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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.

Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

by Amy June 21, 2016

fourth of july safety

 

 

This Fourth of July, enjoy your family and friends while staying safe! Follow these safety tips in order to have a fun day and protect all of your guests.

Grilling Safety

We all love a classic hot dog or cheeseburger fresh off the grill. Make sure that grilling is done in a safe area and monitored by a responsible adult. Here are other precautions, including tips from the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association.

  • Check gas grill lines for cracks, holes, and leaks
  • Make sure that children are monitored and stay a safe distance away from the grill
  • Never grill indoors, in the garage, an enclosed area, or close to any surface that could catch fire
  • Ensure the grill is at least two feet away from decks, siding, or outdoor equipment
  • Avoid a grease fire by keep the grill clean and avoiding fat buildup
  • Never leave the grill unattended while in use
  • Wear safe clothing, free of loose sleeves, string, etc. that may catch fire

Sparkler and Fireworks Safety

The staple of a Fourth of July celebration is fireworks but firework materials can be dangerous. Take the proper precautions in order to protect everyone present at your holiday event. Here are tips to prevent a firework safety incident, including recommendations from The National Council on Fireworks Safety.

  • Make sure to use fireworks in a safe area that is dry and fire resistant
  • Don’t point sparklers or fireworks at yourself or others
  • Do not allow young children access to handle fireworks and make sure they are always supervised
  • Always have a fire extinguisher or hose available while using fireworks
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers
  • Read all caution labels carefully before using any fire materials
  • Obey your local laws for your county
  • Use safety goggles or protective equipment while using fireworks
  • While using sparklers, use them away from other people and make sure a responsible adult is lighting the material
  • Make sure to have a bucket of water to put the sparklers in after they are used

Water Safety

If you plan to spend the Fourth of July at the pool, beach, or lake, make sure you take the time to plan ahead accordingly. These water tips, including recommendations from the American Red Cross, will help keep your family safe!

  • Never consume alcohol while using water vehicles
  • Always double check there are enough life preservers available if needed
  • Ensure the pool is in an enclosed area to restrict who can and cannot enter the pool
  • Make sure a lifeguard is present, or a responsible individual is monitoring water activities
  • Review water safety tips with all of your guests, especially children
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings
  • Keep a first aid kit present near the pool
  • Stay hydrated and keep water available
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water that could be cold in temperature or hazardous

At My Alarm Center, we’re here to help protect your family and wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July.

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.

Safety Facts Featured City: Seattle

by Cassie May 5, 2015

Seattle Home Security from My Alarm Center

Seattle: the Emerald City, known for its waterfront location, sky-high Space Needle, and sweet-scented brews of both the caffeinated and hops varieties. This pedestrian haven of the Northwest is the original home to Boeing, Microsoft and, of course, Starbucks. But Seattle is more than the sum of its accolades: it is a city of arts, culture, recreation – with a somewhat magical, usually casual vibe, that invites one to grab a to-go cup, take a breath of salt air, and step out to see it all.

One of Seattle’s big draws, for tourists and residents alike, is its status as one of the nation’s safest cities. In 2014, Seattle was ranked as the safest pedestrian city in the U.S. (Liberty Mutual Insurance Pedestrian Safety Index). What’s more, it consistently ranks in the top 10 safest cities for families with young children, and as the tenth-safest large metropolitan area, according to a study by Farmers Insurance Group, Most Secure U.S. Places to Live.

But the city’s top safety ratings aren’t a product of luck; they’re the result of a lot of hard work. Seattleites take pride in their city, and have enacted a number of community programs to engage youth, encourage safety, and help keep their streets and citizens secure and healthy. Here’s a look at some of those initiatives:

  • Seattle’s “Safest Route to School” program, worked to create 500+ new crosswalks, install more school zone speed-recording cameras, and improve walking routes for the city’s youngest residents.
  • Vision Zero and the “Be Super Safe” program, strives to educate drivers, reduce dangerous driving, and provide safer, more pedestrian-friendly streets.
  •  The Seattle Police Department sponsors several crime prevention programs, including the community-accessible Crime Prevention Coordinators, Block Watch and the annual Night Out Against Crime.
  • The city also believes in taking care of its youth through a variety of engaging outreach programs, among them YouthCare, designed to help homeless adolescents get off the streets, Teen Feed, PSKS (Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets), and the Seattle Youth Employment Program.

If Seattle’s outreach and safety programs have your feet tapping to explore the city and its surrounds, Seattle Magazine makes it even easier with its handy list of Seattle’s 15 safest neighborhoods. Dubbed “the happy 15,” the list sweeps through the alphabet from Ballard and Burien to Wallingford and West Seattle, with stops at Capital Hill, Georgetown, Ravenna and Queen Anne (among others), along the way.

Without a doubt, Seattle is perfect for afternoon strolls, café-hopping, exploring the arts and urban culture with outright fun, whether you’re going alone or bringing along the whole family. And with its strong reputation for safety, this walker-friendly city is an excellent, low-anxiety choice for your next urban vacation or relocation. To learn more about My Alarm Center’s home security services in Seattle just click here.

5 Things to Do When You Turn the Clock Ahead

by Tammy March 5, 2015

DaylightSaving

At 2 a.m. on March 8, 2015, we will turn our clocks ahead one hour marking the beginning of Daylight Saving Time

Although most clocks will automatically make the transition (as opposed to back in the day when we had to manually turn the clocks), this time of the year can serve as a reminder to check on some important things – and no, not just checking on those smoke and CO2 detectors.

So, here are a few things you can think about doing when you wake up and realize you lost an hour of your day (but, cheer up because you gained more daylight as we inch toward the lazy, hazy, longer days of summer!).

  1. Check on your pets. As the temperatures change and the seasons turn, it is important to think about the wellbeing of your pets. Do you need to get some heartworm pills or flea and tick medicine? Is your pet up-to-date on shots? Consider taking your pet for his/her biannual check up and get anything you may need for the coming months.
  2. Check on your finances. While you should always keep an eye on your finances and understand the full scope of your financial situation, now that you are two months into the year and almost at the close of the first quarter, it’s time for a quick check. Now is a good time to evaluate and see if your spending and savings are on-point with what you anticipated when the year began.
  3. Set goals. Maybe you set a New Year’s resolution or two and maybe you’re still on track. But, if you’re like the 83 percent who have abandoned those resolutions already, consider getting back on track. Check in with what you set out to do and figure out if it’s still feasible and then adjust. If you didn’t set any resolutions, consider setting a measurable goal now and create a plan to reach that goal. If you want to lose that weight for swimsuit season, then get on it now.
  4. Clean out your refrigerator. Although this is something you should do on a regular basis, you may not get around to it as frequently. At least twice a year, check all the expiration dates and safety of the food in your fridge and go ahead and ditch what needs to be eliminated.
  5. Check your home for safety. You may be considering a full-on clean out as spring-cleaning approaches, but there is no time better than now to do a walkthrough and walk around to check inside and outside of your home for anything that seems “off.” If you find anything, write it down and take care of it yourself, or hire a professional, as soon as possible.

Even though you may have lost an hour, you can still be productive and use this time of the year to your advantage and do these five easy things.

25 Home Security Stats You Need To Know

by Cassie March 2, 2015

HomeSecurityStatsImage

If protecting your home and the loved ones inside are top priorities, it may be beneficial to know about the potential dangers that are lurking. By being aware, you can make informed decisions and be able to protect the people and things that matter to you most.

 

Here are some important home security statistics that you need to know:

 

Security

1. 81 percent of intrusions occur through the first floor. (source: My Alarm Center)

2. In 2013, there were an estimated 8,632,512 property crime offenses in the nation. (source: FBI)

3. 34 percent of intruders enter through the front door, while 22 percent enter through a back door. 12 percent of burglars enter through an unlocked entrance. (source: My Alarm Center)

4. Property crimes in 2013 resulted in losses estimated at $16.6 billion. (source: FBI)

5. 9 out of 10 burglars avoid homes with alarm systems and said if they did encounter an alarm, they would not attack the home. (source: Yahoo!)

 

Automation

6. About 17.23 million wireless embedded smart home monitoring devices, ranging from contact and motion sensors to smart thermostats and smart plugs, sold in 2013, nearly twice as many as the previous year. (source: iWatchLife.com)

7. By 2016, the home automation market is estimated to grow to $36 million. (source: My Alarm Center)

8. Estimates from research firm Gartner predict that an average home could remotely connect up to 500 things in your home. (source: CNBC)

10. 12 million home automations systems are expected to be installed by 2016. (source: My Alarm Center)

 

Fire

11. In 2013, there were 487,500 structure fires, causing 2,855 civilian deaths, 14,075 civilian injuries, and $9.5 billion in property damage. (source: NFPA)

12. One home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds. (source: NFPA)

13. Each household has a one in four chance of having a home fire large enough to be reported to a fire department during an average lifetime. (source: NFPA)

14. Cooking is responsible for almost half of household fires. (source: USFA)

15. The majority (62 percent) of home fire deaths resulted from fire in homes with no fire alarm systems or non-working fire alarms. (source: My Alarm Center)

 

Flood

16. 70 percent of failures are due to water tanks bursting or leaking. (source: My Alarm Center)

17. Water heater failures cost an average of $4,444 per incident after the deductible was paid. (source: Disaster Safety)

18. Up to 93 percent of the cost of water damage could have been prevented or minimized if an automatic water leak detection and shut-off system had been present in the homes. (source: Leak Defense System)

19. The average cost for repairing flood damage is $15,000. (source: My Alarm Center)

20. The age at which a water heater tank failed due to leaking or bursting was available for 32% of the claims. Water heaters up to 20 years old accounted for 95 percent of these claims. (source: Disaster Safety)

 

Emergency

21. Poor nutrition and malnutrition occur in 15 to 50 percent of the elderly population. (source: Spark People)

22. Over one in every eight, or 13.3 percent of the population is an older American. (source: AOA)

23. Around 28 percent or 11.8 million elderly live at home alone. (source: AOA)

24. One out of three older adults (those aged 65 or older) falls each year. (source: CDC)

25. The number of people aged 65 and older is projected to reach 83.7 million by 2050, compared with 43.1 million in 2012. (source: Health Day)

Share these stats with those you love – because together, we are safer.

If you want more information, check our our handy infographics that feature Fire, Flood and Home Automation facts and stats.

9 Tips For Keeping Your Community Safe

by Cassie February 16, 2015

CommunityProtectionV2

According to the FBI, crime rates in the US have decreased in the past two decades. In fact, in the first half of 2014, burglary offenses dropped 14 percent, motor vehicle thefts decreased by 5.7 percent, and there was a 5.6 percent drop in larceny-theft. While those numbers are promising, we, as community members, need to work to maintain these lower crime rates.

So what can we do?

We can work toward a safer community and consider getting more involved in crime prevention. As a matter of fact, throughout the 90’s, there was an average of a 30 percent decrease in burglaries nationwide due to communities getting more involved in crime prevention.

So, let’s keep is up. Here are nine ways you can get involved in your community to keep it safe.

  1. Join the town watch (or start one) – Join in a town watch program (or get the community involved in one). Knowing the neighborhood’s trouble spots and keeping streets and homes well-lit can deter any possible burglaries. When criminals see a well-marked neighborhood with town watch signs, it makes them think twice before committing a crime. Town watch programs have helped communities experience a 16 and 26 percent reduction in crime compared to areas not involved in a town watch.
  2. Get to know your neighbors – Whether you are going on vacation or heading to work, knowing your neighbors provides and extra set of eyes on your house (and maybe an extra set of keys for emergencies). People care about those they know, so getting to know your neighbors and building relationships provides that layer of community and a sense of wanting to watch out for each other.
  3. Educate kids about bullying – Educate kids on a safe way to help others. Encourage confidence in resolving problems peacefully and not through violence. Make it clear that you expect kids to take action if they see someone being hurt, or if they are hurt themselves. By leading by example, you can teach empathy rather than violence.
  4. Initiate a buddy system – The buddy system is not just a system for kids. It’s less likely a criminal will approach two people instead of one vulnerable person. A buddy can be more than just a walking partner. Your buddy can also make sure that you have everything you need to be safe (from a trip to just that walk down the street). And, of course, a buddy can always be there to call for help in those times of emergency.
  5. Share tips about security systems – If you, or someone you know, decides to install a security a system, be sure that information gets out into the neighborhood. There are a few reasons why this is beneficial. First, knowing that a particular community is equipped with alarm systems will help build a “secure” reputation for your community and hopefully thwart potential criminals from considering that community a target. Second, if a security system has proved to be beneficial for someone in the community, other members might want to look into a similar system and can do a price/capability comparison. Remember, there is strength in numbers so the greater number of community members equipped with security systems, the more secure the entire community will be in the end.
  6. Get involved in local organizations – By getting involved, neighbors become better acquainted and make the connections necessary to keep the community safe. The Bureau of Justice Assistance offers ways your community can get involved and pair with local businesses and organizations to create a safer community.
  7. Create a favorable rapport with local police enforcement – Involve your local law enforcement to get involved in community events. Get to know who they are and respect what they do. By creating a relationship with your local law enforcement, you can communicate community concerns more effectively and become an extension of their force.
  8. Create a Cleaner Neighborhood – Burglars are attracted to unkempt neighborhoods. A community with litter, abandoned cars, and run-down buildings tells burglars that you don’t care about where you live or about your neighbors. Do what you can to control the environment in which you live by starting at home and ensuring your space is clean and clutter-free. To continue the commitment, work to initiate a “clean-up day” and invite your neighbors to join you in keeping your community clean and safe.
  9. Stay current with crime trends  – Knowing what’s happening in your neighborhood and those around you can help you understand the possible warning signs of impending crime. Know what’s happening and be ready to report any suspicious activity to your local law enforcement. Staying up-to-date with the news and crime trends can help your community stay proactive and involved, and out of those dreadful headlines (unless of course it’s to celebrate your awesome clean-up day or community events!).

By focusing on a safer community, you can work toward protecting you, your family, and those around you from falling victim to crimes that could leave your community devastated. By getting more involved or following any other tips mentioned above, you can help lead the way in creating a safer community for everyone.

 

See Something Suspicious? Then Say Something About It!

by Amy January 22, 2015

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Here’s a neat story of how neighbors helping neighbors resulted in the arrest of a suspected criminal by the Lower Merion Pennsylvania Police Department.

Police were contacted by a man who noticed suspicious activity on his neighbor’s property. When police arrived a few minutes later, they encountered a 19 year old man from Philadelphia.

The man claimed to be a roofer and told police there was a job he had to work on the street. He said he was simply looking for the home where he was to work. The guy even had a ladder sticking out of his car to make it seem like he was a roofer.

However, police found something else in the guy’s car that aroused their suspicions. The guy had a bike and other tools in the trunk of his car.

The police talked to the neighbor who reported the activity and the neighbor confirmed that this was indeed the man he had seen. The police then contacted the homeowner who identified the ladder, bicycle and tools as being his property that had been in his garage.

Police then arrested the man and found marijuana in his car. The man was charged with burglary, criminal trespassing, theft, possession of a controlled substance, receiving stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession with intent to deliver.

We love this story as originally reported  by Mainline Media News because it illustrates the importance of neighbors helping neighbors. If you see something suspicious, then you should definitely report it to the authorities. After all, that’s what you’d want your neighbor to do to help you.

My Alarm Center urges you to become an active participant in a neighborhood watch program.  They are great, easy, and effective ways to improve the safety for you, your home and those of your neighbors.

How to Protect Your Home from Snow and Ice

by Derek January 20, 2015

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This year winter came storming in across many cities across America, bringing with it record snowfalls and freezing temperatures.

Heavy snow and ice can accumulate around your home, causing heavy damage.

The most common damage to your home to be concerned about is interior water damage caused by ice dams.

Ice dams happen because the overhangs at the edge of your roof (called the eaves) tend to be colder than the rest of the roof. As water melts on the roof and reaches the eaves it may freeze there, creating a dam that prevents water from flowing off the roof. The water then backs up underneath the roof shingles and then seeps into your home. Icicles are a good indication that an ice dam is present.

Look for water stains or moisture in the attic or around exterior walls on the top floor of your home. Just because you have an ice dam does not mean you have water damage.

Another big problem snow and ice can create is structural damage to your home. If the snow and ice exceeds the weight bearing capacity of your roof, you could be in big trouble. Experts say flat roofs and older homes are most likely to have these problems.

Although it may differ by a variety of factors, a good rule of thumb is that if you have one foot of wet snow or ice, you should have it removed.

If you have a flat roof with safe access, you may want to simply shovel the roof. If you have a pitched roof, try using a roof rake to remove the snow. It’s not necessary to get all of it – focus on the four foot areas that are closest to the gutters.

There are professionals you can call that will remove roof snow for you. Look for home builders, landscape and roofing contractors and property management firms and always make sure you check references before hiring anyone to work on your home

Make sure you keep the areas around your downspouts clear. This allows your gutters to properly drain when the snow begins to melt. It also helps prevent flooding around the foundation of your home.

It goes without saying that it’s important to keep sideways and driveways clear of snow and ice. This protects the safety of your guests and your family.

Freezing of water pipes are a big concern in the winter. Water pipes that break can cause extensive damage to your home. Read this blog post about how to prevent your pipes from freezing for more information.

Home Heating Safety Tips

by Tammy January 8, 2015

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Home fires occur in winter more than at any other time of the year. This is due in part to the use of alternative heating sources that many people use for cooking and heating to combat the winter cold.

You can heat your home safely while preventing winter fires. The following tips can help you maintain a fire safe home this winter.

Check the Furnace

  • Have your furnace and related components checked by a licensed, qualified professional in your area once a year. Use the professional contractor locater provided by the Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association to find a pro in your community.
  • Replace the air filters per the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Clean the floor vents. Make sure they are clear of debris, pet hair, dust, toys and food scraps.
  • Make sure outside vents are free from snow and ice.

Fire Place Safety

  • Have the chimney cleaned as necessary.
  • Keep the area around the fire place free of flammable materials (at least two feet is recommended).
  • Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood.
  • Always close the firescreen when in use.
  • Never leave a fire unattended and extinguish fires before sleeping.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy for use in the event of an emergency.

Space Heater Safety

  • Turn them off when you leave the home or go to bed. Don’t leave them unattended.
  • Always use a UL certified space heater.
  • Keep flammable materials away from the heater, as the majority of space heater fires start with these materials.
  • Keep the heater on a level surface away from pets and areas where people may bump into it.
  • Avoid using space heaters in flooded areas or water.
  • Don’t use long extension cords that people can trip over.

Wood Stove Safety

  • Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood.
  • Keep the area clear of combustible materials.
  • Place the stove on a non-combustible, fire-proof base.
  • Don’t connect a stove pipe to a fireplace chimney unless the fire place has been closed off. Never connect it to a chimney of an appliance burning other fuels.
  • Never start a fire with flammable fluids like gas.
  • Always supervise the fire…don’t leave it unattended.
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations concerning installation and operation.

Most Important about Heating Safety

The most important protective measure you can take is to make sure there are monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. These detectors notify occupants of a smoke or poisonous gas hazard and monitored detectors will deploy help when needed. Contact your My Alarm Company representative or visit the Fire & Carbon Monoxide Detection page on the website for more information.

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