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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.

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.

Cold Weather Safety Tips

by Amy January 17, 2018

The winter season has arrived and it is important to stay safe throughout this bitterly cold period. My Alarm Center wants to remind you to prepare accordingly for the cold weather.

  1. Pay Attention To The Forecast

Pay attention to your daily and weekly weather forecast. Look out for low wind chills and winter weather advisories. This will help you dress accordingly if you must go out, pick up the supplies you may need, and prepare your home for the harsh elements.

  1. Plan Ahead

Plan for weather conditions that you do not expect. Keep an extra coat or blanket in your car. Keep extra food in the house. If your job is outdoors, plan a warm-up break. You never want to be caught off guard in the cold.

  1. Protect Your Home

A bad winter storm could knock out your power or even your heat. Generators and space heaters are wonderful to have but be cautious when using them. Space heaters should always be kept three feet away from anything flammable. Generators should never be hooked up to the homes internal wiring. The safest way to use a generator is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to it. Be cautious of your pipes freezing as well. When water freezes it expands and can cause a burst pipe. Flood monitoring can be used to keep you aware of any leaks before they turn into a flood. If you do lose heat, keep sinks running a trickle of water to help prevent pipes from freezing.

  1. Winterize Your Home

Consider installing weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows to protect your home from losing heat throughout the season. Insulate water lines that run along your exterior walls to help keep your pipes from freezing.

  1. Dress Warmly

Dress in several different layers. Ideally, your outermost layer will be wind resistant. Make sure to wear a hat or insulated gloves. Keep your face and neck warm with a scarf.

  1. Seek Shelter When Necessary

When the wind chill is low it can do significant damage to your body. Make time to get out of the cold and limit your time spent outdoors. There’s nothing like a warm home on a cold day. If you want to keep your house warm but not have the heat on all the time, you can use a smart thermostat with your home automation system to keep the heat low when you’re at work and warm your house up right before you get home.

  1. Stay Dry

Stay as dry as possible when it’s cold outside. Wet clothing chills the body much more rapidly. If you begin to sweat from the multiple layers, remove your outer layer or unzip your coat.

  1. Keep Active

The more physical activity you’re getting, the warmer you’ll be. Walking or running will help you naturally generate body heat.

  1. Be Aware

Be cautious of signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Children, the elderly, and anyone with circulation problems are more susceptible to the cold. The use of alcohol, tobacco, and certain medications will also increase susceptibility to the cold.

The Signs Of Hypothermia

  • A drop in body temperature.
  • Shivering, confusion, and loss of muscular control.
  • Loss of consciousness.

What To Do

  • Get the person inside and gently remove any wet clothing.
  • Lay the person flat and avoid rough handling, especially if they are unconscious.
  • Warm the person gradually and slowly, with any available sources of heat.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.

The Signs Of Frostbite

  • Skin appears white and waxy and is hard to the touch.
  • There is no sensation and the area feels numb or is tingling.

What To Do

  • Get inside a warm place.
  • Warm the area gradually with body heat or warm water.
  • Get medical assistance immediately.

My Alarm Center wants to remind you and your family to stay safe throughout the winter season. Remember to check the local weather forecasts and dress appropriately for the current winter conditions. If you notice signs of hypothermia or frostbite, make sure you contact medical personnel as soon as possible.

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.

Thanksgiving Kitchen Fire Safety

by Amy November 9, 2017

Thanksgiving guarantees a full stomach for the whole family. Which means a full kitchen before that. People coming and going as the Thanksgiving feast is being prepared. Unfortunately, all the hustle and bustle lead to Thanksgiving being the number one day for house fires. My Alarm Center wants you to be safe and alert this Thanksgiving. Fire alarm monitoring can make sure the fire department is on its way as soon as a fire starts. Additionally, here are some kitchen safety tips to keep your family and your home safe.

  1. Test Your Smoke Alarms

Before you start cooking, it’s recommended to ensure that your smoke and fire alarms are working properly. This way you’ll immediately be alerted in case of a fire.

  1. Keep A Fire Extinguisher Handy

A fire extinguisher in the kitchen could stop a fire before it can spread. Be sure your fire extinguisher is safe to use in the kitchen fire before utilizing.

  1. Wear Proper Cooking Attire

Wear a shirt with short or close-fitting sleeves. Loose clothing can easily catch fire and be hazardous in the kitchen.

  1. Stay In The Kitchen

It is easy to get distracted entertaining your loved ones, but it is imperative to keep an eye on everything being prepared in the kitchen.

  1. Don’t Leave Your Home

Many people think it’s okay to make a quick run to the grocery store while their turkey is in the oven, but this is not the case. A disaster could happen at any moment and it is essential to be home just in case. Stay present in your house while the turkey is cooking and check on it frequently.

  1. Keep Kids Out Of The Kitchen

Your children are better off outside the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. It’s important that they stay away from sharp objects and hot foods.

  1. Be Cautious Of Stove Placement

Be aware of your pots on the stovetop. Make sure that pot and pan handles are toward the back of the stove and won’t be easily run into. Avoid leaving any towels or pot holders near any open flames

If a fire does occur…

  1. Call 911 immediately.
  2. If grease or oil causes the fire, do not take the contents outside. Move a lid overtop of the flames to smother them. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on the pan until it cools.
  3. To extinguish any other food fires, use baking soda.
  4. If an oven or broiler is the cause of the fire, make sure to keep the oven door closed and turn off the heat to smother the flames.
  5. Do not use water or flour to put out any cooking fire, they could have a violent reaction to the grease and cause the fire to spread and become worse.

This Thanksgiving make sure that you are cautious and alert when cooking in the kitchen. Be prepared for any possible disaster and make sure you’re ready with a fire extinguisher. Keep your children away from the kitchen and keep your home and family safe. Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast and remember you have a lot to be thankful for.

Adding Extra Layers To Your Home Security

by Amy October 23, 2017

These days you never know if your home security is strong enough until it is threatened. This is why it’s a good idea to add on as many layers of home security as possible. Use a variety of security tactics so that you will always feel safe and know the belongings inside of your home will be safe as well.

Layer 1: Lighting

Use lighting to your advantage by placing them around the exterior of your home strategically. There should be no unlit areas that someone could potentially hide in. Have motion detector lights installed to alert you of outside activity. Also, make sure entrances to the home are illuminated throughout the night. It is much less likely that an intruder would attempt a break in when they would be seen walking in the front door.

Layer 2: Locks

The most important part of locks is not that they are present but that they are used. A home could have several padlocks on the door but if they are not locked at all times, they are no use to you. Even if you assume that your neighborhood is safe, you should leave the door locked when you are home and when you are away, even if only for a few minutes. This rule also applies to garage doors.

Layer 3: Blinds

Even though your home may seem brighter with the blinds all the way up, it is smart to keep the blinds down, especially for bottom floor windows. A burglar would have a very difficult time entering the home through a window without making an excess of noise.

Layer 4: Home Security

A home security system is the best way you can protect yourself from home invasion. Cameras, motion detectors, and 24/7 alarm monitoring will alert you as soon as a break in occurs. You will also receive alerts when you are not home, so you know your home is always safe.

Layer 5: Pets

This is one of the layers people don’t think about. Dogs are alert to all sounds inside and outside of the home. They can alert you the moment someone is near your window or outside your front door. It’s almost impossible to get past a dog inside your home and criminals are immediately deterred from attempting a break in when they see a dog lives there.             

There are many different layers to home security and they work best when they are combined. Use several layers of security to ensure your home is always safe. My Alarm Center is one of the leading home security system suppliers in Philadelphia. They provide home monitoring that will alert you as soon as a possible threat occurs.

Halloween Costume Safety Tips

by Amy October 11, 2017

Halloween can be the scariest night for parents. Follow these costume tips and give yourself some peace of mind on the spookiest of evenings by making sure whatever costume your child wears it’s a safe one.

  • Avoid baggy outfits and flowing cloaks. These stray pieces can easily brush across an open flame or trip up a trick or treater when they’re walking.
  • Shoes should be comfortable with laces securely tied. Decorative heels and oversized shoes can result in a painful spill.
  • Be sure to buy costumes that are labeled as flame resistant. With flickering candles and jack-o-lanterns there are many open flames around on Halloween night.
  • Make sure that any makeup you use is hypoallergenic. Nothing is less fun than a rash on Halloween.
  • Never use decorative contact lenses. Most aren’t certified by optometrists and can cause severe eye damage.
  • Avoid costumes and props with sharp edges. You want to make sure the only kids with eye patches are ones dressed as pirates.
  • You’ll often find dozens of trick or treaters coming to your door in the same costumes. Unique costumes are recommended so your child is easy to pick out in a crowd. If your child is wearing a similar costume to others, make sure to add something which stands out from the rest.
  • Make sure any masks being worn are easy to see out of. Obscured vision can lead to accidents.
  • Don’t rely on flashlights being the only thing that makes your trick or treater visible. Use reflective tape and glow sticks to make sure drivers can clearly see your child as they cross the street. Additionally, don’t ever let your kids go out in an all-black costume, no matter how scary they may look.

Halloween is a night of extreme excitement but also a night of dangers. Dark streets, costumed children, and candy fueled activities increase hazards. By following these simple tips, you can make sure your family has fun while staying safe. For more safety tips, check out some of My Alarm Center’s other articles.

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