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Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

by Amy June 21, 2016

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This Fourth of July, enjoy your family and friends while staying safe! Follow these safety tips in order to have a fun day and protect all of your guests.

Grilling Safety

We all love a classic hot dog or cheeseburger fresh off the grill. Make sure that grilling is done in a safe area and monitored by a responsible adult. Here are other precautions, including tips from the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association.

  • Check gas grill lines for cracks, holes, and leaks
  • Make sure that children are monitored and stay a safe distance away from the grill
  • Never grill indoors, in the garage, an enclosed area, or close to any surface that could catch fire
  • Ensure the grill is at least two feet away from decks, siding, or outdoor equipment
  • Avoid a grease fire by keep the grill clean and avoiding fat buildup
  • Never leave the grill unattended while in use
  • Wear safe clothing, free of loose sleeves, string, etc. that may catch fire

Sparkler and Fireworks Safety

The staple of a Fourth of July celebration is fireworks but firework materials can be dangerous. Take the proper precautions in order to protect everyone present at your holiday event. Here are tips to prevent a firework safety incident, including recommendations from The National Council on Fireworks Safety.

  • Make sure to use fireworks in a safe area that is dry and fire resistant
  • Don’t point sparklers or fireworks at yourself or others
  • Do not allow young children access to handle fireworks and make sure they are always supervised
  • Always have a fire extinguisher or hose available while using fireworks
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers
  • Read all caution labels carefully before using any fire materials
  • Obey your local laws for your county
  • Use safety goggles or protective equipment while using fireworks
  • While using sparklers, use them away from other people and make sure a responsible adult is lighting the material
  • Make sure to have a bucket of water to put the sparklers in after they are used

Water Safety

If you plan to spend the Fourth of July at the pool, beach, or lake, make sure you take the time to plan ahead accordingly. These water tips, including recommendations from the American Red Cross, will help keep your family safe!

  • Never consume alcohol while using water vehicles
  • Always double check there are enough life preservers available if needed
  • Ensure the pool is in an enclosed area to restrict who can and cannot enter the pool
  • Make sure a lifeguard is present, or a responsible individual is monitoring water activities
  • Review water safety tips with all of your guests, especially children
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings
  • Keep a first aid kit present near the pool
  • Stay hydrated and keep water available
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water that could be cold in temperature or hazardous

At My Alarm Center, we’re here to help protect your family and wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July.

25 Home Security Stats You Need To Know

by Cassie March 2, 2015

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If protecting your home and the loved ones inside are top priorities, it may be beneficial to know about the potential dangers that are lurking. By being aware, you can make informed decisions and use an alarm company be able to protect the people and things that matter to you most.

Here are some important home security statistics that you need to know:

Security

1. 81 percent of intrusions occur through the first floor. (source: My Alarm Center)

2. In 2013, there were an estimated 8,632,512 property crime offenses in the nation. (source: FBI)

3. 34 percent of intruders enter through the front door, while 22 percent enter through a back door. 12 percent of burglars enter through an unlocked entrance. (source: My Alarm Center)

4. Property crimes in 2013 resulted in losses estimated at $16.6 billion. (source: FBI)

5. 9 out of 10 burglars avoid homes with home security company alarm systems and said if they did encounter an alarm, they would not attack the home. (source: Yahoo!)

 

Automation

6. About 17.23 million wireless embedded smart home monitoring and smart home devices, ranging from contact and motion sensors to smart thermostats and smart plugs, sold in 2013, nearly twice as many as the previous year. (source: iWatchLife.com)

7. By 2016, the home automation market is estimated to grow to $36 million. (source: My Alarm Center)

8. Estimates from research firm Gartner predict that an average home could remotely connect up to 500 things in your home with smart home devices. (source: CNBC)

10. 12 million home automations systems are expected to be installed by 2016. (source: My Alarm Center)

 

Fire

11. In 2013, there were 487,500 structure fires, causing 2,855 civilian deaths, 14,075 civilian injuries, and $9.5 billion in property damage. (source: NFPA)

12. One home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds. (source: NFPA)

13. Each household has a one in four chance of having a home fire large enough to be reported to a fire department during an average lifetime. (source: NFPA)

14. Cooking is responsible for almost half of household fires. (source: USFA)

15. The majority (62 percent) of home fire deaths resulted from fire in homes with no smoke detectors, fire alarm systems, or non-working fire alarms. (source: My Alarm Center)

 

Flood

16. 70 percent of failures are due to water tanks bursting or leaking. (source: My Alarm Center)

17. Water heater failures cost an average of $4,444 per incident after the deductible was paid. (source: Disaster Safety)

18. Up to 93 percent of the cost of water damage could have been prevented or minimized if an automatic water leak detection and shut-off system had been present in the homes. This si why we recommend getting a water alarm system installed. (source: Leak Defense System)

19. The average cost for repairing flood damage is $15,000. (source: My Alarm Center)

20. The age at which a water heater leaks and the water tank failed due to leaking or bursting was available for 32% of the claims. Water heaters up to 20 years old accounted for 95 percent of these claims. (source: Disaster Safety)

 

Emergency

21. Poor nutrition and malnutrition occur in 15 to 50 percent of the elderly population. (source: Spark People)

22. Over one in every eight, or 13.3 percent of the population is an older American. (source: AOA)

23. Around 28 percent or 11.8 million elderly live at home alone and would be unable to contact emergency services on their own. (source: AOA)

24. One out of three older adults (those aged 65 or older) falls each year and does not have PERS. (source: CDC)

25. The number of people aged 65 and older is projected to reach 83.7 million by 2050, compared with 43.1 million in 2012. (source: Health Day)

Share these stats with those you love – because together, we are safer.

If you want more information, check our our handy infographics that feature Fire, Flood and Home Automation facts and stats.

Worried About Winter Weather? Here’s A Winter Weather Prep Sheet

by Tammy February 5, 2015

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Winter can put a damper on more than just your mood – it can also dampen your home (in more ways than one). The seasonal weather can be unpredictable with freezing rain and temperatures to blizzards resulting in high winds and double-digit snow totals. So to help prepare you and your home for the unpredictability of the winter season, here is our winter weather prep sheet that provides some ways to protect your home and keep it secure as you simultaneously cross your fingers and hope for some early spring weather.

Fire protection. With the cold and freezing temperatures, fires become an increased hazard. One of the best ways to prevent a fire is to install a fire alarm system. Sixty-two percent of home fire deaths are the result of homes without fire alarm systems or non-working fire alarms. To prevent a fire, there are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t use the oven as a heating device
  • Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy
  • Never leave lit candles alone
  • Keep anything flammable (e.g., curtains, furniture, papers, etc.) at least three feet away from heating equipment
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys inspected and maintained every year
  • Have a device for gas detection, like a carbon monoxide detector

Home security. Keeping your home secure is always a concern no matter what time of year and winter is no exception. Installing a home security system can help your home be in constant communication in situations such as power outages. So while setting up booby traps and protecting your home like Kevin in Home Alone may sound like fun, there are a few other ways to secure your home during the winter. They include:

  • Keep doors and windows locked, especially when away from the home and at night
  • Have plenty of exterior lighting
  • Keep a spare key with a trusted neighbor rather than hiding one around your home’s exterior

Emergencies. During the winter months, you want your loved ones to be prepared, be able to quickly contact emergency services, and have whatever they need within reach. One main consideration is creating an emergency plan, which can lessen the chaos and reduce panic in times of emergency. For those family members living on their own, having a personal emergency response system can help keep everyone informed. Here are a few tips for the whole family to be prepared during winter emergencies:

  • Keep fresh batteries and battery operated flashlights on-hand
  • Keep contact numbers and information easily accessible
  • Have non-perishable food items and bottled water in case of a power outage
  • Keep extra blankets and sleeping bags handy
  • Always have a first aid kit and a supply of essential medicines
  • Have back-up heating equipment
  • Keep track of inside temperatures (elderly are more susceptible to health problems from the cold)
  • Communicate with everyone about an emergency plan (e.g., contacts, routes, meeting spot, etc.)

Water damage. Winter weather and freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your home, especially when it comes to flooding. Water pipes can freeze and cause them to burst or water heaters can malfunction and leak. With the average cost for repairing water damage is $15,000, you want to make sure you can prevent flooding in your home. Consider these steps:

  • Take precautionary measures to prevent pipes from freezing
  • Invest in a flood protection system with leak detectors to alert when something goes wrong
  • Insulate water lines running along outer walls

Additional Tips. Keeping your loved ones and home safe in the winter season are important, so here are a few extra tips to go the extra mile:

  • Bring pets indoors (or provide adequate shelter and access to unfrozen water)
  • Install an outdoor thermometer that’s easy to read
  • Clear away any lingering branches that could cause damage to your home in the event of a storm
  • Use a smart thermostat to keep your home warm, regulate temperatures, and save money

While winter weather is not always predictable, listening to the weather forecast, regularly checking your emergency supplies, and following these tips can help keep your loved ones safe and your home secure. For additional information, check out these resources:

Home Heating Safety Tips

by Tammy January 8, 2015

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Home fires occur in winter more than at any other time of the year. This is due in part to the use of alternative heating sources that many people use for cooking and heating to combat the winter cold.

You can heat your home safely while preventing winter fires. The following tips can help you maintain a fire safe home this winter.

Check the Furnace

  • Have your furnace and related components checked by a licensed, qualified professional in your area once a year. Use the professional contractor locater provided by the Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association to find a pro in your community.
  • Replace the air filters per the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Clean the floor vents. Make sure they are clear of debris, pet hair, dust, toys and food scraps.
  • Make sure outside vents are free from snow and ice.
  • Get fire alarm monitoring where your home will be monitored for a fire emergency by monitoring centers.

Fire Place Safety

  • Have the chimney cleaned as necessary.
  • Keep the area around the fire place free of flammable materials (at least two feet is recommended).
  • Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood.
  • Always close the firescreen when in use.
  • Never leave a fire unattended and extinguish fires before sleeping.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy for use in the event of an emergency.

Space Heater Safety

  • Turn them off when you leave the home or go to bed. Don’t leave them unattended.
  • Always use a UL certified space heater.
  • Keep flammable materials away from the heater, as the majority of space heater fires start with these materials.
  • Keep the heater on a level surface away from pets and areas where people may bump into it.
  • Avoid using space heaters in flooded areas or water.
  • Don’t use long extension cords that people can trip over.

Wood Stove Safety

  • Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood.
  • Keep the area clear of combustible materials.
  • Place the stove on a non-combustible, fire-proof base.
  • Don’t connect a stove pipe to a fireplace chimney unless the fire place has been closed off. Never connect it to a chimney of an appliance burning other fuels.
  • Never start a fire with flammable fluids like gas.
  • Always supervise the fire…don’t leave it unattended.
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations concerning installation and operation.

Most Important about Heating Safety

The most important protective measure you can take is to make sure there are monitored smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. These detectors notify occupants of a smoke or poisonous gas hazard and monitored detectors will deploy help when needed. Contact your My Alarm Company representative or visit the Fire & Carbon Monoxide Detection page on the website for more information.

Fire Safety – Christmas Trees, Lights, Candles, and Home Fire Alarm Systems

by Tammy December 18, 2014

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The Christmas holiday season is a time of year that we should be spending with family and spreading joy to all of our loved ones.  During this time of year it may be easy to overlook some of the fire hazards that come along with the decorations of the season.

The NFPA estimates an average of 230 American homes are damaged each year by fires caused by ignited Christmas trees.  Another 150 home structure fires are caused by line voltage decorative lights.  Together these fires cause an average of 15 deaths, 38 injuries and $26.7 million dollars in property damage each year!  These sobering figures cannot be ignored and safety precautions need to be taken to help ensure you and your loved ones have a safe and enjoyable holiday season without the fire alarm going off.

Here are some great tips we would like to pass your way to help you keep your holiday fire free.

  1. When choosing a tree be sure to pick one that is a fresh as possible. Look to see your tree has green, semi-pliable needles.  Dry needles have a much higher possibility of catching fire.  Cutting down the tree yourself is the best way to ensure its freshness.
  2. If you have an artificial tree be sure it is labeled Fire Retardant by the manufacturer.  While having a real tree might bring a sense of holiday authenticity, the simple fact of the matter is that artificial trees are much less likely to catch fire.
  3. Before putting your real tree in a stand be sure to cut off at least 2 to 3 inches of the base to expose some fresh wood.  This will allow the tree to stay moist and prevent dryin gout.  Be sure to check the water level of the tree every day.  A real Christmas tree will be very thirsty in the dry winter months.
  4. Choose where you place your tree wisely.  Never place your tree near any heat source like a fireplace, radiator, heating vents, hot water heater, hot lights or candles.  And of course never place your tree in front of any exit.  In case of a fire you want to make sure you have a clear path to get out of the house.  Another suggestion is to place your tree somewhere that the tree cannot be knocked over by the family pet or playing children into a heat source.
  5. When choosing lights for your tree and extension cords be sure that they are rated properly by an independent testing laboratory and are UL-listed.  Some lights are intended for indoor or outdoor use only.  Today’s LED lights are a great choice as they do not create any heat. We hope it should go without saying, but never use real candles to light up your tree.  This is an old tradition before electric lights were invented and we highly suggest you do not attempt this.
  6. Once you have your new lights selected or have pulled out the lights from storage, be sure to check them well for any loose bulbs or damaged wires. If you can replace the bulbs be sure to unplug them before doing so to avoid any shock.  If the wires or plugs are defective, replace the entire string.  Don’t risk a fire due to an electrical issue as this is the number one reason trees ignite.
  7. When you are ready to plug in your lights, be sure not to overload any one circuit.  Plug a maximum of 3 light strings together.  If you are using LED lights, consult the manufacturer’s suggestion on how many strings you can safely plug into each other to create one chain.  It is highly suggested that you plug all lights into a surge outlet protector instead of directly into a wall outlet.  Lastly, always remember to shut off the lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
  8. If you will be decorating the outside of your home than be sure to choose lights that are intended for outdoor use.  Using indoor lights that are not designed to be used for outside weather can result in them shorting out or even worse.  Don’t run the risk of electrical shock or a fire hazard by using indoor lights outside.  If you are unsure if your lights are safe for outdoor use than look for the color-coded UL logo on the packaging.  A green logo is only safe for indoor use while the red logo can be used inside or outdoors safely.  The same safety precautions need to be taken with any extension cords that are being used.
  9. Once the festivities are over and the holiday has come and gone you are better off taking the tree down as soon as possible.  Real trees do not last that long and the needles will quickly begin to dry out making them a fire hazard.  The majority of fires involving Christmas trees happen after the holiday and not before.  It is also suggested that you remove outdoor lighting immediately after the holiday to reduce any risk of fire and to help preserve the life of your outdoor lights.

While Christmas tree fires are not a common occurrence, when they do happen the damage is usually significant.  These fires can also leave a significant scar on the memory of the holiday itself.  We hope that you find our tips useful and have a safe and happy holiday season with your family, friends and loved ones. And don’t forget that My Alarm Center offers 24/7 fire alarm monitoring from our monitoring center.

Home Fire Safety for Pets: Prevention and Planning

by Amy October 21, 2014

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You might be surprised to hear that an estimated 1,000 home fires are caused each year by the family pet and more than 500,000 pets are involved in fires each year where they were not the cause.  The family pet is considered by most to be an equally important member of the family unit, yet our four legged friends are often overlooked when planning a fire escape plan and taking fire prevention steps.

In this article we discuss some easy to follow steps to help pet owners create a safe environment for pets, as well as some action plans in the unfortunate event of a home fire while your pet is home alone.

Monitored smoke detectors and fire alarms – If a fire breaks out in your home it can be a matter of minutes for a small flame to turn into an inferno.  Monitored smoke and carbon monoxide alarms give you the quickest way of alerting the fire department in the event of an emergency.  Not only can they save your pet’s life, but it can also be the difference between minimal damage and a total loss of your home.

Keep an eye on all flames and fire sources – Everyone knows that pets are inquisitive by nature and can easily be intrigued by open flames.  You always want to extinguish any open flames that you cannot keep an eye on.  This includes the stove top, candles, and especially your fireplace.  Unattended pets should never be left alone around any open flames and, pet or no pet, you should always extinguish any fires or candles before leaving the house.

Secure stove knobs – Many electric stoves are controlled by digital panels, but most gas ranges are controlled by easy to turn knobs.  Removing the knobs or securing them with gas knob locks can give you piece of mind knowing they cannot be turned on by accident.  According to fire inspection statistics, cook tops are the number one culprit when it comes to home fires caused by pets.

Purchase candle lights – There are battery operated candles that have light bulbs instead of a wick and can produce the same soft glow.  Investing in these instead of traditional candles can keep your pet safe from knocking them over and starting a fire or torching their tails over a lit candle.

Make your home pet proofed – Pets are like small children and are guaranteed to get into almost everything.  That is why it is a good idea to do a thorough walk through of your home to look for any potential hazards like loose wires or exposed electrical wires.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Use a pet alert window cling – One of the most inexpensive and effective ways to keep your pet safe is to install a pet safety window cling to a front window of your home.  Keeping an updated cling with the number of pets that are in your home can be a priceless tool for firefighters.

Leave pets near an entrance to your home – If possible, it is a good idea to crate your pets near the front or back doors of your home when you leave.  This will make it easy for them to be found by firefighters.  If your pets are allowed to freely roam the house, you may want to consider closing off bedroom doors or any rooms of your house that a pet could potentially run into and hide.

Confine your younger pets – Puppies, kittens and other baby critters should certainly be kept away from any fire hazards.  It is probably best to crate them or keep them in a gated area.  Again, this will make it easier for firefighters to find them and it will also keep them safe from causing any harmful mischief while you are gone.

Include your pets in your escape route. – Your pet will probably not know what to do in the event of a fire which means you need to do the planning for them.  It is a great idea to keep extra leashes and collars near every exit of your home.  This way you will be prepared and your beloved pet will not be able to flee once they are outside.  Leashes and collars are also a good visual cue to let firefighters know there is a pet in the home.

Wood Stove Safety Tips

by Amy October 14, 2014

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Despite the EPA’s ban on the majority of wood burning stoves in America, 2.4 million American homes still use wood as their primary heating source according to the 2011 US Census Bureau’s survey statistics.  This equals approximately 12% of homes in the US!

With October being fire safety prevention month, we feel like this is the perfect time to provide some valuable information on the proper usage and maintenance of wood burning stoves.  Many more homes will use fireplaces as well during the upcoming winter months and this information will be beneficial to those homeowners too..

Choose the Correct Fuel – When choosing the type of wood to burn in your stove it is always advised to pick a hardwood like maple, ash, beech, oak or hickory.  Hardwood, in comparison to softwood, burns much slower and will deliver much more heat.  The wood you will eventually burn needs to be split and dried for a minimum of one year before burning.  Certain climates with very low humidity like the deserts of Arizona may only take 6-8 months to dry out your wood, but a year is recommended.  Hardwood that is well seasoned will show obvious cracks in the end grain once properly dried and sounds hollow when tapped against another piece of dried wood.

Create a Cleaning Schedule – At least once every year you should clean your stovepipe and chimney using a wire brush.  You can also use controlled, high temperature fires occasionally to help burn off any build up in your wood stove.  We suggest that you do not use the salt-based chemical cleaners to do the job, as they can create quite a mess unless you are very familiar with its application process.  We highly recommend that you never use heavy objects tied to a rope such as bricks or chains to try and clean your chimney.  This can cause significant damage.  If you are not confident in your ability to perform this cleaning task you may want to pursue help from a professional chimney sweep company.

Watch for Creosote Buildup – Modern, air-tight stoves often burn fires at low temperatures to help preserve fuel.  The temperature in the flue will commonly be between 100 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. At these low temperatures the heat is not strong enough to carry all of the combustible gas particles completely out of the chimney.  These particles then condense inside the walls of your stovepipe and chimney as creosote.  Creosote can form in 3 different states.

  1. Creosote can form as a sticky liquid that will eventually run down into the fire and be burned off on its own.
  2. Creosote can form as a dry, flaky black deposit that you will be able to brush off with a stiff wire brush.
  3. The third form Creosote can take is a solid tar that becomes glazed over and can be next to impossible to remove.  Chances are that you will need the help of a professional to have it thoroughly removed.

To help combat creosote buildup it is suggested that you install stovepipe thermometers to help you monitor low flue temperatures.  You should also always keep your air inlets on your stove open.  Restricting the air supply only helps creosote to form which can eventually lead to a chimney fire.

Protecting Your Home from the Outside – One of the best safety tips to protect your home is to install a mesh screen spark arrester on top of your chimney.  This will help to prevent any rogue sparks from exiting your home and starting a fire outside.  You will also want to make sure all tree branches near your chimney are removed or cut back to a safe distance.  Keep your roof clear of any flammable debris like pine needles and leaves.  The last outdoor safety tip is to keep your wood pile at least 30 feet from your home.  You don’t want a cord of wood to catch fire near your home.

Protecting Your Home from the Inside – It goes without saying that you will need a minimum of one smoke detector or fire alarm in every room of your house.  These alarms need to be tested at least once a month to ensure they are working properly.  The installation of the wood stove itself needs to be vented properly with all vent pipes extending a minimum of three feet above the top of your home.  Also be sure that all materials near or on your wood stove are fire resistant.  Combustible personal items left too close to wood stoves are common culprits for household fires.

Using Your Wood Stove and Building a Fire – Always use the proper fuel to start a fire.  Clean newspaper and small kindling work the best. Never use a flammable liquid to start a fire in your stove.  Cardboard, trash and other debris should not be used to start or fuel your fire.  For best results burn a hot, bright fire.  You can adjust the intensity of the heat by adjusting the size of the fire.  As the fire burns down to coals you will want to rake the coals into a mound toward the wood stove door and air inlet.  Do not rake the coals flat.  To increase your fire’s intensity it is suggested you add three pieces of wood at a time.  Place them on or behind the mound of coals you have created.  Try to avoid adding only one piece of wood at a time.

When it comes time to remove the ash be sure they have been allowed to cool completely before disposing of them.  You will want to keep the ashes in a metal container with a tight cover.  Always store these ashes at least 10 feet from any flammable structure and never empty them directly into a trash receptacle.  It is also advisable to soak the ashes with water before finally disposing of them.

Discover What No One Ever Tells You About Home Fire Alarm Systems & Home Smoke Detectors

by Derek October 9, 2014

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Everywhere you turn people tout the safety offered by home smoke detectors. Fire safety officials, government officials, and retailers throughout the country rave about home smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

There’s something about most of these smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors however that you don’t know, vital information that impacts your safety.

Most smoke detectors will simply burn up with your home. They won’t summon the fire department to send help for you or to fight the fire.

The vast majority of smoke detectors for sale at big box stores and other retailers are designed to only make a sound upon activation inside your home. The hope is that the fire alarm sounding will notify the occupants that a fire is present so they can leave safely.

They aren’t designed to summon help when needed. They aren’t designed to eliminate fire damage at your home.

That’s why it’s best to have monitored smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. These detectors send an alarm signal to an alarm monitoring center when they detect smoke or carbon monoxide. They also activate a loud siren inside the home to let occupants know it’s time to leave the home due to a fire emergency.

Monitored smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors can be tied into most burglar alarm systems, making them quite affordable and practical for the average homeowner. They’ll also notify the monitoring center if they’ve lost power or are operating on battery back-up.

You can get monitored smoke detectors and fire detectors from any reliable home security company. We’d be happy to help you too. Feel free to call us at (855) 334-6562 for more information.

It’s Fire Prevention Week – Help Spread the Word That Monitored Home Smoke Detectors Save Lives!

by Cassie October 7, 2014

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Fire Prevention Week is October 5-11, 2014. This week is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association. This year’s theme is “Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month.”

Fire Prevention Week was established by President Woodrow Wilson as a way of commemorating the Great Chicago Fire. The Great Chicago Fire killed more than 250 people and left more than 100,000 homeless on October 8-9, 1871. This fire forced Americans and fire officials to change the way they viewed fire safety, fire alarms, and fire prevention.

Nearly 40 years after the Great Chicago Fire, it was decided to commemorate the anniversary of the fire with a day to keep the public informed about fire safety, fire alarms, and fire prevention. The importance of high public awareness of these issues was emphasized by expanding this awareness program to an entire week during a period in which October 9 falls.

Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.

At My Alarm Center, we’ve developed an interactive checklist you can use to see how safe your home and family is from accidental fires. It is part of our efforts to keep people informed about fire prevention, fire alarms, and fire safety.

We’ve also developed a printable checklist tool to help make your home safe from fire, and we’d be happy to send you free wall clings to remind people to turn off appliances and practice fire safety.

Use sound fire safety and fire prevention practices in your home. And if you’re interested in getting monitored home smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, call us toll free at (855) 334-6562 for more information.

13 Tips for Outdoor Grilling and Barbecuing Safely

by Amy July 3, 2014

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Most people have fond memories of outdoor barbecues. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and steaks – all enjoyed in beautiful summer breezes with family and friends.

But with this fun comes the risk of fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to 8900 home fires each year involving grills, hibachis or barbecues. About one in three of these fires start on an unenclosed porch or exterior balcony.

All of us at My Alarm Center Emergency Services want you to fully enjoy outdoor grilling this summer. Follow these tips to avoid the risks of fire and other accidents:

  1. Study the owner’s manual. Review the owner’s manual of your grill each grilling season. It’s packed with tips and pointers to operate your grill in a safe manner.
  1. Follow local codes. For electrically operated accessories and outdoor kitchens, follow required grounding and building code rules and regulations.
  1. Inspect your grill to make sure it is in good working order. Make sure your grill is free of rust and holes. For propane grills, check the gas tank hose for leaks. Simply apply water and a light soap to the hose. A propane leak will create bubbles. You may also smell leaking gas. If you smell leaking gas or see the soapy bubbles and still have a flame, turn the grill off and get it serviced by a professional. If the leak or flame does not stop, call the fire department immediately.
  1. Only use grills outdoors. Place them well away from your home and family members, away from branches and deck railings and out from under eaves.
  1. Make sure your grill is stable. All parts of the grill should be firmly in place so that it can’t be easily tipped over.
  1. Keep kids and other smaller family members away from the grilling area. Keep pets away too. Both increase your risks of accidents.
  1. Keep starter fluids out of reach of children. Only use charcoal lighter fluids. Never add flammable liquids to an active fire. Keep lighter fluid away from heat and flame sources.
  1. Wear appropriate clothing. Clothing should not have loose strings or loose parts that could easily catch fire. Use flame retardant mitts when handling your grill.
  1. Use long-handled utensils. They reduce your risk of your clothing catching fire and of you getting burns while cooking.
  1. Be prepared to extinguish flames. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. If one is not available, baking soda, sand or water are other good options.
  1. Never leave your grill unattended. It only takes a second or two for a problem to start.
  1. Let the grill cool off. After grilling with charcoal, make sure the coals are completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container. Never attempt to move a hot grill. Make sure your grill is fully cool and clean before putting on a protective grill cover.
  1. Clean your grill after each use. Remove grease or fat buildup on the grill surface and the trays below the grilling area.

Summertime is fun time. Enjoy your outdoor grilling, enjoy your friends and family members and follow these tips for outdoor grilling safely!

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