Home Security Systems in Rhode Island
Rhode Island may be a tiny state, but it is home to many of our country’s historical firsts. Rhode Island’s founder Roger Williams was the first to bring Democracy to the U.S. The so-called Industrial Revolution started in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The first jail sentence for “speeding” in an automobile (the perp was going 15mph) was handed down by a judge in… you guessed it… Rhode Island. The first Polo game was played in Rhode Island. The first golf open in the US and the National Lawn Tennis Championship were both first held in Rhode Island. And the first circus show in the US was also in Rhode Island.
Most Rhode Island facts are pretty fun, as is this one: the Ocean State has one of the lowest crime rates in the US. According to crime data reported by NeighborhoodScout.com, the average violent crime rate in Rhode Island state is 2.43 per 1,000 residents, while the average property crime rate is 18.97 per 1,000 residents. In both cases, the crime rate in Rhode Island is well below the national median. However, keep in mind that while the crime rate is low, the possibility of becoming a victim is not zero. Installing a home security system is still recommended. But how do you choose the right system for you?
Security System Provider Requirements in Rhode Island
Choosing a security company can be overwhelming, but would help to know whether the company you’re rooting for is acknowledged by the state or not? The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training has issued specific rules and regulations that must be followed by recognized alarm companies. Here are a few of those regulations that you should know about.
An Alarm License Is Required
First and foremost, an alarm company is required to secure an Alarm License before operating in Rhode Island. The license shows that the company is acknowledged by the state and that the company is bound by the rules and regulations created by the Department of Professional Regulations. Anyone who sells, installs, or monitors an alarm system without a valid license can be fined and imprisoned.
Aside from the company, all alarm agents are also covered by the state regulations. All alarm agents are required to secure a state-released ID showing their name and the company they work for. In addition, they are required to carry their ID with them whenever they do business-related activities, especially when going door-to-door. If the alarm company sales agent standing on your porch can’t provide an ID, feel free to call the cops.
Alarm Companies May Install Alarm Systems Even without an Electrician’s License
Another important regulation covers installation contractors and repair technicians. In other states, alarm companies are required to hire licensed electricians to install and repair their alarm systems. Not in Rhode Island. Alarm companies are only obliged to send a licensed electrician when the alarm system they will install has a voltage of over 50 volts. For low-voltage work, a trained technician is enough. Still, the alarm companies are bound by laws to ensure that their technicians follow the proper installation as instructed by the manufacturer.
Regulations For The Benefit of Homeowners
It’s also good to know that there are regulations created to ensure customer satisfaction.
For one, all licensed alarm companies are required to have a 24/7 support line in case their customers have emergency needs. The alarm company is obligated to provide service within two hours. For non-emergency services, they are required to provide service within 24 hours or on the same day if the request is made between 12 a.m. and 12 p.m..
Alarm companies are also bound by law to provide all information about their services and products. They must give their customers a signed copy of the contract, detailing the scope and extent of their services and warranties. Speaking of warranties, all products provided by an alarm company must be covered by at least a 1-year warranty, according to state regulations.
If you feel that your alarm company failed to perform their obligations, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training is open to written complaints.
You can also enhance your home security and further reduce your chances of becoming a property crime victim by installing security cameras. But before you go randomly installing security cameras, you should be aware of the state and federal laws that govern the installation and use of such cameras.
Rhode Island is one of many states where installing a hidden security camera in a private space is prohibited. For example, you shouldn’t put a camera in a bedroom, bathroom, or locker room. The rule of thumb here is if one is expecting privacy, then you shouldn’t install a camera there.
Another law you should be aware of is the “anti-wiretapping law”, a federal law that prohibits electronic recording of conversations without the consent of at least one party involved in the conversation. In some states, there are supporting statutes that require the consent of both parties. In Rhode Island, however, the law only requires the consent of one party. How does this law affect your use of cameras? These days, most cameras already have audio capabilities. If your cameras happen to record a conversation without the consent of either party, you could be in trouble. If unavoidable, it is wise to let people know that they are being recorded using signs or by directly telling them, or If your camera is capable, mute the audio.
Safety During Natural Disasters
Rhode Island residents should be thankful that crime isn’t a big issue in their state. Sadly, there’s another thing Ocean Staters should worry about: natural disasters.
In a 2014 study, Rhode Island ranked second on the list of states that are most prone to damages caused by natural disasters.
Being in the North Eastern region, the most common natural disasters in Rhode Island are hurricanes, floods, and snowstorms. The best way to prevent these disasters from causing heavy property damage is to prepare. But how?
Hurricanes are characterized by gusty winds that are usually accompanied by heavy rains. The wind alone is enough to cause damages. It is important to make sure that your house can withstand the gusts. Before the storm season starts, it is recommended that you brace your roof, windows, and outdoor sheds. Aside from strong winds, hurricanes can also bring floods. If you live in a flood-prone area, be sure to prepare an emergency kit. The best thing to do during an intense flood is to evacuate, so you should include basic necessities in your kit, such as food, drinking water, flashlights, batteries, clothing, and medicine. Keep in mind that while preventing property damage is one of your goals, your and your family’s life is far more important. If instructed by local authorities to evacuate, don’t hesitate.
Winter storms, on the other hand, don’t usually call for evacuations. Instead, it is recommended that you stay in the comfort of your home. Driving on thick snow is dangerous and it can cause accidents. The best thing to do is to prepare days or even weeks of food and water so you don’t need to go out in the middle of a snow storm. Also, be sure to check that your heating system is properly working and your pipes aren’t frozen.
It’s not easy to stay safe from either natural disasters or covetous acts committed by other people. But it’s also far from impossible. If you commit yourself to securing and protecting your home, you can do it.