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Do You Need A Safe?

by Amy September 7, 2018

There are many different types of safes, so it’s important to know what kind of safes there are before you can decide what type of safe you will need.

Types Of Safes:

  1. Home Safe: Your basic safe. Built to withstand burglary and fires. Usually opened with a combination lock.
  2. Gun Safe: Gun safes are the most common safes bought by homeowners. They are the most popular and biggest of all noncommercial safes. Some can hold up to forty-five rifles while most are only big enough to hold one handgun.
  3. Biometric Safes: These are safes that only open with a fingerprint scan.
  4. Wall Safes: This type of safe is built into the wall so that a painting or other wall covering will conceal it. It is usually about the size of [FILL IN HERE] and contains two or three shelves.
  5. Digital Electronic Safe: These operate by using a digital keypad to open the door.

Safe Specifications:

  1. Burglar Resistant: Most safes are designed to be burglar resistant, but some can withstand more than others. Descriptions include an estimate of how long it might take a burglar to get inside a safe and what type of tools could be used to open it—like power saws, cutting wheels, and torches. The most sophisticated and burglar-resistant safes can even withstand explosives, such as nitroglycerin!
  2. Fire Resistant: Not every safe is designed to remain intact during a fire. Those that are make the perfect repository for important documents. Fire-resistant safes include insulated drawers and lids that can withstand 450 degree heat for up to four hours.
  3. Water Resistant: These are designed to keep out any moisture or dust and are usually used for sensitive collectables.

Lock Types:

  1. Combination: The most commonly used form of lock. Can only be opened if the correct numbers are input in the correct order.
  2. Key: These safes can only be opened by a specific key. This adds an extra layer of security as the key to the safe can be hidden far from it.
  3. Electronic: These safes either come with a keypad for digitally entering the combo or a biometric scanner. These are harder to crack than the mechanical lock.
  4. Time Locks: These locks can be programmed to only open at a certain time.

With more than 2,000,000 homes being burgled every year, it’s easy to understand why so many rely on a safe to protect their jewelry, cash, and personal documents. Always protect your valuables and considering getting a safe to do so.

Senior Citizen Home Security Tips

by Amy

As you get older, it often becomes more difficult to live on your own. You may tend to forget things, which could be potentially dangerous. Accidentally forgetting to lock the front door, or to turn the oven off, could present a costly or dangerous threat. However, being a senior citizen shouldn’t mean relinquishing your independence, either. Here are some tips from My Alarm Center for retaining your independence and keeping your home secure as you age.

  1. Home Security

Home security systems help senior citizens live safer lives. Should any of the alarms sound, including burglar, fire, and carbon monoxide, the proper authorities will be notified, and help will be sent immediately. With home automation, a loved one can help keep an eye on appliances and door locks.

  1. Smart Lighting

Smart lights can be programmed to turn on as someone enters a room and shut off when they leave—eliminating the potential dangers of walking through a dark room and saving electricity, too.

  1. Smart Locks

Regardless of how safe your neighborhood is, you should always keep your door locked. Refrain from leaving an extra key outside the house. This is a common way intruders enter a home. Smart locks make sure the house is always locked and can be remotely unlocked in case someone forgets their keys.

  1. Peepholes & Doorbell Cameras

Don’t be taken advantage of by strangers. A front door with a peephole lets you know who you’re going to face once you open the door. Use one in tandem with a doorbell camera which not only allows you to see who is at the door but lets you speak with them as well.

  1. Keep A Phone Nearby

An older loved one should always carry a cell phone with them. In case of an emergency, they need a way to contact help. Even if they are not technologically savvy, there are simple phones available with features like large numbers that make them senior-friendly.

  1. Medical Alert System

With a medical alert system, elderly homeowners are protected in case of an emergency. The device is very simple and, with the press of a button, will contact emergency personnel. It is especially helpful during a fall or some other event that would leave them unable to move or get to a phone. Different models are offered in necklace and bracelet form.

By installing a home security system, senior citizens will have the ability to live safely on their own.

Signs That A Burglar Is Targeting Your Home

by Amy July 26, 2018

To prevent your home from becoming a target, it is important to know the signs that burglars look for when they pick a target. There are many things to watch for but here are a few that should immediately make you think twice.

  1. Strangers Snooping Around

Don’t become paranoid every time a person walks by your house, but if you see someone who is snooping around, make sure to call your local police. Do not attempt to confront them on your own.

  1. Random Strangers Knocking On Your Door

One of the oldest tricks to get into your home is to just knock on the front door. They could ask to use the bathroom or even try to sell you a fake product. Be wary of any strangers that ask to come inside.

  1. Uncertified Workers

If you choose to have work done on your home, make sure the workers are certified. In some instances, a burglar may see workers coming and going and use it to enter your home. Make sure you contact the company if you are unsure of a worker’s legitimacy.

  1. Unsolicited Fundraisers Or Religious Workers

A twelve-year-old girl selling Girl Scout Cookies isn’t going to be a threat to your home, but other solicitors should always be treated with caution. Burglars are looking for any opportunity to see the inside of your home. Always check who is knocking before you open the door to a stranger and remember you are not obligated to open your door for anyone.

  1. You See Someone Taking Pictures Of Your home

Smartphones make it easy for people to canvass your house and create an intrusion plan. If you see anyone take a picture of your home, you need to immediately act. Notify local law enforcement and document what you see. If possible, take a picture of them as well.

  1. Stickers Or Flyers

If you’re finding a bunch of stickers or flyers on your front door it could be a potential danger. Burglars will attempt to use this method to see if a home is well guarded or not. This, of course, is not always a signal that someone is trying to break into your home, but it is something to keep an eye out for. If you’re going to be away for a period, have someone watch your home to ensure nothing is piling up on the front lawn.

  1. Strange Markings On Your Home

Many burglars will use subtle markings to identify a house they are casing. This could be a string placed on the house or the lampposts. If you see an unexplained marking, move it immediately.

It’s important you’re aware of what is going on around your neighborhood. You can protect your home and your neighbors by keeping an eye on anything that may seem out of place. Communicate with your neighbors so they can be aware as well.

Home Security Tips For Frequent Travelers

by Amy

Most times when people go on vacation their mind is filled with all the things they don’t want to forget that they forget about the house they’re leaving behind. There are over two million burglaries a year in the United States and it is very important to keep yourself from becoming a victim.

  1. Monitor Your Home

Install a home security system. This will provide you with full video surveillance that you can access from anywhere with your smartphone.

Even if you have a home security system, make sure you have someone keeping an eye on your home, whether it is a neighbor or a friend who is staying over while you’re gone. It is a good idea to keep a set of eyes on your home while you are away for an extended period.

  1. Make It Appear As If You Are Home

Make your home appear as if it is always occupied. It’s not a good idea to leave a yard untidy and a mailbox exploding with mail. Make sure your yard is being tended to and stop your mail and newspaper services. Keep lights on inside the home as well and consider using timers that make it appear as if the house is lived in. Ask if your neighbor will park their car in your driveway while you are away. This would deter a burglar from attempting to enter a home since they believe someone is inside.

  1. Don’t Publicly Announce Travel Plans

You don’t want the wrong people figuring out you won’t be home. Avoid posting about any planned trips on social media, so that any potential burglars will not be tipped in your direction.

  1. Take The Garage Door Opener And GPS Out Of Your Car

If you plan to travel without your vehicle, make sure you remove the garage door remote and the GPS from your car. These things could tell someone where you live and give someone access to your home when you are not there.

  1. Be Prepared For A Disaster

Have information about your valuables available if a disaster does occur. Having documents is important for insurance purposes. Before leaving for vacation make sure you review your insurance policies and keep a full record of your valuables and possessions. Documentation of your belongings should include a picture and serial numbers of the products.

Home Automation In The Bathroom

by Amy June 27, 2018

Home automation has taken over many areas of the household. From lighting to air conditioning, and even smart refrigerators, it seems that nearly everything in your home can be controlled using home automation. Now the time has come for home automation to become part of a room you use every single day: the bathroom! Here are several popular smart home devices that can be used in the bathroom.

  1. High Tech Toilets

Smart toilets don’t require the use of your hands or toilet paper. They have motion sensors that will raise and lower the seat, temperature-controlled water, spritzing wands, and automatic dryers. The smart toilet also has heated, antimicrobial seats and LED lights for when it’s dark. Smart toilets are even self-cleaning. This technology is already very common in Asia and is beginning to take America by storm.

  1. Digital Faucets

A digital faucet will allow you to conserve water. So not only will you be saving money, you’ll be eco-friendly. The faucet provides reduced tap flow and digital temperature control settings. The digital sink also provides touchless technology and infrared tap technology that reads the user and turns on only when it senses hands in the sink. You can take advantage of the digital faucet in the shower as well and use a timer to conserve water.

  1. Soaking Tubs

Soaking tubs are becoming a new trend. They are equipped with sleek and modern faucets that have various pipes to fill the tub rather than just one. They’re furnished with modern massaging jets and mood enhancing lights. They come in a multitude of shapes, giving you a variety to choose from based on your personal preference.

  1. Refrigerator Cabinets

Another (literally) cool gadget found in today’s modern bathroom includes refrigerated bathroom cabinets for storing beverages. Perhaps the ultimate in convenience!

  1. Smart Shower Panels

Smart shower panels allow you to control the temperature, water flow, steam, music, and lighting. Some even act as a TV so you can watch your favorite shows while washing up.

Your My Alarm Center home security system provides you with smart home technology that can be used to control almost every electronic in your household. Take advantage of this unique technology and enjoy leisure in every room of your home.

Road Trip Safety Tips

by Amy

Summer is here and that means this year’s summer vacation is right around the corner. But are you ready to hit the road? You may have packed everything from bathing suits to toothbrushes for the entire family, but it can’t hurt to be sure. Use these tips to prepare for your family road trip and make sure it is as enjoyable as it can be.

  1. Check Your Vehicle

Before leaving for your trip, make sure your car is ready to make the journey. Take your vehicle to your local mechanic (someone you trust of course!) to ensure that everything is working properly–including tires, battery, belts, fluids, and air conditioner. If you plan to travel to a hot climate, or plan to tow a boat or trailer, check to see if you need motor oil with a higher viscosity.

  1. Be Mentally & Physically Prepared

When planning a vacation that will require a lot of driving, it is essential you get a good night’s sleep. Statistics show driving while drowsy is a contributing factor to over 100,000 accidents every year. Be cautious when driving and plan to switch drivers every few hours if possible.

  1. Bring A Safety Kit

Every car should have a safety kit in case of an emergency. It is hard to predict everything you may need, but some basic supplies include water, warm blankets, a flashlight, jumper cables, flares, a tool kit to change a tire, a first aid kit, snacks, and a phone charger.

  1. Prepare For Sun

People often forget to pack enough sunblock and sunglasses for every member of the family, and be sure to apply it before you leave. Sunburn can happen while you’re driving, too.

  1. Buy A Roadside Assistance Plan

This is especially important if you plan to travel a far distance. Whether you purchase it from a travel company, or your dealer, be sure you can always get help when you need it most.

  1. Secure The Backseat

Ensure that child safety locks are activated for doors and windows that could be within your child’s reach. Look around to be sure there are no choking hazards as well.

  1. Pack The Vehicle Strategically

When packing the vehicle, make sure heavy items are secured. When the car is traveling at high speeds, everything in the car is as well. You wouldn’t want anything heavy to hurt someone if you need to slam on the breaks. A packed-to-the-gills car can also limit your ability to see out of all of your mirrors. Be sure you have clear visibility of other drivers before hitting the road.

  1. Adjust Your Posture

As the driver, make sure you are sitting in an upright position. Slouching can make you feel drowsy and uncomfortable. Many people tend to sit too far or too close to their steering wheel. To be in the proper driving position, your legs and elbows should be bent so you can exert a strong pressure onto the brake and so you have adequate leverage to easily to turn the wheel.

  1. Take Breaks

Everyone is in a rush to start their vacation but that is no reason to forego breaks. Stop at a rest stop or switch drivers every two hours. Drinking water will also make you more alert and force you to take regular bathroom breaks.

  1. Ignore Phone Calls

Never answer the phone while driving. Keep your attention on the road in front of you. Even with Bluetooth, talking is still distracting. You should stay fully alert to everything that is happening on the road.

  1. Avoid Disruptions

It may be hard to control your crying two year old in the backseat, but it is important to limit distractions when possible. A little advance planning may be all it takes. Timing your departure to coincide with your infant’s or toddler’s nap schedule can be good for all of you!

Take the time to prepare for more than just your destination before you leave on your family road trip. Secure the car and the kids, and make sure you’re prepared to handle a few bumps in the road. My Alarm Center wants to remind you to keep your family safe and to always make smart driving decisions.

How Home Automation Helps The Environment

by Amy June 20, 2018

Our homes have become a constant consumer of energy, so it is important to try and reduce the carbon footprint of every home around the world. Home automation services do a great job of helping families minimize energy usage and preserve the environment, and also offer the ultimate in convenience. Especially during summer, with rising electricity bills, take the time to use your home automation system to run your home efficiently. It can also be a lot of fun!

  1. Monitor Energy Usage

Look at your monthly utility bills. See how much energy you’re using and what systems are costing you the most. Normally, the biggest perpetrators of energy waste are the water heater and the cooling system. You can use home automation technology to track energy usage in real time and identify all your home’s worst energy wasters.

  1. Use Smart Plugs

Smart plugs are an awesome way to control your energy usage. You can turn off the smart plug when an appliance is not in use. For example, when your TV is plugged into a regular outlet it is always using energy, even if it is not turned on. With the smart plug, energy will only be utilized when the TV is in use. When you think about all the TVs, computers, and other devices that are plugged in all the time, a lot of electricity is being wasted.

  1. Update Your Lighting

Believe it or not, even the type of lightbulb you use can help you save energy. Incandescent lightbulbs consume and waste a lot of energy, accounting for 35% of carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants. Smart bulbs will save you money and make homes more energy efficient. Just like the smart plug, you can control your smart bulb from your phone and monitor how much electricity your lights are using each month. Smart bulbs also allow you to put the lights on a schedule or simply shut them off from your smartphone, this way no lights are left on when they shouldn’t be.

  1. Control The Thermostat

Most people use default settings on the thermostat. Often, this is not the most energy efficient way to regulate the temperature in your home. Switching to a smart thermostat can save you around 10% on heating and 15% on cooling throughout the year. The smart thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature in your home by accounting for various factors like outdoor humidity and precipitation. It also changes the temperature depending on the time of day and whether or not you’re home. You can also control your thermostat from your smart phone, so you can have full control from any location.

  1. Stop Wasting Water

The average American household uses about 320 gallons of water per day. One third of that water is used to maintain lawns. Smart irrigation systems prevent the waste of water and save up to 8,800 gallons of water per year. The system uses AI technology to sync with local weather predictions and help keep your garden and yard healthy by ensuring you don’t overwater.

To reduce the overall carbon footprint on the world, each person needs to make an effort. Home automation services allow you to save energy and monitor how much you are using. Install some new home automation devices and watch how much money and energy you can save!

 

Fourth Of July Safety Tips

by Amy June 7, 2018

America’s favorite holiday is coming up quickly. Whether you’re planning a family barbecue or a road trip to the beach, My Alarm Center wants to remind you to stay safe and enjoy your holiday. Here are some tips for staying safe during the Fourth Of July this year.

  1. Fireworks Safety

Everyone loves fireworks, but it is important to maintain a safe distance to stay safe throughout the show. Do not attempt to use fireworks at your own home, rather go to a park or a public place where they will be showing fireworks. Even though it is not recommended, if you do decide to put on a firework show at your home, make sure you are very cautious. You’ll need to keep your kids far away from the fireworks and always follow the directions on the package. Keep a water supply close by in case of an accident. Whoever is lighting the fireworks should also be using eye protection for their own safety. Only light one firework at a time and do not attempt to relight it if it seems like it is a “dud”. Before the holiday, store your fireworks in a cool, dry place and keep them away from all kids and animals. Never aim fireworks toward a person, animal, vehicle, home, or any flammable materials. And if you do see someone who is unqualified playing with fireworks, leave the area immediately.

  1. Grill Safety

One of the most common summertime injuries comes from the misuse of a charcoal or gas grill. Stay safe when using a grill and know exactly how to use it properly. Someone should always be supervising the barbecue when it is in use and make sure that children and pets stay away. Do not ever attempt to grill indoors. This refers to homes, campers, tents, or any other enclosed area. The grill needs to be kept in an open area located away from your house, deck, tree branches, or anything else that could potentially catch fire. Use the proper tools when grilling. Make sure they have long handles so that you will not get burnt on the open flame. When using a charcoal grill, it is important that you do not add any more charcoal starter fluid once the coals have already been ignited.

  1. Beach Safety

The beach is the perfect place to spend your Fourth of July holiday. But it is important to keep your family safe while you are there. Be aware of potential weather conditions and check the lifeguard stand to see if there are any warning signs or flags posted. Make sure you are sober when playing in the ocean, there’s a reason alcohol isn’t allowed on the beach. Prepare your younger children with life vests as well. Use caution when walking into the open water and be aware of the aquatic life in the ocean. Avoid any sea animals or patches of plants.

  1. Sun Protection

It is recommended to avoid direct sunlight between 10 AM and 4 PM. Reapply sunscreen often. Remember to hydrate and drink lots of water as well. Eye protection is important when outdoors, so make sure every member of the family has a pair of sunglasses. Make sure your kids keep their shoes on as the hot pavement can burn them while glass and other sharp objects can cut them. Be aware of the signs of a heat stroke: red skin, drowsiness, a weak pulse, and shallow breathing. If you think there is a chance someone is suffering from a heat stroke, immediately call 911 and move the person to a cooler place.

Be prepared for any activity this Fourth of July and know how to keep your family safe. Be careful with fireworks and grilling and take extra precaution to keep the kids away while doing so. If you’re headed to the beach, make sure to stay hydrated, reapply suntan lotion, and don’t forget your sunglasses! Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a brilliant Fourth of July.

Home Security Tips From A Thief

by Amy May 8, 2018

There are many ways to ensure your home is safe. Why not take some advice from the people trying to break in?

  1. Lock Up

Thieves have admitted that open windows and doors are just too hard to pass up. Also remember that a locked door means nothing if a spare key is “hidden” in an obvious place by the front door. It is much better to leave a spare key with a trusted friend or neighbor so that a criminal will not have easy access.

  1. Landscape For Security

Burglars confess that while oversized hedges may provide privacy, they also make your yard one of the easiest places for a burglar to hide. Landscape your yard strategically to keep it looking pretty but not welcoming to burglars. Make sure you have a full view of your yard from your windows to keep anyone from attempting to enter your home without being seen. Be careful that you don’t have any trees that could easily be climbed to enter your home. The landscaping should also be well maintained. If you have uncut grass and overgrown hedges, your home will appear to be empty which may attract a burglar.

  1. Unique Hiding Spaces

It may seem like a great idea to hide things in your sock drawer, or an empty cereal box, or in the freezer, but professional burglars are well aware that these are used as hiding places. Even though these seem like great hiding places, burglars acknowledge they are usually one of the first areas they will look. Consider purchasing an actual safe or a safety deposit box. Knowing that your valuables are always protected under lock and key will ease your worry.

  1. Exterior Lights

Use motion detection lighting in your yard. It is difficult to enter a home unseen when floodlights turn on as soon as you step onto the property. Use gravel on your pathway or driveway so no one can avoid being heard when they get close to the house. Burglars admit this is often enough to deter them as it increases the risk of being caught.

  1. Install A Home Security Alarm

One of the best ways to deter a thief is if they see you have a home security system. This greatly increases their odds of being caught and most burglars confess they do not have the knowledge or know how to disable them. Post your home security sticker on your window and hang your home security sign in your front yard.

To protect yourself from burglars, sometimes you need to think like one. Having a home security system will make you feel safer and deter even the bravest of thieves.

The Safest Neighborhoods In Philly

by Amy May 4, 2018

If you are looking for a new home in the Philadelphia area, it is important to keep crime statistics such as violent crimes per person, property crimes per person, and total crimes per person in mind before making your purchase. There are many different neighborhoods in Philadelphia and it is imperative that you can find a place where you and your family will feel safe. My Alarm Center wants to help in this endeavor, so here are the safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

  1. Chestnut Hill

In Chestnut Hill, the violent crime rate is 60% lower than the Philadelphia average and the property crime rate is 59% lower than the city average. Because of this, Chestnut Hill happens to have some of the highest prices in terms of rent and real estate. It is home to Citizens Bank Park and Independence Hall, so there is always lots to do in this neighborhood.

  1. Fairmont-Spring Garden

Known to have the third fewest property crimes per person, Fairmont-Spring Garden has 60% fewer crimes than the city average. This neighborhood is the arts capital of the city. If you choose to live in Fairmont-Spring Garden, you’ll be just around the corner from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, and Barnes Foundation.

  1. East Falls

This area has a very low crime rate with a 1 in 47 chance of being involved in any type of crime. It has the third fewest crimes per person in the city and the third fewest violent crimes. One of the most diverse neighborhoods, it is heralded as one of the best neighborhoods to raise a family in the Philadelphia area.

  1. Roxborough

Roxborough became a popular family neighborhood over the course of the last several years. This neighborhood is known to have approximately 5% fewer crimes than the rest of the city in every category! Roxborough is almost twice as safe as the rest of Philadelphia and offers good housing for families.

  1. Manayunk

Manayunk’s crime statistics stand around the fifth fewest crimes person in every category. 2% total crimes per person, 2% property crimes per person, and 6% violent crimes per person. It is an overall safe area that has 45% fewer crimes then the rest of the city. Manayunk is one of the best places to buy a house and one of the best neighborhoods to live in. With lots of activities to do and find along Main Street, this area has been known to attract millennials and is home to almost 10,000 young adults.

Remember to research any neighborhood you may be planning on moving into. Even if it seems nice, the crime statistics speak for themselves. Ensure your safety and your family’s safety and take the time to research your new neighborhood. And even in the safest of neighborhoods, it is recommended to install door alarms, window alarms, and a full home security system.