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The Weekly Roundup 3.27 Edition

by CassieMarch 27, 2015

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5 New Smart Home Products You Should Know About

According to Digital Landing, smart home systems are “all the rage these days.” With such in demand technology, the popular tech website lists their 5 favorite smart home products.

  1. Tapt is a touch operated light switch that syncs to your home lighting system
  2. The Tripper Switch, commonly used to monitor windows and doors, sets off an alarm when triggered
  3. The Mongoose Bluetooth Garage Door Opener is a box which will turn your i-Device into a garage door remote
  4. The smart shower head, Eva, monitors water consumption and temperature
  5. Lilypad is a pool app that monitors water temp and sun intensity

For the original article in Digital Landing, click here

 

 Going on Spring Break? Take Care to Keep Your Home Secure

The main reason people fail to take security precautions is because they already feel safe and do not follow a safety routine. Director of Public Safety, Mark Herald, listed 5 of the most popular safety tips for people leaving their home to travel.

  1. Keep the blinds down and lock all windows
  2. Set up timed lights around your house for the morning and the evening (you can even place a timer on your TV)
  3. Have a neighbor watch your house and bring in all mail
  4. Turn your home phone ringer off or lower the volume
  5. Don’t announce your upcoming vacation on social media

For the original article in WZZM13, click here

 

Child Safety App Spots Dangers in Your Home

Lara McKenzie has been an injury prevention researcher for more than a decade. When McKenzie gave birth to her third child she assumed that child safety would come naturally. Out of concern for her children, McKenzie and fellow researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital developed the Make Safe Happen app. The app helps to prevent childhood injury, allowing parents to select an age range for their children, choose a room, and even pinpoint areas in the home that can be made safer.

For the original article in the News4Jax, click here

 

Top Home Automation Project Ideas: Picture, Options & Tips

There are several steps you can take to improve the overall efficiency of your home and cut expenses in the process. If you’re new to home automation and are considering a new project, look into these categories: lighting, security, HVAC and outdoor sprinkler systems. When thinking about any of these systems, know that you may be able to cut costs in half by customizing your home automation and opting for stand-alone models instead of fully-integrated control.

For the original article in HGTV, click here

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New Home, New Security: A Simple Safety Checklist Before Moving Into Your New Home

by CassieMarch 24, 2015

A Home Security Checklist for when you are Moving to a new home

 

If you’re gearing up for a move, you’re not alone: America is considered a highly mobile nation – and the statistics aren’t talking about our cell phone usage. In fact, about 11-12% of Americans move to a new home every year and about 35% have moved in the last five years.

Some people are lucky enough to stay in a beloved neighborhood, moving simply to upgrade their digs – or downsize, depending on your family’s situation. But if you’re among the millions who will be moving to new neighborhoods, cities, or even states, you’ve likely wondered what your new community will be like: Will you get along with your neighbors? Will your kids like their new schools? And will your family be safe?

While only time can reveal the first two answers, we can help you with the third. You can take the same smart precautions no matter where you live, and complete the same safety measures before you move, to keep your family safe and your new home secure.

1. Research the Neighborhood

Before you sign a lease or purchase contract on a new home, research the neighborhood: Ask at the local police department about crime statistics. Check the state’s sex offender registry. Speak with your home insurance company; their rates are partially based on neighborhood risk. Talk with the Neighborhood Watch, if there is one. And use your eyes – look for a neighborhood that is well kept, and where you feel safe walking around.

2. Change the Locks

Whether you rent or buy, it’s a good idea to change the locks (or have the landlord change them for you) before you arrive. Even if you rent from a great landlord or bought your home from incredible prior owners, you never know who might have the key: friends, family, maintenance workers, etc. Be safe and change all the locks, including deadbolts, on your home.

3. Check the Windows

Windows, not doors, are the choice entry point for many burglars. Replace any broken locks, screens or window frames. Verify that no windows can be opened from the outside.

4. Test Your Smoke & C.O. Detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors save lives. Before you even move into your home, verify that all your detectors are properly functioning and are either electrically powered or have fresh batteries. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years and at a minimum, you should have one smoke detector per floor, one at the top and bottom on stairways, one outside every sleeping area, and one in every bedroom.

5. Tour the Neighborhood

Familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood: what cars are parked there day and night? Where are the closest police and fire stations? Where’s the nearest hospital? If there’s a Neighborhood Watch, attend a meeting. Introduce yourself to the neighbors. Drive around side streets. The more you know about your neighborhood, and the more you’re known throughout your neighborhood, the safer you’ll be.

6. Plan – and Practice – Your Escape Route

You already know the importance of creating an exit plan, in case of fire or other emergency. One of the first things you should do when you move to a new home is establish a new plan – and practice it.

7. Install a Security System

An alarm is one of the single best theft deterrents out there, and you should really install your home security system before you move in. But it’s never too late. So whether you’ve been in your home for a day, a week or a month, get on the phone and get the system installer over as soon as possible.

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5 More Tips to Keep Your Home Safe While Traveling

by CassieMarch 23, 2015

Home Security Tips While You Are Away On Vacation

Travel, whether it’s a weekend nearcation or a use-up-all-your-vacation-days international escape, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Paradoxically, it’s also one of life’s great stresses: there’s all that planning to do and money to shell out, and just when you think you’ve survived the worst of it, it hits you – what about your home? When you’re away, your house sits empty.

Don’t let your worries ruin what promises to be an excellent vacation. With a few precautions, a bit of prep and the following tips, you can keep your home safe and secure while you’re away. And if you missed our first installment – another five tips to keep your home safe and secure while you’re on vacation – hop on over and check those out.

 1. Unplug Electronics & Appliances

Electronics and small appliances represent a fire hazard, so pull the plug before you go away. While you’re at it, turn down the hot water and, if you’ll be away for a week or more, turn off the water supply to sinks, toilets, the dishwasher, washing machine, and refrigerator to avoid the possibility of floods. Finally, disconnect your GPS and remove it from your vehicle; a GPS stored a car parked in an airport parking lot not only tells thieves you’re not at home, but will also direct them right to your front door.

2. Weather-Proof

Adjust your heat or air-conditioning to keep your house cool (around 55º) in winter and warm (about 85º) in summer. This will prevent your pipes from freezing, but will also help save on energy bills.

3. Talk About Travel – AFTER You Travel

In the age of Facebook, blogs and Twitter, it can feel like second nature to share your vacation excitement. Unfortunately, announcing your vacation dates online can also be an invitation to burglars. Here’s how to play the social media travel game: Never, ever broadcast your travel plans online before or during your trip; save the joyful statuses and beautiful photos for after you’re home. In fact, prior to your travels, be careful of discussing plans in public with strangers around. Never change your voicemail to reflect that you’ll be away. And if you post to Facebook or other social media during your trip, make sure geotagging is turned off. Remember, the less information you share, the less likely it is to reach the eyes and ears of would-be thieves.

4. Advertise Your Security

Tried and true, security company signs are a great theft deterrent. If you’re concerned that advertising your company will give burglars a better idea of how to break in, buy generic “this home is monitored by 24-hour security” signs. Install fake cameras. Do whatever possible to communicate, “this is not the home you’re looking for.” (Bonus points if you can do it in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s voice.) ((Double bonus points if you get this reference.))

5. Notify Your Security Company

Finally, and also obviously, the best, most effective way to keep your home safe and secure while you’re not there is to have a high quality home security system installed. (Did you know that homes without security systems are three times more likely to be burglarized that those with alarm systems?)

Before you travel, call your security company and let them know you’ll be away. Also clue them in if you’ll have a housesitter staying on the property (or a neighbor checking in). Leave an up-to-date list of people to contact (including your hotel info, if possible), in case of security emergency.

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The Weekly Roundup 3/20 Edition

by CassieMarch 20, 2015

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You asked for it and we obliged! Today kicks off My Alarm Center’s Weekly Roundup, a collection of weekly articles, news stories and highlights of local/nation happenings and events. Each week we work hard to find compelling and relevant stories or articles and share them on our Twitter and Google+ pages. Starting each Friday we are going to give you a recap just in case you missed what happened during the week. Remember knowledge is power so what are you waiting for? Read below!

Home Automation Comes of Age

A dishwasher that sends an alert when it’s out of soap, a microwave that shuts off when popcorn stops popping and a food pantry that can tell homeowners when supplies are low. It’s not exactly The Jetsons, but thanks to innovations by organizations like the researchers at Virginia Tech, consumers’ homes are becoming more futuristic every year. New home automation features can scale from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand as innovations are continually introduced. For the original article in the Wall Street Journal, click here

Angie’s List: Picking a Home Security System

In a recent FBI statistic released to the public, it showed that nearly 9 million property crimes happen each year. With so many crimes, it’s no wonder consumers are purchasing home security systems. When considering a home alarm system, Angie’s List notes that having home monitoring is the most important. For the original article in KY3, click here

Everything You Need to Know About Smart Home Networking

In the long run for Smart Home networking, it is unclear whether Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Zigbee/Z-Wave will come out on top as leading data technology. In the mean time, we are letting consumers pick for themselves what data works best for their homes.

1. Wi-Fi is a high-bandwidth network that’s power-intensive. It is primarily used for media streaming, browsing the web, and other data-heavy activities

2. Bluetooth makes secure connections between nearby devices and uses frequency hopping and government-grade encryption for privacy.

3. Zigbee/Z-Wave use mesh networks andare primarily driven from range and power consumption.

For the original article in Time, click here

Wearable Devices: The Next Frontier In Home Security Tech?

Last week the new Apple Watch featuring the Alarm.com app was released. Both the watch and the app helped consumers to seamlessly connect and interact with their home security systems. While the creation of smartphones and devices have already made their impression on the market, wearable technology is anticipated to create another layer of value that companies can leverage to enhance customer experience, safety and connectedness. For the original article in Security InfoWatch, click here

 

 

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5 Tips to Keep Your Home Secured While You’re Away on Vacation

by DerekMarch 19, 2015

Home Security Tips While You Are Away On Vacation

When you go away, be it for a long weekend or a two-week marathon vacation, the threat of burglary often sneaks into mind. And yes, while you shouldn’t let your travel excitement blind you to the threat, you also shouldn’t let your fear of thievery spoil a much-anticipated getaway.

So go ahead, plan with abandon. Get excited. And in the meantime, take a few precautions. Get your home ready for your time away. Follow our 10 burglarproofing tips below to keep your home safe, secure and protected, and then go enjoy your time away. Have a great trip!

1. Create the Illusion of an Occupied Home

You know what they say: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In that vein, one of the most important things you can do while you’re away is, well, to pretend you’re not away. There are a few ways to go about this, but the safest – and simplest – is to hire a pet or housesitter. (Pro tip: If you have a few pets, a petsitter can be more economical than boarding at the vet.) You could also hire a neighborhood kid or ask a friend to check in.

The reason we recommend a housesitter is because there’s more to an occupied home than someone occupying it: If you normally mow twice a week, you should (via your housesitter) continue to mow twice a week; if you normally close the curtains at night, you should continue to close your curtains every night; if you normally remove empty trash cans from the curb after trash day, you should continue to remove empty trash cans from the curb after trash day. You get the drift.

2. Talk to your Neighbors

Even if you hire a housesitter, clue some trusted neighbors into your absence. They’ll keep their eyes open for suspicious activity and, in the absence of a housesitter, help remove telltale flyer buildup at the front door, park a car in your driveway, pick up packages, and complete other small tasks to help your house seem occupied. Be sure to leave an emergency contact list with your closest neighbor.

If your community runs a neighborhood watch program, be sure to notify them that you’ll be away and ask that they keep an extra eye on your home.

3. Hold Your Mail (& Newspapers)

We know, we know – we sound like a broken record. But at the price of repetition, I’ll say it again: you don’t want your house screaming, “I’m unoccupied!!!” With that in mind, you definitely don’t want a growing pile of mail, magazines and newspapers pouring out of your mailbox and piling up on the lawn.

Luckily, this is mostly an easy fix. Just contact the USPS and ask them to hold your mail; it’s free for 3-30 day periods. (You can even request a mail hold online.) Call newspapers and pause service while you’re away. But keep in mind, other things can also pile up on the doorstep: packages from UPS or DHL, phonebook deliveries, door-to-door flyers, and more. If you don’t have a housesitter, ask a neighbor to keep your front door clear of these burglar dead-giveaways.

4. Turn on Timers

If no one’s staying at your house, invest in some timers. Set your lights (including outdoor floodlights), TVs and alarm clocks to go on (and off) at your regular times. Believe it or not, well-timed timers can fool even observant would-be thieves.

5. Lock Up (& Hide the Hide-a-Key)

Okay, telling you to lock up before vacating the premises may seem obvious, but bear with us. Yes, of course you want to lock your doors and windows – but I’m talking about a little more than that!

First, start by turning every, single deadbolt in the house. Next, disconnect or disengage your garage door, and secure it shut with a combination lock. (This also prevents burglars from using universal garage door-openers to sneak into your home.) Lock, block and/or secure pet doors large enough for a person to crawl through. And then, put sensitive documents, jewelry and valuables into a fireproof safe.

Finally, remove your spare key. Yes, really. The last thing you want is for a savvy burglar to figure out you’re away, and then find your spare key. And really, that faux rock (or even plastic dog poop container) isn’t fooling anyone; thieves are crafty and know all the tricks. So ditch the hide-a-key and hand the spare over to a neighbor, at least for the time being.

The above advice is great start to keeping your home safe while traveling, but there’s even more to come. Stay tuned for an additional five tips, coming soon!

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Your One Stop Spring Cleaning Checklist

by CassieMarch 16, 2015

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Spring is almost here and for most that means two words (and here’s a hint, we’re not talking spring break…yet). Those two [hyphenated] words are: spring-cleaning.

 

According to a 2011 survey by The American Cleaning Institute, about 82 percent of people plan to participate in the long-time tradition of spring-cleaning. So for the motivated 80 percent of you, throw open those windows, breathe in some fresh air, and get ready to make your home clean, happy, and efficient.

Here’s a checklist for those tough areas of your home.

Outside

The perimeter of your home probably needs a facelift, especially if you live in an area that has felt the effects of the winter’s snow and ice. Now that the snow and ice have melted (hopefully!), parts of your home such as windows, siding, outdoor furniture, gardens, the lawn, and any outdoor equipment may need your tender love and attention.

Exterior cleaning also allows you to see what can be done to further protect your home this season. Here is a breakdown.

  • Windows: Cleaning the windows gives you a clearer view of spring’s outdoor beauty.
  • Siding: Pressure wash the siding of your house to give it that spring clean look and to eliminate the grime and dirt accumulated by the winter weather.
  • Outdoor Furniture: This could include patio furniture, grills, or other fixtures outside of your home (such as Fido’s doghouse). Inspect the grill to makes sure it’s operating safely and correctly.
  • Garden: Remove any debris and weeds to allow new growth to emerge.
  • Lawn: Pick up broken limbs, remove any protruding rocks, and rake the last bit of leaves that may been missed before the first winter snowfall.
  • Equipment: Make sure any outdoor equipment is cleaned, oil changed (if applicable), blades sharpened, and is working properly to ensure safe outdoor spring-cleaning.

Kitchen

The kitchen is probably the most used room in the home (it is the heart!), especially with Thanksgiving dinner, all those holiday cookies and entertaining, and those good home-cooked meals spanning over the winter months. While leftovers are great (including those cookies) it’s time to clean out the refrigerator, cabinets, appliances, pantry, and other places you might be hiding those golden goodies.

  • Refrigerator: Take everything out of the refrigerator, clean the drawers, wipe down shelves, and give the inside a good scrub. Make sure nothing is turning green as you put food back into your newly cleaned refrigerator.
  • Cabinets: With those Thanksgiving and holiday dinners comes rooting through the cabinets to find the “use once a year” kitchen items. It also means shoving them back where they might not fit or belong. Clean out cabinets and reorganize to start spring off the right, organized way and reduce clutter.
  • Appliances: Cookies, holiday dinners, and the clean up after all those events can take a toll on your appliances. Check the dishwasher, oven, stove, microwave, and any other appliances to make sure they are clean and working properly. Take note and replace any non-working or broken parts.
  • Pantry: Review expiration dates on food items and clean off shelves for an organized and food safe pantry. You’re stomach will thank you for not consuming those stale or outdated crackers.
  • Secret Stash/Counter: We know you have one. You can keep your stash a secret, but throw out any expired or stale goodies you might have been saving for a midnight craving. For those goodies that are out on the counter, remove, wipe down countertops, and toss anything that looks suspicious.
  • Overall: Once all the nooks and crannies are cleaned, it’s time to do an overall sweep to add that last touch to your clean kitchen. Clean the sink, wipe down the table and chairs, and make that floor sparkle.

Garage/Storage Spaces

Not the most appealing part of cleaning house, it is a necessary evil to help clear the clutter and start fresh. Leftover home improvement items, appliances, broken items, tools, animal residue, and other such cleaning nightmares may be lurking in these places.

  • Home Improvement: If you still have that wall paint from 15 years ago, it may be time to find a place to dispose of old paint (don’t throw it out with your weekly garbage collection as it can release harmful chemicals into the ground and water supply). Only keep things you need for future home improvement projects and make sure they are clean and organized.
  • Appliances: Your washers and dryers may be a part of your garage. Make sure to clean out the lint trap (it’s recommended you did this every time the laundry is done) and clean out the dryer hose. These can be fire hazards if not cleaned properly.
  • Broken Items: A self-explanatory clean up item, but make sure broken decorations, tools, furniture, or other broken items sitting in the garage or storage area find their way to the correct place.
  • Tools: Clean out toolboxes, clean up any tools that might have been used heavily (or those collecting dust), and organize them in a safe and appropriate environment (we recommend away from children).
  • Animal Residue: Your family isn’t the only ones cuddled up in your house during the winter months. Make sure to clean up any animal residue left behind to prevent bacteria or other hazards from infecting your home.

Spring-cleaning can sometimes be a daunting task, but it promotes overall health and lets you start in a fresh environment. With fresh air and a fresh home, you can have a fresh start to the warm and blossoming season we call, spring.

 

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Is Your Food Safe? Tips for Ensuring Food Safety

by CassieMarch 12, 2015

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The CDC estimates that each year, around 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne illnesses. Even though we may think we are doing things right by reading nutrition labels, buying fresh produce and meats, and keeping an organized refrigerator and pantry, we still need to be thinking a little more about ensuring food safety. On that note and in honor of Food Safety Month, here are a few ways to ensure you are eating safely and ways to help prevent your chances of becoming a bad food safety statistic.

1. Always Wash Fresh Foods Anything fresh should be washed and scrubbed. Even fruits and vegetables with protective skins should be washed to avoid bacteria from entering the produce when cutting. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent, but rather fresh running water. Use a brush to scrub firm produce. (To help remind everyone in your family the importance of washing fresh produce, the FDA has a poster you can display.)

2. Decode Expiration Dates There is a language of its own for food expiration dates. To make sure foods are fresh and not spoiled, you need to know what different expiration dates mean to avoid consuming bad food (or wasting food). With the use-by, sell-by, best-buy, and expires-on phrases, it can get confusing to know if food is really safe or if throwing it out will be a waste. There are different guides explaining what these dates mean and when to throw items away, but if you get confused or forget, just know that the most important factor is temperature. Paying attention to the storage temperature can help determine and decode what expiration dates may mean for your food.

3. Store Leftovers Immediately When you have leftovers, store them quickly and safely to avoid the food attracting bacteria and reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notes that, “not cooking food to a safe temperature and leaving food out at an unsafe temperature are the two main causes of foodborne illness.” So, enjoy your leftover treats, but keep your food safe by handing leftovers correctly.

4. Keep Loose Food in Sealed Containers Foods such as cereal, crackers, and pasta should all be placed in sealable containers. Folding the packaging and just closing the box can be easy, but keeping these items in airtight containers will keep bugs or other wandering insects or animals from getting into the box. And as a bonus, it will keep these foods fresher for longer.

5. Ensure Meats are Cooked Thoroughly Illnesses such as E. coli, salmonella, and listeria stem from eating undercooked meats. To avoid these illnesses and their painful symptoms, ensure meats are cooked to proper temperatures. Review the list of minimum cooking temperatures from FoodSafety.gov for ensuring safe cooking and consumption.

6. Clean Off Cans You may be thinking that cans protect the food you will be eating, however, things like rodent residue can be found on soda cans, vegetable cans, or any other canned food items from warehouse storage. And while the can does protect your food, how you open it may cause that bacteria to enter into the can. Be sure to wipe cans down before opening and be careful anything on the outside of the can doesn’t get inside.

7. Wash Hands and Utensils This is a no-brainer, but many people forget to follow this important rule during food preparation. The FDA recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds before and after food preparation. Utensils should also be cleaned before, in-between, and after use.

8. Use Separate Cutting Boards for Meat and Produce While you may not have the luxury of tons of space in your kitchen, you do need to have multiple cutting boards. Keeping one cutting board for meats (preferably plastic and not wood) and one board for produce can prevent contamination and bacteria from breeding.

9. Check for Food Allergies While we hope you won’t purposely make foods that your family members may be allergic to, it is important to pay attention to those allergies of guests who may be stopping by for a bite to eat. Along with making sure you follow general food safety, you want to make sure your food is safe and edible for everyone who sits at your table and that you are sensitive to any allergies. Share these food safety tips with others and for more information, check out government agencies such as the Federal Drug Association and the Unites States Department of Agriculture.

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10 Easy Ways To Keep Your Family Safer

by TammyMarch 9, 2015

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To put it simply, safety is the state of being safe and protected against non-desirable events and outcomes. And while, we all strive to ensure our own safety and the safety of our families, staying safe isn’t always top of mind.

Once in a while, it’s good to take a step back and consider changes or habits that can be instilled to ensure safety is a priority. To help you out, here are 10 easy ways and things to consider when aiming to protect yourself and your family.

1. Know your neighborhood. Meet your neighbors and get to know those in the communities around your home. The better these relationships, the more likely you will look out for each other – together, a community is safer. More specifically, build a relationship with one or two trustworthy neighbors and be sure to find and identify someone close whom you can contact in the case of an emergency. Know your community better by getting involved with activities such as local clean ups and neighborhood watch programs (both of which can reduce the crime rate of a community by about 16 percent).

2. Eliminate distracted driving. This is key: make a commitment to stay safe on the roads. That means, don’t text and drive, pull over to take a call, leave the eating to when you’re not in a moving vehicle, and keep any unruly passengers calm. Driving is a task that needs 100 percent of a driver’s attention and too many accidents happen because a good driver gets distracted.

3. Check fire and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. Don’t just check your detectors when you spring ahead or fall back. Instead, make sure all detectors are installed correctly and are tested regularly; this is an easy way to ensure your family’s safety and ensure your family is safe from these hazards.

4. Be social network safe. While it’s tempting to post about Suzie’s soccer game happening at 5 p.m., this type of social media update gives dangerous information to anyone intending to cause harm. Keep posts about specific whereabouts and times (especially that long vacation) of yourself and others off social media sites and only give that information to those who absolutely need it (and post updates about vacations after you come home). Communicate with the younger family members about social network safety.

5. Properly store medicines and chemicals. Medicines and chemicals should be stored in a locked or out of reach area that is inaccessible by kids and pets. By simply storing these products in a secure location, you can ensure your family (especially the smaller members) is safe from harmful chemicals and medicines. Think cleaning supplies, flammable liquids, home improvement items, or the everyday medicines prescribed to certain family members.

6. Keep emergency numbers handy. It may be easy to let this slide since most have a cell phone with pre-programmed numbers. However, keeping a list of emergency numbersnear the phones or in a central location is helpful in case of an emergency where a cell phone is out of reach or a younger member of the family without a cell phone has to make the call. Take it a step farther by teaching kids to memorize a few very important numbers. During an emergency, the quicker the reaction, the more likely there will be a positive outcome.

7. Use exterior lighting. Light the exterior of your home at night, which may keep intruders away and provide peace of mind for your visitors and family. Installing simple motion-censored lights could startle any unwanted visitors and give the impression that someone inside is home and aware.

8. Wear seatbelts. This may come as second nature to some, but for others it is a good habit to learn (and it’s the law!). It goes without saying (although we will mention it here), in the unfortunate event of an accident, wearing a seatbelt keeps passengers safe and can save the lives of you and your loved ones. Seatbelts have been engineered overtime to be incredibly efficient and they protect the critical areas of the body, reducing the risk of life threatening injuries or fatalities.

9. Install an alarm system. Keeping your home safe is important, but keeping anyone inside safe is the main priority. Not only does having (and displaying) an alarm system deter potential burglars, but those efficient systems will also help deploy authorities to your home in the event of a potential emergency.

10. Communicate. Life is chaotic and schedules can be nutty, but take a little “safety break” and communicate with your family and community about potential risks and/or concerns. Keeping open lines of communication may sound like an easy tool, but all families must work at it and ensure that everyone is on the same “safety” page.

While some hazards are preventable by taking simple measures to ensure the safety of those around you, creating new habits and being informed about the community can protect your family and make a safer environment for everyone. #togetherwearesafer

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5 Things to Do When You Turn the Clock Ahead

by TammyMarch 5, 2015

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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.

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25 Home Security Stats You Need To Know

by CassieMarch 2, 2015

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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.

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7 Safety Tips When Your Home Is For Sale

June 5, 2014

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