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5 Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

by Amy February 28, 2014

 

There’s little doubt that America is getting older. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Department on Aging expects the number of citizens over age 65 to double by 2030.

With an aging America comes an increasing risk of injuries. To help keep people safe in their homes, we offer these five safety tips for senior citizens:

Conduct a Safety Inspection

Many senior citizens live in older homes. That’s why it’s important to conduct a home safety inspection. Get a licensed home inspector to look at plumbing, wiring, heating, cooling and other parts of the home that could cause safety concerns. Make sure stairways and handrails are secure. Inspect outside lighting so that it operates properly.

Install No Slip Surfaces

Falling is a big issue in our later years. More than half of all seniors over age 80 fall each year, according to LearnNotToFall.com. Protect against falls by installing no slip surfaces in the home, especially in bathrooms, stairways, kitchens, and hallways.

Get a Home Security System

These systems protect against burglary, fire and life threatening emergencies. Many seniors install a personal emergency response system. These systems are always on and allow a senior to summon medical assistance or help with a simple push of a button on a pendent. They can also bring help if the person does not check in with the monitoring center at regular intervals. You can even hook up cameras to your home automation service so a loved one can easily check in on you.

Have a Visitor

It’s important to the well-being of senior citizens to have regular interactions with others. A phone call or visits several times a week not only ensures their safety, it also allows for deeper, more meaningful relationships. Try it.

Help With Household Tasks

Reduce the possibilities of injuries by helping seniors with normal household maintenance and tasks. Clean the gutters, change the light bulbs and air filters, do the yard work, shovel the snow and help with heavy lifting. Keep seniors off ladders and away from tasks that strain their bodies or balance.

These five basic tips help keep seniors safe. For more ideas on senior safety, keep reading this blog.

5 Big Trends in the Best Wireless Home Security for 2014

by Amy February 18, 2014

A number of best wireless home security trends will make their mark in 2014. Driving these trends are advancing technologies, declining costs and changing lifestyles.

In 2014, home security service means more than just burglar alarms. Here are the five trends in home security systems that impact you:

Home Automation Features in Most Homes

Consumer demand and lower costs make home automation systems practical in most homes. Two driving factors are wireless technologies and increased consumer interest.

With home automation services, lighting, security, heating, cooling and much more can be automated or remotely controlled by smartphone, tablets or any web enabled device. Lower energy costs through automation and lower technology costs make home automation a growing trend. In fact, it’s so big that Google just bought home automation technology.

Remote System Access from Web Devices

You can now perform most home security alarm system functions from any web enabled device from anywhere in the world. Turn your alarm on or off, control your temperature and turn on lighting, all from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

Home security camera surveillance systems are often viewed by homeowners through these devices for added convenience and security.

More Home Camera Surveillance Systems

With lower costs, improved appearance and multiple uses, home security camera surveillance systems are prevalent in many homes across America.

Indoor and outdoor home security camera systems reduce crime. They improve police department response times in emergency situations. They can identify intruders and thieves so they may be apprehended and prosecuted by authorities. Home security cameras also offer conveniences like checking in on the kids to make sure they are behaving when you aren’t home.

One of the other big things increasing the popularity of home security camera systems is the improved appearance of the security system cameras themselves. There are camera models to fit most any décor.

Better Use of Interactive Services

Many Americans are using two-way voice communications with their alarm monitoring company. This allows the homeowner to communicate with professional response personnel at alarm monitoring centers. In the event of an alarm, homeowners can tell alarm monitoring personnel what is happening at their home. If it is a false alarm, special codes are communicated by the homeowner to monitoring personnel to cancel the alarm. For a true emergency, response times are greatly improved by this verification process.

Elderly Americans also benefit from this two-way voice interaction process. Many wear pendants with emergency call buttons they can activate when needed, like if they’ve fallen or feel they need medical attention. Once they’ve activated this personal emergency response system, emergency response personnel can interact with them to determine the type of emergency and the appropriate response.

Another example of interactive security was mentioned earlier…remote system interaction from web enabled devices is another example of interactive security features used by homeowners.

Increased Use of Cellular Alarm Monitoring

About 1 out of 4 households in the U.S. have no traditional telephone line in their home. That number is increasing every day as more and more people rely on their cell phone as their only telephone.

The home security industry has responded to that trend by developing technologies that allow alarm system communications via cellular networks. It’s a more secure method of alarm monitoring than traditional phone lines and it’s the perfect solution for homeowners relying on cellular communications. Expect to see much more of it in the coming year.

In 2014, you can also expect to see more calls for in-home fire sprinkler systems and detection for water leaks, carbon monoxide, and temperature control.

How Home Security Cameras Reduce Crime

by Amy February 4, 2014

 

Security cameras inside and outside of homes are becoming quite popular. Once reserved for the rich and famous, home security cameras have become quite an affordable home security option for most families.

So how do security camera systems work at preventing crime? Let’s take a look.

The one thing all home burglars have in common is that none of them want to be caught. They will go to extreme lengths to avoid situations where their risk of being caught is high. They don’t want to be seen, and today’s home security camera technology allows for real-time viewing from any web enabled device if you have home automation services. That means a professional alarm monitoring center or a homeowner using their smartphone could be watching a thief in the act. Check out what happened when this Florida home owner watched people burglarizing her home.

Many home security companies camera systems will cause an alarm when triggered by an intruder. Most police departments respond more quickly when there is visual verification of a crime in progress. Security cameras let police departments know it’s the real deal as opposed to a false alarm. This increases the chances of a burglar being caught by improving police response times to emergency situations.

Celebrities have long recognized the value of home security camera systems. That’s why they make home security cameras a focal point of their personal protection. They make security cameras visible outside their homes to deter crime. They use cameras inside the home to capture and record the activities of household staff and vendors to cut down on theft. Rapper 50 Cent says cameras protect him and look out for him.

Security cameras work well in conjunction with home alarm systems. Watch this clip of a burglar approaching a home using home security cameras and a home alarm system.

Studies show security cameras cut crime in urban areas, which is why cities have been using security cameras to protect public areas for years. And although no studies exist about the impact of security cameras on home break-ins, law enforcement officials will tell you that no criminal wants to be caught on tape.

It’s clear that home security cameras are an affordable and effective home security system. If you’d like to learn more about home security services and professional security cameras for your home, call the experts at My Alarm Center toll-free at 855-334-6562.

How to Protect High Value Art Collections from Thieves

by Amy January 30, 2014

 

If you own valuable art, or a high value collection of other items, it may be more at risk than you think.

Art theft is a multi-billion dollar a year problem world-wide. And according to the FBI, only about 5% of stolen art is ever recovered.

So what can you do to better protect your high value art collection from thieves? Follow these steps:

·         Document your collection. Take multiple pictures from multiple angles of what you have, making sure to emphasize unique features like an edition number. Store purchase receipts in a safe location separate from the collection itself. For those that collect paintings, look into what is called a “DNA thread.” These threads are woven into the back of a canvas without harming the painting in any way. They contain information about the piece, including its current owner and ownership history.

·         Install a great home security system. The system should be able to detect unauthorized entry from all points of entry and exit. Motion detectors should be used as an additional line of defense. Strengthen and use thicker and heavier anchored locks and striker plates on all doors.

·         Attach alarms to high value artwork. These non-obtrusive art security devices can send a signal to an alarm company if artwork is disturbed.

·         Use video surveillance cameras. Security cameras can be used in areas that display your high-value collection, as well as other areas inside or outside your home. Some can be motion-activated and can trigger an alarm to a security company for action.

·         Make security visible. Don’t hide system cameras. Use a yard sign letting people know your home is fully protected. Make sure people know they are being watched.

·         Conduct background checks. In many homes people can frequently come and go. Household staff, repair men, acquaintances and contractors should all be known to you. Make sure you have the names and addresses of all contractors and their employees working in your home. You should conduct thorough background checks on all household staff, including groundskeepers.

·         Stick with fine-art storage facilities. If you store your collection somewhere due to space considerations, use a facility that specializes in storing high value art. They feature better art security and environmental controls than regular storage facilities. Ask them about their security track record, who has access to the facility, the type of security measures they use and the background checks they conduct. Find out if any museums store their art there, as this is a sign of higher levels of security. One other thing to check – find out if they use rental security guards or their own personnel. Experts advise that in-house security guards generally perform better than rental guards.

·         Visit storage facilities regularly. Visit periodically to make sure things are still there. If you discover that something is missing after months go by, the trail gets cold and it’s quite difficult to identify the thief.

Three Smart Resolutions for Home Security System Owners

by Amy January 2, 2014

Lose weight. Earn more. Hit the gym. It’s time for New Year’s Resolutions, and that means getting your home security in shape, not just shedding pounds and padding the bank account.

Here are three home security resolutions for home alarm system owners, courtesy of the team at My Alarm Center:

1. Test your alarm system

If the alarm system is monitored by a central station, contact the alarm company and have them put the monitoring in test mode. Then, turn on your alarm system and make sure everything works. Test all protected doors and windows. Walk test all motion detectors to make sure they are operating at proper distances. Make sure your security system works as designed. You should test your security system equipment at least twice per year.

2. Check your contact information on record with the alarm monitoring company

Make sure the contact information your alarm company has on record for your home is accurate and current. Things may have changed in your life or with your situation since the time you first submitted contact information and response details to your alarm monitoring company. Now’s the time to make sure things are the way they need to be.

3. Review your security

Review your security system so that it meets your present needs. Technology has changed and you may have added onto or changed things in your home. Many people like to add remote control capabilities to their system, so that they can control basic functions through any web-enabled device. Home security system cameras are an affordable and attractive wireless home security option for homeowners. Meet with your wireless home security company representative to see what options are available to benefit you.

Do Home Security Yard Signs Really Protect Your Home?

by Amy December 31, 2013

 

 

We’ve all seen alarm company yard signs or window decals. Many of us wonder if simply having the yard sign or window decal on site is enough to stop home break-ins.

After all, why spend the money for a wireless home alarm system when a simple sign could take care of the problem?

According to the experts, that kind of thinking can get you into a world of trouble.

The San Jose, California police department points out that many burglars know that most wireless home alarm system owners don’t even turn on (arm) their wireless home security systems. A window sticker or a sign for these types of intruders is not an effective deterrent, in their opinion.

A study published by researchers affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that most burglars weren’t deterred by yard signs or window stickers, although the study did find them to be somewhat effective with “spur-of-the-moment” crime and with certain categories of female criminals.

Take a look at how insurance companies handle security yard signs. They don’t offer premium discounts for the signs; rather, discounts are offered only for monitored home alarm systems. The reason is because insurance carriers know that yard signs and window stickers alone don’t deter crime or reduce risk. Wireless security systems do, which is why homeowners get discounts for having them.

Have you ever heard of Amazon.com? Rest assured that criminals have. They know that a wide variety of fake home security company yard signs and window stickers are for sale online. Take a look at them for a minute. Now think hard about this…if a yard sign could really deter thieves from attacking your home, don’t you think they’d cost more than $20?

Yard signs and window stickers alone aren’t enough to stop home break-ins. They may keep kids away and they may help emergency responders know who to notify in the event of alarm activation. But counting on them to keep you safe from criminals could be a huge mistake. With a wireless security system for home you know you’re protected no matter what.

Have Peace Of Mind With Home Video Monitoring Services

by Amy September 16, 2013

A burglary happens every 14.4 seconds in America. That’s according to the latest statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. To put it in perspective, in the span of a typical TV commercial break, about eight homes will be burglarized.

But did you know that 60 percent of convicted burglars admit they’d avoid a house with an alarm system, including video home surveillance, and seek another target? That’s according to a 2012 study of 422 incarcerated burglars by the University of North Carolina Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice.

While there’s no doubt alarm systems help keep us safe, adding home video surveillance can do double duty by allowing you to see what’s happening when you’re not there. With My Alarm Center’s Home Video Monitoring, you can get real-time updates of what’s happening at home via text or email.

You can also watch live-streaming HD video from up to eight wireless security cameras—indoors or outdoors with night vision—simultaneously on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Plus, you can view recorded home video to catch up on what you might have missed. You can also customize what you want recorded and when.

Home Video Monitoring Benefits

Home video is also helpful with knowing the kids arrived home from school safely. For example, video clips from surveillance cameras can be emailed or texted to you as soon as the front door opens. Additionally, these video clips can also be sent when an alarm goes off anywhere in your house or if there is motion anywhere in your home.

What’s more, you can remotely control cameras from your smartphone or computer. And you can schedule motion or event-triggered recordings to capture what matters most to you. You also don’t have to worry about handling or storing the video because it is stored in tamper-proof, off-site protected storage.

Other useful ways home video monitoring services can help is by letting you know when house cleaners or pet sitters arrive and leave. Likewise, video monitoring provides a sense of a relief during the day allowing you to see your pet is safe and staying out of mischief.

In addition, video monitoring is beneficial when you’re on vacation. Instead of worrying that your home isn’t burglarized while away, you’ll have an instant alert via text or email if there was an attempted break in. You can also rest at ease knowing nothing is going on at home with the ability to check on it with whatever schedule or regularity you’d prefer.

Video monitoring is just as useful for your business allowing you to see when employees arrive, when the delivery truck got there, or just to see how things are going on a regular basis.

Next month, find out the top ways to stay safe at Halloween with home security services.

Stay Connected, Stay Summertime Safe

by Amy May 14, 2013

 

When living is supposed to be easy, summertime can often catch us off-guard with home security. In fact, residential break-ins peak during the summer vacation months of July and August, as well as in September, according to information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Among all burglaries in 2011 (the latest statistics available), home burglaries were the most common—accounting for 74.5 percent. Additionally, a burglary occurs every 14.4 seconds in the U.S.

Statistics make us aware and alert. But with the My Home system from My Alarm Center, you can relax and enjoy the easy, breeziness of summer while on vacation or at work, or just out for a few hours. No need to worry about the safety of your home while you’re away from it as you can check the security cameras and look in on your home.

Whether on your PC/Mac or smartphone, My Home allows for you to receive real time alerts when your security system for home is armed or disarmed, when a door is opened or closed, or if there is motion activity on your property, provided you have cellular monitoring and interactive services. Also, My Home can be equipped with video surveillance, home entry notifications and archived entry logs.

How It Works

The way this is all possible is through My Home’s sophisticated technology and a corresponding sensor system. With My Home, you are able to be notified about virtually anything you would like about your home. Have kids and work full time? My Home can alert you via text or email when your teenager arrives home from school every day. Or it can inform you if your child hasn’t yet arrived home at a specified time that you have programmed.

Not only do you have the ability to program My Home to custom parameters, but you can make last-minute, on-demand decisions. For example, you forgot that a contractor was coming to do some work while you’re on vacation. Once the contractor arrives at your home and calls you wondering why you’re not there, you can disarm your wireless security system to let him in, unlock the door, as well as lock the door behind him. You can do the same thing when he leaves to lock and re-arm the system.

Video surveillance can be installed as well so that you can see exactly who is coming and going.

Another option with My Home is controlling the lights and thermostats. For instance, you’re at work and it’s another summertime scorcher. Simply log into your My Home account either through PC/Mac or your smartphone app, and program it to crank up the A/C in time for your arrival. Depending on availability, some wireless security systems for home can even allow you to set activation parameters so that it can detect when you’ve left your home and turn down the a/c and then upon your return, it will sense you getting closer and will turn up the air.

The bottom line: My Home takes home security (and conveniences) to a more manageable, customized and personal level. You are in control.

Next month, see how My Alarm Center can help protect your family and you from the ravages of fire.

Top 10 Things Burglars Avoid

by Amy March 13, 2013

We are excited to continue the series of guest blogs by Peter Rogers, Co-Founder & Senior Advisor, of FrontPoint Home Security Solutions. Peter has more than 20 years of home security experience, including leadership positions at some of the country’s most prominent alarm companies.

Wireless Home Security Update – Top 10 Things Burglars Avoid

 

We’ve seen that as many types of crime are decreasing across the country, burglary statistics remain stubbornly high: in some areas the incidence of home intrusion has even spiked. The FBI reports that there is now a burglary every 14 seconds somewhere in the US. Homeowners are asking what they can do for greater home security solutions – and greater peace of mind. I came across this great list that provides some timely advice about what burglars don’t like to find, as they case a house or neighborhood. And as you might guess, item #2 is my favorite!

Burglars invade homes every single day. There is nothing more threatening to an apartment dweller or homeowner than the idea of a burglar forcing his way into their home and stealing their valuables. Not only does this leave the victim angry and shaken, but it also makes the victim feel as if their life and sanctuary have been viciously invaded. More than likely, the typical burglar is not the high-tech professional you may have seen in movies. In reality, most burglars are amateurs who will use crude methods of gaining access to your house, including breaking windows and kicking in doors. Here are some things that burglars tend to avoid.

1)      Strong Doors

Many people when purchasing a home, renting an apartment or building a new home can tend to get skimpy on details like the quality of exterior doors. Some people feel that a door is a door so there’s no use in worrying about it. Not so. If possible, invest in solid hardwood or metal clad exterior doors. If renting an apartment, invest in deadbolts.

I couldn’t agree more. In fact, here a link to my blog on Where Burglars Break In – and you’ll see that it’s the front or back door almost 60% of the time!

2)      Security Systems

If at all possible, invest in a high-quality, trusted and monitored security system. As you may notice with car alarms that have frequent false alarms, most people will walk right by a car with a screaming alarm without even giving it a second glance. Having a monitored security system will alert police once your home has been breached. You can also put a sign on your yard or decals on your windows that show that your house has a security system. If a burglar is scouting the area, more than likely he will go to the house that does not have a security system to avoid the hassle.

Studies show that a home with a monitored alarm system is actually one third less likely to be burglarized than the unprotected home next door. And when you are shopping for wireless home security, be sure to ask for safer wireless monitoring: no vulnerable phone or Internet line required, and no physical connection for a burglar to cut with that $3 pair of wire cutters.

3)      Dogs

A barking dog, even if it is a small dog with an annoying yap, is a definite deterrent for a burglar. If you do not have a dog, post a “Beware of Dog” sign on your gate or near your front and back doors. Burglars will avoid having to deal with a barking and growling animal any day.

4)      Well-lit Areas

If there is one thing a burglar loves, it is working in the dark, away from seeing eyes. Burglars are knowledgeable when it comes to jimmying open a door or breaking a window and unlocking a door in the dark. Keep the area around your house well lit and invest in motion detector lights for those darker corners of your home’s exterior.

5)      Security Cameras

This is not an inexpensive investment, but installing a security camera near your front and back door will definitely keep a burglar away. Many burglars will knock on the front door to see if anybody is home before deciding to break in. Even if the burglar successfully invades your home, you will have video footage of your burglar’s identity.

6)      Corner Homes

Burglars love to do their criminal business unseen. Corner homes, thus, are not easy targets as they offer more of a public view.

7 & 8) Two Story Homes & Apartments on High Floors

Most burglars do not risk stealing the larger items like wide-screen televisions and electronic equipment. They usually stick to jewelry and cash, items that they can easily carry. For this reason, burglars usually avoid two story homes, since these items will more than likely be upstairs in the master bedroom and burglars like to minimize the time they stay in a home. For this same reason, burglars usually avoid apartments located on the higher floors. First floor apartments are easier to scout and escape from.

9) Closed Drapes or Shutters

Many people love to have the sunlight stream through their windows, but this gives potential burglars a chance to glimpse into your homes and see what types of items you may have laying around that they may want to steal. Keep your drapes and shutters closed when you can, especially at night.

10)   Irregular Routines

Burglars simply LOVE routines. Many burglaries are not random. Burglars like to scout out their potential victims and see what time of day is best to invade. If they know that every day, like clockwork, you leave the house at 7:30 in the morning and usually do not return until 8:00 at night, they know they have a large window of opportunity to strike. But if you (or someone you designate) can be in and out of the house at all times of the day, frequently changing your routine, burglars will more than likely avoid your home.

What you want most is for these random intruders to move on to the next house – and again, it’s been shown that the best deterrent to intrusion is a monitored home alarm system. And while you’re shopping, make sure you also look into the advanced interactive features that many alarm companies now offer: remote arm/disarm, text & email notifications even on non-alarm events, mobile apps, on-demand and motion-activated system camera video services, and even remote control of lights, locks and thermostats. You won’t have to pay a lot for the latest technology, and you’ll love the convenience of many of these features. Be safe!

Top 5 Real Time Alerts: Favorites That Blend Wireless Home Security Systems With Convenience

by Amy November 5, 2012

As we’ve been expanding services and offerings at My Alarm Center to extend beyond the traditional “alarm system,” we can’t help but take note of several offerings and home security services that are most popular with customers. In today’s post we’ll focus on Real Time Alerts which have been offered by My Alarm Center for some time, but have recently become very popular among parents, working professionals, and those who own rental/vacation properties.

When MyHome by My Alarm Center launched, our customers opted in for basic home alarm system real time alert triggers like alarm activation and deactivation activity.  However, as more people subscribed to the home security service every day, several alerts are becoming clear favorites.  This got us to wondering:  Are you subscribed to the 5 Most Popular Real Time Alerts at My Alarm Center (powered by Alarm.com)? 

1. ShowNo Show Alerts letting subscribers know, through their monitoring services, when their children have arrived home from school, or that the dog walker has arrived on-time.

“I have alerts set to keep tabs on my 13-year-old, I get text messages that alert me when the house is disarmed as she’s arrived home from school or after-school activities. It gives me great piece of mind when I am at the office.”

                -Laura S. of Merion, PA

2. Video Activity Alerts: Letting residents know when any motion/activity has been captured by video surveillance security cameras. Not only a great security feature to prevent theft/loss, this is a great feature for homeowners who may prefer that certain areas of their home are kept private from children, guests, or renters. 

 “I live in Seattle and have a rental property in Florida. The Video Alerts send me a notification if there is activity in our basement that is not accessible to renters. This has given me some extra security that our personal belongings are not being accessed.”

-Thomas M. of Seattle, WA

3.  Water Sensor Alerts:  Alerting a subscriber if there’s a water leak or a flood in an area of the home where a sensor has been placed. For those in areas at-risk for flooding during storm season, or for those who don’t want to be “surprised,” by a hot water heater leak, these alerts can go a long way in preventing property damage, and in saving a lot of time and worry.


“I got a water sensor alert at work when the hot water heater burst. I was able to get home in time and prevent thousands of dollars in damage to our newly remodeled playroom. On the way home I even called the plumber who made it out the same day.”

-Danielle R. of Bellevue, WA

4. Cabinet/Drawer Security Alerts: Sensors can be installed on security systems and set up for drawers containing valuables, or cabinets containing items that could cause serious harm to children or strangers (medicine, firearms). A Real Time Alert indicating that one of these cabinets has been opened helps prevent both injury and property loss.

“ I often have contractors and dog walkers coming and going from the house; Real time alerts have helped ensure that our family’s valuables and personal items are safe and secure.”

-Maria R. of Cape May, NJ

5. Power Outage Alerts: These alerts help ensure residents are aware of a power outage in-advance of it impacting their wireless home security system, helping to prevent property loss due to crime.  Also, residents with older or younger relatives at home can ensure their family’s safety during a power outage in extreme weather or circumstances.

“My mother lives alone so I set up my alerts to send me a text message if her power has gone out. This way I know immediately when she might need an extra hand getting around safely.”

-Kim L. of Cherry Hill, NJ

Not only are Real Time alerts convenient, preventive measures to ensure home safety and security, but many home monitoring services mean price breaks on homeowner’s and renter’s insurance as well. 

 Visit our website to learn more, or email us at blog@myalarmcenter.com to share your own tips on leveraging real time alerts as part of your wireless home security and safety planning.

 

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