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Home Automation And Football

by Amy September 6, 2017

We all know that football season is just on the horizon. This year you can try out the full home automation experience while watching the big game. Home automation will change the way you view football!

  • The Theater Experience: With home automation, you’ll have the ability to use smart lights and shade controls to create an immersive theater experience. The best part is that you can change the lighting without having to get off the couch.
  • Wireless Speakers: Wireless speakers can be strung throughout your entire house so even if you must go into another room you’ll still be able to hear the game. If you have to use the bathroom, you won’t miss a thing!
  • Smart TVs: Smart TVs can be controlled with your phone or some use voice commands. More importantly, smart TVs can be used to record the games you miss. If you’re watching one game you can record another game simultaneously and watch it later. You can even hook the TV up to your phone and receive alerts when guests arrive or if you get any emergency calls you simply must take. If you have security cameras out front, you can see who’s there when the doorbell rings. With your phone and a set of smart locks, you’ll be able to unlock the door as well.
  • Smart Thermostat: Why worry about the weather? Program your smart thermostat to always keep your game viewing room at your preferred temperature. If it gets colder or warmer outside, the thermostat will automatically adjust and keep your man cave perfect.
  • Ordering Food: Don’t waste time making dinner or running out to pick up a pizza. You don’t even need to call any more. Many places allow you to order and pay online only alerting you when the food is at your front door.
  • Scenes: Home automation lets you create scenes that, with the press of a button, transform your room. When the game is on you turn on the “Game On” scene which dims the lights and lowers the shades as well as turns off your phone ringer so you can’t be disturbed. When there’s a commercial break you hit the “Commercial” scene which dims the audio so you can’t hear the commercial and lights up the room so people can refresh their drinks and go to the bathroom.

My Alarm Center provides home automation services for the local Philadelphia area. They would be more than happy to provide your home with the best equipment to change how you watch the game. Try out home automation this football season and see how much better the game can be!

Beach Safety

by Amy August 21, 2017

If you are planning to squeeze in a last minute beach trip or travel to the coast for Labor Day weekend, make sure you take the proper safety precautions before you see the sea.

General Beach Safety:

  • Try to swim as close to a lifeguard station as possible. The chances of drowning with a lifeguard on duty are five times lower than if you swim without a lifeguard.
  • Make sure to apply and reapply sunscreen. More than 5 bad sunburns in a lifetime double your chance of getting skin cancer.
  • Also, make sure to drink lots of water and to stay hydrated throughout the day. Swimming in the ocean and baking in the hot sun can take a toll on your body.
  • Keep your trash together and do not litter in the water or along the shore.

Ocean Water Safety:

  • It is very important that any child who will be in the ocean knows how to swim or is wearing a properly fitting life vest.
  • Adults should remain sober to maintain their own safety, especially if they are responsible for other people.
  • Do not swim alone, always maintain the buddy system, even as adults.
  • Enter the water feet first always. Avoid diving into the water until you know the actual depth.
  • The ocean has varying floor levels and it is important not to wander too far from the shore’s edge.
  • Leave any animals you encounter alone and stay away from jellyfish and sharks.

Rip Currents:

  • It is important to understand that rip currents are very strong and are the cause of most lifeguard rescues along the beach.
  • They can form in any large open water and are especially common near the breaks of sandbars, in shallow areas, or near piers.
  • If you do find yourself stuck in a rip current, do not struggle. Swim parallel to the beach to get out of the current. Do not attempt to move to shore until you are released from the current.
  • If you feel like you cannot swim to shore, remain afloat and wait until you get the strength to move back to shore.
  • If you notice someone who is struggling make sure to alert a lifeguard or call 911 immediately.

Flags:

  • Lifeguards often use flags to indicate different types of weather patterns or to signify anything you should be aware of. Most commonly the flags are different colors. If you do not know what they mean, feel free to ask the lifeguard at any time. Most commonly the flags mean:
    • Red: This means there is a strong current or the beach is closed.
    • Yellow: This indicates moderate current and is not exceedingly dangerous. Caution should still be exercised if the yellow flag is flying.
    • Green: This indicates the ocean is calm and clear.
    • Blue or Purple: This indicates that dangerous marine life has been spotted nearby. This could mean sharks, stingrays, or jellyfish.

Check The Weather:

  • Check if there is any chance of rain or a thunderstorm in the potential forecast.
  • If you hear any thunder, make sure you get out of the water and head to safety.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after hearing thunder or seeing lightning to re-enter the water.

Marine Life:

  • Be aware of marine life and how to handle any bites or stings.
  • Be aware of the fact you are swimming in an ecosystem of different animals.
  • Barnacles and the shells of muscles can be very sharp along the ocean floor, so make sure to be careful of the areas you are walking in.
  • If you do get cut, get out of the water immediately and properly take care of any wounds.
  • Jellyfish have the potential to release poisonous venom into your skin. Not all jellyfish stings are severe but they do have the potential to be very dangerous. Most stings can be treated at home, it is suggested to use a credit card or something flat to remove the stingers from your skin. Do not attempt to use your hands because this will allow the stingers to spread. Rinse the area with sea water, fresh water or urine may activate the venom that is injected, causing more pain. Rinsing with vinegar or baking soda should keep the sting from being too painful. After it is rinsed clean, submerge the sting in hot water for 20 minutes to release any other poisons.
  • Many people fear shark attacks, which are actually very uncommon. There is an average of 50 shark attacks around the entire world yearlong. These attacks are commonly from mistaking a human for a seal or fish. Avoid wearing shiny jewelry and swimming at dusk for the best protection.

While My Alarm Center works to keep you safe at home, it’s up to you to take the proper precautions when traveling, especially at the beach. This summer make sure you teach your entire family about beach safety.

How Home Automation Helps With School

by Amy August 4, 2017

The start of school is closer than you would like to think which means turning in those carefree days of summer for textbooks, extracurricular activities, and nightly homework sessions.  It can be difficult fitting it all into your busy schedule.  But this year you’ve got a secret weapon to help you stay organized and to help the kids do even better in school.  Put your home automation system to work and make the transition from summer nights to school days an easy A.

Rise and Shine
After a few months of sleeping in every day, getting the kids out of bed early every morning can be quite the task.  Automate your lights and you can wake the kids up without even needing to step into their room.  Schedule their bedroom lights to turn on at the same time every morning, motivating them to get out of bed.

You can also use smart sockets to schedule appliances for an additional wake up boost.  For instance, schedule a radio to turn on every morning.  It’s hard to ignore and more enjoyable than an alarm clock.  At bedtime, you can reverse the process by scheduling lights and appliances to turn off as a signal that it’s time to go to sleep.

After School
The first few hours after school are crucial for getting the homework done.  However, parents are usually at work when kids get home from school.  With home automation services integrated into your home security system you can receive alerts to notify you when the children are home from school and you can use the video monitoring system to keep an eye on them.  This is the perfect way to make sure they’re doing homework and completing chores instead of getting into things they shouldn’t be.  With home automation and video monitoring you can be assured that even if you aren’t home you can still make sure your kids are safe and productive.

Helping with Homework
Homework time can be the toughest part of the evening.  The schoolwork is hard enough without the temptation of video games and television.  With home automation, you can create an environment perfectly conducive to completing homework.  With smart sockets you can shut off TVs and gaming systems so they can’t be used, turn the smart lights up for optimal reading, and play some classical music to help the children focus, all from your smartphone.

All Work and No Play
Home automation isn’t just for business.  Kids need to relax as well.  Set the system to play their favorite music when they come home Friday afternoon and start the weekend off with some fun.  Gather on the couch and watch a movie knowing that you can set the temperature for optimal snuggling and dim the lights without having to get.  Home automation is the perfect tool for relaxation when need be.

My Alarm Center offers state of the art home automation services to make life more convenient while keeping your family safe.  Speak with a home automation specialist about getting your system installed before the kids get back to school.

Protect Yourself From Surveillance

by Amy July 27, 2017

Many people are aware of how it is possible to be hacked or put under surveillance, meaning to be closely observed, but they do not take the time to prevent many of the ways you could be hacked. It is essential to secure technology appropriately so that someone does not steal your personal information.

To protect your privacy from surveillance, follow these 5 security tips:

  1. Turn off geolocation, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi

These settings on your phone can allow you to be tracked by various businesses through applications, and sometimes even hackers. It is better to be safe than sorry. Keep your location private by avoiding using these features when you are outside of your home.

  1. Turn your phone on airplane mode

It is recommended to put your phone on airplane mode when you are not using it so that it is not connecting to wireless towers throughout the day.

  1. Use strong passwords

A hacker will not have the ability to easily hack your email or personal information if your password is not easy to guess. It is suggested to use a variety of different characters and symbols to make your passwords difficult to crack. It is also recommended to have different passwords for different accounts, because if someone is able to hack into one of your accounts, they could potentially have access to them all.

  1. Cover your laptop camera with stickers

It has been proven that hackers have the ability to spy on you using your own computer. They could potentially have access to everything on your computer, including the camera for video surveillance. This will allow them to view anything inside of your home as long as your computer is open. It is always recommended to cover the camera when it is not in use.

  1. Be careful with your SmartTV

SmartTV’s have an ability to collect information about you because some have cameras and speakers built into them. It goes much further than tracking what you watch. It is important to realize that most SmartTV’s have settings to turn off the ability to invade your personal security.

It is important to protect yourself from technical vulnerabilities and surveillance. Home security and automation can be used to secure your home by using professional home security systems, but it’s important to secure your technology as well.

Home Automation While On Vacation

by Amy July 11, 2017

With home automation, you can do most anything in your house with the press of a button. You can turn lights on and off with your phone or adjust the thermometer without getting up. But what happens when you go on vacation? Do you turn your home automation off? Of course not! Even if you’re a thousand miles away you can use home automation to check on your house, have a little peace of mind, and keep things running smoothly. Here are some other ways home automation can make things a little easier even on vacation.

  1. Adjust your smart thermostat to save money and energy. With your MyHome App you can set a low energy schedule before you leave. Forgot to change the temperature in your home and already on the road? Use your smart phone to adjust the thermostat as you see fit!
  2. Adjust your lighting schedule to make it look like someone is home while you’re away. This is a great way to deter burglars from attempting to enter your property. It’s recommended to use various schedules as if normal activity is taking place as the same lights turning on at the same time every night might tip a burglar off as well.
  3. You can use smart sockets to the same effect. Turn appliances on and off at different times to give the appearance that people are watching TV or listening to music. Smart sockets also save energy as unnecessary appliances aren’t left to run.
  4. Set up cameras to record if any motion sensors are triggered. These can be set up to alert your phone so you’ll always know what’s happening in your home.
  5. Give your friend or neighbor a unique code to your Smart Lock or a unique code to arm and disarm the system, if they already have a key, so they can place your mail inside and water your plants while you’re away. If they forget their key, you can unlock the door for them from your phone. You can do the same for your pet sitter and even use your cameras to check in on your furry friends from time to time.
  6. Perhaps you live with an elderly loved one. Set notifications to be alerted if no movement is detected for a period of time.  You can also use your cameras to check in on them, receive alerts if there is an emergency, and even let medical aids in and out with your Lock/Unlock feature.
  7. Set alerts if windows are open for a period and are not closed. That way, if your house sitter forgets to close a window before leaving you will be notified and can remind them to do so.
  8. Set up a notification when someone rings your doorbell so you’ll know who comes by while you’re vacationing. With one of our advanced doorbells, you’ll not only know who it is but also be able to communicate with them from your phone.
  9. Check on your teen, young adult, or other family member who chose to stay behind. It’s the perfect way to make sure they aren’t throwing any parties.
  10. On your way home from your vacation, set your smart thermostat to your desired temperature so that the house is perfect when you arrive. When you arrive home, you can get a quick start on unpacking by using our location services features to open your garage and unlock your doors once you’re close to your house.

With home automation from My Alarm Center you can customize your system to best suit your needs. Let us know how you use home automation when you’re on vacation.

How Many Home Security Cameras Do You Need

by Amy June 22, 2017

There are many different opinions about how many security cameras you need for your home. Some people think having one that appears to be working is enough to prevent an intruder, which may be true, but it will be no help if they figure out it doesn’t work. The number of home security cameras and where you need to place them on what you need to protect and the reason you are using them.

Recommended places for security cameras are:

  • The front door
  • The porch or doorstep
  • The back door
  • The back garden or yard
  • The living room
  • Bedrooms
  • The eating area or the kitchen
  • The garage
  • The basement
  • Emergency exits
  • Close to high interest assets

It is not essential to install security cameras in every one of these areas, but choose the ones that are important to you and will allow you to have full view of your home.

Consider installing cameras for reasons like:

  • Deterring Intruders: Protect your home from burglary and break-ins. Determine what needs protecting in your home and place cameras there. Don’t skip out on the exterior of your home either.
  • Evidence: If someone does break into your home, a video surveillance system lets you see exactly what happened. A good recording can also help police catch the intruder and possibly retrieve what was stolen. Make sure you have high quality cameras to best identify any trespassers.
  • Live streaming: You can view the live feed from your home security app on your phone. Use it to keep an eye on your family and stay in touch with them throughout the day.
  • Alerts: Most security companies have a way to alert you if your security cameras detect movement where there shouldn’t be.

Make sure you’re purchasing enough cameras for what you need and that they are positioned to best spot intruders and keep an eye on the things most valuable to you.

Summer Vacation Security Checklist

by Amy June 19, 2017

Summer is prime vacation season. It’s also prime season for home break-ins. Here’s an important checklist to make sure your summer vacation ends as happily as it began.

Follow the checklist below or click on the image to print:

  • Contact My Alarm Center and let us know you will be out of town
  • Have the post office hold your mail (go to holdmail.usps.com) or have a neighbor collect it
  • Make arrangements to have your lawn mowed
  • Remove hidden house keys
  • Test your system before you leave (visit myalarmcenter.com to learn how)
  • Check your alarm batteries (smoke, carbon monoxide, water detector)
  • Close interior doors to stop thieves from looking through your house (this also acts as a firebreak in case of a fire)

If you have the MyHome® home automation tool, you can also do the following from anywhere:

  • Remotely arm and disarm your system if you have neighbors or workers dropping in
  • Program your indoor/outdoor lighting and electronics to make it seem like you’re home
  • Keep an eye on your home through live videos and have activity reports sent to you

For more about how we can help keep your home safe this summer and beyond, call 855-334-6560 or visit myalarmcenter.com.

How Home Security Benefits Your Community

by Amy May 26, 2017

When there are more home security systems in the neighborhood, there are more cameras to watch the homes and more home alarms to alert the proper authorities of any crimes. Prevent any crimes in your community and help catch the criminals when they do happen to occur.

Exterior Security Cameras Can Watch The Whole Neighborhood

The more security cameras there are in a given neighborhood, the easier it is for detectives who may be looking for clues to help them solve a crime. The more an intruder is recorded on video, the easier it will be to identify them. Instead of having just one security camera spot an intruder, the police can investigate several of your neighbors’ security cameras as well. This community collection of exterior security cameras makes it very easy to catch any intruders.

Fire Can Spread To Other Houses, Fire Alarms Can Stop This

In case a fire does occur in your neighborhood, it is important to make sure the fire doesn’t spread from house to house. If houses are built close together in your neighborhood, then this is an all too likely possibility. Having a monitored fire alarm will alert you and the fire department immediately when there is a fire, making sure that help is on the way before the fire has the chance to spread to anyone else’s property.

Crimes Let Crooks Know The Neighborhood Is Vulnerable

When an intruder is successful in breaking into a home, they know exactly where the neighborhood is vulnerable and there is a chance the community could be victimized again. If your neighbors have home security systems it makes it a lot harder to steal anything and will prevent your neighborhood from being a target.

Once you install your home security system, talk to your neighbors about getting a home security system as well. Help keep your neighborhood safe from crime.

Summer Home Security Tips

by Amy May 24, 2017

Home Security Tips for Summer

 

The weather conditions during the summer season encourage homeowners to naturally become a bit lackadaisical with their home security. Opening doors and windows for that summer breeze and causally straying over to neighbors houses, all the while, leaving their home at risk for a break-in. Homeowners can protect summer fun, personal possessions and family members with several easy security precautions. Check out these summer home security tips:

Door Security

Doors should be locked to keep intruders out of a home regardless of the season. You may be resting on a chaise lounge chair after cutting the grass and then suddenly fall asleep on a cozy backyard patio. The back door to your home and the door to your garage may be unlocked while you are napping after your chores. Those doors could have been locked with a gentle push from your finger. Or even more convenient and safe, home owners can rely on home security systems with automation, which can automatically lock your doors with a remote feature, without worry. Also, surveillance cameras can be used to detect prowlers who are near a front porch or a driveway.

Windows Security

Windows are not typically used for entering a home but do provide an excellent opportunity for an intruder while you’re attempting to get a cool breeze before bed time. You should remember to close and lock all windows, especially before you leave your home. The small effort that you will use to lock those windows will be much less than the effort that you will use if you are forced to repair damages after a burglary.

Garage Security

A homeowner may not lock a garage door while he or she is using a hedge trimmer to trim a bush. The door may not be locked while the grass is being cut or while the homeowner is using a garden tiller in a vegetable garden. You may wash your car and then suddenly go inside the house to quickly answer the phone. If the garage door is not locked, then an intruder could easily steal power tools from your garage or enter at a later point if you neglect to close up securely when you’re finished working or relaxing outside.

Fence Gate Security

The gates for fences should also have high-quality locks, which will provide you with an additional layer of protection. An intruder would be forced to open the gate before having access to the doors for your home. Gates and doorways are excellent locations for motion sensors. If an intruder is on your property, then the motion sensor would activate a light, which would provide favorable conditions for a surveillance camera, and even better yet a deterrent!

Deck Security

The warm weather conditions can lull homeowners into a false sense of security because there are fewer problems while the flowers are in bloom. Family members may go to the backyard deck for quiet moments and for quality time. The lawn furniture, gas grills and bicycles on backyard decks can attract thieves. A Home security system discourages thieves and reduces the risks for a home break in.

As summer settles in, make sure to protect your home and protect your family with these home security tips.

Securing Your Home For A Spring Vacation

by Amy May 1, 2017

Everyone deserves a good spring break but it’s hard not to worry about the safety of your home while away. Take the time to prepare your home so that you won’t have to worry while enjoying your vacation!

Hire A House Sitter If Possible

Houses are frequently targeted because an intruder knows that no one is home. Hire a house sitter to stay in your home while you’re away. That way your house will never appear to be empty.

Don’t Post That You’ll Be Away On Social Media

It’s not smart to post on social media that you’ll be gone. Anyone can see exactly when you’ll be absent and you’d be surprised how easy it is to find out someone’s address these days. Make sure you aren’t advertising that your home is empty and an easy target.

Notify Police You’ll Be Gone

Let the local police know you’ll be away so they can periodically send an officer by to make sure the house is safe. They are more than happy to do so.

Take The GPS Out Of Your Car

If you’re leaving your car at an airport, or anywhere while you’re gone, make sure to take out the GPS. A thief could break into your car and find your home address all too easily. They are aware you aren’t at home and they could use this to their advantage.

Keep Expensive Items Out Of Sight

Move any expensive valuables out of sight while you’re away. Most times, thieves will inspect your home through your windows and see what they could get. Don’t give them the opportunity. If they don’t see anything they want it may deter them from attempting to intrude.

Get Sturdier Locks

If you’re concerned about the strength of your locks, make sure you have them repaired before you leave. Be sure all locks are reinforced so there is no easy point of entry.

Have A Neighbor Pick Up Mail

Ask a friend or a neighbor to retrieve your mail while you’re gone. An overflowing mailbox is a clear sign that no one is home and hasn’t been for several days.

Have Someone Mow The Lawn

Another clear indicator that no one is home is an unkempt lawn. If you’re going away for an extended period, make sure someone is keeping up with your lawn.

Disable The Garage Door Opener

Turn off your garage door opener so that no one can hack it and enter your home through the garage.

Timed Lights Make It Seem Like You’re Home

Consider putting some interior and exterior lights on a timer. This way it will turn them on and off throughout the day and make it seem that someone is home. Be careful of leaving lights on for days at a time, as this could be another indicator that no one is home.

Upgrade Your Home Security

If you do not have a home security system, it is recommended to get one. This is the most efficient way to check up on your home and know it is safe when you’re away.

Wireless Security Lets You Monitor Your Home

Once you install a home security system, you can take advantage of home automation. A home automation system allows you to access your home security cameras at any time, from any place. You can also install motion detectors to be triggered if someone is inside your home.

Take the time to prepare your home and keep it safe while you’re away. Install a home security system so you can always have peace of mind, even if you’re halfway around the world.

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