Monthly Archives: October 2010

Halloween Safety Tips

This weekend, as thousands of kids take to the street for candy and fun, safety and home security should be part of your Halloween plan.  Security company Security Choice has some tips –

Make a Plan:  Remind trick-or-treaters to be cautious and to stick with a buddy at all times.  Plan Halloween routes and communicate with other parents so every child in a group can easily be accounted for.  Make sure older trick-or-or-treaters have a set return time and cell phones handy.

Be Seen:  Children and parents are advised to trick-or-treat in well-lit areas with clear walking paths or sidewalks.  Use reflective stickers, flashlights and glowsticks to ensure that children are easily seen by motorists.  For those staying home, make sure driveways, walkways and yards are clear of debris in order to reduce the risk of falls.

Protect Property:  Halloween is an ideal time for vandals and burglars to attack.  It is easy to spot who is and isn’t home, and with the commotion outside, a thief can blend-in quite easily.  Make sure doors and windows stay locked and the home security system is set whenever the house is unattended.  Keep alarm company signs clearly displayed and well-lit in order to deter nighttime criminals.

Check the Candy:  At the end of the night, inspect all candy before kids dig in.  Look for opened or broken wrappers, suspicious-looking items or any ingredients children may be allergic to.

Watch out for TMI (Too Much Information)!

A poll conducted by the non-profit agency Zogby International for Common Sense Media finds that the vast majority of kids think their friends share way too much information online.  An even bigger percentage of parents don’t trust kids.  At least 92% of the parents surveyed say kids are too willing to give out personal information in exchange for goods and services available online.

Tom Henderson of ParentDish.com writes that the majority of surveyors in cyberspace often ask for personal information as a condition for gaining access to their websites.  Then, before you know it, you have someone calling you to sell you something.

According to the poll, the majority of parents want Congress to change the law before companies can use personal information for marketing purposes.  While, 70% of parents think schools should educate students about online privacy.  Here are some other findings –

** 85% of parents say they are more concerned about online privacy than they were five years ago.

** 91% of parents think search engines and social networking sites should get their permission before sharing a kid’s physical location with other companies.

** 51% of parents say they always/sometimes read Terms of Service.

** 91% of parent say they’d take more time to read Terms of Service if they were shorter and more clear.

Common Sense Media suggests parents make sure kids use privacy settings on Facebook and other social networking sites.  They suggest that parents and kids to avoid questionnaires, giveaways and contests.

No Phone Line for your Alarm System? No Problem!

The DMP XTL Wireless Security System brought to you by Alarm Relay gives you the GSM cellular advantage, which far surpasses the traditional land-line connection which can be interrupted by bad weather or a cut phone line. Here’s what the XTL offers –

  • With a solid, cellular connection there is absolutely no phone lines needed
  • In Touch Messaging Features which enables  users to control and monitor their systems remotely via any text enabled cell phone and/or online
  • DMP’s most compact control panel ever
  • 28 wireless zones with pre-named zones
  • Costs only a fraction of what other alarm dealers would charge
  • For more click here!

What are my Kids up to when I’m not around?

Is it possible to keep track of your kids remotely when you are not around?  Heck yes it is!  Here are some tech tips to help you do just that –

1.  Set up real-time notifications via email or text message via your home alarm system.  For this check out the GE Simon 3 Wireless Home Security System.  It really caters to family needs.

 2.  Utilize cameras to look in at any time.

 Using IP security cameras integrated with advanced interactive technology will truly change the way you see your home.  Security cameras and video monitoring technology give you the ability to view live streaming video, receive motion-triggered video clips and control cameras remotely from your smartphone or computer.  Lorex’s Edge Series DVRs are ideal to use in setting up remote viewings.   

 3.  Take security with you – There’s an app for that!

We all want cell phones to do more and home security and monitoring providers have responded.  Read more online about the availability of free mobile home security apps that let you easily monitor and control your security system while you’re on the go.

Did you Know 90% of all Burglaries are Preventable?

The FBI reports that across the board 77% of crime is property-related.  This of course means burglary happens often, but what can we do to stop it?  Well, it turns out we can do a lot, and considering that 90% of all burglaries are preventable, there is little reason why you shouldn’t take action now to avoid becoming a victim later.  Here are some tips –

 1. Install good lighting

2. Put deadbolt locks on your main doors

3. At all times secure all windows and doors

4. Upkeep your landscaping and shrubbery that may surround you home

5. Install an alarm system

6.  Invite the local police to do a home inspection

7. Talk with your neighbors

8. Avoid regular routines and letting strangers know your schedule

9. Don’t post that you are out of town on social networking sites such as Facebook

10. Close your window curtains at night

Keep Your Child Safe from Falls

As young children grow, they quickly become more curious and independent.  It’s hard even for the most careful parents to keep up with where they are and what they’re doing at all times.  With that in mind, more than 2.3 million children ages 14 and under are treated annually at hospital emergency rooms for fall-related injuries.  According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, infants are more likely to fall from furniture, baby walkers, and stairs.  While toddlers tend to fall from windows and older children fall more often from playground equipment

Here are some tips from the Home Safety Council on how to prevent falls –

  • Have a grab bar by the bathtub and shower.
  • Have a bath mat with a non-skid bottom next to the tub and shower.
  • Wipe up spills when they happen.
  • Use nightlights in hallways and bathrooms.
  • Have window guards or window stops on upper windows. But make sure you can open the window fast in case of a fire.
  • Cover the ground under playground equipment with a thick layer (9-12 inches) of mulch, wood chips or other safety material.
  • Choose solid play equipment and keep it in good shape. Look for signs of rust, chipped paint, cracked or broken parts, etc. Fix them.

Avoiding False Alarms

False alarms can cause you, your security monitoring company, and the police both time and money.  That’s why it’s very important to learn how to avoid false alarms.  To reduce false alarms, you must first identify their causes.  Some common causes are –

 *  Using incorrect keypad codes.

*  Failing to train authorized users.

*  Failure to secure doors and windows once the alarm is turned on.

*  Wandering pets.

*  Re-entering the home just after leaving without disarming (assuming the exit delay is long enough to compensate.)

*  Objects hanging by or around motion detectors.

*  Weak system batteries.

*  Faulty equipment.

*  Acts of nature (strong winds, electrical storms, etc.)

*  False alarms due to faulty equipment or acts of nature are rare. The single largest cause of false alarms are human error.

 Once the causes are identified, some basic steps should help reduce false alarms –

 *  Properly train all users (e.g., babysitters, relatives, children, visitors, etc.)

*  Secure doors and windows before turning on alarm.

*  Inform the monitoring center of new pass codes and arming codes, and new or removed authorized users.

*  Service and maintain the system (including batteries) properly.

*  If there is a question as to whether or not the system is working properly, immediately contact the security provider to check the status of the system and devices.

National Fire Prevention Week

This is National Fire Prevention Week so it’s only fitting to start the week off by talking about fire safety.  That being said, about two-thirds of American homes don’t meet the national recommendation for the number of smoke alarms set by the National Fire Protection Association.  That’s according to a nationwide survey conducted by First Alert.  Furthermore, only one in 10 homes meets the recommendations for carbon monoxide monitors.

 According to KansasCity.com, the association recommends at least one carbon monoxide alarm on each level of a house and one in or near every bedroom or sleeping area.  For smoke alarms, one should be installed at the top of each staircase, and one in every bedroom or sleeping area.  For an average two-story, three-bedroom house, that adds up to four smoke alarms and five carbon monoxide alarms. (For more details go to www.nfpa.org.)

Need more reasons to get fired up?  According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 84% of all civilian fire deaths occur at private residences.  Each year, nearly 3,000 Americans die in home fires and about 450 succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Keep in mind experts recommend installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and checking the batteries once a month to make sure they work.