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The latest in MyAlarmCenter news.

Safety Tips for Frying a Turkey

by TammyNovember 25, 2014

11.25

If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner and frying a turkey, then this blog post is quite valuable to you.

The number one cause of Thanksgiving Day accidents involves frying a turkey. While frying your turkey may result in an outstanding meal, it’s also ripe with danger.

Here are a few tips to keep you and your dinner guests safe while frying a turkey.

  • Always fry a turkey outside.  Never attempt to use a turkey fryer inside of your home, in your garage or even out on a wooden deck or near any combustible surface.  It is advisable to keep the fryer at least 15 feet away from your home.  Make sure you set it up on a dry, level surface.
  • Use a thermometer to keep your oil around 350 degrees.  Oil that gets too hot can release combustible fumes that can ignite or explode.
  • Always make sure that the turkey is completely thawed and toweled down to remove any additional moisture from the turkey.  Ice or water that comes into contact with the hot oil will cause a flare up.
  • Never operate a turkey fryer if the weather is bad.  High winds, rain or snow means you will have to use an alternative cooking method.
  • Do not overfill the oil basin.  Too much oil will overflow and could possibly ignite from the burners.  It is best to fry a smaller turkey for this reason.  8-10 lb. turkeys work best.  Try to avoid frying a turkey over 12 lbs.  Your turkey fryer should have a max oil level mark located inside the oil basin.
  • It is a good idea to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes and oven mitts to protect your arms and hands from any oil spillage.
  • Turn off the burner before you lower the turkey into pre-heated oil.  Lower the turkey very slowly to avoid flare ups.  There is bound to be a small amount of oil flare up when the fresh turkey hits the hot oil.  Lowering the turkey slowly will help minimize this.  Turn the burners back on after the turkey is fully submerged and oil flare ups are not an issue.
  • Never leave a turkey fryer unattended.  Keep a fire extinguisher close by and keep all children far away from the fryer at all times.
  • Once the cooking is complete be sure to shut off the burners, cover the oil basin and keep it on a level surface to cool.  The oil will remain hot for quite a while so be sure all children and adult guests keep a safe distance.

We hope that these safety tips on frying your Thanksgiving turkey will help you to have a happy holiday and safely assist you in presenting a mouth-watering turkey for your holiday meal.

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Holiday Airline Safety and Travel Tips

by AmyNovember 20, 2014

Chrismas Travel

The 2014 holiday season is upon us with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year celebrations just days away.  With the holidays comes a lot of air travel for all of us to reunite with family, friends and loved ones.  We all hope for smooth sailing, but with a few tips and precautions, you can rest assured you have done everything in your power to make sure your holiday air travel goes smoothly.

We have all heard the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and this statement rings especially true when planning your flight during the holiday seasons.  Here are some steps to take before you ever leave for the airport.

1.  When booking your flight, do yourself a favor and spend a little more to book a direct flight to your destination if possible. Avoiding connecting flights reduces the chances of something going wrong due to weather or heavy air traffic delays.

2.  If you are unable to obtain a direct flight the next best thing to do is to avoid airports that are notorious for flight delays due to storms.  Denver, Chicago O’Hare and New York airports are all commonly plagued with winter storms during the holidays.

3.  Create a Plan B.  Looking ahead of time for alternative flights in case your plane is delayed or cancelled allows you to suggest the alternatives to booking agents that may be a little frazzled in the heat of things.

4.  Add the airline reservation numbers to your cell phone.  In addition to that it is a good idea to have the numbers to a frequent flier representative as well if you are a member.  These booking agents are often much more creative in finding solutions to flight delays.  Also include the numbers to any third party websites you may have booked through like Travelocity or Expedia.  You may even want to have the reservation numbers of airport hotels handy in case you need to book a room due to a cancellation.  Hotel rooms are often first-come-first-serve and will often sell out during holiday mishaps.

5.  Set up a flight alert for yourself and anyone at your destination responsible for greeting you at your arrival.  Most airlines offer this service and will notify everyone on the list via text or email should there be any delays or cancellations.  Most airlines will also notify everyone to let them know that the flights are on schedule as well.

6.  Pack as light as possible.  Do yourself another favor and really try to eliminate any items that are not absolutely necessary.  The best way to avoid any issues with delays or lost luggage is not to check a bag at all.  You may want to consider shipping gifts and possibly personal items to your destination 2-3 weeks prior to departing.  If you do bring gifts with you, be sure not to wrap them before the flight.  With security issues these days the TSA may need to unwrap them in order to clear them for flight.  Ship your gifts or wrap them when you get there.

So now your trip is planned, you are packed and ready to go.  You may want to check in online rather than stand in line at the airport.  Most airlines allow passengers to check in 24 hours prior to take-off.  The last travelers to check in are usually the first to get bumped on an overbooked flight.

If you are going to be parking at the airport it is probably a good idea to reserve a parking space as well.  There are websites like AirportParkingReservations.com that allow you to find and reserve the closest and safest parking spots for your vehicle.  Once you are parked, be sure not to leave any valuables in plain sight for criminals to see as an easy smash and grab.  Most airport parking terminals are well guarded, but the bad guys are still out there.

Before you leave the house be sure that you have secured your house by locking all the doors and windows, setting your alarms and setting light timers to make you house look lived in during the holidays.  You should also ask a trustworthy neighbor to collect your mail or have the post office put a hold on it while you are away.

Once you are ready to get to the airport it is advisable to arrive at least 2 hours in advance during the holiday seasons… 3 hours in advance if you are flying internationally.  This is the time to put on your patient hat, keep a positive attitude and hope for the best.  By now you have planned for all possibilities  if you followed our preparation steps and will be prepared if and when a delay or cancellation does occur.

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How to Talk to Your Parents about Aging and Independent Living

by DerekNovember 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.

By the same token, many of us also recognize that our parents are aging and that they may need additional measures 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.

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Our Best Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter

by AmyNovember 13, 2014

11

Fall is already upon us and Old Man Winter is coming in next.  Now is the perfect time to take advantage of cool autumn days to get the outside of your home and property ready for the winter season.  We recently published an article on winterizing your home from the inside and now we would like to share with you ways to do the same for the outside of your home.

  • Clean out your gutters – plenty of leaves and old branches find their way to the ground this time of year and some of that debris is going to land in your gutters.  Be sure that all gutters are clear of leaves, dirt and debris that can impede the flow of melting snow.  While you have access to your gutters, take a close look at your roof as well to determine if any leaks or damage needs repair before the first snowfall.
  • Drains away from the house – As the snow and ice melts and refreezes throughout the winter you are going to want to ensure that any excess water is taken away from the foundation of your house.  This is an important factor all year long, but in the winter months, any water that makes its way towards your foundation can then refreeze, expand and cause significant damage.  Make sure drains lead water at least 6 feet away from your foundation and check your dirt grade.  Low areas should be filled in with more dirt to try and ramp the water away from your home.
  • Turn off the outside water – First find the indoor water shut off for all of your outside water lines.  If you cannot find the shut off valve you may need to have a plumber point this out to you.  Next go outside and turn on all of the hose spigots to let the water drain out completely.  Don’t forget to drain all hoses as well.  As for irrigation systems, the best way to drain them is with the use of an air compressor.  You can attach the compressor to the main irrigation line and blow all excess water out of the lines so they do not freeze and burst.  This may require hiring an irrigation specialist, but will certainly beat the price of digging up and replacing burst lines come spring time.  Bird baths and anything else that might freeze up and break needs to be drained and prepped for the freeze as well.
  • Seal the chimney – About every 4 to 5 years you should reseal your chimney to prevent damage caused by leaks.  If you are comfortable on a tall ladder then you can apply a clear acrylic water sealant to the outside of the chimney whether it is brick, block or cement.  Applying the sealant is pretty much just like painting a wall.  Thompson’s Water Seal Multi-Surface Waterproofer is a good choice and comes highly recommended by professionals.  If you are not comfortable with heights while working on a ladder then you may want to hire a pro.
  • Inspect your decks and walkways – look for splintering and other signs of wear in your wooden decks.  It might be time for another layer of sealant to help it get through the winter season without further damage.  As for paved surfaces on your property it is a good idea to look for cracks, loose pavers or missing mortar.  Fixing a loose paver is pretty straight-forward.  With a little bit of paver sand you can lift the loose paver, add a little paver sand and then use a rubber mallet to help reseat the paver in a secure position.  For missing mortar and cracks you can either mix some mortar up then use a trowel to replace it or get yourself some Quikrete caulk to seal up the problem.  If water is able to get into these cracks, freeze and expand, you are probably going to have an even bigger repair job come spring.
  • Assume ice will be everywhere – Keep plenty of sidewalk salt on hand for the upcoming season.  Icy walkways are the number one reason for injury outside of the home during winter.  Check all of the handrails on any outside stairs to make sure they are safe and secure.  You should also do an inspection of outdoor lighting around your home so that you can easily see any ice on the walkways to minimize the chance of a slip and fall happening.
  • Remove dead branches - Trimming your tree for any dead branches will stop them from becoming iced over or blown off by the wind.  Pay special attention to any branches that are too close to your home or power wires.  An iced over branch can be very harmful to your home, power wires and anyone that may get in their way.  Even small branches can become very heavy and deadly when covered in ice.
  • Aerate, seed, fertilize, mulch – To help your landscaping look its best come spring time you should first aerate your lawn while the temperatures are still warm. Aerating now allows more water to get to the grass roots where it is still needed until the freeze hits.   If seeding is necessary then you should add that now as well.  This will give the seeds a little head start to root themselves before the spring thaw.  Next you should apply fertilizer to your lawn during November to give the grass plenty of nourishment to survive the winter.  You should also add fertilizer to your shrubs in November as well.  For our last landscaping tip you can help to create a good looking yard for the winter by pulling up any dead plants and flowers.  Clear out any sticks and leaves as well.  Use a rake to aerate the soil in your flowerbeds and then mulch all of the stuff you just cleared away.  Not only will it make your flower beds look nice, but it will also help prevent insects from nesting under any debris.
  • Prep the patio furniture – A simple solution of soap and water can clean off summer dirt and debris from almost any patio furniture.  Once clean you need to decide whether the furniture can be stored outdoors or needs to come inside.  Cushions can be machine washed and should be stored indoors completely dry to avoid any mildew and mold.  For the furniture itself, most hardwoods will fair just fine in the outdoor winter weather.  Softer woods, thin aluminum and plastic furniture should more than likely be brought in to help protect it.  Any furniture that is left outdoors should be covered with a breathable Gore-Tex type of fabric.  This fabric allows moisture to escape from underneath the cover while preventing any outdoor moisture from penetrating.  Be sure the covers are pulled tight to eliminate any pooling of water that can then freeze.
  • Get the garage ready – Whether you keep your tools and shovels in a garage or shed you should organize them now so you are not scrambling to dig things out at the first sign of snow.  You won’t need your gardening tools for a while so give them a quick clean and store them toward the back of your storage area.  Keep items like snow shovels, ice breakers, the snow blower and rock salt with easy access.   This is also a good time to inventory any liquids in your garage or shed that might freeze.  Probably a good idea to find a temporary place to store them inside.

Tending to these outdoor tasks and giving your home a good once-over before the year’s first frost is going to make your winter a little more enjoyable.  By being proactive with these responsibilities you are going to really extend the lifespan of everything outside of your home and you won’t be out in the cold winter air trying to catch up or make repairs.

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

by DerekNovember 11, 2014

11.11

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

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 device.

Personal emergency response systems 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.

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Bi-annual Household Jobs Checklist

by TammyNovember 6, 2014

11.05

Tackling large household cleaning and maintenance jobs every six months helps make your home tidier and more efficient while prolonging the useful life of household furnishings.

Our two favorite times of year to tackle our bi-annual chores is when we have to change our clocks for Daylight Savings Time. Changing the time on our clocks is our trigger to know it’s time for our bi-annual household chores.

You’ll find our list of important things to do below. Make sure to add your favorites in the comments section below!

Furnishings and Furniture

  • Turn or flip your mattress. Flip it over or turn it 180 degrees to improve comfort and mattress longevity.
  • Clean your carpets and wash all throw rugs and cushion covers.
  • Clean light shades and fittings. Use a feather duster to remove dust.
  • Wipe down all ceiling fans and indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures.
  • Clean window treatments.
  • Move and clean under furniture and heavy appliances.

General Household Items

  • Update your first aid kit and medicine cabinet. Now is the time to throw away expired medicines and to re-stock the first aid kit and medicine cabinet.
  • Change the batteries in all household items, including battery powered smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Test your security alarm system to make sure it is working properly. Contact your alarm monitoring center and let them know you’ll be conducting an alarm system test.
  • Clean out the pantry and cabinets. Remove items and wipe down all surfaces. Discard any out-of-date items.
  • Oil door hinges.
  • Review and update insurance policies.
  • Remove any built up lint from the dryer hose.
  • Wash or replace shower curtains.

Keep this checklist handy. Not only will you keep up with your chores, you’ll also keep your house in prime operating condition!

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My Alarm Center Announces Contest Winner

by CassieNovember 4, 2014

Contest

My Alarm Center is pleased to announce that Kris Otto is the winner of their MyHome MyStory contest.

My Alarm Center invited people to share on the My Alarm Center Facebook page their experiences with home security, home automation and home fire or carbon monoxide detectors. People were invited to share their story about the impacts of these systems in their lives. Then, based upon the most votes of a submission (likes) as voted on by the readers of the My Alarm Center Facebook page, a grand prize was awarded.

Kris Otto received the most votes and Kris won a $100 Visa gift card from My Alarm Center!

You can see Kris’ winning submission below:

“My husband was working midnights and I had a young son at home with me. We installed the alarm system as I was nervous about the lower level walk out and being at home alone every night. My son and I were sleeping, but had the alarm set. What a blessing and how scary to be awakened at 2:47 AM (I will never forget the time) to the blaring alarm. I grabbed my son and called 911 and we locked ourselves in the bathroom. When the police arrived, they had found a broken window in our lower level. Without that alarm, who knows what might have happened that night. Keeping our family safe is so important!”

Home alarm systems, home fire detectors and home automation systems make a positive impact on people’s lives. We thank all people who shared their story on our Facebook page!

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Ten Tips to Winterize Your Home

by CassieOctober 28, 2014

10.28

 

Temperatures are already starting to drop across the U.S. and predictions say we may have an early winter this year.  So while there is still mild weather available it is probably a good idea to get your home ready now for the winter season that is coming quickly.

Winterizing your home now will start to bring you savings on your utilities and give you peace of mind knowing you are ready for whatever mother nature throws at us this year.

Here are some great tips to get you ready for the 2014 – 2015 winter season.

1. Fire Up the Furnace – It is a good idea to turn on your furnace and ensure that it is working properly before the cold weather hits.  It is common for a strange odor to emit from the furnace when you first fire it up from its summer rest.  If the odor persists you may need to call a professional to have it cleaned and tuned.  You should also change the furnace filter.  Fiberglass filters need to be thrown out and completely replaced once they are dirty.  Electronic or electrostatic filters can be washed and reused.  It is a good idea to check these filters monthly during the winter months.  Regular inspections will keep your furnace running clean and efficiently.  Furnace tune-ups from a professional can also help to keep your equipment in tip-top shape.  It usually costs around $125, but can really extend the life of your furnace and keep your utility costs at a minimum.

2. Make Sure Your Ducts Are in Order – Ductwork in a home with central heating that is not connected properly or is poorly insulated can lose up to 60% of its hot air before reaching the vents.  Not only will it not properly warm your house, but it will drain you of your cold hard cash.  Ducts aren’t always easy to access, but check the best you can and fix any gaps or leaks with a metal backed tape to ensure it does the job.  It’s also a good idea to clean out any dust or debris every year to help avoid any breathing problems over the winter when you cannot open the windows to enjoy the fresh outside air.

3. Work With Your Windows – Early October is the perfect time to remove your screens and put up the storm windows.  If you have single pane windows, storm windows add an excellent second level of protection against the winter elements.  If you do not have storm windows and are going to brave the winter with single pane glass you may want to consider getting a window insulator kit.  For around $4 a window you can get this plastic sheeting that can be shrink-wrapped to your existing windows with a hair dryer.  It might be a little unsightly, but it is extremely inexpensive  and effective.  Consider saving up for dual pane windows to be installed.  They do require a big budget, but are worth it in the end.  Maybe only swap out one or two at a time to spread out the expense.

4. Prep Your Pipes – Any pipe that is exposed to the elements is vulnerable to bursting when the temperature drops below freezing.  Save yourself the mess and expense of a burst pipe by checking all of them in the basement, garage or crawl spaces to make sure they are properly insulated.  Pre-molded rubberized sleeves and fiberglass insulation is relatively inexpensive and available at any hardware store. It is easy to install.  Don’t forget to remove the hose from the hose bib, turn off the water supply to the hose from inside the house and completely drain any water left in the outside pipes.  One last water source to check might be a window mounted A/C unit.  Be sure to drain any hoses, remove any excess water and turn off the water valve if your unit has one.

5. Double Up the Insulation – This tip might initially cost some money, but you are sure to get it back year after year with on your heating bill.  No matter what part of the country you live in, American homes require at least one foot of insulation in the attic.  An easy way to tell is to peek in your attic and look for the ceiling joists.  A ceiling joist is at most ten or eleven inches so if you can see it, you need more insulation.

6. Turn Down Your Water Heater – This tip is not just for winter, it can save you money all year long.  When water heaters are installed a common temperature setting is 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  For most American homes this is simply too high.  Reduce your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and watch your water heating costs drop by at least 6% to 10%.  It is a small adjustment that will hardly go noticed unless you miss scalding water.  For even better performance through the winter months invest in an insulating blanket for your water heater.

7. Fill in the Cracks and Don’t Dodge the Drafts – This is probably more important than most people realize.  Even the small cracks count towards energy loss.  According to a study done by Earthworks Group, the average American home has enough leaks to equal a nine square foot hole in a wall!  One easy way to find them is to use an incense stick on a windy day and walk around your home looking for drafts around windows, doors and electrical outlets.  Caulking, weather-stripping, door sweeps and electrical outlet gaskets can usually be enough to conquer any indoor drafts.   For leaks originating from the outside of your home you will most likely need a caulk that is manufactured for use outdoors.  Masonry sealer is what you will need for cracks in a brick exterior so that it can stand up to the freeze and the thaw each year.

8. Clean out the gutters – After all the leaves have fallen be sure that you remove all of them from your gutters along with any other debris.  Anything left behind has a good chance of freezing over and creating an ice dam in your gutter.  Water then has the opportunity to back up and soak into your house causing bigger leaks and damage.  Be sure the water can easily flow and try to get the downspout to carry the water at least 10 feet from your house.  While you are outside you may also want to inspect any other areas of your home’s foundation to see if there are any vulnerable places that ice, snow and water can collect.

9. Inspect Your Fireplace – You may want to call in the help of a professional chimney sweep if your fireplace needs a good cleaning.  It may not need a cleaning, but at a minimum you want to make sure that nothing is caught inside like a lost toy or any animals before lighting the first fire of the season.  Another crucial step in winterizing your fireplace is to ensure that the damper fully closes to keep out the cold air and that it fully opens to let out the smoke should you build a fire.  We also have a great article on maintaining wood stoves should your home have one.

10 Reverse Your Ceiling Fans – Our last tip is usually the one that is most overlooked.  Most homeowners only consider their ceiling fans when they want to cool down, but with one flip of a switch you can reverse the motion of the blades.  When the fan blades are spinning clockwise the fan blades are now pushing the warm air that pools up at the ceiling back down into the room.  Recirculating the warm air trapped up by the ceiling can make your room feel much more comfortable and can actually help to reduce your heating bill by up to 10%!

There are other things you can do to keep your energy costs to a minimum and keep your home ready for whatever winter weather passes through.  Remember to set your thermostat to a lower temperature when leaving the house or invest in a programmable one.  Also simply wearing an extra layer of clothes can really make a difference as well.  One last piece of advice is to keep plenty of rock salt handy to keep your sidewalks and driveways free of ice.  It isn’t exactly going to help winterize your home, but it will certainly protect your family, friends and neighbors from taking any unnecessary spills.

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Tips for Halloween Candy Safety

by DerekOctober 23, 2014

10.23

Millions of kids across America will celebrate Halloween this year. And whether your child is a ghost or a princess, Halloween candy and food safety is a prime concern for most parents.

With that thought in mind, My Alarm Center is pleased to offer these tips to keep your children safe during this trick-or-treat season:

  • Feed your child before allowing them to trick-or-treat. A full belly helps to keep them from snacking while trick-or-treating.
  • Teach your child to NEVER eat anything they receive until they get home and you have inspected it.
  • Try to be with your child while they trick-or-treat. This is your best way to ensure their safety and to make sure they don’t eat anything until they are home and you’ve inspected it.
  • Examine your kid’s goodies under a bright light as soon as they get home. Do it right away…the longer you wait the more likely your children will eat it without it being inspected.
  • Throw away anything that does not look right. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • It’s best to throw away candy in twist wrappers, as candy can be easily tampered with and re-wrapped. Keep an eye out for Tootsie Rolls, hard candies and bubble gums.
  • Dispose of home-made goods given to you by strangers. This includes cookies, candy apples, popcorn balls and any home-made items. The risk is too great to take the chance.
  • Keep chocolate, nuts and raisins away from your dogs. It is toxic to them and could kill them.
  • You may want to have your kid’s Halloween treats X-Rayed at a local hospital or medical center. Many medical facilities offer this service for free during Halloween. Check your local newspaper or local community oriented website.
  • Don’t allow children to eat anything that may be a choking hazard.

Halloween is meant to be a fun time for everyone. We’ve written before about home Halloween safety and offer this tips about Halloween candy to protect your little ones.

Have a great Halloween!

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Home Fire Safety for Pets: Prevention and Planning

by AmyOctober 21, 2014

10.20

You might be surprised to hear that an estimated 1,000 home fires are caused each year by the family pet and more than 500,000 pets are involved in fires each year where they were not the cause.  The family pet is considered by most to be an equally important member of the family unit, yet our four legged friends are often overlooked when planning a fire escape plan and taking fire prevention steps.

In this article we discuss some easy to follow steps to help pet owners create a safe environment for pets, as well as some action plans in the unfortunate event of a home fire while your pet is home alone.

Monitored smoke alarms – If a fire breaks out in your home it can be a matter of minutes for a small flame to turn into an inferno.  Monitored smoke and carbon monoxide alarms give you the quickest way of alerting the fire department in the event of an emergency.  Not only can they save your pet’s life, but it can also be the difference between minimal damage and a total loss of your home.

Keep an eye on all flames and fire sources – Everyone knows that pets are inquisitive by nature and can easily be intrigued by open flames.  You always want to extinguish any open flames that you cannot keep an eye on.  This includes the stove top, candles and especially your fireplace.  Unattended pets should never be left alone with around any open flames and, pet or no pet, you should always extinguish any fires or candles before leaving the house.

Secure stove knobs – Many electric stoves are controlled by digital panels, but most gas ranges are controlled by easy to turn knobs.  Removing the knobs or securing them with gas knob locks can give you piece of mind knowing they cannot be turned on by accident.  According to fire inspection statistics, cook tops are the number one culprit when it comes to home fires caused by pets.

Purchase candle lights – There are battery operated candles that have light bulbs instead of a wick and can produce the same soft glow.  Investing in these instead of traditional candles can keep your pet safe from knocking them over and starting a fire or torching their tails over a lit candle.

Make your home pet proofed – Pets are like small children and are guaranteed to get into almost everything.  That is why it is a good idea to do a thorough walkthrough of your home to look for any potential hazards like loose wires or exposed electrical wires.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Use a pet alert window cling – One of the most inexpensive and effective ways to keep your pet safe is to install a pet safety window cling to a front window of your home.  Keeping an updated cling with the number of pets that are in your home can be a priceless tool for firefighters.

Leave pets near an entrance to your home – If possible, it is a good idea to crate your pets near the front or back doors of your home when you leave.  This will make it easy for them to be found by firefighters.  If your pets are allowed to freely roam the house, you may want to consider closing off bedroom doors or any rooms of your house that a pet could potentially run into and hide.

Confine your younger pets – Puppies, kittens and other baby critters should certainly be kept away from any fire hazards.  It is probably best to crate them or keep them in a gated area.  Again, this will make it easier for firefighters to find them and it will also keep them safe from causing any harmful mischief while you are gone.

Include your pets in your escape route. – Your pet will probably not know what to do in the event of a fire which means you need to do the planning for them.  It is a great idea to keep extra leashes and collars near every exit of your home.  This way you will be prepared and your beloved pet will not be able to flee once they are outside.  Leashes and collars are also a good visual cue to let firefighters know there is a pet in the home.

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7 Safety Tips When Your Home Is For Sale

June 5, 2014

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