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Pet Safety: How Can I Protect My Pets?

If you have pets in your home, they become a part of your family.  Whether you have a large dog, a small cat or a drove of potbellied pigs in your home, pet safety is key and you want to make sure that they stay as safe as every other member of your family.  Thankfully, home alarm systems can help keep your pets safe as well.

Smoke Detection – Having a monitored smoke detector means that your family will always be able to hear the alarm and get out of the house safely.  But when you are not at home, a monitored smoke detector is still an invaluable piece of equipment.  If your pet is home alone, it may have no escape from the house, but a central monitoring station will still get the smoke signal, contact you and start fire dispatch procedures.

CO Detection – If you have a CO detector in your home, it will alert you to high levels of poisonous carbon monoxide and an alarm will sound.  Carbon monoxide is deadly to pets, and if you get a call from the central station when you are away from home, it could save an animal’s life.  It is also important to note that in some areas, including Ontario, it is now required by law to have a working CO detector near all sleeping areas in the home.

Protection from break ins – If you have a dog, your home is not immune from break-ins. In fact, unscrupulous intruders may harm your animal if it is trying to protect the home.  Whether it comes to saving pets or your family, you should always Think Protection.

How Are Home Alarms And Commercial Alarms Similar?

The basic principles of security often apply to both home and commercial premises. If you’re looking into ways to make your home safer, it’s a good idea to observe what businesses are doing to prevent theft, vandalism, and break-ins.

Advanced commercial security companies can provide great insight into the latest security technologies available. Here are just some of the principles that can be taken from commercial security companies and used in your own home security.

Home Invasions

Many commercial security experts advise business owners to always do as the robber says. This rule can also be applied to break-in situations in private homes as well. Often times, the thieves are just as scared as the ones being robbed. That’s why it’s dangerous to aggravate or enrage the criminal by not doing as he says — especially if he is armed with a weapon.

If you are being robbed in a hold-up situation, try to memorize all details about the thief. Observe his mannerisms and his voice. It is also crucial to note things like his race, age, weight and eye color, etc. It is these details that will help police identify the criminal quickly. As terrifying as the situation may be, you are helping yourself and your family by getting a good mental snapshot of the perpetrator.

Locks

Many homeowners feel a high-tech alarm system is all they need to protect their house and belongings. But simple devices like high-quality locks are crucial when it comes to security. Consider hiring a locksmith to advise you on the best safeguards for your home. From electronic code systems to sturdier lock-and-key devices, there are lots of options on the market today. A good lock is a worthwhile investment that will protect your family and valuables for years to come.

Working Late vs. Being Home Alone Late

Women are often vulnerable to late-night intrusions, particularly if the criminal knows a female is all alone. Commercial security companies advise female employees to lock office doors and let bosses know they are staying at the office after-hours. The same principle can be applied to women who live alone or arrive home late at night. Thieves are known to stalk females so that they can memorize a woman’s daily routine and familiarize themselves with the types of people in her life.

Install an automated lighting system in your home. Have the lights turn on an hour or so before you are set to arrive. Another good tip is to let friends and relatives know your whereabouts after dark. Give them a heads-up that you are working late hours so that they have a reference point should something go wrong.

Simplisafe: Quick Review and Update On New Equipment

Simplisafe, a self-install home security company based in Boston, just announced increased offerings in regards to the peripherals they sell on their website. These new motion detectors, glass breaks and also a new app available on your smartphone where a Simplisafe user can be notified of events that have occurred in the home.

Techcrunch wrote about the new peripherals here: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/13/simplisafe-adds-new-sensors-services-to-their-diy-home-security-system/

Simplisafe sells their product direct to users through the internet or over the phone and then sends it through the mail for the user to install themselves. Packages range from $229 to $540 for the system (each package has increased equipment).

Simplisafe operates through a cellular connection between their unit and the Simplisafe central station. The systems do not have two-way voice or a dual backup network through digital phone lines or the internet.

Monitoring rates range from $14.99 for their basic monitoring to $24.99 for multiple features, which include Simplisafe’s app which allows you to remotely turn on and off the system and “secret alerts” – a gimmick where you place a sensor somewhere in your home for text alerts that someone has done an activity (such as opening a medicine cabinet, etc).

Simplisafe does not require a contract, which differs from other home alarm companies in the self-install space, such as Protect America, Frontpoint, and Lifeshield.

Simplisafe is a good option for a DIY self-install home alarm system, far lower in price than other self-install home alarms, however, the fact they do not offer live two-way voice is a detriment. Perhaps they will at some point, however currently they only offer traditional monitoring.

The other knock on Simplisafe is the high upfront cost of the system. The quality of the hardware is on par with others in the space, however, the upfront cost seems higher than it should be. Perhaps the company wants to limit their risk since they don’t require a contract between them and the customer.

Regardless, Simplisafe is a better value than most companies in the self-install space, and definitely a far better value than traditional home alarm systems, which require an installer, contract, and high monthly fees.

If a Simplisafe customer cancels their monitoring and wants to switch to another company, can another company monitor a Simplisafe system? I’m not sure. This is definitely something potential Simplisafe customers should be asking before they sign up for a system.

Think protection when buying or leasing a home security system. Make an informed decision and remember to spend your money wisely.

 

Why Do Home Alarm Companies Charge Such High Prices?

Alarm companies charge varying upfront rates and monthly charges for their services. These can range anywhere from $99 upfront to hundreds of dollars and then monthly rates can range from $20/month to over $60/month. When looking at these amounts, we have to ask ourselves, why do alarm companies charge such high prices for their equipment and services?

The answer is simple – because they can.

The home security market is elastic. An alarm company will typically charge as much as they can, while remaining to acquire new customers. If the customer will pay the amount, then the company will charge it. Once the business volume is established, the company becomes locked into those prices.

AlarmForce charges $25/month for two-way voice security, CPI is around $30/month, ADT’s prices range from $29.99/month to $40/month for two-way voice protection and Vivint’s packages can from $49.99/month to as high as $70/month.

ADT and Protectron have dealers, so the pricing on their monthly monitoring ranges. AlarmForce, Frontpoint, Protect America, CPI, Ackerman, Bay Alarm and Vivint do not, so it’s more of a fixed price depending on features and equipment.

Prices range based on amount of equipment, type of monitoring, if home automation features are included, and the company’s feeling on what the market will pay for service. Supply and demand is a constant amongst the industry – however, different companies have differing views on what truly equals the best value for their customers.

Beyond that, alarm companies understand that it’s always easier to raise prices than lower them. When prices are raised, the company benefits but the customer loses out. Typically, most home alarm companies have it written into their contracts that they reserve the right to raise the monthly monitoring rates at anytime. And they do.

It’s hard for an alarm company to lower their monthly monitoring prices due to the negative effect it would have on the bottom line. If you already have 5,000 customers and you lowered your monthly monitoring prices by a $1 for new customers, then old customers would want the discount as well, or they’d cancel their contracts. Once the discount is given, then suddenly the alarm company is now down $5000 per month. The rebound effect is huge, which is why it’s almost never done.

So in summary, the main reason why home security companies charge the high amounts they do per month is because the market allows it. If prospective home alarm shoppers stopped going with these high priced home alarm solutions, like ADT and Vivint, then they’d be forced to charge less. Plus if another alarm company came into the market offering a lower cost solution for protection, customers would think of going elsewhere.

The alarm market dictates how much the companies can charge.