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3 Things Every Home Alarm Customer Should Be Doing (And Probably Isn’t)

You own a home alarm system. You’ve had it for a few years. You seem to be happy with your alarm company. Are you really though? Do you even know if your alarm is really protecting you? Here are 3 things every home alarm customer should be doing (and probably currently isn’t).

Test Your System

You’ve had a home alarm system in your home for years and set it every time you leave the house. Do you know though if it’s actually working? Most older alarm systems don’t tell you if all parts of the system are working. Newer systems show you the status of all peripherals of the system. Are the batteries all working? Is the system in proper shape? Older systems are “dumb”, meaning they don’t provide updates on their condition. The user doesn’t even know if all parts of the system work! With this said, test your system regularly. If you have window contacts, are the system and then open the windows. See if they work. Same thing with motion detectors. This is especially true for systems that don’t have an app that shows the status of each piece of equipment!

Check Your Monthly Pricing

The vast majority of alarm companies make you sign a multiyear contract when you sign up for service. During the contract, they reserve the right to raise your monthly monitoring rates. And most do. Some raise it a dollar every year. Others may raise rates a few bucks yearly. Just because a company said your rate is $25, doesn’t mean it will be a few years down the line. And there’s a good chance you don’t know what you’re paying because it’s a direct withdrawal from your bank account. Most people don’t even check their bank statements. Always check how much you’re really being charged. Also, understand when your contract ends, so if you are unhappy you can switch to a different company to monitor your system.

Always Be Researching

Just because you have a home alarm system in your home, doesn’t mean there are better ones out there. You wouldn’t use a 12-year-old cellphone. Why would you protect your home with a 12-year-old alarm system? Technology is constantly improving. And there’s nothing more important than your security. With that said, always update your home security. If a newer better alarm system exists, then get it for your home. Do your homework and research online.

Summer Security – 8 Tips To Protect You And Your Family

It’s summertime again and that means its time to talk summer security! The weather is nice, the kids are off school and everyone is enjoying as much time outside as possible. It’s important to be safe during these summer months. With that said, here are 8 summer security tips to keep your home and family secure.

Keep Entry Doors Locked Whenever Possible

With the good weather, you’ll be outdoors often. Whether it’s for a short period of time or longer, make sure you keep your house doors locked when away. A locked door is the best way to keep unwanted people out of your home. Never leave your guard down. The easiest way to protect your home is by locking doors. Otherwise, anyone can enter your home at any time.

Make It Seem Like Your Home When You’re Not

This summer are you going on vacation? Good chance you are. Many people take advantage of the summer months by heading to the lake or beach. Maybe you’re visiting relatives. If you’re traveling, make it seem like you’re home when you’re not. Put your lights on timers. Also, make sure someone can pick up your mail if it’s left outside. These are both easy signs of an empty house. And an empty home is a prime target for a burglar. Give the perception that you’re home when you’re not. That will deter potential burglars.

Don’t Post Everything On Social Media

Heading out of town for a few days? Going to be away from the house for the day? Don’t post these types of things on social media. Social media is nice to relay certain messages to friends. One big mistake people make is posting that they’re leaving their home unattended for extended periods of time. This is especially bad if you have a public profile. Make sure you turn your Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts to private. Plus never mention if you’re going out of town.

Get A Home Alarm System

Homes with monitored alarm systems are three times less likely to have a break-in than those without. They work and are a strong deterrent to would-be burglars. Home insurance companies recommend them and will give you a discount on your insurance for having one. Make sure to use your alarm system. It won’t do anything if it’s not turned on. Use it at nights and when you’re away from the house. Plus put in your lawn signs and stick up your window decals. These will show burglars you have an alarm system. Alarm systems work. They’ll instantly help protect your home and family.

Keep Valuables Out Of Plain Sight

Don’t leave valuables in plain sight. Shut your home’s blinds and keep your car inside your garage. If you can’t put your cars in your garage, make sure you don’t leave the garage door opener in the vehicle overnight, especially if you have a door that leads from your garage into your home. This is easy for thieves to gain access to your home.  Remember to hide other valuables when you leave town. If you buy an expensive TV or computer, conceal the box before putting it out in the trash.

Motion Activated Lights

Install motion activated lights. Motion sensor lights can throw off burglars and alert you and your neighbors if someone is creeping around your property. This is a cost-effective first line of defense against intruders.

Deadbolts

Be sure you have deadbolts on all entry points. It is surprisingly inexpensive to cut for and install deadbolts to existing entry doors.

Know Your Neighbours

A good relationship with your neighbors will keep the likelihood of suspicious activity going unreported at your home low.

Your home is your most valuable asset, so it’s important to protect your property. During the summer, you’re out of the house more, which leaves your home vulnerable to burglars. Stay cool and above all stay safe.

Halloween Safety: Simple Tips For Families

Treat or treat!

It’s Halloween, and while everyone loves to dress up and get as much candy as possible, we shouldn’t overlook a few easy steps to stay safe during the holiday. Here are a few easy common sense tips, that if followed will help everyone have a safe and amazing Halloween.

For parents:

  • Have your kids wear an outfit that does not include masks. Masks make it hard for children to see what’s around them, including cars. Try a hypoallergenic (less likely to cause an allergic reaction), non-toxic make-up kit instead.
  • Make or buy costumes in light-coloured material. Place strips of reflective tape on the back and front, so that drivers can better see your child.
  • Costumes should fit properly to prevent trips and falls. Avoid items such as oversized shoes, high heels, long dresses or capes.
  • With younger children, put your child’s name, address and phone number on his costume.
  • Children under 10 should be accompanied by an adult for trick or treating. By the age of 10, some children are ready to go trick-or-treating with a group of friends.

If your child is going out without an adult:

  • Make sure your child is in a group of at least 3 people.
  • Give them a flashlight. A cell phone should also be given, so this way if they are in danger or distress they can notify you at anytime
  • Draw a map outlining the route they should follow. Ask them to call you if they plan to go on a street that isn’t on the route.
  • Set a curfew (and make sure they have a watch with them).
  • Tell your children not to eat anything until they get home.

For children and youth:

  • Carry a white bag or pillowcase for your candy, or add some reflective tape.
  • Bring a cell phone, in case you need to make an emergency phone call.
  • Always travel in groups. Be sure there are at least 3 of you at all times.
  • Let your parents know where you’re going to be at all times.
  • Don’t visit houses that are not well lit. Never go inside a stranger’s house.
  • Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If there’s no sidewalk, walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
  • Don’t criss-cross back and forth across the street. Work your way up one side of the street, and then start on the other.
  • If you have any allergies, tell the person who is giving out the treats.
  • Don’t eat any of your treats before you get home. When home, ask your parents to look through your treats with you to make sure everything is okay.

For homeowners:

  • Turn on outdoor lights, and replace burnt-out bulbs.
  • Remove items from your yard or porch that might trip a child.
  • Sweep wet leaves from your steps and sidewalk.
  • Use alternative to candles in your pumpkins, such as a flashlight or a battery-operated candle. If you are using a candle, don’t leave the pumpkin unattended.
  • Remember that some children have food allergies. Consider giving treats other than candy, such as stickers, erasers or yo-yos.

All of us at Think Protection hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

Why Is It Important To Have A Good Lock?

Even with the most advanced home security system, your home will not be fully complete if you don’t have proper locks for your doors and windows. A good lock is a fantastic first step to making sure the bad guys can’t get into your home. By making it difficult for a thief to get into your home they will likely move on to an easier target.

Here are some tips on how to maximize your security by using the right locks:

Have secure front door locks.  The door should have deadbolts in addition to keyed door locksets. Look for deadbolts with a 1-inch (2.5cm) throw bolt and an interlocking frame. Don’t choose a dual-cylinder device – the kind with a key for both sides. These can trap your family inside in the event of a house fire. If you have one now, replace it.

Consider also installing deadbolts on the door from the garage into your home. If your door has a window, secure it with a decorative grille that has no removable screws. This is especially important if the window or glass is within an arm’s length of the door handle, which could allow an intruder to break the glass in the window and reach inside to let himself in. We’ve all heard stories about how a burglar has broken glass by the front door and then simply opened the front door’s lock and then simply walked right into a home.

Cover the window with a curtain or shade to keep prying eyes out. Always draw all the shades or close the blinds at night to prevent intruders from looking inside to determine what you are doing, whether you are alone – or whether anyone is home.

Install a peephole in your doors. A peephole let’s you see who’s at your door without opening it. Once you open a door, you allow the person on the other side to gain entrance into your house. Even just opening the door a bit, can equal them busting through and into your home. If you don’t already have a peephole in your front door, a professional can easily install one. Choose the type with a fish-eye lens. Its wide-angle view allows you to see almost everything – and everyone – on your doorstep before you throw open that deadbolt and the front door. Make sure your porch light is at least 40 watts to properly illuminate nighttime visitors. Secure gate latches and garage and shed doors with sturdy padlocks that are designed to withstand rain and freezing temperatures.

Remember that having good locks for your home is incredibly valuable, but locks alone don’t protect you to the same degree as locks with a home security system. A home alarm will help add an additional level of protection. And not all home alarms are created equal, so do your homework and get the best system at your budget level.

Safety Tips For Families With Special Needs

All families are concerned with safety, both when at home and when away. Families with special needs share this concern. In addition, though they have certain issues other families may not have to deal with, which force them to focus on security at a higher level. Certain things like mobility, communication, and developmental delays make safety doubly important.

Here is advice from experts about how to handle this challenge.

Safety Plan Creation Tips:

  1. Include family and community members who come into daily contact with the special needs child.
  2. Think about all of the places in which your child needs to be protected.
  3. Consider the top safety risks for your child.
  4.  Give your child a form of identification with contact names and numbers listed.
  5. Contact your local communications center, police department, and/or 911 call center to communicate your concerns and safety plan with the appropriate officials.

Safety In The Home Tips:

  • Furniture – Secure top-heavy furniture and electronic equipment to the wall with furniture brackets or safety straps.
  • Visitors – Teach your special needs child the safety rules about opening the door to visitors, especially if he is home alone.

With a little extra focus, families that have special needs can easily create a safety plan, which will let them live in confidence and comfort, knowing that they are prepared for any emergency.