Tennesseans have always had music on their hearts. It’s no wonder that the state is the music capital of the country. It sits at a crossroads between the East and the West. The people of Tennessee have welcomed both famous and the infamous with open arms, but hey, everyone else is also welcome. Whether you’re communing over a plate of wet or dry BBQ ribs in Memphis or taking a few days to enjoy the backwoods near Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a state for good food, loud music and incomparable natural beauty. You won’t find the people of Tennessee arguing against those facts. But with so many people either passing through or calling Tennessee home, it’s can also come with a few dangers and most would argue that getting a home security system in Tennessee is a must.
Home Security Provider Requirements for Tennessee
Ready for a surprise? Tennessee has been regulating alarm system providers for a long time. Much longer than many other states. In fact, in 1991, Tennessee passed what was called the “Alarm Contractors Licensing Act of 1991.” While this law is currently embedded inside of another law that governs contractors in general, Tennessee saw fit to call contractors out specifically regarding written regulations. Ouch. The law is extremely detailed and very dense. It’s not a light read, but if you have the time, it’s definitely a good idea to have a looksie. However, we’ll give you the easy-to-read play by play.
First, the most important thing to note with this law is that its purpose is to protect homeowners and business owners in Tennessee from shady dealings with incompetent home security providers. After all, the burglary rate in Tennessee is well above the national average. Seriously. Thankfully, the law Tennessee has on the books specifically states that its purpose is “assuring the competence of individuals or companies offering alarm systems.” That’s a bit of a hit below the belt to home security providers, and one can only imagine what was happening in the state prior to 1991 that would have warranted such a heavy-handed approach from the Tennessee legislature.
The law has a prohibitions section, detailing all of the things that alarm system contractors can’t do. This extremely long list has some items which are fairly commonplace as far as business regulations go (no contracting without a license), but do get pretty restrictive as you go down the line. Section (g) in particular is a bit of a head scratcher: “No alarm systems contractor shall retain as an employee any person known not to be of good moral character.” Kind of makes you wonder what was happening…
Interesting to note in the law also, and something that is fairly rare, is a section specifying automatic contract renewals and cancellations placed in contracts. If there is one thing many of us don’t like, it’s automatic renewals hidden inside of contracts. YUCK! It happens with cable service companies, telephone service providers, and it happens with home security providers. Tennessee saw fit to regulate how home security providers do this. According to the law, automatic renewals can only occur in 1 year intervals. That should help give you a few good hours of sleep at night. You won’t have to worry about coming to the end of a 2- or 3-year contract, only to suddenly realize that is has automatically renewed to another 2 or 3 years without your consent. And while most customers will find that cancelling the contract is still just as difficult as with most contracted services, Tennessee put in a clause to allow those “being relocated to a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility,” the ability to cancel any automatically renewed contract with only a 30 days’ notice. Nice touch, Tennessee!
But wait Tennessee, there’s more! The state has also tied alarm provider services to both door-to-door sale legislation and consumer protection legislation. In this case, anyone selling home security systems door-to-door is required to be fully licensed and must wear a clearly visible badge presented to them by the state’s board governing alarm providers. What’s more, should you decide to buy a system from them, they have to bite the bullet, so to speak, should you choose to cancel within three days. In fact, the law stipulates that they must allow you to cancel a contract within three days should you decide the you and that security company are never, ever, ever, getting back together.
Home Security Cameras for Tennesseans
If you want to turn your home into a real visual fortress by putting up security cameras, you may need to be a bit wary of some laws currently on the books. Really, this should come as no surprise, considering how heavily regulated the home security market is in Tennessee. For homeowners or businesses, most security cameras are fine—to a point. If you’re putting up a camera on your own home and it’s only pointed at places where individuals cannot reasonably expect privacy, you’re in the clear. Keeping it pointed to the sidewalk, your front yard, back yard, or front and back porch probably puts you in a legal safe ground. If you have it pointed at any place where someone might have expectations of privacy, you need to get their written consent to record them in that location. So if you happen to have a camera that’s capturing a crime happening in your neighbor’s back yard, you might be out of luck–and you could get sued yourself.
Now, we know that you’re probably not a Peeping Tom. However, Tennessee’s “Peeping Tom” law might prevent you from putting up hidden cameras inside of your own home. This is where the law tends to get painfully murky at times. That teddy bear on the shelf with a camera in its belly might capture your babysitter stealing money from your purse, but if you didn’t obtain her consent before placing it there, you may be in for a legal headache of your own. Tennessee has another law stating almost the same thing, but with slightly different wording to cover slightly different scenarios. As far as cameras go, you’ll probably be fine putting them up on the outside of your house. Just make them visible and please do keep them away from your neighbor’s windows.
Safety During Tennessee Natural Disasters
If the thought of falling prey to a natural disaster outside of a home invasion, robbery or burglary makes you shudder, Tennessee is probably going to be your dream state. You’ll literally never have to worry about volcanoes here! Ok, so maybe that’s not the most impressive fact. How about this: Tennessee is below average for almost every natural disaster that commonly affects other parts of the country. However, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Based on its location, Tennessee is still prone to two specific natural disasters: floods and tornados.
Although Tennessee is not in what is commonly known as “Tornado Alley”, parts of the state, and particularly the floodplains on the western half, are prone to tornados. The state experiences an above-average amount of tornados when compared to the rest of the country. So what should you do in the case of a tornado? Be prepared. The key is to have an emergency plan in place, and to ensure that you follow that plan. The best way to stay safe during a tornado is to have an underground area to retreat to, preferably a basement without windows, or a cellar. Again, stay away from windows! Tornados will knock out windows and shoot glass everywhere at very high speeds. The best thing to do is to get behind something solid or under something that can protect you from flying glass. Power outages are common during and after tornados as well, so ensure that you have all of the necessary materials for just such a situation: extra food, drinkable water, spare clothes and blankets and medical kits.
And speaking of floodplains, Tennessee, you do have to worry about those floods. They are always a tricky and scary situation to deal with. On the one hand, it might seem like a great chance to use that boat you have that’s been sitting around for a while. On the other hand, you could lose your home in the process. Floods can come quickly, so your best bet is to be sure to pay attention to local flood warnings. If a flood is coming toward your home, make sure to get out as fast as possible. Never try to stay and collect items. Flood waters can fill up fast and are completely uncontrollable. Have extra water on hand, as flood waters are not potable. Extra food and clothes are also a necessity. If a flood warning has been issued for your home, drive away to higher ground. But be careful on the roads. Never attempt to drive through water that looks like it could be deep. Always find an alternative route instead.
Tennessee is one of the most beautiful and eclectic states you’ll find. Few states have high mountains and low, gorgeous floodplains. Few states can claim to be the birthplace of so many musical talents. But as with any state, staying safe is always a number one priority. But we know you, Tennessee. You’ll stay safe, whatever the cost. After all, the state that brought us Elvis won’t let natural disasters and home security get in the way of a good time.