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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.

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.

5 Causes Of Holiday House Fires And How To Prevent Them

by Amy October 26, 2018

The holiday season is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but, every year, hundreds become the victims of unfortunate holiday fires. Fires during the holidays account for 34% greater property loss and 70% more fatalities than average. Don’t let fire ruin your holiday and follow these tips to ensure a safe holiday season for you and your family.

  1. Cooking

The holidays are all about big meals, and the most common culprit is food left unattended during cooking. Ensure that you have a working fire extinguisher rated for all types of fires and that all the smoke detectors are working properly throughout your household. And be sure you know how to operate the fire extinguisher.

  1. Candles

Candle fires are four times more likely during the month of December. To reduce the risk of fire, maintain a foot of space between candles and anything flammable, including your Christmas tree. Set candles on a sturdy base or cover them with hurricane globes. Do not leave candles unattended, especially near children. Also, consider using flameless LED candles instead of real ones. They flicker, just like an actual candle, but there’s no risk of anything catching aflame.

  1. Decorative Lights

Do not use any decorative lights with frayed or cracked wires. Refrain from stringing any more than three strands of lights together on one outlet. Ensure lights are not placed near any heat sources or anything that could potentially overheat. When placing lights outside, avoid using nails or staples as this could damage the wiring. It is also recommended to take lights down within 90 days as they could be damaged by environmental factors.

  1. Christmas Trees

It will take less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to become engulfed in flame. To minimize the risk of a Christmas Tree catching fire, water the tree every day. If a tree is well watered, it is almost impossible to ignite. Regardless of how often you water the tree, it will begin to dry out after four weeks. When setting up the tree, even an artificial one, make sure it is far away from any heat sources, like fireplaces or radiators. Lastly, make sure the Christmas lights on the tree are always turned off when you go to sleep at night or leave your home. You smart home can automate when to turn your lights on and off.

  1. Fireplaces

Remember to have your fireplace inspected every year by a professional chimney inspector. Soot can harden and become flammable, so this inspection is indispensable. Screen in your fireplace to prevent any hot embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet.

Be cautious and careful when choosing how to decorate your home this holiday season. Make sure that anything potentially flammable is kept far away from heat sources and electronics. If your fire alarm sounds, immediately leave your home, even if you do not know the cause of the alarm.

My Alarm Center wishes you a safe holiday season with your family.

Keep Your Dorms Safe With These Campus Security Tips

by Amy October 5, 2018

College makes you feel safe because there are always people around, but it is important to know how look out for yourself. Everyone can help to make college campuses safer. If you are a victim of violence in any way, make sure that you contact your local campus resources or local police station for help.

Increasing On-Campus Safety:

Know Your Resources

Call 911 and know the phone number to Public Safety in case of emergency. Make sure to have access to the campus health center and the campus police station. Also keep note where emergency phones or other emergency stations are located.

Stay Alert

When moving around campus, always be aware of your surroundings. Especially when walking home from class at night. Consider inviting a friend to join you when walking around. If you are alone, only use headphones in one ear so you can still be aware of your surroundings.

Location

Many social media sights allow you to share your location with many different people on your friends list. Consider disabling your location functions so that you can ensure that no one can follow you or track you.

Trust

A college environment can form a false sense of security. Make sure that you are careful with your valuables and don’t rely on people you don’t know.

Be Secure

Even though college may not seem like a dangerous place, lock your doors and windows at night. Keep your door locked during the day as well, especially if you’re not there and even if you’re only using the bathroom. Never leave your belongings in a public area.

Increasing Safety Outside Campus:

Plan Ahead
If you’re going to a party, make sure to plan ahead. Leave and return with people that you trust. Agree to watch out for each other and keep in touch if you get separated. Don’t leave anyone alone or behind.

Don’t Leave Your Drink Unattended
Don’t take a drink from anyone you didn’t watch make it. If you go to the bathroom or walk outside, take it with you. It is important to remember that if someone tampered with your drink, you probably wouldn’t know it as most substances have no color, taste, or odor.

Know Your Limits

Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had and be aware of your friends’ behavior as well. Know your limits and know when you’ve had enough. If someone is ever drinking too much, make sure you contact help immediately.

Trust Your Instincts And Be A Good Friend

If you see a friend in a situation that doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Look out for your friends and they will certainly return the favor.

Know When To Say ‘No’

If you’re ever in a situation that you don’t feel comfortable in, it’s okay to leave. You aren’t obligated to stay in a place where you feel unsafe. If you feel the need to lie to protect yourself, some good excuses to leave are to help another friend or family member, an urgent phone call, not feeling well, or having to be somewhere else by a certain time.

My Alarm Center can provide extra security with home security system installation for off campus housing.

Signs That A Burglar Is Targeting Your Home

by Amy July 26, 2018

To prevent your home from becoming a target, it is important to know the signs that burglars look for when they pick a target. There are many things to watch for but here are a few that should immediately make you think twice.

  1. Strangers Snooping Around

Don’t become paranoid every time a person walks by your house, but if you see someone who is snooping around, make sure to call your local police. Do not attempt to confront them on your own.

  1. Random Strangers Knocking On Your Door

One of the oldest tricks to get into your home is to just knock on the front door. They could ask to use the bathroom or even try to sell you a fake product. Be wary of any strangers that ask to come inside.

  1. Uncertified Workers

If you choose to have work done on your home, make sure the workers are certified. In some instances, a burglar may see workers coming and going and use it to enter your home. Make sure you contact the company if you are unsure of a worker’s legitimacy.

  1. Unsolicited Fundraisers Or Religious Workers

A twelve-year-old girl selling Girl Scout Cookies isn’t going to be a threat to your home, but other solicitors should always be treated with caution. Burglars are looking for any opportunity to see the inside of your home. Always check who is knocking before you open the door to a stranger and remember you are not obligated to open your door for anyone.

  1. You See Someone Taking Pictures Of Your home

Smartphones make it easy for people to canvass your house and create an intrusion plan. If you see anyone take a picture of your home, you need to immediately act. Notify local law enforcement and document what you see. If possible, take a picture of them as well.

  1. Stickers Or Flyers

If you’re finding a bunch of stickers or flyers on your front door it could be a potential danger. Burglars will attempt to use this method to see if a home is well guarded or not. This, of course, is not always a signal that someone is trying to break into your home, but it is something to keep an eye out for. If you’re going to be away for a period, have someone watch your home to ensure nothing is piling up on the front lawn.

  1. Strange Markings On Your Home

Many burglars will use subtle markings to identify a house they are casing. This could be a string placed on the house or the lampposts. If you see an unexplained marking, move it immediately.

It’s important you’re aware of what is going on around your neighborhood. You can protect your home and your neighbors by keeping an eye on anything that may seem out of place. Communicate with your neighbors so they can be aware as well.

Road Trip Safety Tips

by Amy June 27, 2018

Summer is here and that means this year’s summer vacation is right around the corner. But are you ready to hit the road? You may have packed everything from bathing suits to toothbrushes for the entire family, but it can’t hurt to be sure. Use these tips to prepare for your family road trip and make sure it is as enjoyable as it can be.

  1. Check Your Vehicle

Before leaving for your trip, make sure your car is ready to make the journey. Take your vehicle to your local mechanic (someone you trust of course!) to ensure that everything is working properly–including tires, battery, belts, fluids, and air conditioner. If you plan to travel to a hot climate, or plan to tow a boat or trailer, check to see if you need motor oil with a higher viscosity.

  1. Be Mentally & Physically Prepared

When planning a vacation that will require a lot of driving, it is essential you get a good night’s sleep. Statistics show driving while drowsy is a contributing factor to over 100,000 accidents every year. Be cautious when driving and plan to switch drivers every few hours if possible.

  1. Bring A Safety Kit

Every car should have a safety kit in case of an emergency. It is hard to predict everything you may need, but some basic supplies include water, warm blankets, a flashlight, jumper cables, flares, a tool kit to change a tire, a first aid kit, snacks, and a phone charger.

  1. Prepare For Sun

People often forget to pack enough sunblock and sunglasses for every member of the family, and be sure to apply it before you leave. Sunburn can happen while you’re driving, too.

  1. Buy A Roadside Assistance Plan

This is especially important if you plan to travel a far distance. Whether you purchase it from a travel company, or your dealer, be sure you can always get help when you need it most.

  1. Secure The Backseat

Ensure that child safety locks are activated for doors and windows that could be within your child’s reach. Look around to be sure there are no choking hazards as well.

  1. Pack The Vehicle Strategically

When packing the vehicle, make sure heavy items are secured. When the car is traveling at high speeds, everything in the car is as well. You wouldn’t want anything heavy to hurt someone if you need to slam on the breaks. A packed-to-the-gills car can also limit your ability to see out of all of your mirrors. Be sure you have clear visibility of other drivers before hitting the road.

  1. Adjust Your Posture

As the driver, make sure you are sitting in an upright position. Slouching can make you feel drowsy and uncomfortable. Many people tend to sit too far or too close to their steering wheel. To be in the proper driving position, your legs and elbows should be bent so you can exert a strong pressure onto the brake and so you have adequate leverage to easily to turn the wheel.

  1. Take Breaks

Everyone is in a rush to start their vacation but that is no reason to forego breaks. Stop at a rest stop or switch drivers every two hours. Drinking water will also make you more alert and force you to take regular bathroom breaks.

  1. Ignore Phone Calls

Never answer the phone while driving. Keep your attention on the road in front of you. Even with Bluetooth, talking is still distracting. You should stay fully alert to everything that is happening on the road.

  1. Avoid Disruptions

It may be hard to control your crying two year old in the backseat, but it is important to limit distractions when possible. A little advance planning may be all it takes. Timing your departure to coincide with your infant’s or toddler’s nap schedule can be good for all of you!

Take the time to prepare for more than just your destination before you leave on your family road trip. Secure the car and the kids, and make sure you’re prepared to handle a few bumps in the road. My Alarm Center wants to remind you to keep your family safe and to always make smart driving decisions.

Fourth Of July Safety Tips

by Amy June 7, 2018

America’s favorite holiday is coming up quickly. Whether you’re planning a family barbecue or a road trip to the beach, My Alarm Center wants to remind you to stay safe and enjoy your holiday. Here are some tips for staying safe during the Fourth Of July this year.

  1. Fireworks Safety

Everyone loves fireworks, but it is important to maintain a safe distance to stay safe throughout the show. Do not attempt to use fireworks at your own home, rather go to a park or a public place where they will be showing fireworks. Even though it is not recommended, if you do decide to put on a firework show at your home, make sure you are very cautious. You’ll need to keep your kids far away from the fireworks and always follow the directions on the package. Keep a water supply close by in case of an accident. Whoever is lighting the fireworks should also be using eye protection for their own safety. Only light one firework at a time and do not attempt to relight it if it seems like it is a “dud”. Before the holiday, store your fireworks in a cool, dry place and keep them away from all kids and animals. Never aim fireworks toward a person, animal, vehicle, home, or any flammable materials. And if you do see someone who is unqualified playing with fireworks, leave the area immediately.

  1. Grill Safety

One of the most common summertime injuries comes from the misuse of a charcoal or gas grill. Stay safe when using a grill and know exactly how to use it properly. Someone should always be supervising the barbecue when it is in use and make sure that children and pets stay away. Do not ever attempt to grill indoors. This refers to homes, campers, tents, or any other enclosed area. The grill needs to be kept in an open area located away from your house, deck, tree branches, or anything else that could potentially catch fire. Use the proper tools when grilling. Make sure they have long handles so that you will not get burnt on the open flame. When using a charcoal grill, it is important that you do not add any more charcoal starter fluid once the coals have already been ignited.

  1. Beach Safety

The beach is the perfect place to spend your Fourth of July holiday. But it is important to keep your family safe while you are there. Be aware of potential weather conditions and check the lifeguard stand to see if there are any warning signs or flags posted. Make sure you are sober when playing in the ocean, there’s a reason alcohol isn’t allowed on the beach. Prepare your younger children with life vests as well. Use caution when walking into the open water and be aware of the aquatic life in the ocean. Avoid any sea animals or patches of plants.

  1. Sun Protection

It is recommended to avoid direct sunlight between 10 AM and 4 PM. Reapply sunscreen often. Remember to hydrate and drink lots of water as well. Eye protection is important when outdoors, so make sure every member of the family has a pair of sunglasses. Make sure your kids keep their shoes on as the hot pavement can burn them while glass and other sharp objects can cut them. Be aware of the signs of a heat stroke: red skin, drowsiness, a weak pulse, and shallow breathing. If you think there is a chance someone is suffering from a heat stroke, immediately call 911 and move the person to a cooler place.

Be prepared for any activity this Fourth of July and know how to keep your family safe. Be careful with fireworks and grilling and take extra precaution to keep the kids away while doing so. If you’re headed to the beach, make sure to stay hydrated, reapply suntan lotion, and don’t forget your sunglasses! Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a brilliant Fourth of July.

Home Security Tips From A Thief

by Amy May 8, 2018

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

  1. Lock Up

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

  1. Landscape For Security

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

  1. Unique Hiding Spaces

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

  1. Exterior Lights

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

  1. Install A Home Security Alarm

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

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

Cycling In Philly: Safety Tips For City Bike Riders

by Amy April 2, 2018

There are many things to keep in mind when cycling in the city. With lots of commuters, heavy city traffic, and it being necessary to ride beside larger cars and trucks, it is important to abide traffic laws and be aware of how you can stay safe while on a bicycle. Here are a few tips to stay safe while cycling in the city.

  1. Wear Proper Safety Gear

Always wear a helmet. You never know what to expect when riding through the city. A helmet can be the difference between life and death.

  1. Always Bring A Lock

If you plan on using a bike for your daily commute, you need to make sure your bike is safe, the same way you would lock your car. Purchase a good U-Lock and a good cable leash so that your bike can be locked up and stored safely while you aren’t using it.

  1. Purchase A Headlight and Rear Reflective Light

Especially if you plan on biking at night. Without these essential tools, it is difficult for cars to see you. There’s actually a law in Philadelphia which requires you to have these lights on your bicycle.

  1. Don’t Wear Headphones

It’s important to remember that bicycling with headphones is considered illegal. You will have a hard time hearing all the movement around you in order to stay aware and safe.

  1. Follow Cycling Laws

This includes the helmet and headlight rule but also traffic rules. Don’t attempt to ride down a one-way street in the wrong direction or to ride on the sidewalks. A red light is still a red light, not a stop sign, even if you are not driving a car. Failure to follow proper traffic laws is dangerous for yourself, other drivers, and pedestrians.

  1. Be A Defensive Driver

It’s important to assume other motorists and pedestrians won’t follow the rules they’re supposed to. You need to be just as cautious as if you were driving a car in the city.

  1. Learn To Change A Flat Tire

This is always a possibility when traveling in the city. Know how to fix this problem, especially if you’re using your bike a few miles away from your home.

  1. Consider Purchasing A Medical Alert Bracelet

This device will guarantee that if your bike is involved in an accident, help will be on the way. This could potentially save your life when riding your bicycle.

Overall, it is important to remember that you are considered another driver on the road. Even with heavy traffic, remember to stay in your lane and stay visible to all the other cars. Ride defensively and safely while in the city. Make sure to always wear a helmet and remember to lock up your bike, even if you’ll only be away for a few minutes.

Tips For A Safe Valentine’s Day

by Amy February 12, 2018

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate with your significant other or even yourself. But you should make sure that your special day is a safe day as well. Many burglars are aware that people do not spend the evening at home, so make sure you’re well prepared before enjoying your romantic night out.

  1. Don’t Share Your Plans On Social Media

By announcing your romantic getaway to all of Facebook, you’ve also alerted the world that you won’t be home for a few days. Resist sharing your plans with others so that your home won’t be advertised as vacant.

  1. Lock Your Doors And Windows

Ensure that your home is always locked up tight. Don’t leave windows unlocked. This includes upstairs as well. Make sure everything is actually locked before leaving.

  1. Keep Lights On

Especially if you’re planning to be gone for several days. It makes your home appear occupied even when it’s not. If you have lights on timers, or any home automation features, make sure to take advantage of them.

  1. Keep Small Amounts Of Cash

Valentine’s Day is a crazy busy night for many people. Everyone has specific plans. Protect yourself and your wallet by keeping your valuables on your person to a minimum. If a tragedy occurs, at least it was only a small amount to lose.

  1. Be Careful At Home

If you’re not into a big night out or a weekend getaway, make sure that you’re being careful when dining in. Make sure that you shut off the oven and blow out the candles before going to bed.

  1. Walk In Populated Areas

A romantic walk is the perfect way to end the evening, but also make sure you’re staying safe. Don’t wander down dark alleys or areas that aren’t well lit. Burglars and pickpockets know this is a busy night.

  1. Install A Home Security System

If you’re worried about your home while you’re away for a long weekend, give yourself peace of mind by installing a home security system. My Alarm Center is a security system supplier that will monitor your home 24/7 and immediately notify emergency personnel as soon as they detect an intruder.

My Alarm Center wants to remind you to have a safe and special Valentine’s Day. Use these tips to make sure you and your home stays safe throughout a very exciting evening.

How Fire Alarm Monitoring Saves Lives

by Amy November 20, 2017

With fire alarm monitoring, you can be certain you’re safe in case of a fire as an alarm monitoring center will be alerted as soon as a fire alarm or smoke detector is triggered. The monitoring center will then alert the fire department and make sure everyone has safely gotten out of the house. With the holiday season quickly approaching, it is important to remind your family of emergency procedures and make sure that you are prepared in case a fire does occur.

Fire Alarm Monitoring:

Many people assume that this would be a pricey purchase, which it is not. Most home security systems now come with fire monitoring which can include smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide detectors. Fire alarm monitoring alerts you as soon as your home detectors are activated, even if you are not home. Fire alarm monitoring is a system designed to make sure everyone has escaped from a fire successfully and to send help immediately.

Smoke Detectors:

Make sure smoke detectors are installed in every level of your home and close to sleeping areas. It is even recommended to have a smoke detector in every bedroom of your home. These alarms are loud enough to wake your entire house and will make sure you have plenty of time to get out of the house if there is a fire.

Escape Route:

It is important to have a plan before a fire breaks out, so when an emergency occurs you’ll know exactly what to do. Have a strategy for every member of the house and plan to meet at a designated area outside of the home. It is recommended to have two full plans of escape. Consider purchasing escape ladders that can be attached to windows for upper level bedrooms. Practice your fire escape route with your family, so everyone can feel comfortable with how to handle this scary situation.

Stop, Drop, and Roll:

If you are ever on fire, stop, drop, and roll on the ground until the fire is out.

Stay Low:

If ever caught within thick smoke, crawl along the ground to escape safely.

A situation can go from bad to worse in seconds. Be prepared and make sure you alert your family of what to do in case of a fire emergency. A fire alarm monitoring system will keep you fully covered in case of a fire emergency. The holiday season can put you at risk of many different types of unfortunate fires, so be careful and take the time to prepare in case of an emergency fire situation.

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