| Sep 12, 2014
The world's futurists have always painted fanciful pictures of what they imagined the future would be 25, 50, or even 100 years down the road. And since the 1970s, our media-saturated culture has been exposed to images of all sorts of future inventions ranging from flying cars to high-tech clothing. The fun thing is to see how much of what the futurists predicted decades ago actually comes true over time. For example, consider remote home automation.
Fans of the Back to the Future films series might recall the two main characters traveling into the future to prevent a family disaster. They encountered a home with keyless entry, voice-activated appliances, remote lighting, and so on. It turns out that many of the remote home management features imagined by authors and screenwriters during the 1970s and 80s are now reality. Yes, the future of remote home management is here.
Home security companies in the 21st century have begun integrating security alarms with remote home management. The combined systems not only improve home security, they also make it possible for consumers to manage quite a number of home-related functions from anywhere in the world. All you need is a mobile device and either a cellular or Internet connection.
Here are just a few examples of some of things we can now manage remotely:
- Thermostats – With the high cost of home heating and cooling these days, thermostat management is incredibly important. Thankfully, there is no longer a need to do battle with programmable thermostats that are nearly impossible to figure out. Remote management lets you adjust the temperature in your home from anywhere. You can still program your thermostats, of course, but remote management lets you adjust temperatures with the touch of a button on your mobile device.
- Lighting – Remember the days of programmable timers that plugged into wall sockets? Those days are over thanks to remote home management. New technology lets you control your lighting as easily as you control your thermostats. Adjust the lighting throughout your home or in just one or two rooms. It is fast, easy and effective.
- Door Locks – Being able to lock and unlock doors remotely is one of the newest elements of remote home management. This feature lets you unlock doors to let your kids in at the end of the day, and lock the doors behind them once they are in the house. It is also a great feature for letting out-of-town guests in without having to leave the key outside. And of course, leaving home and forgetting to lock your house is not a problem either.
- Shades and Blinds – today's homeowner may want to adjust shades or blinds in the home depending on the time of day. For example, opening the blinds on a west-facing window during the dead of winter can help warm up a room nicely in the hours before you return from work.
You can do many important things with remote home management. From a security standpoint, you can arm or disarm your system, or check remote cameras while you are away on vacation.
How Home Automation Works
Remote home automation and management relies on three important components: wireless communications, the Internet, and new hardware and software. All of them work together to provide management features that are expanding every day.
Wireless communication makes it possible to install and maintain a complete security and remote home management system without having to tap into your existing electrical or phone system. Not only does this help you avoid a lot of unnecessary repair work, it also means your system will continue working even if the power is out. The multiple components in your system communicate wirelessly while the main control panel communicates with the monitoring center via cellular signals.
The system also allows access from anywhere in the world through an account from your service provider that you can access online. Their servers and computer systems have access to your home management equipment through cellular signals. By logging on to your account via the Internet, your home becomes immediately accessible.
None this would be possible without the modern equipment being manufactured today. Between the state-of-the-art hardware and advanced software, designers and developers are putting the power of technology into the hands of consumers who wish to manage their homes from remote locations.
Remote home automation and management is available from Monitronics, with competitive prices on equipment and services. If you would like more information, please contact us so we can schedule one of our representatives to come to your home. We would be happy to design a system uniquely customized for your needs and budget.
| Sep 08, 2014
Monitronics Home Security can give you peace of mind about the safety of your home, but is anyone ever really convinced of the safety of their babies? It can be extremely intimidating to bring home a new little life, and parents often feel consumed merely with the task of keeping this tiny person alive. Relax! Monitronics Home Security has some life hacks that will help you keep your baby safe without trying too hard.
- Prepare for the baby before the baby arrives. This is a no-brainer because once that little human arrives, you’ll be too busy to think straight. Choose and install your car seat, make sure your baby furniture is up to safety standards, and check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order. This is a good time to reassess your houseplants to make sure none of them are hazardous to children.
- You have months before the baby becomes mobile, but it’s good to get the baby-proofing done a little at a time, rather than making it a big production. Install safety latches on kitchen cabinets and drawers, cover unused electrical outlets with plug covers, secure heavy furniture and electronics, to prevent them from being pulled on top of your baby, use gates to keep little ones from dangerous areas, lock away harmful things that could be swallowed and use other common sense practices to keep your baby safe.
- Once baby comes home, put the house rules in writing to prevent problems without causing yourself stress. Everyone’s going to want to visit and hold the baby, and everyone will have their own opinion about what’s appropriate. Because you’re the parent, your opinion wins! If you want people to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, put up a sign. If you don’t want the baby to be held by too many people, to prevent illness and overstimulation, you have the right to set that guideline, too.
- Remember that the best way to keep your baby safe is to take care of yourself. While you’re making all those signs with house rules, make one that says “Do not disturb - naptime” as well. It’s hard for new parents to get enough sleep, so don’t feel bad about napping when the baby does and keeping people out of your personal space.
It’s easier to focus all of your attention on tending to your new little one if you aren’t thinking about home security. With a Monitronics Home Security system, you’ll have the confidence to go on about the business of parenting, free from worries about your home. For more information about Monitronics Home Security, visit the website or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.
| Sep 02, 2014
The first few weeks of college life are a dizzying experience for even the most experienced student, and rarely does one go into the school year expecting to be a victim of crime. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of students each year are victimized or, even worse, charged with committing any number of crimes against others. If you have a student in college this fall, it is important to talk with him or her about campus safety.
Here are just a few statistics to help you understand how serious the problem is. According to the U.S. Department of Education, arrest numbers for the 2009 academic year at U.S. universities and colleges included:
- Drug-related offenses – 24,115
- Alcohol-related offenses – 47,882
- Illegal weapons possession – 2,000
In addition, College Parents of America reports that nearly 6 percent of female students report being victims of rape or attempted rape, while 13 percent claim to have been victimized by stalkers. Perhaps the most alarming statistic of all is the one that suggests only 25 percent of all crimes occurring on America's college campuses are reported to police.
Talk to your students about how to protect themselves by being careful about where they go, with whom they associate and, most of all, how they view the use of alcohol and drugs. It is no secret that a large majority of campus-related crime has to do with substance use and misuse.
Did you know that the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires America's universities and colleges to track and compile crime statistics? While you are researching schools with your students, you can ask for those statistics directly. Most schools publish them online as well.
The statistics will show you which schools tend to be more troublesome than others. While campus safety will not be the only thing you consider when choosing a school, it certainly should be part of the decision. Your student will not be able to learn in an unsafe environment as effectively as he or she would in a place where they feel safe.
Here are some important tips for students:
- Moving around campus – It is always a wise idea for students to move around campus in groups or pairs. Students should avoid walking or biking alone, especially at night. When gathering in groups for evening activities, they should stay in areas that are well-lit and near public buildings.
- Room security – Students should never copy their room keys or let others borrow them. Giving people access to a room is an open invitation for theft. In addition, valuable items left inside a room should always be put out of sight. This is especially true for electronics.
- Mobile Phones – Mobile phones are hot items for thieves because they can be easily sold on the black market. Even though it runs counter to the modern culture, students should never walk while using their phones. It is nothing for someone to walk up alongside a student and snatch the phone while the individual is immersed in a text message or phone call.
Any student who fears for their safety should immediately find the nearest security personnel. Also, report all crimes to campus security and local police. Failing to report crime only perpetuates the problem, making it easier for criminals to do what they do on America's college campuses.
- U.S. Department of Education – http://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/arrests2007-09.pdf
- College Parents of America – http://www.collegeparents.org/members/resources/articles/violence-campus
| Aug 28, 2014
A home security system can protect your home from intruders, but have you ever thought of its applications for protecting your children after school? In fact, when your children are home alone, there are many things you can do to make the experience safer. From teaching first aid to installing the right home security system, you can be confident in the steps you take to keeping your latchkey kids safe.
If you’re the parent of a latchkey kid, rest assured you are not alone. It’s estimated that somewhere between 5 and 12 million children under the age of 13 come home in the afternoons to an empty house. The bad news is that these unsupervised kids are three times more likely to be involved in an accident than those supervised by adults. The good news is if you have a child old enough (somewhere between ages 8-12 in most states) and mature enough to stay home, there are precautions that will help make it a positive experience:
- Knowledge is power. Before staying at home by themselves, children should know their full names, addresses and phone numbers, as well as how to call for help, including 911 and emergency contacts. Make sure your child knows what to do in case of an emergency, how to get out of the house in case of a fire, and any other safety tips you feel are pertinent. They should know to come straight home after school, refrain from opening the door for strangers, and never go into the house if a window or door is broken, indicating that someone has broken into the home. Identify safe places to run if they feel threatened, and be sure they know who to call if they are afraid.
- Having the right skill set can give your children self-confidence and reassure you of their safety. Teach your latchkey kids basic first aid and what to do in case of a power outage. Equip them with a safety kit, with things they might need, as well as extra money for emergencies and a list of phone numbers to call if something happens. Have them practice using the phone, so that it will be second nature if the need arises and they are flustered.
- Boundaries can make time alone safer. Set firm rules about things like cooking, and who can be in the house when you are away. Post a schedule, and have firm expectations for what you expect your child to accomplish. Letting them know what’s expected of them can help them stay on task and stay safe.
- Help kids use their imaginations to make it easier, not scarier. We’ve all been alone in a house before, jumping at every noise and imagining every worst-case scenario. Empower your children by teaching them to use their imaginations to keep themselves company. If they’re feeling a little lonely or nervous, they can even write stories about made-up adventures they had while home alone, complete with excitement and happy endings!
- Choose a home security system that works with you to protect your kids. Today, you can install security systems that allow you to have “eyes” on your home through video monitoring. This can be a great way to feel secure when you leave your children alone. And, of course, a home security system, when your children know how to use it, can protect them from intruders.
A home security system is a powerful ally in the task of keeping latchkey kids safe. Monitronics Home Security offers systems that allow you to see what’s happening at your home and even receive a notification when your children arrive home after school. For more information about buying a Monitronics Home Security system, visit the website, or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.
| Aug 25, 2014
Home security providers know that a few seconds can often make all the difference between effectively responding to an emergency or allowing it to escalate. They are constantly looking for new ways to make security monitoring faster and more responsive. One of the most effective options is two-way voice capability.
Monitronics offers two-way voice as part of our HomeTouch Premier package. Two-way voice capability is dependent on panel type, so existing customers may need a panel upgrade to take advantage of the service.
How It Works
Two-way voice is similar to an intercom but significantly more powerful. It allows customers to communicate directly with monitoring center representatives using a speaker and microphone built into the security system panel. As soon as an alarm reaches our monitoring center, the operator immediately opens the two-way voice channel and begins speaking. The customer hears the representative over the speaker and responds accordingly. The system also allows the operator to continue listening or provide direction until help arrives.
Faster Response Time
The main advantage of two-way voice is faster response time. With a conventional home security system, the operator at our 24-hour monitoring center must call a customer the moment an alarm is triggered, while two-way voice is nearly instantaneous. In some emergencies, that quick response time could mean the difference between safety and an elevated level of danger.
A home security system is already an excellent way to prevent burglary or home invasion, but two-way voice increases deterrence. For example, a triggered burglary alarm immediately engages the two-way voice system and connects the monitoring center. The operator can warn the intruders that they are being monitored and police are on the way, which could be enough to scare them away.
Two-way voice also allows subscribers to come up with emergency passwords that can alert operators they are being held against their will or threatened by intruders. If the password is spoken, an operator will know that the situation is escalating. That information can be passed on to police dispatchers immediately.
In the event of a house fire, two-way voice enables a homeowner to alert the monitoring center that everyone has escaped safely, with no need to waste time searching for a phone. If occupants are trapped in the house, two-way voice can make it easier to verify their location. The operator can also provide safety advice until the fire department arrives.
These are just some of the benefits of making two-way voice a part of your home security system. Monitronics believes two-way voice is one of the most effective features to be added to home security in a long time. Whether your system is wireless or wired, you should consider adding two-way voice to your existing package. Of course, new subscribers would be wise to take advantage of it as well.
Monitronics would be more than happy to answer all of your questions about two-way voice and other valuable features of our HomeTouch Premier package. Just give us a call to learn more.
| Aug 25, 2014
A home security system is a powerful tool for keeping your family and property safe from outside threats. Some dangers, however, lurk where you’d least expect them.
For example, disease and infection are beyond the control of your home security system, but you can take steps to keep your family healthy. A great place to start is the kitchen, where safe food preparation can prevent illness.
Did you know that the kitchen has the most germs of any room in your home? In fact, one study indicated that the kitchen sink has 100,000 times as many germs as the bathroom, with nasty bugs like E. coli, campylobacter and salmonella. This might make you want to order takeout food for the rest of your life, but don’t despair. Here are some simple suggestions that will make your kitchen a safer place.
- Shop intelligently. Stay away from packages of meat or chicken that have been punctured or damaged. Never buy past the “sell by” date, and refrigerate meat promptly after purchase.
- Wash your hands, but not your chicken. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Do not, however, wash meat: Instead of removing germs, it actually only serves to splash them around your sink and counters. Especially in the case of poultry, which is a common source of salmonella, cook it straight out of the package without stopping at the sink.
- Keep your meat and veggies separated. Never cross-contaminate by cutting meat and vegetables on the same cutting board. Instead, wash your cutting boards thoroughly after exposure to raw meat, with a solution of one tablespoon of bleach in a gallon of water. Keep raw food away from ready-to-eat food such as bread and salads to prevent contamination of things you won’t be cooking.
- Know how to cook and chill. Keep your refrigerator at 40° or below, your freezer at 0° or below, and refrigerate food within an hour or two of purchase. Use or freeze poultry, fish, ground meat and variety meats within two days; beef, veal, lamb and pork will last three to five days in the refrigerator. Use a meat thermometer to determine whether your meat is done; cook beef, veal, pork, lamb, and roasts to a minimum of 140°, ground meats to 160°, and poultry to 165°.
- Clean your produce and your surfaces, but not the same way. Never use cleaners meant for dishes or counters to clean vegetables or fruit. Instead, use cold water to remove pesticides and bacteria, or peel your produce for even better results. Clean kitchen surfaces before and after use, and don’t store used sponges and dishcloths; either wash your dishcloths promptly or use paper towels.
- Be smart about leftovers. Put leftover food into the refrigerator promptly in shallow containers. Use it within four days, reheating food to 165°. Throw out any food that’s been left out for two hours or more after preparation.
Keeping your kitchen safe is up to you, but keeping your home safe can be easier if you have the right home security system. At Monitronics Home Security, we have a variety of systems available to meet your family’s unique needs. For more information about buying a Monitronics Home Security system, visit the website, or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter. Sources: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely/ct_index http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/homehygiene/Pages/Foodhygiene.aspx http://www.dettol.co.uk/your-family-food-poisoning.php
| Aug 18, 2014
Summertime is the busy season for door-to-door security salespeople, since people are more likely to be home during the day. Unfortunately, it’s also a time for unethical tactics by some salespeople in an attempt to confuse and mislead homeowners about their home security systems.
It’s important to be aware of these sales scammers. They threaten your security, and in some cases can even steal your identity. Here are a few tips from Monitronics Home Security that will help you weed out the scammers.
When any salesperson comes to the door, always be cautious. Ask to see identification, and make sure you clearly understand who they represent. They may be pushy, so don’t be bullied. Once they’re inside your home, they can be very difficult to get rid of, and they’ll often begin making changes to your system.
Unethical salespeople will use a variety of approaches. They might say that your existing provider has gone out of business or filed for bankruptcy, or that it has been purchased by the company the salesperson represents. They may tell you that your alarm system is no longer working, or there may be an offer to upgrade or even replace your system free of charge. Be skeptical of any claims or promises, especially if an offer sounds too good to be true.
Reputable companies will always notify you ahead of time of changes to your account before coming to your door and will schedule appointments ahead of time.
As with any company, if you are ever in doubt of a door-to-door sales person, call your provider to verify. Monitronics customers can call us 24/7. We are one of the largest, most well-respected security companies in the United States, and we work hard to protect you and your home. This includes protecting you from scammers. To learn more about these scams, call 800.971.8861. We’re here for you 24 hours a day because we want to protect our customers from potential threats. Always call us before making any changes to your home security system.
If you’re not already a Monitronics Home Security customer, you may not be aware of advanced technology the company offers. HomeTouch allows you to manage your home security system remotely from your computer, smartphone or tablet. Syncing perfectly with cellular security panels, HomeTouch gives you access to remote arming and disarming, provides reminders, no-show alerts and much more. For more information about how a Monitronics Home Security system can help you keep your family safe, visit the website, or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.
| Aug 18, 2014
For younger people, the idea of life being devastated by just a simple fall seems absurd. After all, falling and getting back up is just a part of being young.
However, it isn’t so easy as you get older, especially by the time you reach your retirement years. Simple falls account for a majority of the life-altering injuries experienced by older Americans. Sometimes the results of those injuries are made worse by the fact that there is no one around to help when an older person falls.
Statistics show that more than one third of seniors over the age of 65 will fall each year. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries, and 50 percent of those falls will cause serious, life-changing injuries. If you are over the age of 65, you could reduce your risk of complications and death after a fall by utilizing a medical alert service offered by Monitronics.
Here are three reasons you should consider a medical alert service:
You’re Never Alone
Understandably, independence is important to older Americans. Nevertheless, as we live longer the likelihood of eventually living alone is quite high, which could be a problem in the event of an accident at home. However, with a medical alert service an individual is never truly alone. At Monitronics, we see that as the most valuable benefit of medical alert.
Our medical alert system provides a wearable pendant that keeps the senior citizen connected with our 24-hour monitoring center at all times. With just the press of a button, a customer can get immediate help after a fall or other significant accident. You are never alone when you have medical alert.
More Than Just Falling
While older Americans might dismiss the possibility of falling and injuring themselves until it actually happens, there is more to their personal safety than just injury. Seniors are more likely to suffer from other serious health issues, including cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, and more. Any of these chronic illnesses could lead to emergencies, but a medical alert system can bring help right away, even if you cannot get to the telephone.
Helping Your Kids
Your kids will do everything they can to make sure you are well cared-for in your older years, but they cannot spend all their time looking after you. Most have jobs and families that require their attention as well. A medical alert system helps them help you by providing an extra set of ears and eyes when they cannot be there. A medical alert system also gives your kids extra peace of mind knowing that help is always available at the touch of a button.
If you are an older American with a security system in your home, we urge you to consider adding medical alert service. It could make a huge difference after a fall or other household accident. If you do not yet have a security system, consider getting one. Monitronics would be happy to come out to your home and custom design a system just for you – including our medical alert service. We want you to be safe and happy for however long you choose to live in your home.
- ProAge Home – http://proagehome.com/stats.html
- Centers for Disease Control – http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
| Aug 15, 2014
Monitronics Home Security is in the business of taking care of families, and we understand that one of the most hectic times for families is when the kids go back to school. Especially if you’ve had a long, lazy summer, it can be stressful to get back into the swing of the school routine, and going back to school requires a great deal of preparation. One thing that can’t afford to get lost in the shuffle is safety, and Monitronics Home Security has some safety tips to put on your back to school list.
- Of course you’ll take your child for a well-child appointment, but did you ever think of that as a safety measure? Making sure your child is in good health can prevent illness and injury, and staying up to date on immunizations protects everyone’s children from an outbreak of disease.
- Make sure your kids travel safely to school. In a car, make sure children use age appropriate restraints. If they ride the bus, teach them to be careful when boarding and exiting. When biking, they should wear helmets, and if they walk to school, they should use caution crossing the street, and try to avoid walking alone.
- Did you know a backpack could be a safety hazard? According to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 7300 backpack-related injuries treated each year, including bruises, sprains, strains to the back and shoulder, and even fractures. Choose a backpack that is the right size for your child with features like a padded back and multiple compartments to help distribute weight evenly. Remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation is for a child to carry a backpack that weighs no more than 10-20% of his or her total body weight.
- Talk to your children about personal safety. Part of keeping kids safe is teaching them to self-protect. Make sure to keep the lines of communication open, and talk about bullying and other problems that might arise. Your children should understand that no one is allowed to make them feel unsafe, and if something is bothering them, they should come to you or to another authority figure to find a solution.
- Keep your kids healthy with good nutrition. Once kids are back in school, you lose some of the control over their dietary choices. Teach them to eat smart by choosing fruits, vegetables, and protein over non-nutritive options like chips and sweets. Also, ensure they head out the door each morning with a healthy breakfast in their bellies.
No matter the time of year, Monitronics Home Security can help you keep your family safe. With a wide range of home security systems, Monitronics has a plan that will meet your unique needs. For more information about Monitronics Home Security, visit the website or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.
| Aug 11, 2014
As the calendar rolls into August, parents and children are preparing for the start of the fall school session. It’s a good time to review back-to-school safety tips and reminders. With a little bit of knowledge and some common sense, you can make the experience as safe as possible for your kids.
The National Safety Council offers valuable back-to-school safety tips on its website, covering topics like safety at school, transportation issues, pedestrian safety, and more. It is a great resource worth checking out.
Here are a few tips from Monitronics about keeping your children safe as they head back to school.
Adult drivers need to adjust to the back-to-school season as much as any student. Slow down as you drive through neighborhoods on your way to work. Practice looking around, and make a special effort to pay attention. Identify places where a child might dart out unexpectedly; make a mental note of where you're likely to encounter crossing guards; and note any other hazards that might present themselves as you drive.
Remember that it is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing. The red lights indicate children will be boarding or disembarking the bus. Be sure not to follow a bus too closely as it travels through a residential neighborhood, since it will likely be making frequent stops.
As a parent, make it your business to know your student's schedule throughout the week. You need to know when school starts, when it lets out, and the times of any after-school activities your child will be participating in. By knowing their schedule, you will be more aware if something goes awry. Don’t send your child off in the morning without knowing where they are going or what they are doing.
If your child rides a bike to school, there are several ways to increase safety. Make sure they are properly equipped with bike helmets, even if headgear isn’t required by your local laws. Make sure they know and understand the basic safety rules for operating a bicycle in traffic, and that the bicycle is properly adjusted for their height. You might even want to ride the route with them a few times before school starts, just so that everyone is familiar with it.
Thousands of school injuries take place every year, with quite a few resulting from backpacks kids wear throughout the day. Keep your child's pack as light as possible; only carry what is necessary for the school day. Make sure your child uses both straps so that weight is distributed evenly. Finally, a backpack should be sized appropriately so that it fits well.
Parents can’t eliminate every potential danger that children might face, but a common-sense approach can mitigate much of the risk. Monitronics urges you to think about safety first as children to go back to school.
| Aug 04, 2014
Monitronics understands that while a home security system can protect your family at home, the world contains many dangers beyond your control. It’s important to be vigilant and know what to do when you face a dangerous situation. For example, would you know how to handle an encounter with a drunk driver? Even more importantly, do you know how to spot one before you or your family are in danger?
If you see a driver weaving across the road, you probably already assume he or she is drunk. But there are other characteristic signs that someone may be driving drunk:
- Quick acceleration or deceleration.
- Driving anywhere other than on a road designated for vehicles.
- Almost striking an object, curb or vehicle.
- Stopping without cause or erratic braking.
- Drifting in and out of traffic lanes.
- Signaling that is inconsistent with driving actions.
- Slow response to traffic signals (e.g. sudden stop or delayed start).
- Straddling the center lane marker.
- Driving with headlights off at night.
- Driving slower than 10 mph below the speed limit.
- Turning abruptly, illegally or with a wide radius.
- Driving into opposing traffic on the wrong side of the road.
When you see any of these behaviors, it’s important to drive defensively in order to stay safe. Stay as far away from the impaired driver as possible, and be prepared to take evasive action. Do not confront a driver, but report it to the police. You don’t have to give your name, and you should never try to help the police apprehend the suspect. Instead, take note of the license plate number, pull over and call 911, and be prepared to give the following information:
- Exact location of the vehicle.
- Detailed description of the vehicle, including license plate, make, model and color.
- Behavior of the driver that leads you to believe he or she is impaired.
Keeping your family safe on the road means being vigilant about not only your own actions, but also the actions of others. When you want protection at home, though, a home security system can be an important tool and even an ally. For more information about buying a Monitronics Home Security system, visit the website, or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.
| Jul 28, 2014
During the summer months, we at Monitronics Home Security know that nothing is more refreshing than the water. Whether you’re in it or on it, swimming surrounded by the delicious cool of the water, or boating with the breeze in your hair and the sun on your face, a large body of water is a great place to spend your time. Here, Monitronics Home Security offers some tips for staying safe as you enjoy the water.
In the boat:
- Keep your boat in good working order.
- Check the weather before heading out, and always make sure someone on dry land knows where you’ve gone and how long you intend to stay out.
- Insist on life jackets.
- Refrain from drinking alcohol while you’re operating a boat.
- Prohibit horseplay on the boat.
- Watch for swimmers.
At the pool:
- If you own a pool, install a fence.
- Never leave young children alone around water, and never allow children of any age to swim without supervision.
- Teach children to swim.
- Never swim while under the influence of alcohol.
- Steer clear of horseplay in or around the water.
- Swim under the supervision of lifeguards when they’re available.
- Do not swim during a thunderstorm.
On the shore:
- Know the surf and beach conditions before going to the beach.
- Obey the rules of the beach, and swim only in designated areas.
- Never dive headfirst into unfamiliar water- feet first is the safest way to enter the water.
- Don’t overestimate your child’s swimming ability- current can be deceptively strong and dangerous.
No matter where you enjoy the water, make sure you know CPR and first aid, in case of emergency. Keep a vigilant watch on children - drowning can happen in a matter of minutes. Remember, even experienced swimmers can drown, so never swim alone or leave children unsupervised.
Just as you keep your family safe on the water, you’ll want to keep your family and home safe at your house. Monitronics Home Security offers complete home security systems that include a free wireless security panel with a full-color touch-screen interface plus free equipment, free installation and free extended service, with different levels of service to meet your unique needs. For more information about Monitronics Home Security, visit the website or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.
| Jul 21, 2014
Planning a wedding can be equal parts wonderful and stressful, and as a company that helps new families keep their homes safe, Monitronics Home Security understands this. Whether you’re having an elegant wedding with hundreds of guests or a backyard wedding with a casual family feel, there are decisions to be made that can put pressure on even the most organized bride and groom. Here are a few suggestions from Monitronics Home Security for handling wedding stress.
- Identify sources of stress and preempt them. Surround yourself with people who will relieve stress rather than create drama. From time to time, take a moment to assess and predict sources of stress and decide how to manage them. Sometimes having a plan is half the battle.
- Learn to delegate. It’s easy to become a micro-manager when it comes to your wedding. After all, it’s your wedding! You want everything to be perfect, even if that means you have to do it all yourself. Just stop and take a breath. You do not have to do it all yourself and you shouldn't The people who love you are excited about your wedding too, so give them tasks you know they can handle; they may surpass your expectations. Involve your groom in preparations - the teamwork will be a bonding experience.
- Take care of yourself. Work in some exercise time, get plenty of rest and make room for quiet time or meditation. Because you want to feel your best in the time leading up to and following your wedding, eat properly and avoid crash dieting. Take time for non-wedding activities, whether that means a movie night, getting a massage or simply taking a long walk.
- Focus on what’s really important. A wedding isn't just a big complicated party, it’s a sacred, life-changing event. Brides can become extremely caught up in wedding preparations and making sure everything is perfect, which can cause them to temporarily miss the bigger picture.
- Pay attention. It’s easy for this event to go by in a blur, which is unfortunate since it’s a time you’ll want to remember later. Take the time to savor the moments, noticing the little things that make your wedding such a special occasion in your life.
Remember - all of this wedding preparation has a purpose, and at the end of it all, you will have shifted from groom and bride to husband and wife. Managing your wedding stress together sets a precedent for healthy stress management in the marriage, which is a big part of creating a harmonious life. Another big piece of marital harmony is knowing your family is safe, and Monitronics Home Security can help you find the perfect home security system to meet your needs. For more information about Monitronics Home Security, visit the website or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.
| Jul 21, 2014
You could easily make the case that the cell phone is one of the most transformational pieces of technology ever placed in the hands of consumers. Today's cell phones function not only as a communication device, but also as a miniature computer capable of being part of just about everything we do. However, cell phones do come with drawbacks, most of which are related to not having a safety mindset. Therefore, for your own protection and that of others, we urge you to practice cell phone safety at all times.
There are two primary areas of concern where cell phone safety is paramount:
- texting or talking when driving
- general awareness of surroundings.
Truth be told, most of us use our cell phones in a way that seems pretty mindless at times. We get so wrapped up in what's happening on that little screen that we forget there's an entire world moving alongside us at breakneck speed. It's not a smart way to live, that's for sure.
Cell Phones and Driving
The most important safety issue related to cell phone use is one of texting or talking when driving. Edgar Snyder & Associates, a Pennsylvania law firm specializing in personal injury, says that as many as 600,000 people are using their cell phones during any given hour throughout the day. They further claim that:
- those who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in an accident
- those who talk while driving are four times more likely to be an accident
- texting while driving increases the amount of time eyes are not on the road by 400%.
There were more than 3,300 traffic accident fatalities in the U.S. in 2012 directly related to distracted driving. An additional 421,000 injuries resulted from those crashes. The fact is that distracted driving is one of the most dangerous practices in America. Moreover, most of it is related to use of cell phones. For your own safety and the safety of others on the road, turn off your phone and put it in the glove box while you're driving. No conversation is important enough to injure or kill someone over.
General Awareness of Surroundings
Cell phone safety goes beyond just how you behave while driving a car. It reaches every aspect of our lives where paying attention to general surroundings is important. For example, statistics cited by Edgar Snyder & Associates suggest:
- pedestrians who text are four times less likely to pay attention to crosswalks, traffic signals, etc.
- pedestrians who text are four times less likely to look for traffic before crossing the street
- pedestrians who text take an average of 2 seconds longer to cross the street.
Being distracted by your cell phone prevents you from being aware of your surroundings. It could definitely get you in trouble while walking down the street or through a busy shopping center. Nevertheless, that's not all. When you are not aware of your surroundings, you are more susceptible to becoming a crime victim. If you are using your cell phone at a sporting event, you are less likely to be paying attention to things like flying baseballs and hockey pucks.
Lastly, consider the fact that being distracted by your cell phone can mean you are not paying attention to your children. This should be the scariest prospect of all.
Cell phones are a great thing when used responsibly and safely. However, when used carelessly, they can lead to all sorts of tragedies. Do not be the next statistic. Practice cell phone safety at all times.
| Jul 15, 2014
Home security should be an important consideration for every new homeowner. Your home is your biggest investment and houses all the things you hold dear, so you want to make sure it’s secure. When you’re moving, you’re particularly vulnerable to theft, so it’s important to include some home security tips in any moving to-do list.
- Familiarize yourself with your neighborhood. Knowing your way around is important, as well as which vehicles should and should not be there. Once you know what’s “typical” for the neighborhood, you’ll be able to spot suspicious activity.
- Meet the neighbors ahead of time. Good neighbors are the best defense against theft or vandalism. If there’s a neighborhood watch program, it’s great to get involved right off the bat, but even if not, introduce yourself to the neighbors so they’ll keep an eye on your new house while you’re moving in.
- Make sure the property is in good condition. Before you move in, do routine maintenance, and check that smoke alarms, carbon monoxide monitors, security lights and window locks are in good working order.
- Replace the locks. You have no way of knowing how many people have copies of keys to your existing locks. It’s a good safety measure to replace the locks, so that you can be in control of all the keys.
- Install a security system. Home security systems not only protect your home and family by notifying you and the authorities of suspicious activity, but they also save you money on your homeowners insurance.
Of course, a big part of staying safe during your move is to have an organized and well-planned moving day. When you’re not overtired and distracted, you won’t be an easy target. To that end, here are some suggestions for making sure your move goes smoothly.
- Pre-clean before you move in, especially the bathroom and kitchen.
- Label boxes not only with contents, but also indicating the room in which they belong. Color coding can help with this, so consider marking boxes with pieces of tape color coded to the rooms in which they belong.
- Open toiletries and cover openings with plastic wrap, then replace lids, to prevent spills. Put an extra cotton pad in cosmetics, to keep them from breaking.
- Pack plates vertically, like records, and they’ll be less likely to break.
- Keep clothing in dresser drawers, covering them with stretch wrap to keep the clothing protected.
- Use plastic sandwich bags to keep hardware together and protected.
- Have all the boxes packed before people arrive to help with the move.
- Pack what you’ll need first in a plastic bin, or an overnight back.
If you’re a Monitronics Home Security customer, at least one part of your move will be easy. For those with home security systems from Monitronics, service will be transferred without interruption, and Monitronics will even set you up with a brand new system - for free! For more information about Monitronics Home Security, visit the website or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.
| Jul 14, 2014
Summer is the season of sunshine, vacations, and lots of outdoor fun. However, it can also be a season of heartbreak for those who are not aware of the dangers of excessive heat. Monitronics urges all of our readers to be careful this summer. Learn all you can about the dangers of heat and how prolonged exposure can be harmful to the elderly, young children and your pets.
Protecting the Elderly
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat stroke is the most serious of all heat related health issues. Unfortunately, those over the age of 65 are more susceptible to heatstroke because:
- their bodies don't adjust as quickly to temperature changes
- they are more likely to experience chronic medical conditions that exacerbate heat stress
- they are more likely to take prescription medications that alter body temperature.
A prolonged heat wave, like the ones recorded in Chicago (1995) and Europe (2003) are especially dangerous for the elderly. A lack of adequate air conditioning or other means of cooling leaves older people unable to leave their homes highly susceptible. The 2003 European heat wave resulted in at least 35,000 deaths, most of them among the elderly.
Children and Animals
Children and animals are also susceptible to the dangers of high heat. However, being confined to unventilated homes is not the main issue here. Rather, it is leaving children or animals unattended in cars during the summer months. Every summer the evening news is rife with stories relating to children and animals left in cars. And just one is one too many.
Consider the following:
- since 1998, 611 children have died in the US after being left in a hot car
- with an air temperature as cool as 70°, the inside of a car can reach 120° or higher
- rising body temperatures can reach fatal levels in 20 minutes without adequate cooling.
The medical definition of heat stroke includes an internal body temperature of 105°, but heat stress begins at about 101°. It does not take long for the body to reach those temperatures when in a car on a hot summer day. Never, ever leave a child or a pet alone in a car – especially during the summer.
Heat and Sports
Even the most physically fit among us can be susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. In fact, heat related illnesses are quite common among athletes who do not take the proper precautions. When exercising during the summer months, be sure to:
- drink plenty of water
- have cold water and ice on hand to cool yourself
- take rest breaks that include shade
- stop exercising if you feel ill.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are pretty easy to identify. It is a good idea for athletes to memorize them in order to avoid tragic accidents.
The potential dangers of excessive heat should motivate consumers to make sure their air conditioning systems are always running at peak performance. Regular AC maintenance should be part of any normal home maintenance schedule. Be sure to have your system checked every spring by a licensed and experienced technician, and if your system shows signs of trouble at any time during the season, call a repair technician right away.
Summer heat is not something to take lightly. Far too many people are injured and killed every year because they do not understand how dangerous heat exposure can be. You can protect yourself by learning how heat affects your body and how to identify the symptoms of heat related illness.
- CDC – http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/elderlyheat.asp
- New Scientist – http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4259-european-heatwave-caused-35000-deaths.html
- Consumer Reports – https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/07/deaths-of-children-in-hot-cars-soar/index.htm
- WebMD – http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/heat-stroke-symptoms-and-treatment
- Dr. Greene – http://www.drgreene.com/articles/heat-stroke/
| Jul 14, 2014
At Monitronics Home Security, we understand how much you look forward to summer! It’s such a relaxing, beautiful time of year, perfect for getting away and taking a vacation with your family or friends. Being in the business of keeping homes and families safe, Monitronics Home Security understands that without proper attention to security precautions, vacations can go awry. Here, we offer some suggestions for keeping everyone and everything safe while you enjoy your summer.
- Prevent break-ins by being aware of the risk. Did you know that home burglaries increase by 10-20% in the summer months? Don’t be part of that statistic! Make sure all of your locks are in good working order, and lock all your doors and windows before you leave home.
- Make sure your house looks “lived-in” while you’re away. Consider a house sitter to keep an eye on things. If you decide against a house sitter, make sure that your mail and newspapers don’t pile up, either by stopping delivery or enlisting the help of a friend or neighbor who can bring them inside. Use a timer to turn lights on and off, and keep curtains open so that a burglar in your home will not have the concealment of closed draperies.
- Use common sense on social media. While you may be excited about your upcoming vacation, it’s not the best idea to let the world know your home will be unattended. Keep your comments vague and guarded, and wait until you get home to post those vacation photos.
- Consider a security system. Today’s security systems come with a variety of features so you can get as much or as little protection as you need. Remote monitoring is one feature that can help you feel secure while you’re away from home, because you’ll be able to keep tabs on your home, no matter where you are.
- Keep yourself safe on vacation, too. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or bring expensive jewelry or electronics. Further, study the area and plan your routes before you go out for the day to avoid looking like a tourist. Thieves often target tourists, so try not to be conspicuous.
Keeping your home safe while you’re away will give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your vacation. With a home security system from Monitronics Home Security, you can rest assured that your home and belongings are safe from harm while you’re off enjoying your summer. For more information about Monitronics Home Security, visit the website or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.
| Jul 09, 2014
A home security system is one of the many tools homeowners can deploy to protect themselves, their families and their property. Combined with 24-hour monitoring, a home security system can also reduce the risk of being harmed by fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. What's more, today's consumer has plenty of options to suit any need or budget, including the choice between wired and wireless home security.
Wireless home security is the choice more consumers are opting for today. There are many advantages to a wireless system, which we will discuss in this post. Needless to say, your choice of home security systems needs to be based on what works best for you and your home.
No Cables or Wires
The primary benefit of a wireless home security system is the lack of cables and wires that need to be run through your home. Control panels and sensors are all powered by long-lasting lithium batteries that can go for years without being changed. And rather than requiring a landline connection to a monitoring center, the system depends on cellular radio signals to communicate.
Installation of a wireless system is incredibly easy as well. There is no cutting into the walls, tying into the electrical system or manipulating cable runs from room to room. With just a drill and a screwdriver, the entire system can be installed in minutes.
There a number of other great benefits to wireless home security above and beyond not having to worry about wires and cables. These are as follows:
- Portability – A wireless system can move with you should decide to purchase a new home. That means a single investment rather than purchasing a new wired system every time you move. What a great way to save money!
- Equipment Cost – The wireless market is now popular enough among consumers to bring equipment prices down substantially. Today's wireless systems are no longer only for the wealthy, they are suitable for any budget.
- Power Outages – Wireless systems continue to work even when the power is out. As long as the batteries are changed on schedule and your local cell phone tower is operational, you will have security in place at all times.
- Automation – New wireless technology has changed the home security system landscape by adding a new element that was previously too costly to deal with – total home automation. Today's systems give you complete control of your home from anywhere in the world. You can control thermostats, lighting, door locks, appliances and so much more.
Wireless technology has truly changed the way we think about home security. It's no wonder more consumers are choosing wireless over older, wired technology. A wireless home security system is affordable, easy to install and maintain, and offers a wide range of features that give consumers a lot of “bang for the buck.”
If you are considering a home security system for your property, make sure to take a look at all the advantages of going wireless. Then call Monitronics and let us come out and help you custom design the system that fits your needs and budget. You will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with wireless home security and 24-hour monitoring from one of the leading providers in the industry.
| Jul 07, 2014
You’ve planned your route, packed your snacks, activated your home security and you’re ready to hit the road! What’s more classically American than a summertime road trip? It’s important, though, to take some important precautions to keep your family safe. From the time you leave until the time you return, home security should be as much a part of your plan as seeing the sites.
- First, make sure your car is in good working condition. Flush your radiator, change the oil, change the air filter and replace the windshield wipers. Have the brakes tested, too, and check your battery, headlights and tire inflation.
- Next, plan your route carefully. Take along both a GPS and a map, and do your homework ahead of time to determine whether there are detours along your planned path. Make sure you have roadside assistance and that your insurance is in good standing.
- Pack thoughtfully. Look up the weather report for your destination and pack accordingly. Remember to bring snacks, activities for the kids, chargers for any electronic devices, a flashlight and cleaning supplies like paper towels and disinfectant.
- While you’re packing your snacks, be sure to plan for an emergency, too. Keep bottled water and non-perishable food, because if your car were to break down, you could be waiting for assistance for a lengthy time period.
- Be mindful of mileage. Fuel up after dark or in the early morning, when temperatures are lower. Avoid drive-thrus with long lines, and stay out of traffic as much as possible.
- Bring along a first aid kit. You’ve planned for the best, but accidents can happen. Be prepared, with a first aid kit that holds any prescription medicines, as well as common medications like antacid, Benadryl, Ibuprofen or Tylenol and vitamins. It should also include Band-aids, insect repellent and anti-itch cream, and sunscreen. If you wear glasses, bring an extra pair, and if you wear contacts, make sure you have contact lens solution.
While you’re off on your road trip, you’ll want the confidence that comes from knowing your home is being protected by one of the best home security systems available. Monitronics Home Security offers complete home security packages that include a free wireless security panel with a full-color touch-screen interface plus free equipment, free installation and free extended service, with different levels of service to meet your unique needs. For more information about Monitronics Home Security, visit the website, or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.
| Jul 02, 2014
At Monitronics Home Security, we understand that moving is a complicated process. There’s so much to do, it can be overwhelming even to the most experienced mover. Chances are, you already have a checklist, but is your checklist complete? Here are some important tips you might be overlooking:
- Clean your rugs. This is something you may not have thought about, but you certainly don’t want to move dirty area rugs to a new house. Take them to the cleaners well in advance, so that you can roll them up and pack them to move.
- Don’t forget to tie up medical loose ends. Refill your prescriptions, complete any necessary check-ups- including immunizations that kids might need for their new schools - and get copies of medical records for each family member. You might also want to ask for a referral to a new doctor.
- Consider your pets. While you’re busy getting everyone else to the doctor, remember to schedule a vet visit for your furry friends. One great idea is to have someone take the animals to the vet on moving day; your pets won’t be underfoot, and the commotion at the house won’t upset them.
- Separate your valuables. Your important files, along with any valuable jewelry, should go into a safe box that you’ll carry to the new house. This is also a good place to put the mover’s estimate and any other paperwork you’ll need on moving day. While you’re thinking about valuable items, back up your computer files onto a flash drive or disk. These files should come with you rather than traveling in the moving truck to prevent any damage from extreme temperatures.
- Plan to finish packing a few days before the move date. The last week before the move is very stressful, and everything will probably take longer than you expect. As you are packing, you should set aside a suitcase for each family member with clothing, toiletries, and other items they’ll need for the last few days in the old house and the first few days in the new house. That way, you can pack everything else and be ready for the movers.
- Pack a “First Day” box. There are few things worse than getting to a new house and having to dig for things you need. In addition to your family’s personal suitcases, you should have a box of things you’ll need immediately, including light bulbs, a tool kit, scissors, flashlight, trash bags, paper towels, toilet paper, any necessary medication, bed linens, pet food and pet litter. Pack snacks and bottled water as well.
- Remember that you’ll need to tip your movers. You’ll either need to arrange for credit card payment for your move, or have a cashier’s check or money order prepared to pay on moving day. In addition, have enough cash on hand to tip the movers: 10-15% of the total fee is a good guideline for determining tip; if the move was especially difficult, you might tip each mover a little extra. Also, be prepared to offer refreshments, which are always appreciated during a day of hard labor.
Another thing that you shouldn’t neglect when moving to a new house is your home security system. Monitronics Home Security offers complete home security packages that include a free wireless security panel with a full-color touch-screen interface plus free equipment, free installation and free extended service offering different levels of service to meet your unique needs. By choosing a complete home security system, you’ll be ensuring that your family and your new home are well protected. For more information about Monitronics Home Security, visit the website or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.