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Road Trip Safety Tips

by Amy June 27, 2018

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.

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.

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.

Halloween Costume Safety Tips

by Amy October 11, 2017

Halloween can be the scariest night for parents. Follow these costume tips and give yourself some peace of mind on the spookiest of evenings by making sure whatever costume your child wears it’s a safe one.

  • Avoid baggy outfits and flowing cloaks. These stray pieces can easily brush across an open flame or trip up a trick or treater when they’re walking.
  • Shoes should be comfortable with laces securely tied. Decorative heels and oversized shoes can result in a painful spill.
  • Be sure to buy costumes that are labeled as flame resistant. With flickering candles and jack-o-lanterns there are many open flames around on Halloween night.
  • Make sure that any makeup you use is hypoallergenic. Nothing is less fun than a rash on Halloween.
  • Never use decorative contact lenses. Most aren’t certified by optometrists and can cause severe eye damage.
  • Avoid costumes and props with sharp edges. You want to make sure the only kids with eye patches are ones dressed as pirates.
  • You’ll often find dozens of trick or treaters coming to your door in the same costumes. Unique costumes are recommended so your child is easy to pick out in a crowd. If your child is wearing a similar costume to others, make sure to add something which stands out from the rest.
  • Make sure any masks being worn are easy to see out of. Obscured vision can lead to accidents.
  • Don’t rely on flashlights being the only thing that makes your trick or treater visible. Use reflective tape and glow sticks to make sure drivers can clearly see your child as they cross the street. Additionally, don’t ever let your kids go out in an all-black costume, no matter how scary they may look.

Halloween is a night of extreme excitement but also a night of dangers. Dark streets, costumed children, and candy fueled activities increase hazards. By following these simple tips, you can make sure your family has fun while staying safe. For more safety tips, check out some of My Alarm Center’s other articles.

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.

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.

6 Benefits Of Home Security Systems

by Amy December 7, 2016

There are many advantages to owning a home security system. They help keep your family safe, let you focus on the more important aspects of life, and give you peace of mind. Here are some other reasons to consider a home security system:

  • Protects Valuables

The alarm alone is enough to deter an intruder. However, once the alarm has sounded, the police are immediately notified and dispatched so your home is kept safe at all costs.

  • Helps Save Energy

Nowadays, home security systems also include many home automation features. This system will allow you to monitor your energy usage and shut off utilities when you are no longer in the room. This leads to lower monthly bills and less wasted energy.

Saving energy isn’t the only advantage of home automation. You can change the lighting, temperature, music, TV, and control numerous other aspects of your home from a device as simple as your smart phone.

  • Lowers Insurance

Many insurance agencies give discounts to members who have a home security system. This is a great way to cut down on expenses.

Fire and carbon monoxide detectors are vital features of any home security system. They can detect dangers that you can’t, such as invisible, poisonous carbon monoxide. As soon as the alarm has sounded, emergency services are on call to help. These detectors provide an indispensable advantage to protecting your family from emergencies that are usually out of your control.

  • Remote Surveillance

Remote surveillance allows you to watch your home at any hour of the day from any location. You can view the live feed from the wireless security cameras through an app on your smart phone. It can even alert you when people leave and enter your home – a great way to keep an eye on the kids whether you’re on vacation or just at work.

Home security systems are an investment. The right systems can keep your valuables safe while saving you money in the process. They also give peace of mind and let you know someone will always be there in case of an emergency. Protect your family, yourself, and make life a little easier by adding a security system into your home.

7 Winter Driving Tips

by Amy November 9, 2016

12.02

Driving during the winter season poses several threats to your car and your safety. The cold can hinder your car’s mechanical abilities and treacherous conditions can present major safety hazards. Here are some tips to stay safe on the road during the holidays:

o   Clear Off Snow and Ice Before Driving

Snow and ice can be a visual impairment while you’re trying to drive. So, clear the entire car, not just the windshield. Make sure the car is warmed up and your defroster is working to melt snow and ice.

o   Accelerate Slowly

When you apply the gas slowly, it lets the car catch traction and avoid dangerous skids due to bad road conditions. Icy roads make it much harder to slow down during the winter. It’s encouraged to increase the safety distance between the car in front of you from 4 seconds to 10 seconds. For this reason, it is recommended not to use cruise control.

o   Reduce Speed

Speed limits on roads are set for dry conditions. Reduce your speed for icy conditions.

o   Brake Earlier

First, make sure the brakes work properly and determine if you have anti-lock brakes. When braking without antilock brakes you should pump the brakes rather than slamming them as this will lock the wheels and cause your vehicle to skid.

o   Avoid Sudden Turns

When winter road conditions are present, it is essential that you move much slower. This also applies to making turns. A quick turn of the wheel could upset the car’s stability and cause a slide or even a crash.

o   What to Do When Sliding

Always keep your eyes on the road and try to anticipate any dangers that could be present. If you feel as though the back tires have begun to slide, make sure to let off the gas and turn the steering wheel into the direction the car is sliding. This movement will help stabilize the vehicle.

o   Be Cautious of Motorists

Even if you’re in full control of your car, it doesn’t mean that all the other drivers on the road are as prepared as you. Other people may not be paying attention to the wet or icy road conditions, so make sure to leave extra space between the vehicle in front of you at all times. Avoid distractions and always use turn signals as directed by the law.

My Alarm Center wants to remind you that the winter season can create many potential dangers when it comes to driving. Always stay alert and aware of how to handle icy and wet road conditions. Moving slowly and staying attentive will help keep you and your family safe this winter season.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

by Cassie October 27, 2016

Monitored Fire detector

Most people are aware they need fire alarms to warn them of a fire. But many people are not as aware of carbon monoxide. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a deadly and invisible gas. Colorless, tasteless, odorless, and poisonous. In 2007, there were 2,302 confirmed cases of people being hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning. It is essential to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home as many appliances release this deadly gas. My Alarm Center provides a monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detection system that can keep your home safe, even when you’re not there.

The benefits of My Alarm Center’s monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors include:

  • A linked central monitoring board so that when the alarm is set off, help can be notified immediately. This will take place even when you’re not home and when the security alarm is not armed.
  • Monitoring can provide protection to many people who are not capable of responding to a traditional alarm. This could include the elderly, disabled, children, people suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, and pets. The alarm immediately responds to safety providers.
  • The system provided by My Alarm Center monitors carbon monoxide and smoke in the air 24 hours a day.
  • Once the Central Monitoring Station is alerted, it first calls the home to assess the situation. If there is no response, the authorities are immediately contacted.
  • First Responders will arrive at the scene in minutes.

Firefighters recommend placing one monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detector in every bedroom and living space to ensure complete safety in the home. Unfortunately, too many people are endangered because they don’t have a working fire alarm or carbon monoxide detector. My Alarm Center’s fire and carbon monoxide detector system has the ability to constantly monitor your home and to keep it safe even when you’re not there. This system can give you peace of mind when you’re not home and alert you before a disaster can take place. Contact My Alarm Center for more information on professionally monitored Carbon Monoxide detectors.

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