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

by Amy February 27, 2019

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

Home Automation Gives You Remote Control

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

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

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

Surveillance Lets You Keep an Eye on Your Home

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

Alarm Monitoring And Alerts Keep You In The Loop

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

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

Fire Safety Tips For Homeowners

by Amy December 6, 2018

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

Causes Of Fires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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.


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.

Senior Citizen Home Security Tips

by Amy September 7, 2018

As you get older, it often becomes more difficult to live on your own. You may tend to forget things, which could be potentially dangerous. Accidentally forgetting to lock the front door, or to turn the oven off, could present a costly or dangerous threat. However, being a senior citizen shouldn’t mean relinquishing your independence, either. Here are some tips from My Alarm Center for retaining your independence and keeping your home secure as you age.

  1. Home Security

Home security systems help senior citizens live safer lives. Should any of the alarms sound, including burglar, fire, and carbon monoxide, the proper authorities will be notified, and help will be sent immediately. With home automation, a loved one can help keep an eye on appliances and door locks.

  1. Smart Lighting

Smart lights can be programmed to turn on as someone enters a room and shut off when they leave—eliminating the potential dangers of walking through a dark room and saving electricity, too.

  1. Smart Locks

Regardless of how safe your neighborhood is, you should always keep your door locked. Refrain from leaving an extra key outside the house. This is a common way intruders enter a home. Smart locks make sure the house is always locked and can be remotely unlocked in case someone forgets their keys.

  1. Peepholes & Doorbell Cameras

Don’t be taken advantage of by strangers. A front door with a peephole lets you know who you’re going to face once you open the door. Use one in tandem with a doorbell camera which not only allows you to see who is at the door but lets you speak with them as well.

  1. Keep A Phone Nearby

An older loved one should always carry a cell phone with them. In case of an emergency, they need a way to contact help. Even if they are not technologically savvy, there are simple phones available with features like large numbers that make them senior-friendly.

  1. Medical Alert System

With a medical alert system, elderly homeowners are protected in case of an emergency. The device is very simple and, with the press of a button, will contact emergency personnel. It is especially helpful during a fall or some other event that would leave them unable to move or get to a phone. Different models are offered in necklace and bracelet form.

By installing a home security system, senior citizens will have the ability to live safely on their own.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

by Cassie October 27, 2016

Monitored Fire detector

Most people are aware they need fire alarms to warn them of a fire. But many people are not as aware of carbon monoxide. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a deadly and invisible gas. Colorless, tasteless, odorless, and poisonous. In 2007, there were 2,302 confirmed cases of people being hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning. It is essential to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home as many appliances release this deadly gas. My Alarm Center provides a monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detection system that can keep your home safe, even when you’re not there.

The benefits of My Alarm Center’s monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors include:

  • A linked central monitoring board so that when the alarm is set off, help can be notified immediately. This will take place even when you’re not home and when the security alarm is not armed.
  • Monitoring can provide protection to many people who are not capable of responding to a traditional alarm. This could include the elderly, disabled, children, people suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, and pets. The alarm immediately responds to safety providers.
  • The system provided by My Alarm Center monitors carbon monoxide and smoke in the air 24 hours a day.
  • Once the Central Monitoring Station is alerted, it first calls the home to assess the situation. If there is no response, the authorities are immediately contacted.
  • First Responders will arrive at the scene in minutes.

Firefighters recommend placing one monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detector in every bedroom and living space to ensure complete safety in the home. Unfortunately, too many people are endangered because they don’t have a working fire alarm or carbon monoxide detector. My Alarm Center’s fire and carbon monoxide detector system has the ability to constantly monitor your home and to keep it safe even when you’re not there. This system can give you peace of mind when you’re not home and alert you before a disaster can take place. Contact My Alarm Center for more information on professionally monitored Carbon Monoxide detectors.

How to Talk to Your Parents about Aging and Independent Living

by Derek November 18, 2014

Old Couple

One of the most stressful and overwhelming discussions adult children can have with their parents is about aging and independent living.

Talking with your parents about their ability to care for themselves and their home is something many of us resist. We don’t want our parents to feel that they are being forced to do anything, especially giving up their independence. We also don’t want a heated discussion with our mom and dad about an unpleasant topic, like whether or not they need a personal emergency response system.

By the same token, many of us also recognize that our parents are aging and that they may need additional measures, like PERS, for their care and safety.

So how do you begin a conversation with your parents about this important issue? Experts suggest you take the following measures:

Make it an ongoing discussion – It’s best to hold this conversation before a crisis develops. Let your parents know that as their adult child, you want the best for them and you want to follow their wishes. Ask your parents to share their wishes with you so you can be there to help them along the way.

Choose your words carefully – What starts as a discussion may quickly escalate into an argument if you don’t handle things correctly. Some parents may feel threatened and lash out. No one likes getting older and on one likes to admit that aging may impact their ability to care for themselves. Make it a point to speak in a calm, clear, and pleasant voice.

Identify all options – If both of your parents are alive and living together, ask them what they’d like to happen if one of them dies. No doubt it will be a difficult conversation but it will help you learn their desires. Although they both may be OK right now, ask them what they expect if that changes.

Express your desire to help – It’s important to hold discussions that enable you to understand your parent’s desires. It’s not your place to dictate actions and behaviors to them. It’s your place to help them and love them. Make sure your mom and dad understand your sincere desire to understand their needs and that you are there to help them.

Use technology to help parents maintain their independence – Modern technology can help you care for your parents without putting them into an assisted living facility or using in-home care options.  Two of our favorites are personal emergency response systems and home automation systems. Personal emergency response systems allow your parents to summon emergency help when needed via an alarm monitoring center, and the monitoring center may even check in with your parents at regular intervals to ensure everything is OK. Home automation systems can automate certain functions while allowing you to watch in real time what’s happening at your parent’s home right from your smartphone or tablet.

The idea of being a burden and unable to care for themselves can be terrifying to your parents. They know that day may likely come and understandably they want to put it off as long as possible. With empathy, understanding, planning and lots of love, you’ll help them successfully handle life’s inevitable transitions.

How to Get Your Adult Children’s Help As You Age

by Derek November 11, 2014


Do you know the three most uncomfortable conversations an adult child can have with their senior parents?

They are in order: taking away their parent’s car keys, discussing with their parents end of life plans, and talking with their parents about sex.

In fact, adult children are so concerned about these issues that 94% of those surveyed predict such conversations will be uncomfortable and 25% of all adult children will avoid having these conversations with their parents, even despite their concerns for their parent’s safety.

As a senior parent you can probably avoid the conversation about sex with your adult children. However, it’s vitally important to you and your children to discuss life care and end of life issues.

We urge you to be pro-active and to initiate these conversations with your children. That’s the best way to ensure you get the help you need, and that your desires and wishes concerning these issues are fulfilled.

Start the conversation before there is a crisis. Sit down at a kitchen table or in a comfortable setting and share with your children your desire to discuss care issues as you age.

Make sure you are prepared for such a conversation with your children. Some of the topics you may want to cover include:

  • Financial issues
  • Medical care
  • Independent living vs. assisted living centers
  • Aging and personal care issues
  • Household care and maintenance
  • End of life issues
  • Friends and social activities
  • Personal emergency response systems

Tell your children that you love them and will need their assistance to some extent as you get older. Then begin the conversation by addressing these issues in their order of importance to you.

Remember, you don’t need to cover everything in one day or make decisions all at one time. The important thing is to begin the discussion in an open, direct manner that’s productive for you and your kids.

Make sure your adult children are aware of easy ways they can help care for you and your home. Home automation systems can allow your kids to ensure basic household functions are happening as designed. They can (if you’d like) also allow your kids to view in real time what’s happening inside your home from their phone, tablet or any web-enabled smart home device.

Personal emergency response systems (PERS) allow you to maintain your independence and live in your home. You can use them to summon emergency help when needed, and trained operators can even check in with you at periodic intervals to make sure you are well.

Take the time to talk with your adult children about your life care issues. You and your kids will be glad you did.

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Getting a Personal Emergency Response System

by Amy March 6, 2014


Do you want a really effective and affordable personal emergency response system for yourself, a friend or a loved one?

Then don’t commit your money, or sign a contract, with any personal emergency response system provider without knowing all the details.

Sure, you’ve looked at web sites and different prices. And while that is a good place to start, it only tells a part of the story. There are seven common mistakes people make when getting a these systems – think of this as your guide to getting what’s right for your situation.

Mistake # 1 – Signing a Long-Term Contract

Many companies will require a long-term contract for the personal emergency response system, and will expect a monthly payment for the contract term even if the system is no longer in use. They advertise a low price and then hide the contract term in the fine print. This leaves seniors and families paying for long term agreements for services they may not be using – some as long as 36 months! Always look for contracts that don’t require a long-term commitment.

Disclosure – MyIndependence, the personal emergency response system from My Alarm Center, does not require a long-term contract.

Mistake # 2 – Poor System Coverage | Incomplete Coverage

People are active. That means they need a personal emergency response system that performs well in all areas of their home, not just one or two rooms. Lower quality systems on the market lack the range necessary for whole home protection.  Look for personal emergency response systems that specify coverage ranges and make sure these ranges provide whole home protection.

Disclosure – MyIndependence is noted for its excellent coverage range providing complete property coverage.

Mistake # 3 – Uncertified Monitoring Center

The most important part of any personal emergency response system is the monitoring center. This is the place that supervises the system, helps the system user, and summons help when needed. Too many monitoring centers aren’t fully certified. They lack the proper equipment, backup equipment, capabilities or personnel to meet minimum industry performance standards. You want to make sure the monitoring center is UL approved. A UL approved monitoring center undergoes rigorous and regular inspections to ensure the highest standards of performance in all situations. Also look for a monitoring center based in the United States with professional operators that fluently speak English.

Disclosure – MyIndependence is a personal emergency response center monitored in one of the industry’s finest, fully certified, alarm monitoring centers.

Mistake # 4 – The Personal Emergency Response System Requires a Specific Telephone Service

Some personal emergency response systems work only with a single wireless carrier. This can add quite a bit of money to the monthly cost of the system. Find a system that is compatible with land-line, VOIP, digital cable or bundled cable/internet/phone service packages.

Disclosure – MyIndependence works with land-line, VOIP, digital cable or bundled cable/internet/phone service packages.

Mistake # 5 – Paying Too Much

Some personal emergency response systems are available for a low monthly rate IF you pay high up-front equipment and system installation charges. Others offer a low introductory rate, and then jack up the price to astronomical levels after the introductory period. Don’t let either happen to you. Top quality personal emergency systems can be simple to install… just plug them in and turn them on. This saves costly installation fees. You should rent these systems rather than buy them and never start service without first understanding the monthly rate increase provisions within the monitoring services agreement.

Disclosure: There are no equipment, labor or activation costs with the MyIndependence personal emergency alert system from My Alarm Center, and no long term monitoring agreement is required. Monthly monitoring rates are just $24.95 per month.

Mistake # 6 – Getting Inferior Equipment

Make sure the wireless bracelet, armband or pendant included with the personal emergency response system is waterproof and has a long battery life. Too many personal emergency alert systems don’t include waterproof devices, rendering them useless when showering or bathing. Some of these units have a short battery life, requiring the user to frequently change batteries. As battery power diminishes, coverage ranges are reduced. The better systems have a battery life of about five years.

Disclosure: MyIndependence features waterproof units and the longest battery life available today.

Mistake # 7 – Not Filing for Medicaid or Medicare Reimbursement

Most people aren’t aware that a personal emergency response system may be eligible for reimbursement through Medicaid, Medicare or another insurance plan. Make sure to file a claim for reimbursement with your insurance plan and contact your insurance representative for details.

Disclosure: The MyIndependence personal emergency response system from My Alarm Center qualifies for most insurance reimbursement plans. Contact My Alarm Center for more details about MyIndependence.


5 Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

by Amy February 28, 2014


There’s little doubt that America is getting older. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Department on Aging expects the number of citizens over age 65 to double by 2030.

With an aging America comes an increasing risk of injuries. To help keep people safe in their homes, we offer these five safety tips for senior citizens:

Conduct a Safety Inspection

Many senior citizens live in older homes. That’s why it’s important to conduct a home safety inspection. Get a licensed home inspector to look at plumbing, wiring, heating, cooling and other parts of the home that could cause safety concerns. Make sure stairways and handrails are secure. Inspect outside lighting so that it operates properly.

Install No Slip Surfaces

Falling is a big issue in our later years. More than half of all seniors over age 80 fall each year, according to Protect against falls by installing no slip surfaces in the home, especially in bathrooms, stairways, kitchens, and hallways.

Get a Home Security System

These systems protect against burglary, fire and life threatening emergencies. Many seniors install a personal emergency response system. These systems are always on and allow a senior to summon medical assistance or help with a simple push of a button on a pendent. They can also bring help if the person does not check in with the monitoring center at regular intervals. You can even hook up cameras to your home automation service so a loved one can easily check in on you.

Have a Visitor

It’s important to the well-being of senior citizens to have regular interactions with others. A phone call or visits several times a week not only ensures their safety, it also allows for deeper, more meaningful relationships. Try it.

Help With Household Tasks

Reduce the possibilities of injuries by helping seniors with normal household maintenance and tasks. Clean the gutters, change the light bulbs and air filters, do the yard work, shovel the snow and help with heavy lifting. Keep seniors off ladders and away from tasks that strain their bodies or balance.

These five basic tips help keep seniors safe. For more ideas on senior safety, keep reading this blog.

Protect Your Loved Ones with PERS (Personal Emergency Response System)

by Amy August 20, 2013




Falls among the elderly are a major problem. In fact, one in three adults aged 65 and older will fall in a given year, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. Twenty to thirty percent of those who fall experience moderate-to-severe lacerations, broken bones and head trauma, making it difficult to live independently. Falls are also the leading cause of injury-related death among this age group, and death rates continue to rise.

Being alone and having an emergency, such as a fall, is a terrifying thought. Now imagine a loved one who is elderly or has a disability being at home alone, getting seriously hurt and there is no one to help. What would you do?

You may feel helpless just thinking about it, but there’s something you can do to know the minute something goes awry providing you and your loved ones peace of mind. Known as the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS), family members can enjoy all the benefits of independent living while having 24/7 monitoring from My Alarm Center. Once activated, the PERS system instantly contacts an emergency response professional who alerts paramedics, police or fire department and all family members on the provided contact list.

The medical alert system can be triggered by smoke, carbon monoxide, a fall or prolonged inactivity, as well as, can be manually activated in the event of a home accident or medical emergency.

How It Works

Worn as a lightweight, battery-powered pendant or wristwatch style transmitter, personal emergency response services provides the user the ability to press one button for rescue help—sending a signal to a console that is monitored by a certified UL listed central station all day, every day. A rescue call will be sent out within seconds to emergency responders and family members. If the user experiences a power outage, the battery back-up will continue to work for several hours.

The water-resistant transmitters can be activated automatically (when it senses a fall, if there is inactivity or smoke or carbon monoxide) or manually and feature an activity timer option that monitors everyday activity during user-designated times.

Users can be in any room in the house and even within 200-400 feet outside the home to call for help.

Also included with the Personal Emergency Response System are smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector transmitters. When smoke or carbon monoxide is detected, each transmitter sounds loudly. Then 20 seconds after the local alarm sounds, the built-in transmitter sends a digitally coded wireless signal to its companion receiver alerting My Alarm Center.

So no matter the danger, your loved one is cared for even if you can’t be there. Now that’s peace of mind worth sharing!

Next month, see how home video surveillance can help you keep track of family and keep everyone safe.