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Security Camera Internet Safety Tips

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security camera safety blogPerhaps you have heard recent alarming news reporting on recent security camera hacking sites. Although this news is reason to take extra diligence when choosing your alarm system, home and business owners can be assured that security cameras are the best protection for your home and business. Here are some tips to make sure you are getting optimal security from your security camera system:

  1. Change the Default Password. Most people purchase their security camera from a typical supermarket or big-box store. These security cameras have pre-coded passwords that many homeowners forget to change. This password is mainly a specific code that is applied to all like models. Not changing a password and making it unique leads the camera open to hackers.
  2. Be Diligent with Remote Monitoring. Some security cameras enable users to view their security camera footage from a remote location. An app or website is typically used to gain access to footage remotely. Cameras may have this option enabled by default, leaving the security camera open to hackers. You should always be aware of how to disable the remote option on your camera. Always read the manual of a security camera for further details on how to do this, or contact the manufacturer directly for assistance.
  3. Purchase from a Trusted Source. Always purchase security cameras—and any security system tools, for that matter—from a reputable, recognized security company, one that has years of experience in the field and is up to date on the latest security trends. Never purchase a security camera that is used or from a location that is less than savory. This can go a long way in ensuring a working, safe security camera.

Security cameras are one of the best tools home and business owners can use for improving overall property security. Due to the visual aspect of security cameras, they can be very helpful in warding off potential intruders and can prove to be invaluable when investigating a break-in. Even though some security cameras can be susceptible to hackers, by utilizing the above suggestions, you will minimize any risk and be able to secure your home or business confidently.

We want to hear from you! Which of our security system safety tips work for you? Please share on our Facebook page!

How to Protect Your Home While away for the Holidays

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Away on HolidayThe holiday season often involves travel, as many families will leave their home to spend time with relatives and friends, usually over the span of a few days. Going away from home can provide a change of scenery, yet it also creates a sense of worry for some homeowners. Leaving a home for days on end can increase intrusion risk if certain precautions aren’t taken beforehand, and risk increases even more without a proper security system. Fortunately, there are simple things any homeowner should keep in mind before heading off for the holidays.

Here are some of the most important things homeowners should do before going to celebrate this holiday season:

  • Don’t Broadcast Travels Until After the Fact. Social media is a great way to keep connected with family and friends; however, it also increases intrusion risk. If homeowners broadcast their upcoming trip on social media, especially if privacy settings on these accounts aren’t controlled, more people (including strangers) can see this news. This can leave the home open to anyone during the trip.
  • Use Light Timers. A timer on a home security system or lighting system can create the illusion that someone is home, even if they are away for days or weeks. Having lights activate on its own can make it seem as though someone is home, reducing the likelihood of invasion.
  • Keep Valuables Hidden. To further improve security of personal items, keep valuables hidden from plain view. Valuables should be kept in a safe hidden in the basement or attic, or somewhere that is out of sight. Keep the house clean and tidy and have shades drawn during the trip.
  • Lock Backdoors and Windows. Many burglaries occur because the intruder was able to get through a backdoor or window. Make it challenging for this to happen by first locking all doors and windows. Barricade back and side doors to improve security.

How are you preparing your home for holiday travel? Share with us on Facebook!

Best Places to Hide Valuables in Your Home

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hiding-valuables-blogMost burglaries are quick and fairly simple in approach and execution. Intruders don't often search a home extensively to find hidden jewels or expensive items and usually take what they can see as soon as they enter. That being said, it is imperative, regardless of security level, that valuable items be placed out of sight when away at work, school, or on vacation. Finding hiding places is essential for ensuring the safety of your items, not to mention your entire home.

You may not own a safe or have a hidden passageway for your valuables; however, there are some areas that any homeowner can utilize for storing their most valuable possessions. Here are a few ideas:

  • Containers in the Kitchen. Having containers in the kitchen cabinet that are labeled with words like "Flour" or "Sugar" can be an ingenious way of hiding your possessions out of sight. An intruder is unlikely to investigate the kitchen cabinets or pantry and is even less likely to look into containers with labels that suggest meaningless, mundane materials.
  • A False Wall Socket. Some companies online sell false wall sockets that double up as a hiding place for small, valuable objects. Necklaces, coins, and other similar small materials can be hidden with relative ease. It may be wise to place a large houseplant or furniture near the socket just in case to slightly obscure or detract from its presence.
  • Wrapped in Aluminum Foil in the Freezer. Paper money can be wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in the back of the freezer for safe keeping. This can be helpful in some cases if there is a fire. Intruders are unlikely to look in the freezer for valuables, and many would think twice before opening up wrapped "food" products.
  • Hollowed Books. If you own a library, it may be wise to evenly disperse a couple of hollowed-out books to throw off potential snoopers. These books can hold an assortment of small objects, and most look and feel like real books.

What other security hacks do you implement in your home? Share your ideas with our readers on Facebook!

SOURCES:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/8-secret-spots-to-hide-valuables-at-home-190982

How Landscaping Can Affect Your Home Security

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landscaping-and-home-security-blogHomeowners typically landscape their home to increase satisfaction and enjoyment of their residence. Many seek the services of a landscaper to help increase their home's value, an action that can be a great investment for one's future. Regardless of the reasons why someone chooses to landscape their home, there is one hidden benefit that often goes unnoticed—security. Landscaping can affect one's home security in many ways and, by being conscious of it during the process, can support protection for years to come.

Here are a couple of the key ways landscaping can promote the security of your home:

  • Outdoor Lighting. One of the key ways to make a home more aesthetically appealing is by installing outdoor lighting. Many homeowners choose to install lighting on their porch, windows, garage, and backyard deck. This lighting can be helpful for outdoor activities that occur at night, like family get-togethers. The added benefit of outdoor lighting is that it wards off potential intruders. Many burglaries happen when outdoor lighting is minimal or nonexistent, so installing lighting in multiple areas can be extremely helpful.
  • Plants. New shrubs should be chosen not just out of its attractiveness, but also by recognizing its potential ability to deter unwanted guests. Prickly shrubs planted near first-floor windows may help deter intruders, especially at night. Heavy stones or potted plants near the front and/or backdoor can also provide barriers that might discourage unnecessary foot traffic at night. Planting trees, while good for the environment, may also provide a security advantage. Some trees, especially older ones, can have hidden cameras installed to monitor outdoor activity, further increasing a homeowner's peace of mind.

Security is of utmost importance when it comes to maintaining a healthy, happy home. There are so many avenues through which a homeowner can increase his or her security and the security of the neighborhood. Homeowners seeking landscaping strategies may wish to seek a referral or advice from a professional security company to gather ideas.

SOURCES:

http://www.realtor.com/home-garden/gardening/garden-landscape-ideas/landscaping-adds-value-to-home.aspx?source=web

New Uses for Old Smartphones

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old-smartphones-blogGenerally speaking, most smartphone users upgrade their device every 12 to 18 months. This makes older smartphones somewhat obsolete in the minds of very devoted techies. While selling an old smartphone can be good for gathering a quick source of extra cash, the product can also be reused to provide a further security investment in your future. Smartphones that are no longer needed for communication purposes can actually be put to good use in your life right now, doubling up as security camera and other helpful everyday tools.

Here are a few ways you can put your old smartphone to good use for security purposes:

  • Security Camera. An old iPhone can actually turn into a potent security advantage for your home. There are certain apps that allow 24/7 video monitoring via a smart phone or tablet. This app can feed the video from the old smartphone to the new smartphone, allowing homeowners to monitor their home while they are at work or on vacation. Cameras need to be connected to WiFi for this process to work.
  • A Second Security Screen. A new smartphone often takes the burden of emails, messages, and work-related appointment reminders. This makes having a second screen important, especially if a busy individual wants to check on their home periodically. A second smartphone that is connected to a home security system can be set aside on one's desk to keep tabs on the home without interfering with more important tasks.
  • Tracking System. Make an old smartphone a security tracking system to keep track of who comes in and comes out of the home. Some apps allow users to see when someone opens the front or back doors and when they're closed, giving the user an idea of what is going on during the day. An old smartphone can be used solely for this support.

Tracking System. Make an old smartphone a security tracking system to keep track of who comes in and comes out of the home. Some apps allow users to see when someone opens the front or back doors and when they're closed, giving the user an idea of what is going on during the day. An old smartphone can be used solely for this support.

SOURCES:

http://7online.com/technology/new-uses-for-old-smartphones/341724/

Creative Uses for Your Home Security System

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creative-uses-for-security-blogA home security system seems pretty straightforward. A systems main purpose is designed to protect the home and its inhabitants and to deter any possible intruders. These days, many home security systems have extra add-ons available, helping homeowners become more creative with how they keep their home secure. Here are a couple ways a homeowner can get creative with how they protect their home and their family:

  • Receive Regular Text Updates. A security system today may have an option enabled to let homeowners know exactly what is happening in their house at any given time by sending regular text updates. Perhaps a homeowner wants to know if their front or back door is opened during the day while they're at work. All they have to do is set up a notification from their security system to send to their phone.
  • Monitor the Home Remotely. Many of today's security systems are so high tech that many allow remote monitoring of a home. That is, security cameras may beam an image or video from the home to a cellphone, tablet, or computer anywhere in the world. A homeowner simply has to access their security system with their username and password to begin viewing either the interior or exterior or their home.
  • Install Text Notification for Latchkey Kids. It's highly recommended that a new homeowner install a security system in their home, and having extra add ons may also be helpful for maintaining further security and peace of mind. Security systems that include an option for alerting homeowners whenever someone, like their child or relative, enters the home can provide a sense of security for them and their family. When someone gets home, like a child getting home from school, they simply have to disarm the alarm with the security code. A text is sent to parents telling them that their child has gotten inside safely.

These two ways certainly enhance the variety one has access to when it comes to keeping their home secure. While there are even more ways a homeowner can use their security system, many vary based on the security system they choose for their home. Homeowners should ask their security system company which systems offer the greater flexibility in functionality and options in order to discover additional creative ways to protect their residence.

SOURCES:

http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/61008/home_security/get_creative_with_your_home_security_system.html

http://roberterich.hubpages.com/hub/The-Best-Creative-Security-Systems-for-a-House

Security Tips for New Homeowners

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security-tips-blogOwning a home for the first time can be quite hectic, to say the least. Many new homeowners are constantly familiarizing themselves with the technical aspects of owning a home, right down to learning about how to protect their residence. Here are some of the best tips new homeowners can use to keep their residence safe:

  • Meet the Neighbors. Homeowners should familiarize themselves with their surroundings, and what better way than to get to know the neighbors? This can create positive relationships with others in the neighborhood, which can be helpful if a homeowner needs a neighbor to watch their home while their away on vacation. Getting involved in the community can also help homeowners become aware of the happenings in the surrounding area, providing further insight into the precautions that need to be made.
  • Keep the Home Up to Date. Always make sure windows, doors, and locks are kept up to date, meaning that these items are functioning properly. Perform any maintenance, such as sealing up a crack in the wall or fixing a loose screw in the front door screen. Testing windows to make sure they are locked can be a simple—yet powerful—way to keep the home secure.
  • Lock Change. If a homeowner has purchased a used home, there's no telling how many people have a key to the locks on the house. New homeowners should change locks as soon as possible, an action that may further protect the home.
  • Install Security Systems. The installation of a security system is one of the most powerful ways homeowners can fight against intrusion and secure their home. A security system will notify homeowners if an intruder has been noticed, a handy tool for homeowners that are out of town. Security systems may also notify authorities immediately as soon as a break in occurs, signified by alarms, lights, and other sounds. These components help to protect the home and its inhabitants.

These are just a few of the many ways homeowners can protect their home and their family. Always seek the advice of a professional home security company to find out more simple, easy ways to protect a home.

SOURCES:

http://www.cityoftaylor.com/node/29641

Back to School Safety Tips

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back-to-school-blogThe back-to-school season is an exciting, stressful, and rewarding time for students and teachers alike. Whether kids are going back to school for the fall or spring, it's always best for parents, teachers, and students to adhere to a few safety guidelines during the school year. Here are some of the best back to school safety tips that every child and adult should know and use:

  • Walking Safety. Parents should advise their child to always walk on the sidewalk if walking to school or the school bus. Regardless of whether or not an adult is walking with the child, instilling appropriate walking safety tips in younger years can help establish a safety consciousness for years to come.
  • Choose Backpacks Wisely. Large backpacks that encourage carrying heavy loads may wind up doing just that. This can hurt a child's back and even promote the risk of injury to other children. A backpack should be purchased to fit the child and shouldn't weigh more than 10% of a child's body weight.
  • Monitor Playground Activities. If a child younger than four is going to school and will be participating in recess, it is important that the child is monitored at all times during the recreational activities. Making sure teachers or other supervision is given while on the monkey bars, on concrete surfaces, or on climbing structures can be helpful for keeping a child safe.
  • Teen Driving Safety. Parents giving a teenager a car to drive to school should provide a vehicle that is up to date, has functioning brakes, and is constantly supplied with the correct fuel for the trip. Adults may want to accompany their teenaged driver to school for a few days before giving them complete control.
  • Encourage Speaking Out. Parents should encourage their children, even at a very young age, to speak out whenever they feel they, or those around them, are in a risk of danger. Even if the danger is perceived as fairly small, like a child walking with a pair of scissors without adult supervision, it is wise for children to know when to speak up whenever they notice something amiss.

Whether it's helping a child on their first day of school or preparing the way for a freshman college student, practicing these safety tips can be helpful for making a smooth transition.

SOURCES:

http://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/back-to-school-safety-tips/
http://www.nsc.org/safety_home/SafetyObservances/Pages/BackToSchoolSafety.aspx

11 Smart Apps for Your Home

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Smart Apps for your PhoneHomes all across the world are becoming increasingly smarter, thanks heavily to the plethora of apps available for smartphones and similar devices. These apps control lighting, air conditioning, heating, utensils, appliances, and electronics, providing a further protection on one’s home and energy usage. These apps may be helpful for increasing the safety of one’s home by alerting homeowners of certain threats and by helping owners take immediate action.

Here are the top 11 smart apps for any homeowner, regardless if they have a smart home or not:

  • Appliance controllers. There are a variety of apps available that help you control how appliances, security, and the home behaves. Most are free and use a cloud-enabled computer system.
  • Device controller. Helps to control any device that plugs into the wall, like alarm clocks, television sets, and even landline phones. If it’s plugged in and left on, it can be turned off with these apps.
  • Automation. A home automation system app can be installed on a smart phone or smart tablet device to help automate many of the home’s main features, like air conditioning and security.
  • Lighting control. Some apps are able to connect to common devices in the home, acting as a remote control for lights and appliances.
  • Alarm control. The alarm control apps help homeowners activate and deactivate their alarm system when they are away from their home.
  • Home webcam. If you have webcams or security cameras installed in your home, you can often find a free app that connects to these cameras so you can keep an eye on your home at any time of the day.
  • Air conditioning and heating control. A smart thermostat app helps you control the temperature of the home. This can help save money on heating and air bills by controlling indoor temperatures when homeowners are away from their residence.
  • Complete control apps. Some paid-for apps gives homeowners almost complete control over entertainment, lighting, and energy usage in the home.
  • Cable apps. Apps connected to a television cable plan can act as a remote control of sorts for when homeowners are away from home but wish to manage their television recordings and other entertainment options.
  • Indoor mood lighting. There are some available apps that can control the hue and mood of indoor lighting, perfect for people wishing to set a certain atmosphere for a party.
  • Home comfort apps. Another thermostat app, home comfort apps allow users to control temperature settings no matter where they are. It allows users to see their heating and air usage and adjust it accordingly when they are on their way home.

Outdoor Home Fire Safety Tips

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fire safety tipsFire safety is an integral aspect of maintaining a home, not to mention a means for protecting family members and surrounding neighbors. Outdoor gatherings commonly held in the spring and summer months are one of the prime times for home fires. Grilling, outdoor lighting, and open flames are three of the most common fire hazards that can occur in and around a home.

Here are three things any homeowner can do to protect their home and their family when celebrating, decorating, or simply living in their home:

  1. Be Vigilant of Citronella Candles. Torches and candles that are used to deter mosquitos and other annoying insects can be very effective; however, keeping them lit in the outside near the house can expose a home to unnecessary danger. If an outdoor gathering must commence and citronella candles are used, be sure to know how many were lit during the night. Then, at the end of the gathering, extinguish all candles and recount each one to make sure all fire has been put out.
  2. Practice Outdoor Lighting and Electrical Safety. If the installation of outdoor lighting is necessary for an outdoor family gathering, or if thinking about placing holiday lights on trees or the porch, make sure there are no exposed wires that can come into contact with the elements. If a wire is exposed to water, for instance, it increases the chance of a fire.
  3. Watch the Barbecue. An outdoor barbecue is a favorite pastime in America; it can also be a tremendous fire hazard if an individual doesn’t know what they are doing. That being said, always be sure a knowledgeable and experienced individual—one that also has a fire extinguisher close at hand—knows how to use and safely handle a grill.

If homeowners believe they’re at risk for a fire due to electrical wiring that is beyond their control, it may be wise for these individuals to seek out the advice of a proper electrician. Even if there is no apparent concern, homeowners should always maintain a clean environment free from wires, open flames, and debris. By doing these things, homes have a higher protection rate and are less likely to experience a risk for fire.

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