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Purchase Guide For Home Safes

by Cassie October 4, 2016

In order to keep your valuables safe inside of your home, you may want to consider purchasing a safe. There are many different features provided by different types of safes, and it is important to purchase a safe that will fit your specific needs. Freshhome.com provides useful feedback on the purchase process.

Home Safe

Purchase Guide For Home Safes

1.Determine what valuables you will store.
Determine the types of valuables you plan to protect inside the safe, and gather these items together. One essential document that should be contained inside of the safe is an inventory of your possessions. This way, if there ever was an incident, you have an inventory to prove what you own. To determine the rest of the safe’s contents, start with important paperwork. Identify documents like birth certificates, passports, and legal paperwork. Any important business investments or financial documents should also be included. Expensive jewelry and external hard drives are contents that should be included as well.

2. Determine what size you want.
Once you determine the quantity and type of valuables you will be storing, you should have a general idea about the size you will need. It is also a good idea to determine the location of the safe in your home before you purchase it. A common size in-home safe is usually about 1.2 or 1.3 cubic feet, which would contain stacks of 8 1/2 by 11-inch paper, stacked up to 12 inches in height. Determine the height, width, and depth of your valuables to choose the best safe for your needs.

3. Determine what you need to protect your valuables from.
Different safes are designed to protect their contents from different disasters. Some are designed solely for theft or water damage, and others are to protect from a fire. These features are provided and are available in various options.
Fire Resistant: It is very common for homeowners to pursue purchasing a safe in order to protect their valuables from a fire. Safes are tested to determine what type of material they are supposed to protect and how long they can withstand heat. For storage of different contents, the inside of the safe needs to be kept at a certain internal temperature in order to offer protection. Paper documents can be protected at an internal temperature of up to 350 degrees. If you plan to store old tape recordings, the internal temperature can only reach 150 degrees. The storage of CD’s or DVD’s need to be preserved at 125 degrees. A big factor is how long the safe can withstand a fire. Most commonly, home safes will provide around 30 minutes of protection.
½-hour fire protection at 1550°F or 843°C
1-hour fire protection at 1700°F or 927°C
2-hour fire protection at 1850°F or 1010°C
Theft Protection: The average amount of time that the common safe can withstand an attack is around 15 minutes with household tools. The average 1.2 or 1.3 cubic-foot scale weighs close to 100 pounds when it is empty, so it would be very difficult to steal the entire safe. Many safes include bolt down kits and also provide options to be concealed in a wall or anchored on a concrete floor.
Water Resistance: Water protection is usually included with basic fire or theft resistant safes. Some safes are submerged in water to be tested in an accurate simulation of flooding. Other safes are only water resistant and can maintain flooding for up to one hour.

4. Determine the type of safe you need.
Small safes are usually less than 0.8 cubic feet in size. Medium-sized safes are usually larger than 0.8 cubic feet. Large safes are between 1.2 and 2.0 cubic feet. Extra-large safes are anything over 2.0 cubic feet in capacity.
Wall Safe: This safe is known to be lightweight and usually of smaller size. These work well for storing paperwork and photographs.
Floor Safe: This is a bulkier option, but gives the most flexibility with features. Larger items can be stored and the weight of its content is not an issue.
Weapons Safe: Specialty weapon safes are designed differently than the average floor safe. These are equipped with extra locks, pry-proof metals, and locking bolt technology.
Lowes.com provides tips on the best size safe for you and what the storage capacity of different safes are.

5. Determine what kind of lock you need.
There are two options for locks when purchasing a safe: Dial and Digital. Each has advantages and disadvantages so it is important to evaluate them before your purchase.
Dial Locks: These locks are traditional turn-dials. They are opened by rotating the dial to the right and left to input the combination. This is seen as the most reliable option because the possibility of an electronic failure is eliminated. However, if the combination is forgotten, then a professional is needed to reset it.
Digital Lock: This is the type of lock usually used in hotel safes. They open with the input of a numerical pin. This is an easier way to open the safe and allows you to have access to your belongings quickly. This safe has a drawback of needing to replace the batteries regularly in order to lock it effectively.

6. Determine where to put it.
The best place to put the safe varies depending on the design of your home. Statistics prove the master bedroom of a home is the first stop for intruders in most home security breaches. It is recommended to keep the safe in a different location for this reason. The basement provides the best protection in case of a fire, but also could be damaged in the case of flooding.

7. Determine your price range.
A basic fire chest normally costs around $25 at most local retailers. This would be able to hold a normal stack of documents. An average home safe of 1.2 or 1.3 cubic feet costs around $150 to $300. Anything of a larger scale is more expensive and if it includes different features like drawers and shelving it will also add to the price tag.

8. Determine where to purchase the safe.
Home safes are available at many retailers including Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Sears. There are also many options listed online and through Amazon.com.

Once you determine that you would like to purchase an in-home safe to protect your valuables it is important to evaluate these tips in order to make the right purchasing decision. The size of the safe, the contents it will hold, and what levels of protection are needed are important to evaluate before you make a purchase. Worried about your valuables? Add a primary layer of protection for your valuables with My Alarm Center’s home security systems. We provide professional home monitoring for properties from Philadelphia to Seattle.

8 Vacation Security Tips for your Home

by Cassie July 11, 2016

vacation security

It’s difficult to go away for an extended amount of time and not worry about the security of your home. By taking precautions before leaving, you gain peace of mind and improved home security. Here are 10 ways to prepare your home’s security for an upcoming vacation:

1. Ask a friend to keep an eye on your home
The key objective to finding a house sitter is to continue to make the home appear occupied. If you don’t plan to have someone stay in your home while you are gone, it is a good idea to have someone stop by at least once a day or minimally ask your neighbors to keep an eye out. By asking a friend to remove the mail, adjust lights and take care of the trash pickup, it shows that the home is occupied which can deter an intruder. Of course, make sure you choose a reliable and trustworthy person to monitor your home . Have trouble finding someone to keep an eye on your home? You can always consider adding a home automation system for advanced lighting control, helping to make your home appear occupied with custom scheduling. Make your house a smart home and enjoy the added benefits of climate control as well as state of the art security monitoring with real time alerts.

2. Don’t post vacation plans on social media

Even though you are excited for your upcoming vacation, it’s safest to share your experience after you’re back. If you post about your upcoming trip, you’re sharing that your home will be vacant in the upcoming weeks on public networks, which is a security risk . Also, refrain from posting photos during your getaway, no matter how beautiful, until you return home. Giving away your current status is another security risk for your potentially vacant home.

3. Stop your Mail service
Contact your local Post Office and place a “stop” order on your mail. A few days’ worth of mail piled in your mailbox or at your door step is a clear indication that no one is home to pick it up. The same idea applies to newspapers. If you have a difficult time stopping either service, ask a friend or neighbor to retrieve your mail and papers.

4. Remove spare keys
Make sure you remove spare keys that are hidden on the outside of your property. If they are tipped off that no one is in the house, an intruder will be tempted to look for a spare key. Avoid the risk of someone finding the key by removing it entirely. With digital keypads, you can remove the need for spare key placement, but still enable your pet sitter or neighbor to access your home.

5. Keep the landscape trimmed
In order to keep the house appearing occupied it is important to maintain normalcy from the outside. If you are a diligent homeowner who keeps their lawn in great shape, keep up this routine. If you plan on being away for an extended time period, hire someone to cut the grass while you are away. Leaving the yard untidy is a clear indication that no one is around to take care of it.

6. Make sure you lock up
It may seem obvious, but make sure you lock all windows and doors. If the deadbolt to the garage is usually left unlatched, now is the time to lock it. With the home being fully locked, it becomes less attractive as a target to intruders who are looking for a quick entry point. Double check your windows and doors upon your departure.

7. Protect your vehicle
If you are leaving on an extended vacation and parking your car at the airport or elsewhere, make sure it is in a secure location. Also, remove the garage door opener from your car. This could provide an access point into your house if an intruder gets into your vehicle.

8. Install a home security system
Installing a home security system provides you peace of mind with 24/7 professional monitoring , alerting local authorities to any security breaches. Plus, alarm systems deter potential intruders from entering your home. Additionally, home security systems can alert you remotely if there are any movements or changes within your home, even when the pet sitter does not arrive.
Before you leave for vacation, make sure you take the necessary precautions to prepare your home. Just a few minutes of preparation could save your home from any unexpected visitors and provide you peace of mind for the duration of your tip. Enjoy your vacation and ensure your home will be safe and sound until your return.

5 Secrets Home Burglars Are Keeping from You

by Cassie April 13, 2016

Home Break In

It is every home owner’s worst nightmare. Returning home from a relaxing vacation with your family only to find your home has been ravaged and ransacked. Every drawer is turned over, photographs litter the floor, household items destroyed, and prized personal belongings are just gone. Why me? What could I have done to prevent this from happening to me? Should I have gotten one of those home security systems and security cameras?

Prevent this from happening to you. Here are five secrets burglars don’t want you to know to prevent a home security breach:

1. They watch your house. You may remember them. That friendly passerby walking his dog that waved when you walked out to get the mail wasn’t just a new face in the neighborhood, he was staking out your house. What could he see when your door was open? Nice furniture, big TVs, gaming systems? Or the repair man that walked through your home to the kitchen to fix the sink. He really was just as nice as could be, but he was really analyzing the layout of your house. What is the best way to get upstairs, where jewelry, money, and prescription drugs are kept? Anything valuable downstairs that could be easily grabbed on the way out?

2. They avoid houses with dogs, too much risk. Burglars avoid houses with dogs. Why risk breaking into a house with an alive alarm system that can bite? So yes, even little Fido is protecting you.

3. No matter how safe your neighborhood is, an unlocked door or window might as well be an invitation. Five minutes is plenty of time to rob you blind when the front door is unlocked. The barrier between them and your home is gone, now they can quickly get in and out without anything in their way.

4. Have neighbors pick up your mail, newspapers, shovel your driveway, anything that makes it look like someone’s home when you are out of town. Full mailboxes and newspapers in the driveway screams that no one is home and hasn’t been for a few days. For those semi-professional burglars, they may know which day of the week is garbage day after casing the neighborhood for a few weeks and target a house that did not put their garbage cans out.

5. Home security systems and security cameras work! One of the main reasons thieves have decided to break into your home is because it’s easy and they aren’t likely to get caught. When they are casing a house to rob, that is one thing they look out for. Is there a camera that will show my face? Is there an alarm system that will alert police, who will be waiting for me when I step outside the house? Most importantly, advertise that you have one of the home security systems and security cameras! Don’t be shy! Make sure to get a My Alarm Center sign to put in your yard that you can display clearly.

4 Ways to Secure Your Home Technology

by Cassie March 15, 2016

Home Technology Security

Home security measures are not limited to your alarm system, surveillance cameras, or monitored fire detectors. Something as innocuous as a computer can become a thief’s most effective tool in stealing your personal information. Online files could also be manipulated or corrupted to spread viruses across large networks in minutes before anyone knows what is going on. With that in mind, what can you do to secure your physical and digital technological assets?

1. Secure All Devices and Servers with Strong Passwords

At a minimum, you will want to secure your computer, your smartphone and your tablet with a password. You should also use a password to protect your WiFi network as that can reduce the odds that anyone uses a baby monitor or your smart home thermostat system to get a glimpse into your home. Passwords should have both uppercase and lowercase numbers as well as numbers and symbols. Furthermore, you should change your password every 30 days to keep potential hackers guessing.

2. Never Transmit Sensitive Files or Personal Information Without Encryption

Everything that you either upload to the Internet or transmit over the Internet should be encrypted whenever possible. This reduces the odds that someone sees your social security number, a credit card number or any other information that could be used to steal your identity or put yourself or your family in danger. To tell if a website is securely encrypted, look for https: rather than http: in the URL.

3. Use Parental Controls to Limit What Your Kids Can Do

While you may understand that you don’t just share information online or have security settings set to your preferences, your kids may not appreciate or share your concern. They are likely more concerned with getting to their favorite website or social network to see what their friends are up to. Using parental controls will restrict what sites that they can access or what they can do to the device itself. Controls may even lock them out after a certain amount of screen time each day or during times when you can’t monitor what they are up to. Two examples of common parental control services include www.kiddle.co, a kid safe search engine provided by Google and Net Nanny, a paid software that provides customized, parent selected restrictions and monitoring.

4. Report Any Suspicious Activity to Your ISP

If you see a file that you didn’t download to your computer or believe that you have a virus that could be tracking your keystrokes or other activities, contact your ISP immediately. It may be possible to get a log of who accessed your computer or your network. If you do have a virus or a trojan loaded to your computer, it may be necessary to see a professional to have it removed immediately.

While you can’t guarantee that your devices or files will be 100 percent secure, there are steps that you can take to reduce the odds of a security breach. Strong passwords, knowing who is using a given device in your house and reporting suspicious activity can keep you and your devices safe from hackers and thieves. Being mindful of both physical and digital home security measures will help protect your family and home.

How to Conceal Your Valuables

by Cassie February 23, 2016

How to Conceal Your Valuables

How to Conceal Your Valuables

My Alarm Center understands how devastating a home break-in can be, and that’s why we strive to keep our customers aware of ways to keep valuables concealed and prevent themselves from falling victim to losing valuables. Protect your family with these easy home security steps:

Avoid the Usual Places

When a burglary occurs, the intruders are interested in getting in and out as quickly as possible. Therefore, they’ll be looking in the usual places to find easy-to-steal valuables such as expensive jewelry. This makes a jewelry box or dresser drawer a bad place to store these items. Avoid obvious hiding spots.

Control Viewing Possibilities

During the day, it’s difficult for people to see in your home. However, once the sun sets, anyone outside can easily see in your windows when your lights are on, and you can’t see them unless you peer out. One home security measure you can take is to hang dark curtains that can be closed during the evening. This prevents potential burglars from monitoring your activities and staking out the home in preparation for a quick burglary.

Don’t Keep Large Sums of Cash

We all need savings in the event of unexpected emergencies or expenses. However, that should never be in the form of large sums of cash in your home. Not only can it be easily stolen, but it can be difficult to prove to your insurance company and even harder to recover. Keep all your cash saved in your bank. They are insured, and you won’t have to worry about the allure the knowledge of cash savings creates if anyone were to find out.

Consider Your Passwords

In today’s highly technological world, thieves aren’t confined to traditional robberies. Today, they can achieve behind the screen of a computer or other device. It can be difficult to track down hackers, and, every year, they incur costs of more than $445 billion in our country alone. In order to ensure your virtual assets and information are protected:

  • Change your passwords regularly
  • Include numbers and special characters
  • Don’t use the same password or similar variations for all accounts

An Ounce of Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this old adage certainly rings true when it comes to home security. Every year, an estimated 3.7 million household burglaries occur in our country. While we like to think it could never happen to us, if you fail to put up advanced safeguards, you increase your chances of becoming an unfortunate statistic. By following these convenient tips, in addition to arming your home security system, you can be on your way to giving your possessions the best protection against theft.

The My Alarm Center Resource Guide – All Our Guides & FAQs

by Cassie November 3, 2015

MAC_Togetherwearesafer-01

For years, My Alarm Center has been in the business of keeping you, your family and your home safe. And over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two (or two-hundred) about home security.

We’ve been there done that. We’ve experienced just about every situation. We’ve responded to every type of emergency. Our years of helping local families have armed us with a depth of knowledge and foresight into every scenario. And we’ve leveraged this experience to build you the best, most responsive monitoring system from the best, most responsive technology. And we’ve created plenty of resources along the way.

Security Guides

Experience has taught us that a big part of the safety equation is arming you with the knowledge and know-how to keep your family and home protected. With that in mind, here’s an overview of our safety guides:

  • Flood and water damage: Flooding happens, be it from a natural disaster or a burst pipe. Then mold happens. Then, there’s months of cleanup and financial stress and other concerns. Here’s how to prevent floods, and what to do if the worst occurs.
  • Home automation: Home automation is nifty, but it’s infinitely more enjoyable once you understand how to customize your system exactly as you’d like.
  • Fire & carbon monoxide safety: Undetected fires and CO leaks claim too many lives and homes every year.
  • Cellular monitoring: Cellular monitoring is your ultimate line of defense against burglars, power outages, telephone line problems, and other common issues that plague landline systems.
  • False alarm prevention: An incredible 99% of smoke and burglar alarms are false, and many false positives are preventable.
  • How to keep your pets safe: Pets are family members and we love them dearly. Unfortunately, they can’t rescue themselves: it’s up to you.
  • Testing your home security system: Do you know if your system is communicating with our central station? Or if your motion detectors are really detecting?

FAQs

Our massive FAQ list will answer most of your questions, including:

  • Vacation safety tips: The last thing you want to do is worry about burglars while you’re on vacation. These simple vacation-preparation tips help ensure your getaway ends on a high note.
  • Prevent home invasion: Home invasions are terrifying, and unfortunately can happen anywhere, any time and in any neighborhood. This guide gives you the low-down on how to keep criminals out of your home.
  • Possession records: Important documents, like deeds, financial records, insurance information, and wills, must be kept safe and secure. Here’s how.
  • Smoke detectors: You know that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are absolute must-haves, but do you know exactly where and how to place them? Now you will.
  • Furnaces/space heaters: As temperatures plummet, the risk increases for home fires. Take appropriate precautions to reduce the threat.
  • Fireplaces: Even more than furnaces and space heaters, fireplaces represent a serious fire hazard during winter months. If you’re going to light the flame, keep these safety tips in mind.
  • Electrical hazards: Electrical fires are fast, furious and extremely dangerous. Here’s how to keep your family safe.
  • Create an exit plan: The best thing you can do for your family is prepare for any eventuality. Learn how to create an exit plan, then practice it regularly.

 

 

Lazy Home Security Is More Than Just Owning A Dog, It’s Having A Company Provide 24/7 Monitoring

by Cassie September 30, 2015

Home Automation From My Alarm Center

Um, hi. We have a teeny, tiny confession to make.

We love being lazy. Like really, really love it. We love breakfast in bed and weekends with nary an item on the calendar. We love skipping our chores (once in awhile) in favor of reading a book or taking a stroll. We love ordering in for dinner – and eating it with our honey while watching our favorite show.

There is something very, very comforting about indulging in lazy behavior. About not worrying. About checking our adult responsibilities and the door and saying, “here, you do it!”

So when you think about lazy, no-worries, no-thought-needed security, trust us when we say it’s NOT having a dog. A dog needs to be walked. A dog needs shots and vet checks and deworming. A dog needs food and water. And a dog deserves toys and exercise, not to mention lots and lots of love and care. And the most important point: a dog is a member of the family, not a security system. Definitely not a lazy security system.

24/7 Monitored Security Allows You to be Lazy
You want to know what does count as lazy home security? Hiring a monitoring company. (We feel qualified to say this because hey, we are a monitoring company. We know what’s involved.)

Put it this way: In life, laziness is always an exchange of some sort. Sometimes you exchange money for laziness, as in the aforementioned $-for-pizza exchange. Sometimes you swap what-should-be for what-you-want, like foregoing doing the laundry (you know you need clean clothes) in order to finish your book.

With 24/7 monitoring, you exchange a monthly sum for constant, all-day-everyday, forever-and-ever peace of mind. Let’s quantify that (if that’s how you like to justify you’re laziness, we’re all about enabling you!): in exchange for a monthly fee, you don’t have to buy dog food (easily $20+ per month), you don’t have to pay vet bills ($hundreds a year), and you won’t spend 30+ minutes a day – often, 30 scorching hot or frigidly cold minutes, by the way – walking your pup, giving him proper exercise. (Again with the numbers: 30 minutes a day x 30 days a month x $10/hour for a dog walker is way more than $35 a month.)

Dogs are a responsibility. (Lovable, fluffy, family member responsibilities.) 24/7 monitored security is total peace-of-mind laziness.

So What Does a Monitoring Company Do?
A monitored security system can “lazify” your life in many ways:

• Never again worry about your security. We monitor your alarm 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If there’s a break-in, we’ll notify the police in an average 60 seconds.
• Never again worry about your family’s safety. Again, if there’s a break-in you’ll know police are on their way immediately. But we also offer flood, fire and carbon monoxide monitoring, and will send firefighters and EMTs your way, if necessary.
• With our personal emergency monitoring, we’ll assure 24/7 safety of the seniors in your life. We’re always on call to help.
• And what’s more, we make life easy with home automation. Turn off the lights from the comfort of your couch. Adjust the thermostat from the warmth of your bed. Lock the doors from the bathtub. Seriously easy, seriously lazy.

So go on, then. Get lazy.

A Safety in Football is only 2 points, but Safety to us is Immeasurable!

by Cassie September 3, 2015

Football & Safety

 

 

Ba-dum-ching! (You see what we did there?)

Okay, okay, all punning – or would that be punting?! – aside, it’s fall and that means one thing: football season! And that in turn means we’re looking forward to a season’s worth of Sunday and Monday evenings, rooting for our two home teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks. Who’s with us?

So here’s the thing: We can’t all play pro football, but we can emulate our favorite players. And since we’re all about safeties – okay, no more punning, we promise! – we want to highlight a few ways we can take our cues from the pros about personal health and safety at home.

Stretch Like a Pro

We bet you’ve never stretched before raking leaves, but you should! Scientists are still undecided on whether stretching prevents injury, but stretching definitely helps warm up your muscles and has been shown to reduce soreness after unfamiliar exercise. And as we get older and creakier, new activity – like a-few-times-a-year intense raking – is guaranteed to hurt the next day. And the next and the next, if we’re unlucky.

Do yourself a favor and copy the pros: stretch your arms, legs, hips and especially your back before you bend, squat, and scoop up leaves. Or prep the garden for winter, or do a massive fall cleaning, or start any other major physical activity that will challenge your muscles.

Get Active

Fall is such a great time to get active: temperatures are cooling but there’s still plenty of sunlight; kids are back in school so you can create solid routines; and the air has that delicious crispness that makes you want to spend all your time outside, inhaling the sweet, sweet scent.

It’s a great time to get physical (just ask the pros) – to improve your health through safe, fun outdoor activity. So toss a ball around the backyard, or go big and organize a neighborhood pickup game. (There’s no shame in flag football.) Celebrate the season with a barbecue and old-fashioned backyard games, like horseshoes, bean toss, and croquet. Whatever gets you moving is good in our book.

Teamwork is Where it’s At

Fall isn’t all fun and games: like spring, there’s something about the transition of season that urges organization and deep-cleaning. So whether you’re planning to overhaul the garage, tackle the attic, or weatherproof the basement, you probably have some Major Task on your fall to-do list.

Here’s the football advice: do as the pros do, and don’t go it alone. The best efforts are coordinated, so enlist the help of your family or friends. At the very least, laborious tasks aren’t quite as boring with company; at the most, you’ll have an extra hand to help reach high, lift heavy, or steady a ladder – all things that will keep you safe and make your tasks immeasurably easier.

It’s That Time Again! 6 Back to School Safety Tips

by Cassie August 26, 2015

Be Safe Going Back to School

We know. We know! It’s already August, and that means your family focus has honed in on one thing: it’s back to school time.

The start of school is exciting. It’s a flurry of activity – school supply shopping, clothes to buy, and there may be a new backpack in store. There are decisions to be made, perhaps a new bus stop to investigate, and a school lunch menu to pore over.

And of course, there are new safety concerns: street crossings on the way to the bus stop or school, heavy backpacks, and after-school hours home alone. Take some of the anxiety out of your preparations with our back to school safety tips:

1. Practice Walking Safety
Depending on their age – and provided your kids are conscientious about street safety – walking to the bus stop (or school) is a great way for them to learn personal responsibility. If you’re ready to let your children walk alone, be sure to practice the walking route a few times before school starts. Make sure they know the route well, including being familiar with potential danger areas. If you can, encourage your kids to walk with a friend or other children from the neighborhood.

2. Practice Bike Safety
If your kids ride bikes to school, our walking guidelines still apply; for example, be sure to practice the route in advance. Additionally, make sure your kids know to ride single file, on the right-hand side of the road. They should always come to a full stop before crossing the street, and should walk their bike through all crossings. Be sure they wear a helmet at all times.

3. Practice Bus Safety
If your kiddo rides the bus, much of their safety is taken care of but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tips to impart: teach them to stand far from the curb – at least three steps is a good rule of thumb – and to always, always cross the street in front of the bus, at least 10 feet from the front windshield. And even though cars should be stopped both ways, your kids should always look left-right-left before crossing.

4. Stranger Danger
Even older kids may need a reminder: Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when walking alone. Remind walkers that if they ever suspect they’re being followed, or if a stranger ever approaches them on the street, that they should state aloud, “You’re not my mom/dad!” and immediately seek out a trusted adult or neighbor, or even a nearby business, library, police station or other public safety zone.

5. Backpack Wisely
What with binders, folders, notebooks and multiple subjects’ worth of textbooks, your kids’ backpacks bulk up fast. Keep their backs safe with an ergonomic model (yes, really! they exist), which will help distribute the weight. Also, keep backpacks to less than 20% of a child’s body weight, e.g. no more than 20 pounds for a 100-pound student.

6. Home Alone Precautions
We’re not talking comedic, movie-worth booby traps; we’re focused more on simple things you can do when your kids get home before you do. Precautions can be as simple as asking your kids to text when they get home, to notifying any stay-at-home-neighbors that your kids will be home alone for a few hours everyday (and letting your kids know that they can always contact said neighbors for help).

Also consider the advantages of smart home safety. New technology makes it possible for your locks to auto-text you when your kids walk in the door, or your camera security system to send you a video of your kids doing their homework. You can even set smart appliances to have a warm, nutritious after-school snack ready and waiting.

What’s the WORST Home Security Advice You’ve Ever Heard?

by Cassie August 12, 2015

The Worst Home Security Advice

There’s a lot of bad advice in this world, but in most cases, bad advice doesn’t result in awful consequences. Bad advice in the kitchen may mean hard-as-a-rock cake; bad fashion advice can make you look the fool; and bad movie advice means $15 and a few hours wasted.

Bad security advice? Well, that’s a whole other ball of wax. Bad home security advice can mean thousands in stolen goods, broken windows, and the loss of impossible-to-replace jewelry, antiques or heirlooms. Bad home security advice can mean breached WiFi networks and stolen passwords. And in the most tragic cases, bad home security advice can mean injury to your loved ones.

When it comes to home security, bad advice isn’t just bad – it’s disastrous. Here’s some of the worst home security advice we’ve ever heard:

1. A self monitored system is just as good as a monitored system.
Here’s the deal: DIY systems – and by that, we’re talking about mostly low-cost, wireless systems that notify you (or other phones) when an alarm is triggered – can be great as a basic system. But that does not mean they’re as good as a monitored home security system.

A monitored alarm system is directly connected to your security company, which will notify the police, the fire department, and the paramedics in case of emergency. Police notification can mean the difference between stolen goods and thieves behind bars – not to mention, monitored homes are about 15 times less likely to be burgled in the first place – but more importantly fire and ambulance notification can save the lives of loved ones. There’s no compare.

2. Change your password, and your smart home network is secure.
Most smart home devices – say, smart locks and smart appliances – are designed with ease-of-use, not network security in mind. But as the Internet of Things and home security become intertwined, it’s incredibly important to secure your smart home against hackers – hackers who could find their way into your network via your smart fridge.

To secure your home, first secure your wireless network, preferably via Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) protocol and a complex password. Give your network an unidentifiable name: think “UFO Space Station,” not “The Joneses.” And always, always change each device’s manufacturer password to a unique (as in, not shared with any other device) password.

3. Home Security – One & Done!
This one needs a bit of explanation. First, yes, sticking with one monitoring company for whatever you can – example: burglary, flood, and fire prevention – is a great idea. You’ll get a better package price, and won’t have to keep up with multiple companies.

However! The best home security is like an onion: it offers layer after layer after layer of security – layers guaranteed to make would-be burglars cry in frustration. Your best bet is to purchase the best home security system you can afford, and then layer on third-party extras like outdoor security cameras, Wi-Fi enabled doorbells, and even low-tech extras including interior door hinges (can’t be easily removed), strong window locks, and metal bars for your sliding door tracks.

Your turn: What is the worst security advice you’ve ever received?

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