Kentucky is horse country. It’s a well-known fact, but something many Kentuckians will happily acknowledge. Even in an age where horse racing has become slightly unpopular in other parts of the country, it continues to reign in Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby continues to draw millions of viewers every year either in person or on television. At least once a year, all eyes are trained toward the state that brought us national stars (and movies made about them) like Secretariat. At all other times of the year, Kentuckians enjoy some of the best things life has to offer: amazing history, beautiful and unmatched natural settings, and bustling, modern cities. That mixture of the old and the new are just a small part of what makes Kentucky unique. Still, some things never change, and that includes the desire for one man to do harm to another. In those situations, home security in Kentucky is something any resident or future resident should consider.
Home Security Provider Requirements for Kentucky
As far as crime goes, Kentucky is one of the lucky ones. The state is small and rural enough to be mostly unconcerned with some of the crimes that plague states where huge cities with large populations reign. But even a state as small and tranquil as Kentucky can have its problems. Despite having a relatively few number of burglaries each year (few enough to make it #28 among all other states, in fact), that same number proportional to the number of people in the state, puts Kentucky on par with California. Not that most Kentuckians want to associate themselves with California, but raw numbers unfortunately don’t lie. Most of the big names in home security do business throughout Kentucky, particularly in the major metropolitan areas. Like a wild stallion galloping across a lazy field in summer, alarm providers in Kentucky are pretty much allowed to roam free.
There is only one law in Kentucky that lays out some rules for home security providers. Passed in 2009, this law does two things. First, it gives a few prohibitions of what home security providers in the state cannot do. There isn’t much here. For the most part, they cannot break the law or violate their contract. The second portion of the law dictates what you can tell the provider to do. This includes deciding what order emergency services are called, which services are called and whether or not you want the emergency being routed to the service provider’s own call center.
There are a few other laws in the state, on the state government level, that tangentially cover security alarm providers. The process for installing one in your home does require some electrical work. Anyone doing electrical work on your home, be it a contractor or otherwise, needs to be fully licensed to do so. We realize that that’s only partially comforting. After all, you’re inviting strangers into your home to install a security system. What if one of the contractors steals your code? Installs the system improperly? Just doesn’t show up? It’s a no man’s land out there, Kentucky. There are currently no laws requiring security system providers to have licenses to install such systems in the state. On the plus side, wireless home security systems are on the rise. And in fact, our top recommended security company is wireless. Wireless systems are easy to install and you can do it yourself.
So what does this mean for you? It becomes a bit of a gamble. How can you trust the company and how can you be sure that if the company does not do an adequate job that you’ll have some legal protections? Well, like pretty much every state, Kentucky does have contract laws and a law against fraudulent business practices. Even still, you’re mostly looking at civil suits, not criminal, and unless the home security provider is obviously the one that broke into your home and stole your 80-inch flat screen, you’re not likely going to have a case. Indeed, the only real requirements you’ll find for these providers are that they must have electrician licensing (comforting), and they must have a contractor’s license (somewhat comforting). Effectively, this could allow anyone with both of these licenses to start up a home security business.
Kentucky appears to be a bit more concerned with false alarms from those who have security systems than it is about regulating the security alarm system industry in the state. But even then, requirements on homeowners can change dramatically depending on where in the state you actually live. In an effort to minimize false alarms, both Louisville and Lexington require those who have alarm systems of any type (fire, burglar, etc.) to obtain a $15 permit. That permit can be revoked in the case where you have too many false alarms coming from your home, and you could face fines of a hundred dollars or more, depending on how many times false alarms occur at your home.
If all of this is making you feel just a bit nervous about getting home security in Kentucky, it shouldn’t. It can feel like the Wild West out there. But diligence is the key, combined with a healthy dose of research.
Kentucky Home Security Camera Laws
For those of you thinking about putting up a few security cameras in and around your home, this section will be short and sweet. Do it! Go nuts. Put cameras everywhere. Just as the laws for home security systems in the state are fairly lax, so too are the laws governing home security cameras. It is perfectly legal to have them pretty much anywhere in your home. Likewise, Kentucky is a“One-Party Consent” state for audio recordings. This means that only one person involved in a conversation needs to agree to having their conversation recorded. If, for example, that includes you, that consent is given. The other person can’t complain. So if John Doe comes to rob you, and you have a conversation with him at the door that is recorded on audio and video, he can’t turn around and sue you if he says something embarrassing. This also means you can put up hidden cameras in your home, no questions asked.
It is wise, of course, to be conscious of privacy laws. Kentucky has some privacy laws that you should be aware of. As with most states, people in a situation where privacy is generally expected have a right to privacy there. That includes in their own home. Does that include in their own home with their shades open? That’s a bit of a vague question, as the law in Kentucky does not go into a lot of detail here. So could you get away with pointing cameras at your neighbors? Maybe. We don’t advise it, of course. Beyond the obvious morality issues, there is of course the fact that murky laws can lead to overzealous prosecution. It’s best to play it safe with security cameras, and place them in locations that point only toward public spaces. Or in the case where you have the cameras inside your home, try to put them in obvious places, like your living room, dining room and garage.
Safety During Natural Disasters
Kentucky is not just a gorgeous state with comparatively low crime. It also sits in a region of the U.S. that is not prone to too many types of natural disasters. Note our phrasing here, however. We said “types”. Kentucky still gets its fair share of natural disasters. They just all tend to be one of three different kinds: tornadoes, floods and thunderstorms (including hail). This is mostly due to Kentucky’s location. It sits somewhere between the east and the west, in a zone that gets a lot of rain, but where the cold and warm air from the north and the south tend to be locked in a fierce battle for supremacy. On many occasions, the polar and subtropical jet streams will push south and north, respectively, and land smack dab on Kentucky. This makes Kentucky ripe for all of those weather patterns mentioned above.
Thunderstorms can happen in pretty much any part of the country, but with Kentucky’s propensity for them, it’s important to know what to do when you are in one. Note that thunderstorms can bring lightening, as well as heavy rain (which can cause floods). During a thunderstorm, your best and safest location is always going to be indoors. You don’t need to retreat into a basement area. However, tornadoes can sometimes follow or coincide with thunderstorms, so you will want to be on the lookout for tornado warnings. The biggest concern for most people when a thunderstorm strikes is downed power lines and lost power. Keep extra food and water handy for these situations. Possibly, invest in a good electric generator. A gas generator will run quietly and efficiently, while a diesel generator will be extremely loud, but will still provide you with the most kilowatt hours per gallon. And always, always, run the generator outside. Because generators burn fuel, they also produce carbon monoxide through the exhaust. Running them indoors can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, among other problems.
Floods can also happen with frequency in Kentucky. Flood watches will typically be issued, but it’s better to be ready on the off chance that it’s a warning that directly affects you. Don’t grab the boat if you see the waters rising. Instead, make sure to have potable water and food. Flood waters can be filled with a lot of material, and they can cause extreme damage to homes. Staying in your home during an oncoming flood is never a good idea. If flood warnings have been issued, keep a constant eye on the condition of any low-lying areas near your home, or any natural water sources near. Keep a vigilant eye on the road conditions as well. Make sure to get out before the waters take over any escape routes you might be driving over.
And for tornadoes: Take cover in a basement or cellar. If you can find either without windows, that’s going to be your most preferable location. As with any other natural disaster, be prepared with extra food, water, clothing and other necessities. You never know when you will be without the basics, or for how long. A tornado in particular can require you to do some further hiding, especially in the case of flying glass. Try to hide behind and under heavy or thick objects if one does pass your way.
Kentucky has a unique mixture of mountains and plains, but in all of that beauty, there is still a bit of a wild spirit. It might be from all of the Triple Crown winners. It might also be from the home security providers roaming wild and free. Either way, those that call Kentucky home are a lucky few. But luck can run out sometimes, so even with the current open environment for home security providers, it’s still best to take a little peek and see what is available to you.