Monthly Archives: May 2011

Making it Simple! How to Put Together a DIY Alarm System

So you want to get a home alarm system and you are just getting started.  If this is the case, step into our classroom!  The basic home alarm system is made up of a control panel, keypad, siren, door and window sensors, motion detector, and if you choose, a central monitoring station.  Let’s take a look at each component.  Press play to watch the How To Video above.

Dumb California Criminal Breaks into Home Minutes after Leaving Jail

He didn’t stay free for long!  In Northern California, a 30-year-old Yuba County man was released from jail minutes before breaking into a home, reports the Ukiah Daily Journal.

According to local police, witnesses working near the home reported seeing a man crawl into the home through a window.

Seeing the suspect running behind nearby county buildings and believing he may have just been released from jail, the witnesses said they followed the suspect and saw him enter the home.

When officers arrived, they reportedly found Enrique Velazquez inside.  Velazquez had ransacked the inside of the home and pushed large items such as a dresser and refrigerator in front of the building’s doors in an attempt to barricade himself inside, reports the Associated Press.

After further investigation, police learned that Velazquez had been released from county jail just ten minutes before the break-in.  He was initially brought in on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance after telling an officer he was “high on crystal meth”.

Going on Vacation?

With summer nearly here, there are sure to be vacations on the horizon.  This means your home’s security is more important than ever before.  That’s because your property will be left without someone in it, leaving it vulnerable to culprits looking for an easy score.

Here are tips for protecting your property while on vacation, courtesy of Archerfish Solo Wireless Intelligent Video Surveillance System –

1.  Watch what you post on Facebook.  Sure, you want to share all the fabulous fun you’re having. But first, check your privacy settings and be sure you’re comfortable with the information you’re sharing.

2.  Don’t leave mail or newspapers unattended while away.  Thieves will notice that you’re not home, making your house an easy target.  Instead, have the post office hold all mail until you return home.  Also make sure to put your newspaper delivery on hold.

3.  Be discrete with the details.  Businesses often hire summer help and you never know how much information is shared; so whether you’re pausing the newspaper or giving the dog walker, yard guy, cleaning crew a break, share the details of your trip only on a “need-to-know” basis.

4.  Use a timer to keep the lights on. Instead of turning everything off, use a timer to keep one or two lights on during evening hours.  You can even use them to turn on a radio or television.  This will make it difficult for the burglar to determine if you’re home.

Does Good Lighting Prevent Break-ins?

Do security lights deter burglars or does it light their way?  This has long been debated by security experts and homeowners.  Studies today show that indeed, having adequate lighting around your home does help prevent break-ins.  This is why one Neighborhood Watch group is urging homeowners to consider installing home security lights, as well as regularly checking existing ones.

Thieves are more likely to target homes without lighting.  A motion detector light, which automatically switches on when it detects movement, will not only expose any criminal that attempts to approach, but deter any criminal looking at your house, or you, for fear that the crime will be witnessed.

As well as deterring criminals, lighting provides greater personal safety when arriving home, is cost-effective, and can easily be installed by a homeowner.

Another factor that many homeowners fail to consider is the threat of being attacked outside their homes.  When fumbling around for keys or arms full of bags, papers, files or groceries, people are a prime target for an attack.

In addition, please remember interior lighting is necessary to show signs of life and activity inside a residence at night.

How Much Water do You Need in Preparing for a Disaster?

If you purchased an emergency preparedness kit from Home Security Store then you now have a limited 3 day supply of emergency drinking water with a shelf life of 5 years.  In addition, you have some water purification tablets.  However, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day.  A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking.

Additionally, in determining adequate quantities, consider the following:

•Individual needs vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate.

•Children, nursing mothers, and ill people need more water.

•Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed.

•A medical emergency might require additional water.

How Should I Store Water?

To prepare the most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water.  Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you need to use it.  You should keep the water in a cool, dark place if possible.  If not using commercially bottled water then you should replace the water every six months.  Also keep in mind you might need additional water for other uses like cleansing, sanitation, and food preparation.

Remember, you may need to survive on your own after a disaster. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days.

Bank Teller Laughs Would-be-Robber out of the Building

We all know that a bank robbery is no laughing matter, but tell that to one Wells Fargo bank teller and she might just laugh at you.  That was the case in Beaumont, Texas near Houston after a would-be-robber tried to hold up the teller with a note.

Beaumont officers were called to the Wells Fargo Bank at about 10 a.m. Tuesday morning when a holdup alarm was reported.

BeaumontEnterprise.com reports that when police arrived on scene, they were told that a man had walked into the bank wearing sunglasses, a hard hat, and talking on his cell phone.  He then laid a note on the teller’s counter demanding money.  The teller looked at the note and laughed.  In turn, the man took the note and ran out of the bank.

Police say if you encounter a bank robber, no matter the circumstance, you are urged to not giggle!  On a more serious note, as a bank customer, here’s what to do –

• Stay calm and don’t speak unless spoken to.

• If you have young children or friends with you keep them calm.

• If possible, avoid eye contact with the robber.

• Remember to let the robber have whatever he wants, the sooner he gets it the sooner he will leave.

• If possible, when the robber is not looking, observe details about him including height, weight, eye color, voice, and clothing.

• Once the robber leaves stay inside the bank until the police get there.

Glee star Matthew Morrison beefs up Home Security after Crazed Fan Visit

Glee star Matthew Morrison has installed tighter security at his Los Angeles residence after a fan followed him home.

Morrison’s acting and singing role as high school teacher Mr. Schuester on the hit TV show Glee has made him famous around the world.  However, Morrison admits that fame has led him to fear for his personal safety, after one fan was so desperate to get close to him that she “stalked” him.

Now Morrison has installed cameras on the grounds of his home so he can monitor the property.

He tells the Daily Mirror, “One girl stalked me home but I have a gate so they can’t get in. But it’s weird. This girl, she must have just been a fan, wanted to find out where I live and followed me home. I didn’t call the police, though. She just left.

“Since then I installed video cameras and stuff. So I can be on my phone here and check my security. It’s actually really cool.”

Even if you are not famous, you can be at risk of becoming a victim to stalking or becoming a victim to other crime.  That’s why good home security is so important, and you don’t have to be rich or famous to achieve good home security either.  Nowadays home surveillance kits are very fairly priced.  You can even set some systems to be viewed remotely.

Most Americans are Clueless about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It’s silent, deadly and can lurk in your home while your family sleeps. Dubbed the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas that kills 500 people and sends 20,000 more to the hospital each year.  While 60 percent of Americans say they are more confident they can prevent CO poisoning than a serious fall down the stairs at home, the results from a recent survey by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) tell a different story.

According to a UL press release, the safety testing organization’s survey results reveal consumers may not be equipped with the right information to protect themselves and their families from the dangers of CO poisoning: 62 percent couldn’t correctly detect CO poisoning symptoms, which typically result in flu-like symptoms, and 70 percent do not inspect common household sources of CO emission, such as a furnace or hot water heater, at least once a year.

It’s important to know that a  can be either battery-operated or AC powered (with or without a battery backup). Furthermore, it can be a stand-alone unit or one that works within your home alarm system. The top CO detectors utilize state-of-the-art electro-chemical sensor technology which detects multiple levels of exposure to CO based on time weighted averages of the gas present.

Look into CO detectors today.  Doing so could save your life.

Florida Beauty Queen Fatally Shoots Home Intruder with a Pink Gun

When a burly ex-convict forced his way into a posh Florida home last week, he had no idea what awaited him — a 25-year-old beauty queen with a pink .38-caliber handgun.

Former Florida pageant queen Meghan Brown shot and killed 42-year-old Albert Franklin Hill during a home invasion at the 2,732-square-foot house she shares with her fiance in Tierra Verde, Florida.

Cristina Corbin of Fox News reports Hill barged into the home at around 3 a.m. after Brown responded to a knock at the front door. He allegedly grabbed the 110-pound Brown around her nose and mouth and dragged her to an upstairs bedroom.

The woman’s fiance, Robert Planthaber, said in an interview that he was quickly awakened by the altercation and ran to Brown’s side.

“I attacked him and took a severe beating to the head,” Planthaber says.  ”But I got him off of her long enough for her to scramble to the room where she keeps her pink .38 special.”

Brown, who reigned as the 2009 Miss Tierra Verde, snatched her gun from a nearby bedroom and shot the suspect several times – hitting him in the chest, groin, thigh and back.  Hill was pronounced dead at the scene.

Panthaber says he purchased the pink handgun for Brown last Christmas and that the two had gone to target practice together.

“She was not a good shot at the range,” he quipped.

2GIG’s GO! Control Panel Wins Security Product of the Year

The Go! Control panel of 2GIG Technologies, the Carlsbad, CA-based developer of home security and related systems, has been recognized as the Security Product of the Year by the TechHome Division of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). 

The Mark of Excellence Awards program honors the best in home electronics products, services, and installed technology.  Each year, manufacturers, distributors, and systems integrators enter to compete.

“This is a huge honor,” says Lance Dean, Co-Founder of 2GIG Technologies. “This recognition by the consumer electronics industry’s most important association validates that we have succeeded in making the most user-friendly, feature-rich home automation and security system on the market. We are committed to bringing innovative solutions to the market and feel the best is yet to come.”

About 2GIG Technologies -

Formed in 2007, 2GIG Technologies designs and manufactures the most technologically-advanced residential security and home management solutions in the industry. 2GIG introduces GO!Control — the first self-contained, all-in-one security and home management system.

2GIG Technologies is a Principal Member of the Z-Wave Alliance, which enables 2GIG to provide customers with one of the most innovative, interactive home security platforms on the market.