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Fire Safety Tips For Homeowners

by Amy December 6, 2018

It is important to remember that even a small fire can spread within minutes, and it can take more time to escape your home than you think.  These tips can help you stay safe in case of a fire.

Cooking: Ensure that the burners and stove are always turned off when you are finished cooking. Be especially careful when cooking or frying with oil and grease. Make sure that all clothing and other combustible materials stay far away from open flames. Our fire detection systems can alert you when burners are remained on.

Heating: Make sure there are at least 3 feet of clearance between space heaters and any flammable objects. Also, ensure wood burning heaters and fireplaces are properly maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.

Candles: When using candles, be smart about their placement. Never leave an open flame unattended or near children. Extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Smoking: Indoor smoking is the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths in the United States. If you must smoke inside, make sure you never smoke in bed and always fully extinguish cigarettes when finished. Keep matches and lighters away from children. Never place ashes in a trash can where they can ignite a fire; instead, wet them down and dispose of them in a metal container.

Appliances and Furniture: Furniture can catch fire very quickly. Take special care with placing furniture near heat sources. Electrical malfunctions account for about 6% of residential building fires. It is important to check electrical cords and to replace them if they are damaged.

Smoke Detectors: Ensuring that your smoke detectors are working properly is a huge part of ensuring your safety. Check that you have a smoke detector in every room in which people sleep and outside of the sleeping area. Test the detector once a month by pushing the test button until it beeps. If your smoke detector needs a new battery or is malfunctioning, take care of it as soon as possible. Smoke detectors older than 10 years need to be replaced and batteries older than six months should be changed as well. If you ever hear the fire alarm, it is important that you immediately leave your home.

Fire Extinguishers: Make sure that you purchase one. This is a necessary item to stop minor fires before they spread. Ensure that the fire extinguisher is up to date and working properly. Familiarize yourself with PASS (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep) on how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Close Doors: Avoid leaving doors propped open because closed doors can slow the spread of a fire.

Clutter: Do not leave any shared spaces cluttered. This could block your escape, especially at night or in a smoke-filled room, when it is difficult to see clearly.

Escape Plan: Creating a fire escape plan is very important and will allow you to be ready in case a fire ever does occur. Identify all possible escape routes from your home and establish a meeting place outside, a safe distance from your house, with your family. Conduct your own fire drills, both during the day and at night.

Prepare yourself and do your part to ensure that your home will never be in a dangerous fire situation. Take our fire safety quiz and know just how secure your home is.

How To Best Protect Your Home And Car This Halloween

by Amy October 30, 2018

According to a study conducted by the Boston Globe, crime rates increase by 50% on Halloween night. If you’re out trick-or-treating with the kids, burglars could take advantage of people being away from home and the unfamiliar traffic and pedestrians typically out on Halloween. Protect your home before going trick or treating. Use these tips to stay safe and enjoy the fun sideo of this spooky evening.

General Safety Tips:

  • Choose your trick or treating venue or neighborhood wisely.
  • Take steps to protect your vehicles.
  • Provide plenty of light in walkways.
  • Make sure your trick or treaters are visible.
  • Avoid distractions while walking and driving.

Protect Your Home:

  • Provide plenty of lighting around the exterior of your home to make it easy to see people who approach your home and so visitors don’t stubmble on anything unseen.
  • Place decorations strategically so that they will not be a tripping hazard. Avoid extension cords if possible.
  • Keep all unsupervised points of entry into your home locked. It is a good idea to have your security system activated, even if you are just outside. You may not be aware of someone trying to break into your house while you’re handing out Halloween candy.
  • Leave all valuables out of sight.
  • Let your neighbors know that you do not plan to be home so that they can keep any eye out for anything suspicious.

Protect Your Vehicle:

  • Keep in mind that car theft increases as well on Halloween, so protect your vehicle. Park your car in your garage or at a well-lit area in a trusted neighborhood.
  • Remove all valuables from your car and never leave any in sight, espeically money or a purse, even for a few minutes.
  • Lock all the doors and roll up all the windows.
  • Set your alarm on your vehicle.

My Alarm Center provides security monitoring that will allow you to stay safe all year round. Plan for Halloween so that you can guarantee your home will be safe, even if you plan to celebrate somewhere else.

5 Causes Of Holiday House Fires And How To Prevent Them

by Amy October 26, 2018

The holiday season is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but, every year, hundreds become the victims of unfortunate holiday fires. Fires during the holidays account for 34% greater property loss and 70% more fatalities than average. Don’t let fire ruin your holiday and follow these tips to ensure a safe holiday season for you and your family.

  1. Cooking

The holidays are all about big meals, and the most common culprit is food left unattended during cooking. Ensure that you have a working fire extinguisher rated for all types of fires and that all the smoke detectors are working properly throughout your household. And be sure you know how to operate the fire extinguisher.

  1. Candles

Candle fires are four times more likely during the month of December. To reduce the risk of fire, maintain a foot of space between candles and anything flammable, including your Christmas tree. Set candles on a sturdy base or cover them with hurricane globes. Do not leave candles unattended, especially near children. Also, consider using flameless LED candles instead of real ones. They flicker, just like an actual candle, but there’s no risk of anything catching aflame.

  1. Decorative Lights

Do not use any decorative lights with frayed or cracked wires. Refrain from stringing any more than three strands of lights together on one outlet. Ensure lights are not placed near any heat sources or anything that could potentially overheat. When placing lights outside, avoid using nails or staples as this could damage the wiring. It is also recommended to take lights down within 90 days as they could be damaged by environmental factors.

  1. Christmas Trees

It will take less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to become engulfed in flame. To minimize the risk of a Christmas Tree catching fire, water the tree every day. If a tree is well watered, it is almost impossible to ignite. Regardless of how often you water the tree, it will begin to dry out after four weeks. When setting up the tree, even an artificial one, make sure it is far away from any heat sources, like fireplaces or radiators. Lastly, make sure the Christmas lights on the tree are always turned off when you go to sleep at night or leave your home. You smart home can automate when to turn your lights on and off.

  1. Fireplaces

Remember to have your fireplace inspected every year by a professional chimney inspector. Soot can harden and become flammable, so this inspection is indispensable. Screen in your fireplace to prevent any hot embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet.

Be cautious and careful when choosing how to decorate your home this holiday season. Make sure that anything potentially flammable is kept far away from heat sources and electronics. If your fire alarm sounds, immediately leave your home, even if you do not know the cause of the alarm.

My Alarm Center wishes you a safe holiday season with your family.

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.

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