Blog


The latest in MyAlarmCenter news.

Easy Ways to Use Your Home Security System to Watch Your Kids

by CassieAugust 19, 2014

 8.19

What do your kids do when you aren’t home?

That’s a question many parents have asked themselves. Do they come home on time? Are they safe? Are they doing things they shouldn’t be doing?

That’s the challenge – you have no way of knowing what kids are doing unless you are monitoring them!

Using Home Security to Monitor Your Kids

Most home security systems are equipped with features that allow you to monitor and even view your kid’s behaviors.

Your home alarm system can be used to alert you if your kids don’t get home on time. It can even provide you with a daily record of what time your kids got home!

Kid cams are another great way to help you monitor your kids.

Kid Cams

Using security cameras in conjunction with your home security alarm system offers you many advantages. A prime one is the ability to view what’s happening with your kids from any web enabled device like smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Indoor cameras are great for viewing large rooms and hallways. Most work well in the dark. Pan and tilt cameras allow you to maneuver them for better viewing and greater viewing ranges. Outdoor security cameras withstand the weather and are great for viewing what’s happening in the backyard, front yard, by the garage and by the pool.

Most kid camera systems allow you to view what’s happening in real time in your home. Many will even alert you when motion is detected within a protected area, and most will send you video clips so you can see what’s going on in your home.

A simple free mobile app makes viewing easy from your smartphone or tablet.

Kid Proof

Although you may enjoy the benefits of monitoring your kid’s behaviors, your child may not feel that way.

That’s why most home security and kid camera systems are tamper resistant. And should your child disable the system, your alarm company can be notified so corrective actions can be taken.

With many parents working and kids being left unattended at home, using your home security system to monitor the behavior and safety of children makes lots of sense. Contact My Alarm Center for more information.

Share Button

Here’s Why You Should Always Secure Your Home Wi-Fi Network

by TammyAugust 15, 2014

8.14

If you have or plan on installing a Wi-Fi network in your home, then it is imperative that you secure your network.

When you install a router to create a wireless network in your home, you have the choice of securing access to the network with a password, or allowing people to use the network freely without password requirements for access.

Lots of people see little harm in leaving their network unprotected. They either don’t see the potential danger, feel their neighbors have their own network and won’t use theirs, or they live in remote areas and don’t feel a threat.

Here’s the problem with having an unsecured network: you may be legally liable for activity that happens on the network.

Imagine someone accessing child pornography through your network. Or illegally downloading music files. Or buying drugs from online dealers.  All of these things could potentially cause you a visit from local police or the FBI. That means all of your files could be searched. Your computer could be seized. Your home could be subject to an exhaustive inspection.

Illegal activity across the network is only one worry. An even bigger concern may be the data hackers can gain by accessing your unsecured network.

Hackers can enter your unsecured network and gain access to your email, instant messaging, and computer data. They can learn everything about your life that you have on your computer.

Hackers can also use unsecured networks to send SPAM. They can also launch virus attacks. They do this because it becomes extremely difficult to track illicit activities to the source.

Stay safe. Secure your home wireless Wi-Fi network!

Share Button

What To Do If You’re Home When An Intruder Breaks In

by AmyAugust 12, 2014

8.12

Experiencing a home break-in is bad enough. What’s worse is being home when the break-in occurs.

If you’re home when a break-in happens, your safety and the safety of your loved ones is of prime importance.

Like most things in life, your best bet to stay safe during a home break-in is to plan ahead. Be aware of possible escape routes because your best bet if dealing with an intruder is to leave the home safely.

If you hear an intruder…

  • Leave the home if you can and go to a neighbor’s quickly to summon help.
  • If you can’t leave your home, go into a room and lock the door. If your home security system was armed and the alarm has sounded, stay quiet and know that help is on the way. If not, quietly call 9-1-1 to get the police. Don’t hang up the phone, leave the line open so the dispatcher can hear what’s happening at your home.
  • Be quiet and listen. How many intruders are there and are they making their way towards you?

If you encounter an intruder…

  • Remain calm and cooperative. Studies show that you are most susceptible to personal injury within the first 30 seconds of the encounter.
  • Avoid direct eye contact. Speak in a calm, normal tone of voice.
  • Tell the intruder you will cooperate. Raise your hands to shoulder level. You’ll appear cooperative yet still have your hands in a defensive position.
  • It’s safer to flee than fight. Only go on the offensive with the intruder if there is no other option.

The best way to prevent trouble with an intruder is to take steps to prevent a break-in. Lock your doors. Make sure door jams are steel. Use steel-covered solid wood doors with a minimum thickness of 1.75 inches. Publicize the fact you have a home security system and always keep your system armed.

Share Button

2 Things You Need to Know Before Leaving Your Pet at the Kennel

by CassieAugust 7, 2014

8.7

If you have a pet that you occasionally need to board at a kennel, then please take two minutes to read this blog post.

On June 20, 2014, 20 dogs at a pet boarding facility in Gilbert, AZ. (a suburb of Phoenix) died of heat exhaustion after the air conditioning stopped working in the area of the facility housing the dogs. At the time this blog post was written, the incident is still under investigation by the Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff’s Office.

This tragedy may have easily been avoided if the pet-boarding facility had simply installed temperature sensors, power sensors and/or camera surveillance in the area where the dogs were kept.

Temperature and power sensors notify a 24 hour alarm monitoring center if the power goes out, or if the temperature gets to unacceptable levels. The alarm monitoring center can then take appropriate action to remedy the situation.

Most of you are familiar with video cameras. They observe activity 24 hours a day in a defined area. Pet boarding facility owners could easily view what’s happening at their facility anytime on their smartphone, tablet, laptop or any web enabled device. These facilities could also allow for live steaming of the video to their website (it’s easy and doesn’t cost them any money to do if they have the cameras). That means pet owners could look in on their loved ones at any time, day or night!

Most pet boarding facilities are not staffed with people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most are closed at night. Most are closed on holidays. That’s why there is such a need for temperature and power sensors, along with camera surveillance capabilities, at all pet – boarding facilities.

Next time you need a boarding facility for your pet, use a place that really has pet safety in mind. Ask about temperature and power monitoring and find out if they have camera surveillance systems. Your 4-legged loved one will be glad you did.

Share Button

How Burglars Determine Which Homes to Rob

by DerekAugust 5, 2014

8.5

Did you ever wonder why one home is broken into and the one right next to it is spared?

It’s probably more than good luck or circumstance.

Experts interviewing burglars determined that there are 3 prime reasons a burglar targets one home over another:

• Proximity to others – time and again burglars said the close proximity of others determined their targets. The amounts of traffic near the home and on the road of the home are considered. If the home looks occupied, most burglars said they’d pick another target.

• Signs of security – burglars looked for dogs, outdoor cameras, and security signs to gauge how well a home was protected. The more protection the home exhibited, the less likely the home was to be targeted.

• Alarm system – About 60% of burglars in a survey conducted by the University of North Carolina Charlotte said they’d pick another target if a home had an alarm system. A whopping 83% said they try to determine if a home had a security system before attempting a break-in.

WSOC-TV in Charlotte did a nice investigative report on the motivations of home burglars. See their report here.

My Alarm Center has tips to improve your home security. We can also help you with home security systems, home automation systems and home camera security systems. Let us know how we can help to keep you, your loved ones and property safe.

Share Button

How to Keep Your Smartphone Safe

by DerekJuly 29, 2014

7.29

Have you ever looked around and not been able to find your smartphone? The feeling of panic that overtakes us is not a good feeling.

If you are like most Americans your smartphone has quickly become an important tool in your everyday living. And with more than 100 smartphones stolen every minute in this country, smartphone security is of prime importance.

Here are our tips for keeping your smartphone safe:

  • Use passwords. Passwords can prevent your phone from being used when it is stolen, misplaced or left unattended. There are two types of passwords you’ll need.  A screen lock is a password that is necessary to use your phone. You’ll also need a SIM card lock in the form of a PIN number. This SIM password is required to access a network, and prevents thieves from simply removing your SIM card and using it on another phone.
  • Guard your data. Even though your phone may have password protection, thieves can retrieve your data by connecting your phone to computers or removing a microSD card. Use free software to encrypt files and folders. This means a code must be entered before a file can be viewed or copied.
  • Be careful with wireless networks. Anything that sends data via the airwaves is a security concern and smartphones are no exception. Always switch off the wireless connection when you are not using it. This makes sure people can’t connect to your device without you knowing about it. Make sure your phone is not configured to automatically find a network (make it a manual process and control access through your “settings” features).
  • Watch the apps. Only download apps from established parties through known sources. Pay attention to the information apps want to access and know that if an app can easily access it, so can thieves.
  • Bluetooth. Bluetooth is less risky due to its short range for access.  Set the default Bluetooth configuration to “non-discoverable.” That means bad guys searching for potential targets won’t see you pop up on their lists.  Any unknown requests to “pair” or connect your device should be ignored.

Follow these tips and you’ll have taken prudent steps to keep your smartphone and its information safe and secure.

Share Button

10 Summer Safety Tips for Kids

by TammyJuly 24, 2014

7.24

School is out and that means so are children.

Summertime is outdoor playtime for most kids. And to make sure outdoor playtime is safe time for your children, we recommend you to take these summer safety tips for kids:

  1. Let your kids know where they can play | Define the safe play areas for your kids. Make sure they understand not to play in the streets. For younger kids, restrict their play areas to your yard, and expand their safe play areas with age.
  1. Examine play areas | Make sure kids avoid dangerous areas filled with debris, litter, broken concrete and storage. Examine play areas to make sure there is no broken glass on the ground, slippery surfaces, ant hills, wasp nests or other hazards in the area.
  1. Teach them to avoid strangers | Your children should not speak with strangers or go anywhere with them. Teach them to run away and go inside when approached by strangers.
  1. Use the buddy system | Teach kids to always stay with a friend. This applies to when they are playing outside or swimming. Remind kids to stay with their friends or their group.
  1. Keep them well hydrated | Kids expend lots of energy and lose lots of fluids when playing during the summer. Make sure your kids keep bottled water handy and that they take sips of water throughout the day.
  1. Inspect playground apparatus | Make sure outdoor play sets are in good order and repair. Tighten bolts, screws and nuts. Check for rust and remove it. Make sure there is no cracked or splintered wood.
  1. Use helmets | Biking, skateboarding, roller skating or even riding on a scooter are all fun things kids should wear helmets while doing. The helmet should fit well and be free of cracks and defects.
  1. Lock the pool | Pools should have fencing around it with locked gates. Keep access to the pool out of reach of your children. Even teenagers should have adult supervision while swimming.
  1. Sunscreen | Protect your kids against prolonged exposure to the sun. Use your doctor-approved sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 or higher.
  2. Use insect repellant | Some states have mosquitos bigger than birds. Outdoor activity in some areas makes insect repellant a necessity. Always check kids for ticks when they’ve been playing in wooded areas. Phoenix cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson published a great list of natural remedies for bug bites. Find it here.

What are your favorite safety practices for your children? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Share Button

Nextdoor: A Great Way to Connect With Your Neighbors

by TammyJuly 22, 2014

7.22

There’s a great online resource connecting people, neighbors and communities to make them safer places to live.

This private social network is free and it is currently active in more than 36,000 neighborhoods across the country.

Nextdoor provides an easy way to keep up with everything that’s happening in your neighborhood. It’s a great way for you and your neighbors to talk online. The goal is to use technology to make neighborhoods safer and better.

People use Nextdoor to communicate about break-ins, find a plumber, find a lost pet or announce a garage sale. Learn more about Nextdoor.

See if your neighborhood is listed on Nextdoor. We urge you to get involved today!

My Alarm Center is not affiliated with Nextdoor in any way. We do share a similar vision of making our homes and communities safer places to live.

Share Button

How to Protect Your Home While on Vacation

by AmyJuly 17, 2014

7.17

You’re ready for vacation but have just one big concern…will your home be safe while you are gone?

If you have a home security system from My Alarm Center, you can be sure you’ve taken appropriate measures to protect yourself.

Now most of us know that we should have a neighbor check on our home while gone and that it’s wise to stop the newspaper and mail service. You may even need someone to cut the grass while you are away. Here are some more advanced tips to guard your home while on vacation.

Don’t Let Thieves Know You Are Away

Facebook has become one of the best friends of burglars. They simply scan Facebook looking for posts about people’s vacations and their vacation photos and then come to do their dirty work.

Don’t let this happen to you. If you want to share your vacation and travels with people online, do so when you are back home.

Airport parking lots are also home to thieves. They’ll break into cars looking for garage door openers and car registrations (looking for your home address).  Hide your garage door opener really well, or leave it at home.

Get rid of your clever hiding places for your house keys. Good thieves know all the tricks and even neighborhood vandals know to look for fake rocks and under the welcome mat.

Although it’s nice to have a friend check-in while you are away, use your smart phone and home camera system to check on your home in real time. Most systems can even send you alerts if something is wrong.

Avoid Household Disasters

You need to protect your home against more than just thieves while you are on vacation.  Other disasters can happen.

Unplug your electronics. High summer temperatures can create power surges that harm your gadgets. Protect them by unplugging them before you leave.

Look for drops of water and rust or corrosion around your water heater. Although there is no sure way to know when a water heater will start leaking, a simple check before you leave might prevent a problem while you are gone.

Don’t make the mistake of turning off your air conditioning while on vacation. Experts say in humid summers like we have in many parts of the country, a hot home attracts mold. Keep the thermostat somewhere in the mid-80s to avoid this problem.

My Alarm Center wants you to be safe while on vacation. Protect your home by following these tips. You may also be interested in learning what you can do to stay safe while traveling. Read our safety tips while traveling.

Share Button

The Internet of Things

by CassieJuly 15, 2014

 7.15

 

There is a big debate taking place among technology companies today.

These big conglomerates are developing technologies to use the internet to network and connect everyday objects, allowing them to send and receive data.

The technology is being referred to as “the internet of things” (IoT).

It all sounds kind of cool – everyday devices like coffee pots, thermostats, lights, TVs, hot tubs and just about anything you can think of could communicate and interact with one another using the internet. They could even work in conjunction with each other, and send useful data to users.

Experts argue that the internet of things would allow you to track and measure virtually everything. This will reduce waste, costs and loss. You’ll know when things need replacing, repairing or recalling, and if devices are past their prime.

You’ll also be able to control all these devices and access their information from your smartphone, tablet or any web enabled device.

There are a couple of hazards with the internet of things as well.

The big one is security. If your system gets compromised, people have access to your “things” and home. And in this era of data breeches (remember the credit card hackers that attacked Target?) that’s a huge risk.

The other big concern is personal privacy.

Many of the technology companies behind the internet of things also sell online advertising and other ad products. The more data they have about your behavior (from when you drink your coffee to when you flush your toilet), the more information they have to sell to advertisers. This potential invasion of personal privacy is also a real concern.

This technology is in its infancy and developments with it are happening regularly. Keep reading the My Alarm Center blog for trends and developments.

What do you think about the Internet of Things? Do you think you would use this technology? Leave us your comments in the space below.

Share Button

7 Safety Tips When Your Home Is For Sale

June 5, 2014

Headquarters

3803 WEST CHESTER PIKE
SUITE 100
NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA 19073
T 866.484.4800
F 484.468.1507

Regional Offices

Philadelphia
Seattle

We're a great friend to have.