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Home Security Tips From A Thief

by Amy May 8, 2018

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

  1. Lock Up

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

  1. Landscape For Security

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

  1. Unique Hiding Spaces

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

  1. Exterior Lights

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

  1. Install A Home Security Alarm

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

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

The Safest Neighborhoods In Philly

by Amy May 4, 2018

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

  1. Chestnut Hill

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

  1. Fairmont-Spring Garden

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

  1. East Falls

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

  1. Roxborough

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

  1. Manayunk

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

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

Home Security Checklist

by Amy April 13, 2018

Be prepared with a home security plan before disaster strikes. The more prepared you are, the better chance you have of protecting yourself and your home. Though the best type of security is a home security system, there are many different ways to reinforce the security within your home.

  1. Exterior Doors

Reinforce all exterior doors. Consider replacing plastic or aluminum doors with solid wood or a metal clad. If your door has glass inserts, make sure they are reinforced with security glazing. Security glazing is a strong and durable plastic that will keep intruders from breaking the glass to enter your home. The door hinges also need to face inside your home. This way an intruder can’t access the pins and take the entire door off the frame. Keep exterior doors closed and locked when not in use, even if you’re only leaving for a few minutes. The same rule applies to your garage door.

  1. Lighting

All driveways, pathways, and entry points must be lit. Consider installing motion detectors throughout your property that will turn on exterior lights when activated. This will help scare away any potential intruders. If you go on vacation, make sure you apply timers to your interior lights. This will make it appear as if someone is home even when they are not.

  1. Windows

Use a supplemental lock for your windows with a key operated device, sometimes known as a sash lock. This will keep the window from being forced open from the outside. You could also try out safety bars to completely ensure windows cannot be opened.

  1. Outdoor Security

Landscape with security in mind. Keep your shrubs and bushes trimmed so there is no place for any intruder to hide. Make sure there are no dark areas to hide in as well. Keep your gate latched and shed doors locked. Keep your lawn mower, lawn tools, and grill out of sight on your property. If an intruder sees expensive equipment on the outside, they know to expect expensive valuables inside.

  1. Vacation

When away for an extended period, have someone look out for your home. Make sure the lawn is maintained and bushes are trimmed. This also applies with snow, ensuring it is shoveled. Suspend newspaper deliveries and mail service while you are away as well. You do not ever want to give the appearance that your home is empty.

  1. Inventory Possessions

It is important you have an inventory of your homes valuable possessions. This should include a photograph of each item and the identification numbers inscribed by manufacturers.

Have a plan to keep your home secure. A home security system from My Alarm Center does more than just make you feel safe, it keeps your home from being an easy target. 

Protect Yourself From Bluetooth Hackers

by Amy February 8, 2018

Many people believe that being hacked is not easy and unfortunately this is not true. Many people also believe they will not be hacked because they do not have any essential information, but this is false as well. A hacker can find out more than you’d think just by hacking into your cell phone. Be cautious and protect yourself from being hacked by following these safety tips:

Protect Your Home Devices

1. Turn Off Your Wifi And Bluetooth

Hackers can see if you keep these features on your phone on at all times. The reason why this is important is because they could view what networks you have connected to before and can spoof them and trick your phone into connecting to Wifi and Bluetooth devices that hackers carry around. Once in control of your device, hackers can bombard your device with malware, steal data, or even spy on you.

2. Use Two-Step Authentication

Many major internet websites will provide a login option for two-step authentication. Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a few of these companies that will ask you for a secret code that is sent through text message to your cell phone, to log into your account. This is a great form of protection because even if someone manages to guess your password, it would be impossible to login without having full access to your phone.

3. Create A Smart Password

Consider using various characters and numbers sporadically throughout your password. Make sure this is something you will be able to remember. The more unique your password is, the less likely someone will be able to guess it.

4. Guard Your Home Wifi

Setting up your home wifi system is an important way to stay protected. First, change the password to the wifi network. Do not continue to use the random password that is written on the side of your router. When asked what type of security encryption standard you’d like to have for your network, choose WPA-2.

5. Don’t Hide Your Wifi Signal

If your home router asks to “Hide The SSID”, click no. This means that all your devices will always be looking for a new network to join. It could also mean that you are joining networks that are not safe.

Protect Your Bluetooth Devices

Scammers gain access to cell phone users by hacking into your cell phone using Bluetooth. To protect yourself consider these tips:

1. Create A Good Password

To prevent your Bluetooth from being hacked, always use a minimum of eight characters in your pin.

2. Use “Not Discoverable” Setting

Switch Bluetooth into “not discoverable” when you are not using it.

3. Be Cautious Of Other Devices

Do not accept any pairing requests from any unknown devices. This is very important because this is how a hacker gains full access to your cell phone including calls, texts, pictures, credit card information, and any other important information your phone contains.

4. Be Cautious Of Ways To Get Hacked

  • Bluejacking: This is one of the most common ways that people are being hacked. This is when a hacker searches for discoverable devices around them and sends spam in the form a text. This method is usually harmless but is more annoying than a significant security issue. This method is specifically used for different types of spam messaging and does not give hackers access to your phone or its contents. The best way to handle this mode is to ignore messages if you receive them. If you keep your Bluetooth setting on “non-discoverable” then you should not have many problems with this form of hacking.
  • Bluesnarfing: This type of hacking can lead to a hacker gaining access to your private information on your smartphone. A hacker could potentially purchase software that allows them to request information from your device. It is possible for this to happen when you are set to “invisible” or “non-discoverable”, but it is much less frequent due to the time, effort, and money needed to complete this type of hack.
  • Bluebugging: If a hacker uses bluebugging, then they have received full access to your cell phone. They can see all your photos, apps, contacts, texts, and phone calls. This type of hacking is only feasible with older phones with outdated firmware. Newer smartphones are less likely to have this happen because of constant security updates.

While your wireless security system protects your home and those within it, it doesn’t necessarily protect the software within your home. Be smart when using your Bluetooth devices so that they are not vulnerable to a hacker waiting to prey on your network. Take the time to avoid being an easy target for a hacker.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Home Safety for Independent Seniors

by Amy September 26, 2016

senior home safety
While there are various retirement homes and options for assisted living, many senior citizens prefer to remain in their homes. Seniors have the ability to live in their homes until a much later age with the help of personal medical alert systems. By receiving assistance at the push of a button, seniors can remain independent, but connected to the appropriate emergency response contacts. In addition to personal security systems, it is important that senior homes are safely equipped to accommodate aging needs to allow for a safe and independent lifestyle.

Useful tips for senior safety around the house:

In the Kitchen:
• Rearrange cabinet contents so that reaching and bending is limited
• Replace cabinet knobs with handles for easier access
• Purchase a refrigerator with a lower freezer
• Elevate the front of the refrigerator so that the doors will swing closed
• Install swivel plates in the bottom of corner cabinets to make for easier access
• Use the microwave before using the oven whenever possible to avoid burns, but not if a pacemaker is used
• Use a faucet with one level that can balance water temperatures
• Ensure the temperature on your water heater is set to 120 degrees
• Use an electric teakettle over a stovetop option. The best model has an automatic shutoff feature
• Ensure to check expiration dates on food often

In the Bedroom:
• Install bed railings to make it easier to get in and out of bed
• Check smoke detectors regularly
• Keep a flashlight near the bed for easy access
• Install motion detector lights near the bed side floor
• Keep a chair in the bedroom to use for assisting in getting dressed
• Keep the floor area of the bedroom clear and avoid the use of throw rugs
• Consider using a medical alert system

In the Bathroom:

• Elevate toilet seats to make getting up and down easier
• Install a grab bar next to the toilet, shower, and tub to help getting up and down
• Install a medical alert button near the shower
• Replace knobs on faucets with handles that are labeled hot and cold
• Install power outlets on a level that is easily accessible
• Use a night light in the bathroom
• Remove door locks from the bathroom door in order to make it easier for a loved one to assist if needed
• Redesign the bathroom to have a walk in tub or shower. Installing a seat within the shower is an important safety feature
• Install non-skid strips onto the shower floor

In the Living Room:

• Use carpeting rather than hardwood floors to provide better traction
• Remove items from the floor used for decoration like plants, baskets, and footstools
• Replace chairs that have wheels
• Ensure that all power cords are moved out of the way and lamps are placed in areas they cannot be tripped on

Home and Recreational Safety:
• Replace the front door knob with a lever handle
• Make sure flashlights are always easily available
• Always wear shoes that fit properly and have a low heel
• Reinforce stairway railings and install more hand holding railings throughout the house
• Have canes or walkers present if necessary
• Keep smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on every floor
• Keep important items at waist level and ensure to avoid standing on chairs or ladders
• Salt the driveway and walkways during the winter
• Be cautious of identity theft
• Be aware of medication side effects

It is very possible for senior citizens to maintain their independence and live on their own, but it is essential that their houses are reinforced with safety precautions. These tips are provided by A Place for Mom. For information on My Alarm Center’s personal emergency response system visit our site or contact us today.

Back to School Child Safety Tips

by Cassie August 9, 2016

School Safety Tips

The school year is starting up. While you are out buying school supplies and new outfits, take the time to teach your children school safety tips as well. Review safety tips for transportation and also emergency contact information. If an emergency does arise, be confident that your child will know what to do because you’ve taught them how to respond. Use these safety tips to ensure your child stays safe this school year.

School Bus Safety: The American Red Cross informs children on how to stay safe while riding the school bus. Security tips include how to wait to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the driver instructs them to get on. Your child should ensure that they are always getting on to their designated school bus, no alternatives.
Carpool Safety: If your neighborhood is participating in a carpool, make sure that every driver in the group is following proper safety protocol. All passengers need to be buckled, and anyone who is under 13 years old should travel in the back. Never attempt to overload a car full of children to save a trip. Travel safety tips are available on safecar.gov and provide feedback for parents on how to keep their children safe on the way to and from school.
Walking Safety: Children 10 years old and younger should always be accompanied by an adult on their way to and from school. Teach them the basic traffic laws of a walking pedestrian by abiding by crosswalk rules and walking traffic lights. Inform them to always look both ways before crossing any streets and avoid approaching strangers if possible.
Stranger Danger: Make sure to inform your child of “Stranger Danger.” It is not wise to create panic necessarily, but it is essential to explain to your child that not all people have good intentions and it is possible for bad things to happen when dealing with strangers.
Contact Information: It is important that your child remembers what number to call in case there is an emergency. All children should know their home phone number and address. Try to get them to memorize your personal phone number, and give them a piece of paper to keep in their backpack with all other emergency contacts.
Know School Policy: Determine the policy for your school in case of an emergency. It is also important to know their policies on releasing students early from school and what is needed from visitors. It is important for you to feel that your child is always safe while at school.
After School: Howtolearn.com suggests many tips to teach your children if they are going to be coming home to an empty house after school. It is important that you teach them how to be safe while they are home alone. Show them to lock the front door as soon as they come home, and to keep all other doors locked while you are not home. Your child should also never answer the front door to any strangers while no one else is home. My Alarm Center offers home security systems, that enable parents to receive alerts when children arrive home.

Whether your child is at school, coming to or from school, or home alone after school, make sure they always know what to do in order to stay safe. Role playing is suggested by experts so that you know exactly how your child will respond in an emergency situation and teach them how to handle it properly.

Sources:
http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Keep-it-Safe-When-You-Head-Back-to-School
http://www.safercar.gov/parents/OnTheMove/BackToSchool.htm
http://www.howtolearn.com/2013/09/back-to-school-home-security-tips-your-kids-need-to-know/

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