in Howard County Maryland, the Robinson Nature Center is a nature education facility situated on 18 acres.  One of only three LEED Certified Platinum buildings in the entire state, the center employs a variety of Eco-friendly methods for conserving energy.

The Challenge

Provide a lighting solution that could integrate with other technologies being installed.  It would also have to offer the flexibility to expand as the needs of the facility changed.

The Result

HS Tech Group was able to provide a solution that permits the staff to control the center’s exhibits as well as the lights from convenient centralized locations.  The system also reduces the amount of energy consumption while extending the life of the lighting fixtures.  This particular system was selected due to its ability to adapt and expand as the needs for the facilities evolve. As an example, we have an iPhone APP that will allow the center to control lights and exhibits from a PDA.

HS Tech Group was called into action and designed and built a tree license plate capture system using state of the art optics and cameras.

License Plate Capture System

License plate cameras as well as License capture systems are very different than license plate recognition (LPR) systems. For purposes of this article, we will focus primarily on license plate capture (LPC) which is the more economical of the two types of systems.  The basics in how the tag is captured are similar however, LPR utilizes a series of algorithms once the tag is captured on video to analyze and convert the picture into numbers and letters for possibly matching against a database of tags.

In this example, HS Tech Group was asked to capture the tags of all vehicles moving down a particular dead-end street in a normally safe neighborhood.

The homeowners had experienced a rash of vandalism and property theft and were concerned that they needed something in place that was discrete to possibly catch those that were coming at off-peak times of day.  

They felt the intruders were potentially already doing work in the area and possibly staking out the homes for when they would come back.  The caveat was the system had to be inconspicuously concealed on a tree. HS Tech Group was called into action and designed and built a tree license plate capture system using state of the art optics and cameras.

Being able to identify a vehicle and submit this information to the authorities for investigation is not a perfect science, but a vehicle driving down a road at 3 AM in the morning, with no reason to be in that neighborhood could at least be a good lead for the authorities.

Results

A true LPC system uses either analog or IP cameras with excellent optics, infrared illumination, and advanced ambient compensation to produce consistently high-quality images of license plates.  By now, I am sure everyone has received a picture of their license plate on an invoice from their local municipality.  The technology is widespread and will continue to become more present in today’s society.

The upscale Apartments at Charlestown Crossing are conveniently located just off I-95 and Route 40 in North East, Maryland and feature a sophisticated clubhouse that is sure to impress.  When HS Tech Group was asked by the Dolben Company to include state-of-the-art electronics and maintain a luxurious appeal – HS Tech Group delivered.

The staff at Charlestown didn’t want their residents to have any excuses when it came to getting in their workouts or trimming those extra holiday pounds.  Whether it’s music or catching up on the news, exercising will never be the same.

In similar fashion, entertaining with friends in the billiards and great room are nice places to relax after a long week.  If experiencing a movie or rooting for your team is your thing, you can amerce yourself in the media center.  This room features stunning high-definition video and 5.1 surround sound.  It’s a real as it gets!

For more information on HS Tech Group and what we can do for your clubhouse – please contact Mark Recene at 1-888-947-8476 or mr@hstgp.com