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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.

Change Your Clocks & Test Your Home Security System

by Amy March 6, 2018

Don’t forget to change your clocks during Daylight Savings Time this year. In fact, while you’re at it, Daylight Savings Time is a good reminder to test your home security system as well. When changing all your clocks, take the time to check if your home security system is working properly.

To Test The Signal Communication With The Monitoring Station:

  • Call your home security system supplier and ask to have your home alarm system put in “TEST” mode.
  • To avoid the deployment of emergency services, you MUST put your home alarm system in “TEST” mode.
  • Set your home alarm system as you normally would. Wait until the delay time has expired and the home alarm system is set.
  • Open a door or window that is connected to your home alarm system. Once the siren begins to ring, wait at least forty-five seconds then disarm the security system.
  • Call your home security system supplier back to confirm that the signal has been received and request that your security system be taken out of “TEST” mode.

To Test The Operation Of Door Sensors, Window Sensors, and Motion Detectors:

  • Verify that the security system is in “READY” mode and NOT ARMED. The alarm system must be disarmed to avoid accidental emergency dispatch.
  • Open each door or window with a door sensor, window sensor, or motion detector one at a time.
  • Check that the security system keypad displays the door or window you are testing is open, you may have to press the “STATUS” or “READY” button depending on your type of home security system.
  • Close the respective door or window. The security system keypad should revert to “READY” mode.
  • Repeat this procedure for each door sensor, window sensor, and motion detector in the security system.

The changing of the clocks is the perfect time to make sure everything is working correctly in your home. Continue to regularly check your home surveillance system to ensure it is working properly.

 

Tips For A Safe Valentine’s Day

by Amy February 12, 2018

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate with your significant other or even yourself. But you should make sure that your special day is a safe day as well. Many burglars are aware that people do not spend the evening at home, so make sure you’re well prepared before enjoying your romantic night out.

  1. Don’t Share Your Plans On Social Media

By announcing your romantic getaway to all of Facebook, you’ve also alerted the world that you won’t be home for a few days. Resist sharing your plans with others so that your home won’t be advertised as vacant.

  1. Lock Your Doors And Windows

Ensure that your home is always locked up tight. Don’t leave windows unlocked. This includes upstairs as well. Make sure everything is actually locked before leaving.

  1. Keep Lights On

Especially if you’re planning to be gone for several days. It makes your home appear occupied even when it’s not. If you have lights on timers, or any home automation features, make sure to take advantage of them.

  1. Keep Small Amounts Of Cash

Valentine’s Day is a crazy busy night for many people. Everyone has specific plans. Protect yourself and your wallet by keeping your valuables on your person to a minimum. If a tragedy occurs, at least it was only a small amount to lose.

  1. Be Careful At Home

If you’re not into a big night out or a weekend getaway, make sure that you’re being careful when dining in. Make sure that you shut off the oven and blow out the candles before going to bed.

  1. Walk In Populated Areas

A romantic walk is the perfect way to end the evening, but also make sure you’re staying safe. Don’t wander down dark alleys or areas that aren’t well lit. Burglars and pickpockets know this is a busy night.

  1. Install A Home Security System

If you’re worried about your home while you’re away for a long weekend, give yourself peace of mind by installing a home security system. My Alarm Center is a security system supplier that will monitor your home 24/7 and immediately notify emergency personnel as soon as they detect an intruder.

My Alarm Center wants to remind you to have a safe and special Valentine’s Day. Use these tips to make sure you and your home stays safe throughout a very exciting evening.

How To Place Security Cameras

by Amy January 30, 2018

The placement of home security cameras is just as important as having them. My Alarm Center is strategic when deciding the location of your surveillance system.

Security cameras are installed at the front door, back door, and near first floor windows.

These locations are the most common entry points for intruders, according to statistics from the Bureau of Justice. Cameras are placed above doors and windows, outside your home, and facing downward. This way the camera can view a few feet in front of the opening. Exterior cameras have night vision and are waterproof. Some can be placed in the interior of the home, looking out, so that there is a view of the windows and yard outside.

Cameras have full view and are in focus.

The range of the camera determines the interior placement of cameras. Anything with a range of around 45 to 75 degrees should be aimed to specific areas like a doorway or garage entry door. Cameras with a full wide view of 75 to 180 degrees allow you to see a full room with just one camera.

Cameras watch over any valuables.

If you have a safe within your home, the camera is angled so that it can be seen. Any important hiding places are guarded with a camera as well. If there is a break in, this will help determine what was taken.

Cameras are kept out of reach.

It’s important cameras are kept in an area where they can’t be easily tampered with. If an intruder can break the camera or cover it, it will not be beneficial. Cameras are placed in areas that aren’t obvious but will maximize the view.

Cameras are connected to your home security system.

Security cameras can work strategically with your home security system and home monitoring to protect your home. They’re also great for home automation, allowing you to check home security feeds any time you wish.

How Fire Alarm Monitoring Saves Lives

by Amy November 20, 2017

With fire alarm monitoring, you can be certain you’re safe in case of a fire as an alarm monitoring center will be alerted as soon as a fire alarm or smoke detector is triggered. The monitoring center will then alert the fire department and make sure everyone has safely gotten out of the house. With the holiday season quickly approaching, it is important to remind your family of emergency procedures and make sure that you are prepared in case a fire does occur.

Fire Alarm Monitoring:

Many people assume that this would be a pricey purchase, which it is not. Most home security systems now come with fire monitoring which can include smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide detectors. Fire alarm monitoring alerts you as soon as your home detectors are activated, even if you are not home. Fire alarm monitoring is a system designed to make sure everyone has escaped from a fire successfully and to send help immediately.

Smoke Detectors:

Make sure smoke detectors are installed in every level of your home and close to sleeping areas. It is even recommended to have a smoke detector in every bedroom of your home. These alarms are loud enough to wake your entire house and will make sure you have plenty of time to get out of the house if there is a fire.

Escape Route:

It is important to have a plan before a fire breaks out, so when an emergency occurs you’ll know exactly what to do. Have a strategy for every member of the house and plan to meet at a designated area outside of the home. It is recommended to have two full plans of escape. Consider purchasing escape ladders that can be attached to windows for upper level bedrooms. Practice your fire escape route with your family, so everyone can feel comfortable with how to handle this scary situation.

Stop, Drop, and Roll:

If you are ever on fire, stop, drop, and roll on the ground until the fire is out.

Stay Low:

If ever caught within thick smoke, crawl along the ground to escape safely.

A situation can go from bad to worse in seconds. Be prepared and make sure you alert your family of what to do in case of a fire emergency. A fire alarm monitoring system will keep you fully covered in case of a fire emergency. The holiday season can put you at risk of many different types of unfortunate fires, so be careful and take the time to prepare in case of an emergency fire situation.

Thanksgiving Kitchen Fire Safety

by Amy November 9, 2017

Thanksgiving guarantees a full stomach for the whole family. Which means a full kitchen before that. People coming and going as the Thanksgiving feast is being prepared. Unfortunately, all the hustle and bustle lead to Thanksgiving being the number one day for house fires. My Alarm Center wants you to be safe and alert this Thanksgiving. Fire alarm monitoring can make sure the fire department is on its way as soon as a fire starts. Additionally, here are some kitchen safety tips to keep your family and your home safe.

  1. Test Your Smoke Alarms

Before you start cooking, it’s recommended to ensure that your smoke and fire alarms are working properly. This way you’ll immediately be alerted in case of a fire.

  1. Keep A Fire Extinguisher Handy

A fire extinguisher in the kitchen could stop a fire before it can spread. Be sure your fire extinguisher is safe to use in the kitchen fire before utilizing.

  1. Wear Proper Cooking Attire

Wear a shirt with short or close-fitting sleeves. Loose clothing can easily catch fire and be hazardous in the kitchen.

  1. Stay In The Kitchen

It is easy to get distracted entertaining your loved ones, but it is imperative to keep an eye on everything being prepared in the kitchen.

  1. Don’t Leave Your Home

Many people think it’s okay to make a quick run to the grocery store while their turkey is in the oven, but this is not the case. A disaster could happen at any moment and it is essential to be home just in case. Stay present in your house while the turkey is cooking and check on it frequently.

  1. Keep Kids Out Of The Kitchen

Your children are better off outside the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. It’s important that they stay away from sharp objects and hot foods.

  1. Be Cautious Of Stove Placement

Be aware of your pots on the stovetop. Make sure that pot and pan handles are toward the back of the stove and won’t be easily run into. Avoid leaving any towels or pot holders near any open flames

If a fire does occur…

  1. Call 911 immediately.
  2. If grease or oil causes the fire, do not take the contents outside. Move a lid overtop of the flames to smother them. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on the pan until it cools.
  3. To extinguish any other food fires, use baking soda.
  4. If an oven or broiler is the cause of the fire, make sure to keep the oven door closed and turn off the heat to smother the flames.
  5. Do not use water or flour to put out any cooking fire, they could have a violent reaction to the grease and cause the fire to spread and become worse.

This Thanksgiving make sure that you are cautious and alert when cooking in the kitchen. Be prepared for any possible disaster and make sure you’re ready with a fire extinguisher. Keep your children away from the kitchen and keep your home and family safe. Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast and remember you have a lot to be thankful for.

Adding Extra Layers To Your Home Security

by Amy October 23, 2017

These days you never know if your home security is strong enough until it is threatened. This is why it’s a good idea to add on as many layers of home security as possible. Use a variety of security tactics so that you will always feel safe and know the belongings inside of your home will be safe as well.

Layer 1: Lighting

Use lighting to your advantage by placing them around the exterior of your home strategically. There should be no unlit areas that someone could potentially hide in. Have motion detector lights installed to alert you of outside activity. Also, make sure entrances to the home are illuminated throughout the night. It is much less likely that an intruder would attempt a break in when they would be seen walking in the front door.

Layer 2: Locks

The most important part of locks is not that they are present but that they are used. A home could have several padlocks on the door but if they are not locked at all times, they are no use to you. Even if you assume that your neighborhood is safe, you should leave the door locked when you are home and when you are away, even if only for a few minutes. This rule also applies to garage doors.

Layer 3: Blinds

Even though your home may seem brighter with the blinds all the way up, it is smart to keep the blinds down, especially for bottom floor windows. A burglar would have a very difficult time entering the home through a window without making an excess of noise.

Layer 4: Home Security

A home security system is the best way you can protect yourself from home invasion. Cameras, motion detectors, and 24/7 alarm monitoring will alert you as soon as a break in occurs. You will also receive alerts when you are not home, so you know your home is always safe.

Layer 5: Pets

This is one of the layers people don’t think about. Dogs are alert to all sounds inside and outside of the home. They can alert you the moment someone is near your window or outside your front door. It’s almost impossible to get past a dog inside your home and criminals are immediately deterred from attempting a break in when they see a dog lives there.             

There are many different layers to home security and they work best when they are combined. Use several layers of security to ensure your home is always safe. My Alarm Center is one of the leading home security system suppliers in Philadelphia. They provide home monitoring that will alert you as soon as a possible threat occurs.

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.

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.

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