Life Safety Program

Working Together for a Safer CommunityColumbus fire Safety Security

As an authorized First Alert dealer, Sterling shares in First Alert's commitment to life safety. For Sterling, providing security is more than protecting homes and businesses from the threats of burglary and fire. Sterling believes that security is also about protecting lives. By working together with businesses and residents, hope to build a safer community.

Sterling is pleased to provide important safety tips on a variety of topics. Please review these tips with family, friends, and employees.

If you have any questions, or want additional information on how to keep your home and family safe, please feel free to contact a Sterling representative. Remember, we strive to be your partner in safety.

Burglary Prevention 

In this country, a home is burglarized every 12 seconds. Personal loss, financial loss, and feelings of violation and vulnerability accompany every burglary and can be devastating to a family's well being. By taking preventive steps and developing safe habits, you can reduce your chances of becoming a burglary victim.

Securing your home begins right at your front door.  Make sure you have sturdy locks and that every family member is in the habit of locking the door.  Even when you’re working in the yard, keep doors locked.  A burglar can be in and out of your home in just a few minutes. Don’t give burglars any place to hide—keep shrubs trimmed and use outdoor lighting around your home.

If you arrive home and it appears that your home has been broken into, do not go inside.  Call the police immediately.  If you hear a burglar enter your home at night, stay in bed and pretend to be asleep.  Most often a burglar will only want to take valuables and leave unnoticed.

If you’re away on vacation or a business trip, be sure to keep jewelry and other small valuables in a safety deposit box. Have a friend or neighbor collect your newspapers and mail, and arrange to have your lawn mowed or snow shoveled. Never leave a note on the door that indicates your absence. Leave window shades and blinds in normal positions, and use timers on both indoor and outdoor lights. Making your home look lived in while you’re away will make it less of a target to intruders.

Fire Safety

Did you know?

  • A fire threatens a home and family every 57 seconds
  • Home fires are the fifth leading cause of injury and death in the U.S.
  • Nearly 80 percent of all fire deaths occur where people sleep
  • Home fires rank as the first cause of death for children under the age of 15 at home

Escaping a fire is not easy, and because of its unpredictable nature and the manner in which it spreads, it’s difficult to know where and when a fire might strike. This is why it’s so important that you and your family develop and practice a fire escape plan that everyone understands. It can mean the difference between life and death.

The first rule of survival is to GET OUT IMMEDIATELY. When fire strikes your home, you may have as little as 1 to 2 minutes to escape. When you and your family prepare your escape plan, a meeting place should be pre-arranged. This should be somewhere safely away from the structure where all family members know to go immediately after escaping.  To learn more about how you and your loved ones can survive a fire, ask us for "Your Fire Escape Plan." This booklet contains valuable tips on how to develop an effective escape plan and what you need to know in order to survive a fire.

The Dangers of Poison

It’s estimated that more than four million people are poisoned in the United States each year. No one is immune to poison, and children under the age of six account for about 60 percent of all poisonings. Since most poisonings are accidental, taking precautions to prevent them is very important.

Any substance that can cause harmful effects if used in the wrong way can be a poison. Poisons can be absorbed into the body when swallowed, inhaled, spilled or splashed on the skin or in the eyes. They can also be injected under the skin. To prevent poisonings at home, store all medicines and household products in their original containers, use child-resistant packages and keep medicines and other potentially harmful products out of the sight and reach of children.

Being prepared can mean the difference between life and death. Keep the poison center emergency phone number on or near your telephone with other emergency numbers.  Poison control centers provide emergency telephone services and have on staff doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who are experts in the treatment of all kinds of poison emergencies.

You can find the poison control center in your area by:

  • Checking the emergency numbers listed in the front of your phone book
  • Calling the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222
  • Visiting their website at

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a silent killer. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas created when fossil fuels, such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, oil, and methane, do not burn completely. Improperly maintained heating or cooking equipment is a possible source of carbon monoxide in the home. Vehicles running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in the bloodstream. As more and more CO accumulates in the blood, suffocation occurs. Mild CO poisoning often appears like the flu, but more serious poisoning can lead to difficulty breathing and even death. Victims exposed to high levels of CO can become seriously ill or die in less than 15 minutes.

Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Yet, many people do not know they are suffering from CO poisoning until it’s too late. That’s why a carbon monoxide detector is an excellent way to protect your family. It can detect the CO you cannot see, smell, or taste in the air.

To avoid the tragedy of CO poisoning, be sure that space heaters are properly vented, never use barbecue grills indoors, and check fireplaces for closed, blocked, or bent flues, soot, and debris. Regularly check all appliances in the home that use flammable fuels such as natural gas, oil, propane, wood, or kerosene. Make sure that you and your family members know the difference between the sound of smoke and fire alarms and the sound of CO alarms in your home.

Back-to-School Safety

In a perfect world, all children would be safe from harm. But in the real world, it is up to adults to make the right decisions regarding children and to review with them rules for safety and what to do in case of an emergency.

Review the appropriate route home from school or the bus stop. Your children should know never to change this route. It is very important that there are a few neighbors’ homes your children can go to for help if someone were to follow them. Make sure that these neighbors know your schedule and how to reach you in an emergency.

If a child is old enough and responsible enough to stay home alone after school, make sure that he or she knows the exact name of the place where you work, your telephone number, and any pager or cell phone numbers you may have.  Leave emergency phone numbers posted near the telephone.

Tips to Share With Your Kids:

  • Your child should always take a friend when walking to or from school, and never take shortcuts
  • Remind your child to stay with a group at the bus stop
  • If someone they don’t know offers them a ride, they should say no
  • Leave items and clothing with your children’s names on them at home. If someone they don’t know calls out their name, they shouldn't’t be fooled or confused
  • If your children go home alone after school, have them call you to let you know they are safely home

Halloween Safety

Halloween is a fun tradition, but often the excitement of it can cause children to forget to be careful. The major dangers are from falls and pedestrian/car accidents. Both children and adults need to think about safety on this annual day of make-believe.

Motorists need to be particularly alert, watching for children who may dart from between parked cards or who may be walking on roadways.

Before children go out to begin their trick-or-treating, parents should make sure that an adult or a responsible older youth will be supervising children under age 12. Review the route they plan to follow and instruct them not to veer from this route. Children should be told only to visit homes of neighbors that are known to them, and never to enter someone’s home.

It is also very important that children wait until they get home before sampling any of the treats they have collected. Parents need to thoroughly inspect the bag of goodies and discard any unwrapped or suspicious-looking items. Parents and children need to remember that safety is what makes Halloween a real treat.

Costumes for a Safe Halloween:

  • Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes
  • If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials, or with strips of reflective tape to make them visible
  • Make sure costumes are a safe length to avoid tripping accidents
  • Masks can obstruct a child’s vision — use makeup instead. Check that Halloween make-up is non-toxic before using

A Safe Holiday Season

The holiday season can be an exciting time of year. However, with trees, decorations, lights, and candles, safety becomes important to make sure that the holidays are happy and tragedies are avoided.

Each year, more than 400 home fires involve Christmas trees, with 40 deaths and 100 injuries occurring as a result of those fires. Select a fresh tree, keep it in a sturdy, water-holding stand, and most importantly, keep the tree away from fireplaces, radiators, and other heat sources. If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is labeled as fire-resistant.

Lights make the holidays festive, but must be used with caution. Purchase lights with the UL label, and lights intended for indoor use should never be used outdoors. Check for broken lights or frayed wires, and never use more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

Fireplaces are meant for enjoying warmth.  Do not use them as a place to dispose of evergreens or wreaths. They can flare out of control, sending flames and smoke into the room. Wrapping paper should not be burned in the fireplace because it often contains metallic or plastic materials, which can be toxic.

A little bit of caution will go a long way to make this a safe and happy holiday season.

Tips for a Safe Season:

  • Never place lighted candles on a tree or near any flammable materials
  • Keep all holiday plants out of reach of children; many look good enough to eat but may cause severe stomach problems
  • Be a smart host—limit alcohol consumption and use designated drivers
  • Be careful when choosing toys for small children. Avoid items with small parts that could be a potential choking hazard
  • Use caution in the kitchen. Keep an eye on the stove and oven, and handle all foods carefully to avoid spoilage

Candle Safety

The use of candles around the home has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people appreciating the many scents, and designs. However, the increased use of candles has resulted in an increase of home fires. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that candles are responsible for 10,000 residential fires per year.

Most candle fires occur as a result of candles being left unattended. It is important that anyone who uses candles in the home be aware of basic fire safety and the proper use and care of candles.

The National Candle Association recommends that burning candles should always be kept within sight. Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep. Never burn a candle on or near anything that is flammable, such as furniture, drapes, or bedding. It is also very important to always use a candleholder specifically designed for candle use. Appropriate candleholders should be heat resistant, sturdy, and large enough to catch drippings. Be sure to place the holder on a stable, heat-resistant surface.

It is important to keep candles away from drafts, which can cause rapid, uneven burning, smoking, and excessive dripping. Drafts can also blow lightweight items around, potentially causing a fire.

By taking some simple steps of caution, you can use and enjoy candles without starting a home fire.

Candles and Children

  • Always keep candles out of reach of children
  • Never leave a child alone in a room with a candle
  • Do not allow teenagers to burn candles in their rooms
  • Keep candles, matches, and lighters stored up high and out of sight and reach

Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the U.S., with nearly half a million people affected each year. Identity theft or fraud is the taking of a victim’s identity to obtain credit or credit cards from banks and retailers, steal money from a victim’s existing accounts, apply for loans, or even obtain a job using the victim’s name. Many thousands of dollars can be stolen without the victim knowing about it for months or sometimes even years.

Most often thieves will obtain personal information by stealing a wallet. However, they also may steal mail from your mailbox, go through your trash, or even look over your shoulder to get your PIN while you’re at an ATM.

By obtaining your social security number, your birth date, and other identifying information, an imposter can be on their way to stealing in your name, and ruining your credit in the process.

To prevent identity theft from happening to you, do not give out your social security number to anyone. Make a habit of tearing into small pieces all credit card offers, ATM receipts, bank statements, and other printed materials that have account numbers on them. Precautions like these can keep you from becoming a victim.

On the Internet:

  • Do not send personal information through email
  • If shopping online, only use a secure browser that will encrypt or scramble purchasing information
  • Only purchase from reputable websites
  • Never give a bank account or credit card information to someone you don’t know
  • Change your password regularly, and do not use passwords that are obvious
  • Don’t use the option that allows your computer or a websites to remember your passwords

Cooking Up Some Safety!

The number one cause of home fires and related injuries is cooking in the home. While cooking is one of the most common and essential home activities, it can be a recipe for disaster if the appropriate safety measures are not followed.

The most important safety step is to never leave cooking foods unattended. According to the National Fire Protection Association, six out of seven home cooking fires ignited while the cook was out of the kitchen.

If a cooking fire occurs in your home, it is important to take the appropriate steps in a quick manner. If a fire starts in a pan, immediately smother it with a lid and turn off the burner. Using water or a fire extinguisher can cause splattering and spreading of the fire. If there are flames in your oven, keep the door closed and turn off the heat.  If a fire starts in your microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the appliance.

If your clothing catches fire, drop to the floor and roll around to smother the flames. Most importantly, don’t try to fight a fire you can’t contain. Call for help and get out of the house. Taking the proper steps can mean the difference between a happy family meal and a devastating tragedy.

Ingredients for Safety:

  • Don’t leave cooking foods unattended
  • Roll up your sleeves and avoid loose clothing near appliances
  • Keep pot handles turned inward to avoid spills
  • Create a three-foot "safe zone" around the stove to keep children and pets out of danger