Toronto Magen Security Alarm and Home Automation Systems Company
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Foremost in Security Alarms & Home Automation Since 1981

Serving Greater Toronto Area & Southern Ontario Canada
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Security Alarm News

ALARMING TALESsecurity alarm

Home Automation and Security are serious stuff, but we have our laughs here at Magen too. With all our experience, we are still surprised sometimes. And there are moments that are touching and gratifying. But whatever happens here at Magen, it's all really interesting. We'd like to share some of the stories with you, visitors to our website, and hope that you enjoy them.

Help!The System Doesn't Work!

When the system doesn't behave the way someone expects it to, they assume that there's something wrong with it. After two or three unsuccessful tries, people usually call us up. When we get a call, we try to solve it by phone and 99 times out of a 100, we identify the problem in a couple of minutes and talk the caller through to the solution. The most common reaction is I'm so sorry I bothered you. I don't know why I didn't see that myself. But it doesn't bother us. We know that when people are locking up, they are in a hurry, probably having stayed later than they originally planned to. Under the pressure, they make mistakes, become frustrated when things don't work and finally their minds go blank and nothing works right. And we're always there to help them.

One day we got this call and we couldn't solve it on the phone. Anne was unable to arm the security system when closing up for the night. Whatever we tried didn't work. This was a big blow to our pride; we have to get on to it immediately, to find the source of the problem and to solve it. We sent Gill, our senior technician, over right away, but Anne was in too much of a hurry to wait. Instead she left instructions with an employee to wait for our technician. When Gill came he found no problem: the employee was able to arm the security system without any trouble and couldn't explain what problem Anne had encountered. A week later we got another call from Anne with pretty much the same results. Gill again found no problem. Anne had already left and the co-worker armed the system without any difficulty.

alarm_bellThe third time, we asked Anne to please wait until our technician arrived. Since he was doing an installation nearby, it didn't take him long to get there. Nor did it take him long to identify the problem, as soon as he had met Anne. She apparently took great pride in her fingernails and kept them real long and beautifully coloured. When she thought she was punching in her code, her long fingernails were making contact with other keys on the keypad. Anne blushed crimson when she realized the source of the problem.

We solved this one by suggesting that she punch the keys using a pencil or a similar object, rather than using her fingers directly. This would also help to protect her fingernails from damage.


We take pride in keeping our wiring and fittings and other paraphernalia out of site. Interior decorators don't like to see anything on the walls except what they have put there themselves, and we like to keep them happy. But in order to keep our stuff out of site, we have to do all our work in basements or attics, inside walls and ceilings. So we get into places where no one else ever goes.

I hope that this doesn't shock our readers, but it is a fact of life that rats are around wherever food is kept. They are especially prevalent in restaurants, bakeries and food stores of all types. This is true regardless of the category of restaurant or supermarket; they all have them. Everyone fights them, but no one beats them. They have been around longer than people have and will probably be around after we are all gone.

At Magen we have to contend with them. Even where there is plenty of food around, they seem to like the taste of wire insulation. Or maybe they like the tingling feeling they get when they bite into a live wire. On every job, we always approach the wiring cautiously but making enough noise so that the rats will hide and leave us alone while we do an installation or replace a section of wire that they have eaten through. We often see them scampering around but they never approach us.alarm siren

One of our clients had to have wires replaced a number of times because of rats. His establishment seemed to harbour an especially large and aggressive colony of rats. We suggested that he get an exterminator to deal with the problem on a regular basis. For a long time we received no maintenance calls and we assumed that the exterminators had indeed brought his problem under control.

Then one day we got a maintenance call and we sent over our technician. He quickly identified the source and went about opening the ceiling panel to deal with it. He's pretty experienced, but he hasn't seen everything and he wasn't fully prepared when a band of huge cats sprang out at him. He found himself lying on the floor, fortunately with nothing worse than a knock on the head. When he had recovered sufficiently, he found his sense of smell severely under attack. Our client had indeed found a solution, but without wasting money on an exterminator. He got himself several cats, put them into the ceiling and closed the ceiling panels. They managed to feed themselves very well and did keep the rat population under control. I suppose that life was basically good for them there, as they seem to have prospered and multiplied. But they must have felt claustrophobic and took the first chance they found to get out into the big world. And maybe the stench inside their enclosed world had been too much for them too.

Candle Light, Candle Bright

Late one evening we got a call from a client saying that he wanted to close up for the evening, but was worried about leaving his store. The neighbouring store had left a candle burning and he was worried that it might start a fire and spread to his premises. This is a very legitimate concern. Our client had no information on his neighbour and couldn't contact him. As the neighbour was not a client of ours, we had no information on him or her either. We suggested studying the window and door for any sign of the security provider or of the owner's address, but nothing of use was available. We called a number of our competitors to check with them, although we knew that it was unlikely as security providers always leave their details in a conspicuous place. Nothing turned up. 

After a while we received a call from the local fire services. Our client had called them and they too were searching for the owner or for his security provider. We offered them the information we already had, but that was only that no one seemed to know how to locate the owner. We asked them what plan they had. The reply was that they would post an observer in front of the store until the candle went out or until a fire broke out, in which case they were free to break the window or door to enter.

We never learned who paid for the fire observer, but it's our guess that the store owner won't be leaving lighted candles in an unoccupied store again.

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