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3 Tips To Prepare Your Home For Summer

by Amy June 10, 2019

You have been getting ready for summer throughout the year, but how ready is your house? This warm season is perfect for making memories, relaxing, and spending time with loved ones. Unfortunately, the summer season also attracts hot home messes, bug invasions, and a slew of other unpredictable mishaps. Therefore, for you to make sure everything goes according to plan this summer, here are some of the must do’s.

Increase Security

If you and your family are planning to go on a vacation during the summer, you must prepare your home before you leave. One of the ways you can do this is by installing alarm systems. Criminals tend to look out for houses that seem empty; this makes having a security system important. With home automation from My Alarm Center, you can even set your lights on a schedule to make your house seem occupied while you’re away. Security system installation with My Alarm Center is quick and easy, leaving you assured that your home is safe no matter where you’re going.

Weatherproof Your House

Summer is usually the season for severe rainstorms, tornadoes, floods, heat, and hurricanes. To keep your family safe, it is essential to prepare your home for all types of weather. Depending on the region you live in, make sure your home is weatherproofed for any weather event that is likely to occur. For example, if you live in a place with extreme heat during the summer, you can keep your house cool by checking the doors and windows for air leaks.

Critter Control And Prevention

The extreme heat you experience during the summer creates an excellent breeding ground for ants, cockroaches, bees, and other pests. To ensure that you protect your house against these invasive bugs, make sure you check your windows, doors, and house foundation for cracks that act as an entry point for the bugs. You can also consider hiring pest control to help inspect your house.

Overall, make sure you enjoy the summer while protecting your home. With home security and home automation, you can easily keep your family safe and make sure you don’t miss a single moment of this beautiful season.

How Our Home Automation System Keeps You Safe During Summer

by Amy May 17, 2019

Chances are summer’s warm weather and more relaxing climate means you’ll be booked for numerous outdoor activities, family get-togethers, and vacations. The more time you spend outside, the more you need to secure your home – according to a study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more burglaries occur during the summer compared to any other season. Here are 3 ways that home automation can help keep you and your family safe this summer:

Vacation Security

Our home automation system can provide you with peace of mind with the ability to monitor your home from anywhere in the world. It’s possible to receive alerts when anyone interacts in your home, such as anytime a family member or dog sitter has used an access code to get into your home. You can also get a view of your home through your cameras at any time just to make sure everything is okay.

Family Security

Keeping your loved ones safe is always a priority, no matter what time of year it is. With the kids out of school for the summer, you may want to install a live video feed so you can check on them throughout the day. Whether it’s the kids or a beloved pet, checking on them is as easy as opening an app. A home automation system can also give you alerts if a pool gate or a basement door is opened while you’re gone, and the kids are home alone.

Home Security

During the warmer months, you’ll likely open more windows and be in and out of the house on a more frequent basis. The home automation system, you can check if something has been left on or open. You can even turn off appliances and, with smart windows, close the windows. Everything from windows to a garage door can be easily monitored while you’re away, making sure your home is safe from intruders.

These are just a few ways that you and your family can stay safe this summer by using a home automation system. My Alarm Center provides home automation, home security, and a variety of other services for home and business. With almost 20 years of experience, you know your home is safe with My Alarm Center. Contact us for more information on home security and home automation today.

Yard Sale Items That Can Help Secure Your Home

by Amy April 24, 2019

Spring might be the time to de-clutter and rearrange your home, but it could also be a time to get things for sale that will help with your home. Here are some things you may be able to find at local yard sales that could help to secure your home and your property:

Lamps and Spotlights

Well-lit spaces are more secure places. Smart bulbs applied to smart lamps are compatible with our home automation solution. You can also attach lamps to a timer switch to make your house seem occupied while you are away on vacation or on a business trip. Installing bright spotlights can be connected to motion sensors and scare off nighttime pests and nefarious people.

Storage Solutions

Furniture including file cabinets, lockable shelving, and storage ottomans let you tuck clutter and valuables out of the way, so they are not easily spotted by prospective thieves. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot a fireproof safe to help hide your things.

Etched Glass Window Film and Blackout Blinds

Stick-on films let the light come through, but people cannot see in. Tinted and patterned window films work the same way. Blackout blinds work similarly to window films except they help give you a deep night’s sleep in a darkened room! All these products can help stay secure for any unwanted onlookers spying your home.

Important Home Safety & Security Statistics

Lockboxes

Real estate agents often use lockboxes to access the keys of the homes they’re trying to sell, so why wouldn’t you consider? These magnetic boxes let you hide spare keys around the property with a password. However, don’t install them by the garage or by the front of the house– thieves know to check there. Make sure to view the best lockboxes in the market and snag one at the next yard sale.

Smart Plug Outlet

These handy gadgets connect to a power strip, letting you control multiple devices at once by phone, also compatible with our home automation solution.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Chances are you already have these in your home but doubling up gives you extra peace of mind if one unit fails. Fire and Carbon Monoxide monitoring with the support of our central monitoring station can make the difference in securing your home from flames.

Yard Signs

Home security yard signs such as ‘Warning: Security Cameras in Use’ can be the turning point in thieves deciding to try their luck at a less protected home. Dog signs can also help compliment an existing home security system.

The Next Step

While all these DIY security measures can help keep your home safe, nothing beats the effectiveness of a properly and professionally installed home security system. My Alarm Center Home Security offers a wide range of home products and alarm system monitoring. Contact us for more information about My Alarm Center Security Services.

The Definitive Spring Cleaning Guide For You And Your Home

by Amy

The cold bite in the air is fading and quickly being replaced by hints of warmer weather. With the arrival of spring comes flowers blooming, adventure planning and, spring cleaning. The heralding of a new season brings fresh new energy and the need to organize, declutter, and dust-off from a winter spent indoors. But save for a select few, no one likes cleaning. Sure, the aftermath is satisfying, but moving appliances and throwing out clothes? I’d rather not. If spring cleaning is getting you down, here are some ways to get started:

Clean Your Equipment

The winter months might’ve taken a toll on your outdoor equipment, so make sure to target the cameras, lights, and sensors outside your home for cleaning. Well-kept equipment can help ensure the alerts and monitoring you get is up-to-date.

Break It Down

Not knowing where to start can make a task seem insurmountable. Talk yourself through it and break down the task into small pieces and create a checklist. Aside from not feeling so overwhelmed, crossing things off your list will bring a sense of satisfaction and make you want to keep going.

Procrastinate and Take it Slow

You did not read that wrong. Knowing when and how to take breaks will actually get the job done faster and with more precision than not taking a break at all. Every hour, give yourself 10 minutes of nothing time. It can be scrolling through Instagram or staring at the wall, but taking a break will help you stay energized.

Move It!

If you’re in the middle of a task and feel like you just don’t want to finish, turn up some music and dance or exercise. It’ll give you the extra burst of energy you need to power through to the end.

Goals and Rewards

Sticker charts and ice cream treats are not just for kids! Set goals for yourself and decide on a treat for when you get there. It’ll keep you motivated to focus on getting the job done.

There’s nothing like the feeling of clean living space but getting there can be a drag. With these tips, you’ll stay motivated and can even have some fun in the process.

Whatever shape your home is in, My Alarm Center offers a wide range of home products and alarm monitoring. Contact us for more information about My Alarm Center Security Services.

The Future Is Now: Your Phone Is A Powerful Home Security Tool

by Amy February 27, 2019

Nothing is more important to us than protecting your home and family, especially as burglars become increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to break in. To keep pace with newer technologies and services, the right security agency is essential. A comprehensive home security system is more than just a set of security cameras and a beeping alarm. It should include modern, effective features like alarm monitoring and integration with smart phones. Here are a few ways that your phone can be a vital part of your security strategy:

Home Automation Gives You Remote Control

Home automation covers a lot of features that range from convenient to essential. These could include:

  • Watching the front door, windows, and any other entry points in your home
  • Garage doors that slide open as your car approaches
  • Exterior doors that automatically lock when you leave
  • The ability to disable alarms remotely if you have someone visiting your home

If your phone can help you navigate through your town, pay your bills, and even keep tabs on loved ones, why couldn’t it help secure your home in a snap?

Surveillance Lets You Keep an Eye on Your Home

Multiple exterior and interior cameras let you keep an eye on your property. With your cell phone, you can tap into the video feed at any time you want to make a spot check.

Alarm Monitoring And Alerts Keep You In The Loop

A multi-pronged security system can trigger alerts for everything from motion detection to smoke or carbon monoxide warnings. It may also cover scenarios like if a door or specific cabinet is opened. You’ll also be warned in the case of power failures or other unexpected events. Your cell phone lets you stay in the loop here and keep control of your house while you’re away.

Do you have any questions about integrating your alarm system with your cell phone? Contact us at My Alarm Center and our experienced agents will be happy to help.

Improving Your Home Security For The New Year

by Amy January 7, 2019

Losing weight or quitting smoking typically make many New Year’s Resolution lists, but what about installing or updating your home security system? Keeping you and your family safe are definitely worth including on your list. We’ve put a few ideas together to help you do just that — a “New Year’s To-Do” list. These little things you can do can make a big difference in making your home more secure:

Don’t Leave Garage Door Openers or Keys In Your Car

Leaving these in your car makes it very easy for someone to gain access into your house without requiring a key. Make sure to stow these away in a guarded place where you can reach it, or entrust them to a close friend, neighbor, or family member. You can also take measures to your garage door by installing deadbolts and heavy-duty strike plate.

Make Your Home Look Occupied When It Is Not

This is easier than ever before with smart home devices and home automation security. You can schedule lights to be turned on and off at different times or even have a TV playing in the evening hours just like you were at home. Most home burglaries occur between 10am to 3pm, when most of us are at work, so seeing house activity during these times can detract unwanted trespassers.

Remember to Set Your Alarm System Correctly

Many people purchase an alarm from a security service but they fail to set it and use it; you’ll want an alarm system to go off when something happens. With a system from My Alarm Center you’ll also get the MyHome app which lets you set and deactivate your alarm system from your phone.

Utilize Our Video Monitoring Service

You’ll never have to open the door on a stranger again when you have video monitoring with My Alarm Center’s high-tech security cameras. You’ll be able to monitor your home right from your mobile device, even from miles away, when you’re at work or on vacation.

Remember To Monitor Other Doors

Burglars have always been creative, so don’t forget about your porch door, French doors, or even large windows. These can prove easier entryways for would-be criminals than the front door, so make sure they are properly secured. Our systems can ensure all these programs can be monitored and tracked, so you’ll know when anyone comes in at any point in your home.

If you have any questions on home security systems, don’t hesitate to reach out and have a security system installed in the Philadelphia and Seattle areas.

Fire Safety Tips For Homeowners

by Amy December 6, 2018

It is important to remember that even a small fire can spread within minutes, and it can take more time to escape your home than you think.  These tips can help you stay safe in case of a fire.

Causes Of Fires

Cooking: Ensure that the burners and stove are always turned off when you are finished cooking. Be especially careful when cooking or frying with oil and grease. Make sure that all clothing and other combustible materials stay far away from open flames. Our fire detection systems can alert you when burners are remained on.

Heating: Make sure there are at least 3 feet of clearance between space heaters and any flammable objects. Also, ensure wood burning heaters and fireplaces are properly maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.

Candles: When using candles, be smart about their placement. Never leave an open flame unattended or near children. Extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Smoking: Indoor smoking is the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths in the United States. If you must smoke inside, make sure you never smoke in bed and always fully extinguish cigarettes when finished. Keep matches and lighters away from children. Never place ashes in a trash can where they can ignite a fire; instead, wet them down and dispose of them in a metal container.

Appliances and Furniture: Furniture can catch fire very quickly. Take special care with placing furniture near heat sources. Electrical malfunctions account for about 6% of residential building fires. It is important to check electrical cords and to replace them if they are damaged.

Smoke Detectors: Ensuring that your smoke detectors are working properly is a huge part of ensuring your safety. Check that you have a smoke detector in every room in which people sleep and outside of the sleeping area. Test the detector once a month by pushing the test button until it beeps. If your smoke detector needs a new battery or is malfunctioning, take care of it as soon as possible. Smoke detectors older than 10 years need to be replaced and batteries older than six months should be changed as well. If you ever hear the fire alarm, it is important that you immediately leave your home.

Fire Extinguishers: Make sure that you purchase one. This is a necessary item to stop minor fires before they spread. Ensure that the fire extinguisher is up to date and working properly. Familiarize yourself with PASS (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep) on how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Close Doors: Avoid leaving doors propped open because closed doors can slow the spread of a fire.

Clutter: Do not leave any shared spaces cluttered. This could block your escape, especially at night or in a smoke-filled room, when it is difficult to see clearly.

Escape Plan: Creating a fire escape plan is very important and will allow you to be ready in case a fire ever does occur. Identify all possible escape routes from your home and establish a meeting place outside, a safe distance from your house, with your family. Conduct your own fire drills, both during the day and at night.

Prepare yourself and do your part to ensure that your home will never be in a dangerous fire situation. Take our fire safety quiz and know just how secure your home is.

How To Best Protect Your Home And Car This Halloween

by Amy October 30, 2018

According to a study conducted by the Boston Globe, crime rates increase by 50% on Halloween night. If you’re out trick-or-treating with the kids, burglars could take advantage of people being away from home and the unfamiliar traffic and pedestrians typically out on Halloween. Protect your home before going trick or treating. Use these tips to stay safe and enjoy the fun sideo of this spooky evening.

General Safety Tips:

  • Choose your trick or treating venue or neighborhood wisely.
  • Take steps to protect your vehicles.
  • Provide plenty of light in walkways.
  • Make sure your trick or treaters are visible.
  • Avoid distractions while walking and driving.

Protect Your Home:

  • Provide plenty of lighting around the exterior of your home to make it easy to see people who approach your home and so visitors don’t stubmble on anything unseen.
  • Place decorations strategically so that they will not be a tripping hazard. Avoid extension cords if possible.
  • Keep all unsupervised points of entry into your home locked. It is a good idea to have your security system activated, even if you are just outside. You may not be aware of someone trying to break into your house while you’re handing out Halloween candy.
  • Leave all valuables out of sight.
  • Let your neighbors know that you do not plan to be home so that they can keep any eye out for anything suspicious.

Protect Your Vehicle:

  • Keep in mind that car theft increases as well on Halloween, so protect your vehicle. Park your car in your garage or at a well-lit area in a trusted neighborhood.
  • Remove all valuables from your car and never leave any in sight, espeically money or a purse, even for a few minutes.
  • Lock all the doors and roll up all the windows.
  • Set your alarm on your vehicle.

My Alarm Center provides security monitoring that will allow you to stay safe all year round. Plan for Halloween so that you can guarantee your home will be safe, even if you plan to celebrate somewhere else.

Home Security Checklist

by Amy April 13, 2018

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

  1. Exterior Doors

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

  1. Lighting

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

  1. Windows

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

  1. Outdoor Security

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

  1. Vacation

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

  1. Inventory Possessions

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

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

Protect Yourself From Bluetooth Hackers

by Amy February 8, 2018

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

Protect Your Home Devices

1. Turn Off Your Wifi And Bluetooth

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

2. Use Two-Step Authentication

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

3. Create A Smart Password

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

4. Guard Your Home Wifi

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

5. Don’t Hide Your Wifi Signal

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

Protect Your Bluetooth Devices

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

1. Create A Good Password

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

2. Use “Not Discoverable” Setting

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

3. Be Cautious Of Other Devices

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

4. Be Cautious Of Ways To Get Hacked

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

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

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