| 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.
| Jun 30, 2014
Monitronics offers 24/7 monitoring of the industry’s top home alarm systems to help keep your home and family safe. However, there are certain things that a home security system cannot do, so it’s important to use common sense and follow safety rules, especially when celebrating this summer. Fireworks, for instance, can be dangerous when used irresponsibly. In order to keep your summer happy and free from injury, consider the following fireworks safety tips:
- Where you purchase fireworks is just as important as how you use them. Always buy fireworks from a reliable source, and follow the manufacturers’ safety rules. Never experiment with homemade fireworks, and don’t alter the ones you purchase - it’s not worth the risk. And before you buy, understand any regulations your area has around the purchase and use of fireworks.
- Make sure the person in charge of the fireworks is responsible and sober. A competent adult should be designated to set off the fireworks, and that person should not be drinking; alcohol and fireworks do not safely mix. Fireworks should only be shot off in open areas, never by a house or car, and should not be carried in pockets. If a firework does not ignite, do not try again. Instead, soak it in water and then throw it away.
- Teach children to be cautious around fireworks. Young children should never handle fireworks and older children should be well supervised. Never let a child pick up a used firecracker - they can still ignite and cause serious burns. Remember, even sparklers can be dangerous if mishandled; they can reach 1,800°F, so it’s important to keep them away from hair, skin and clothing.
- Don’t forget about the pets. Obviously, pets are at risk of being burned if they get too close to a lit firecracker. In addition, they can suffer chemical burns if they chew on fireworks, whether or not they’ve already been used. Most pets will stay away from fireworks because they’re afraid of the noise, but make sure you keep them away from discarded fireworks even after the show is over. For their own safety, it’s best to keep your pets indoors.
- Plan for the best, but prepare for the worst. Keep spectators well away from the fireworks area. The person setting off the fireworks should wear safety goggles and keep a bucket of water close in case of fire. When you’re finished with them, soak fireworks in water before discarding them.
For more information about home alarm systems, visit the Monitronics website or connect with the online community on Facebook, Twitter & Google+. A leader in the home security industry, Monitronics can help you find the home security system you need to protect your home and family.
| Jun 23, 2014
Summer is upon us, and after a long winter, we’re all delighted to see it arrive! While you’re busy welcoming the warm summer months, Monitronics - a leader in the home security industry - would like to remind you there are dangers that go along with all the fun. Fortunately, with a few helpful tips and suggestions, summer safety should not be a problem for you and your family.
- The sun is fun, but its heat can be brutal. Stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, and remember to wear sunscreen every time you venture out. It’s important to drink plenty of water and stay mindful of alcoholic consumption, which dehydrates you. Wear cool, loose fitting clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Never leave children or pets in a hot car, and make sure they stay hydrated, too. Be careful when you or your family members are exercising in the heat; it’s a good idea to slow down, ease into activity, and watch for signs of overheating.
- Bugs are an annoyance in the summertime, but they can also be dangerous. Mosquitos and ticks can carry illnesses like West Nile, Dengue fever, and Lyme disease, so wear insect repellant when you’re going to be outdoors. Rid your yard of any standing water where mosquitoes can breed, and protect your pets with veterinarian approved pest control products.
- Summer is the peak season for lightning strikes. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid being struck by lightning: stay indoors. If you’re outside and the sky looks ominous or you hear thunder, get inside immediately, and avoid contact with corded phones, electrical equipment, plumbing, windows and doors. After the last lightning or thunder, wait at least 30 minutes before going back outside.
- If you live in an area with tornadoes, it’s important to know what to do. If you’re outdoors in the vicinity of a tornado, get indoors. If you’re in a car, get out of it and into a building. If a building is not nearby, lie in a ditch or low lying area, using your arms to protect your head and neck. For those who are home, it is safest to be in a windowless interior room, on the lowest level of the house. At school or work, the safest spot is in the basement or inside hallway at the lowest level, under a piece of sturdy furniture.
- Poison ivy is a nuisance that you can avoid. Familiarize yourself with the plants in your part of the country, and learn to identify and avoid dangerous plants like poison ivy. Wear long sleeves and long pants when you hike. If you do come in contact with poison ivy, wash your skin as quickly as possible with soap and cold water. Use ice or a cold compress to relieve itching and discomfort and allow the skin to air dry. Make sure to wash clothes, shoes, and other items that have touched poison ivy - including pets. Topical and oral antibiotics can bring relief from poison ivy symptoms, but if the rash is severe, seek medical treatment; in rare cases poison ivy exposure can be fatal.
- Playing in the water is one of the best parts of summer, but it’s important to follow safety rules. Never swim alone, and never leave your children alone near a body of water. Teaching little ones to swim is a great idea to lower the risk of drowning, but it’s important not to assume that they are safe just because they know how to swim. Avoid swimming in pools without drain or pump covers, and of course, drinking alcohol while boating is unsafe. A little bit of common sense can be a big help in keeping your family safe in the water.
Just as you need helpful information to keep your family safe over the summer, you may need expert advice to help choose the right home security system for keeping your home safe. Fortunately, Monitronics is well versed in home security and can help you find the option that’s right for your family. For more information on home security, visit the Monitronics website or connect with the online community on Facebook, Twitter & Google+.
| Jun 16, 2014
If you’re concerned about keeping your home safe, you've probably already installed one of the top home security systems on the market. However, when you leave your home and head off on vacation, a home security system might not cover all your bases. It’s better to be overcautious than to leave your home vulnerable to theft or vandalism, so use some common sense when leaving on a trip.
- Don’t leave your valuables unattended. Even if you have one of the top home security systems, there’s no substitute for a person who’ll watch your house while you’re away. A house sitter can be pricey, but it can also mean that your pets and plants are well tended while you’re gone. If you can’t manage to hire a house sitter, at least make sure someone, such as a trusted neighbor or family member, keeps an eye on your property.
- Put a stop to deliveries. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can put a hold on your mail and stop your newspapers from piling up while you’re away. An absence of uncollected mail and newspapers can help prevent thieves from knowing you’re out of town.
- Make sure your home looks occupied. Even if it’s empty, a house doesn’t need to look that way. Leave the curtains and shades the way they normally are when you’re home, and set a timer to turn lights on and off. Home automation services, such as HomeTouch® from Monitronics, lets you remotely control your lights while you’re away. Another good way to prevent people from knowing you’re gone is to keep the lawn trimmed while you’re away.
- Use common sense. Don’t broadcast your vacation across social media, and do lock up your house to avoid giving thieves an easy point of entry. Skip hiding the spare key under a flower pot or doormat; anyone who wants to break into your house will certainly know where to look to find it.
- Conserve energy, even while you’re away. Unplugging your television, computer, toaster oven and other appliances can protect them from power surges. In addition, it will save you money, as many appliances use electricity even when not in use - as long as they are plugged in.
Whether you’re traveling or inside the house, a home security system can give you a feeling of safety. If you’re unsure about choosing between top home security systems, look to Monitronics, a leader in the industry, to help you find the service plan you need to protect your home and family. For more information about top home security systems, visit the Monitronics website, or connect with the online community on Facebook, Twitter & Google+.
| Jun 10, 2014
Here at Monitronics, we’re committed to helping keep neighborhoods all across America safe. That’s our job as a home security leader that protects over 1 million homes. However, a safe neighborhood goes well beyond residents investing in monitored home security systems. Individuals and communities can also participate in the nationwide Neighborhood Watch program sponsored by the National Sheriff's Association.
The Neighborhood Watch program dates back to the early 1970s, according to the National Crime Prevention Council. The idea behind the program was to bring together citizens and law enforcement to cooperatively make neighborhoods safer. It’s an effective tool because it reduces the opportunities criminals have to be active in neighborhoods with watch programs. Let's face it, criminals look for easy opportunity where they face little resistance and little risk of being caught.
Local Neighborhood Watch groups are formed by groups of neighborhood residents, just like you, interested in making their neighborhoods safer places. The National Neighborhood Watch website has lots of information about how to start a group in your area and how to get involved as an individual volunteer. Below is a brief summary of some of the more important highlights.
What Neighborhood Watch Does
Neighborhood Watch is an organized program that seeks to help neighborhoods be safe by teaching individual citizens how to recognize, identify and report suspicious activity of any kind. It also seeks to make neighborhoods stronger by encouraging social interaction and a mindset of always being observant about what goes on in the neighborhood.
In some cases, citizen patrols are set up as part of the local program. Although you have likely heard some negative news stories regarding these patrols, such stories are relatively rare. Most citizen patrol groups do very good work, day in and day out. Their regular activities help keep criminals at bay by getting law enforcement involved as quickly as possible in the event of any suspicious activity.
Starting a Neighborhood Watch Group
It’s entirely possible for any community to begin a neighborhood watch group without actually being part of the national Neighborhood Watch program. But membership fees in the national program are affordable, and the program gives groups access to all of the tools and resources provided by the National Sheriff's Association.
To start a group in your neighborhood, the first step is to organize residents to see how many are interested. Some state and local districts require at least 50% resident participation before they are willing to come out and put on a presentation. Others will come regardless of the numbers. It all depends on your local or state district.
Once you have enough volunteers mobilized, the next step is to set up an informational meeting with local law enforcement and representatives from the Neighborhood Watch district, followed by a sign-up of interested participants. In the following weeks and months, each volunteer undergoes the training necessary to identify and report problems in the neighborhood. Of course, all of this is done based on the individual needs of the community.
If you would like to know just how serious the need in your community is, we invite you to take a look at our Neighborhood Crime Report page. You can enter your address to get a map view of crime data in your area. It’s a great tool to help you and your neighbors understand the need for Neighborhood Watch.
Joining a Local Neighborhood Watch Group
You can find out whether or not there’s a Neighborhood Watch program in your neighborhood by visiting the National Neighborhood Watch website. They provide an easy tool that allows you to find the information you need simply by entering your address or county. This tool will let you know very quickly whether you can join an existing group or not. If not, please consider starting a group of your own.
There's no telling how many crimes have been averted over the years due to the excellent work of citizens, the Neighborhood Watch program, and the National Sheriff's Association. Consider getting involved!
| Jun 04, 2014
The family dog is one of the most time-honored home alarm systems, but as pet owners we know it’s our responsibility to protect our beloved furry friends. You might not know that today is National Hug Your Cat Day, and since it’s also the beginning of a new season, it’s a great time to start thinking about how to keep your pet safe this summer.
Home alarm systems protect your home efficiently, but keeping your dogs and cats safe can be a little more complicated.
- Summer heat is one of the biggest seasonal dangers for pets. Heat and humidity can be deadly to pets since they don’t perspire like humans to keep cool. Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car, and don’t let dogs ride in open truck beds. Not only can this cause burns from metal surfaces, it’s also possible for dogs to be injured from rocks and other objects tossed up from the road.
- Every season has its own poisons, and summer is no exception. The chemicals we use to beautify our lawns can have potentially deadly consequences for our pets. Pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and even compost piles can cause serious health risks if ingested. If you have pets, keep the compost pile fenced off, and use caution when applying yard chemicals. If you think your animals have gotten into something potentially harmful, seek medical care immediately.
- Even plants can pose a danger. While grass is not harmful to pets, some of the plants in your yard and garden can be. Keep pets away from mushrooms, tomatoes, rhubarb, onions and grapes. Avoid cocoa mulch in your gardening because it contains the same chemical found in chocolate, which is toxic for dogs.
- Fireworks are scary and not just because of the noise. While most pets know to keep their distance, some dogs like to chase and even chew firecrackers. This can result in burns, both thermal and chemical, so make sure your pooch is restrained during firework festivities.
- Water sports can be dangerous for pets. Did you know salt water could be toxic to dogs? Because they don’t understand that it’s not for drinking, it’s up to you to provide them with tap water and try to limit their intake of ocean water. Freshwater swimming can be equally dangerous; toxins found in algae can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, shock, icterus, and potential death within 24 hours to several days after ingesting or swimming in it. Use caution, and don’t let your animals swim where you see algae growing.
Even on National Hug Your Cat Day, we don’t necessarily endorse the hugging of cats, since cats aren’t always fond of warm hugs. One thing we can get behind is keeping your furry family members safe. To help you in this endeavor, the ASPCA offers a pet safety pack, available at no charge through this link.
Look to Monitronics to provide 24/7 monitoring for home alarm systems and the right service plan to protect your home, pets and family. For more information, visit the Monitronics website or connect with the online community on Facebook, Twitter & Google+.
| Jun 02, 2014
June is National Safety Month in the U.S. and Monitronics is proud to be among thousands of businesses and organizations raising awareness of important safety issues. We encourage you to observe the month along with us, and help make your homes and businesses a safer place for everyone.
The annual observance of National Safety Month is sponsored by the National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent needless injuries and deaths at home and at work through education and awareness programs.
The National Safety Council was founded in 1913. This year's observance highlights five different points, each one receiving a week of attention. The five points are:
- preventing prescription drug abuse
- preventing slips, trips, and falls
- being aware of your surroundings
- avoiding distracted driving
- summer safety tips
Prescription Drug Abuse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 15% of 12th graders were abusing prescription drugs in 2012. Among adults aged 18 to 25, the number is more than 28%. These are alarming numbers that cannot be ignored. Prescription drug abuse is prevalent enough that it ranks second only to cannabis in terms of the total number of users.
You can help by doing two things. First, make sure you’re setting the right example as an adult. Use prescription drugs only as recommended by a doctor in accordance with all instructions. Second, educate your children on the dangers of taking prescription drugs outside of a doctor's supervision. Prescription medications can be highly addictive and destructive when improperly used.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
WebMD says about one-third of all injuries sustained in the U.S. occur at home. We can reduce the number of injuries by taking steps to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Even seemingly minor things can be very helpful: keeping hallways clear of obstructions, making sure carpeting is fully secure and keeping electrical cords out of high traffic areas. Learn what you can do to reduce slips, trips, and falls in your own home.
Be Aware of Surroundings
As a leader in the home security industry, Monitronics knows how important it is for you to be aware of your surroundings. People who don’t pay attention to their surroundings tend to be easy targets for criminals. Please make it a point to be aware of what’s going on around you. If you need tips on how to do so effectively, there are plenty of resources available online.
Unfortunately, there were more than 3,300 traffic accident deaths in 2012 directly related to distracted driving. Whether it’s talking on the cell phone, sending or receiving text messages, eating, or adjusting the sound system, distracted behavior is very dangerous. It only takes a split second to lose your concentration. Please do not do it. If you observe others doing it, please warn them about how dangerous it is.
Summer is the time we all like to get outside and play. However, summer is also a time when personal injuries due to accidents rise dramatically. Take the time to learn about all of the potential hazards associated with summer sports, outdoor cookouts, hiking and camping, home swimming pools, and other warm-weather activities. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way toward making sure you enjoy a summer free of injuries.
We encourage you to be safe this June in observance of National Safety Month. Nevertheless, do not stop there. Continue to observe all of those safety tips you have learned throughout the year. You will reduce the likelihood of accidents that could result in injury.
| May 23, 2014
Spring in the United States is hurricane preparedness season. Each year on average, 10 tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea from June to November. Six of them become hurricanes, bringing winds of over 74 mph. Around five hurricanes strike the coast of the U.S. every three years, with one in five classified as ‘major’.
These storms prove a significant threat to the more than 45 million residents living along the coast, from Maine to Texas. Fortunately, thanks to today’s advanced warning systems, people are given adequate time to prepare for a hurricane.
To ensure you’re ready for when a hurricane strikes, we’ve gathered some online information from the experts on what you’ll need:
Food and Drink
If a hurricane does strike, you may find yourself without power and, therefore, without the kitchen appliances needed to cook meals. This will prevent you from storing any fresh foods. Make room in your storm shelter for the following:
- Water (7 gallons per person)
- Non-perishable canned food such as fish, vegetables and fruit
- Powdered milk
- Instant tea and coffee
- Peanut butter
- Bread (in moisture-proof packaging)
- Canned soup
- Canned juice
The following materials will help ensure you’re able to remain safe and take care of any minor repairs during, or in the immediate aftermath of, a storm:
- Wind-up radio
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Waterproof lighter
- Trash bags
- General tools: hammer, mallet, screwdriver, wrench, saw, nails
- Duct tape
- Portable cooler
- Cleaning supplies
To make the most of the food and drink you store, and to continue to provide your family with nourishment when hunkered down during a hurricane, you should amass the following equipment, all of which can be used without access to main power:
- Portable camping stove and/or grill
- Propane tank
- Charcoal and lighter fluid
- Can opener
- Paper dinnerware
- Plastic cutlery
- Sterno fuel
A medical kit is essential in tending to any minor cuts, scrapes, and illnesses:
- First aid kit including pain medication and antibiotic cream
- At least one month’s supply of prescriptions
- Mosquito repellent
- Water purification tablets
Personal supplies are the items you’ll need for warmth and hygiene and find useful for entertainment:
- Protective clothing and rain-wear
- Bedding/blankets/sleeping bags
- Toilet paper
- Books and magazines
- Playing cards
Keep the following personal documents in a solid, waterproof holder:
- Photo I.D.
- Proof of address
- Medical information
- A list of important phone numbers: family, doctors, insurance, etc.
- Computer backups
- Water and fireproof storage container for paper documents
If there are babies or young children in the family, their requirements will be different than those of adults and older kids. Therefore, you should ensure you have plenty of:
- Baby food
- Antibacterial wipes
- Warm clothing
Hurricanes can be particularly traumatizing for pets and their needs can be met with the following items:
- Canned food
- Carry crates
Things you need to do
To lessen the impact of a hurricane, there are certain things that you can do now to ensure the safety of your family and the security of your home:
- Listen for weather updates and stay informed
- Clear yard of loose objects
- Learn how to turn off electricity, gas and water
- Form an escape plan
- During the storm, stay away from windows, glass doors and skylights
To learn more about hurricanes and how to properly prepare for an impending storm, the following websites make for useful further reading:
| May 19, 2014
You wouldn’t think about leaving your home unless it was protected by home security, but do you offer the same level of protection to your skin? As the weather begins to heat up, it’s important to remember to pay as much attention to keeping your skin safe from harmful UV rays as you do to setting your home security system when you go out.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your skin from dangers of skin cancer.
Of course, some people have a higher risk of skin cancer than others. Family history is a big factor in skin cancer risk, as is the number of childhood sunburns. People with fair skin are in more danger of getting skin cancer, as are people with weakened immune systems. Living in a sunny climate increases your risk, as does living at a high altitude. Some of these factors are beyond your control, but sun protection is an element of skin cancer protection that you can definitely manage.
- Don’t intentionally tan. Tanning and burning are extremely damaging to your skin, so don’t try to get color. Instead, cultivate a natural, clear complexion, free from freckles and other signs of skin damage. Additionally, don’t look at tanning beds as a safe alternative, because UV rays from tanning beds are just as dangerous as the ones from the sun.
- Use common sense about your timing. Try to avoid being out in the sun between 10am and 4pm. If you must go out, cover up or seek the shade. A broad-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses can go a long way toward protecting the delicate skin of your face. As an added incentive, consider this: sunglasses that protect your eyes from UV rays don’t just prevent skin cancer, they also protect your vision.
- Wear sunscreen every time you go outside. Sunscreen should become part of your everyday routine. Choose an SPF of 15 or higher for daily usage, and if you’re participating in outdoor activities for an extended time, use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, preferably a sunscreen that is water-resistant.
- Keep an eye on your skin. To catch skin cancer early, you should be doing regular self-checks. Look for any suspicious changes to your skin, and see a doctor yearly for a more thorough examination.
Just as you can take precautions to protect your skin from harm, you can keep your home and family safe by choosing the right home security system. As leaders in the field of home security, Monitronics delivers award-winning alarm monitoring service to over 1 million homes and businesses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more lifestyle tips or information about home security, visit the Monitronics website, or connect with like-minded people on Facebook, Twitter & Google+.
| May 14, 2014
When Michael Faraday invented the electric motor in 1921, he likely had no idea how pervasive electricity would eventually become. In the 21st century, we rely on electricity for nearly everything we do. Without it, we would be lost.
Yet using electricity properly requires attention to safety. Electricity can be very dangerous if not handled properly.
May is National Electrical Safety Month in the United States, promoted by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). Because electrical safety is something we are always concerned about in light of monitored home security systems, we wanted to do our part by researching some tips about electrical safety around your house. The more you know, the safer you’ll be.
What It's All About
The principle of electrical safety is rooted in our knowledge of how destructive unharnessed electrical power can be. Anyone who has seen what can happen to a tree struck by lightning knows exactly what we're talking about. Electricity, even in small amounts, can be incredibly hazardous. Therefore, we want to harness it without being hurt by it.
Here are some tips you can put in place around your own home to maximize safety:
- Electrical Cords – Make it a part of your routine to check electrical cords connecting appliances, lamps and other electrical devices to wall outlets. Devices you use regularly can be inspected every time you plug and unplug them. Devices that remain plugged in for long periods should be regularly inspected for wear and tear. Any cord that shows signs of wear should be replaced or repaired.
- Extension Cords – All extension cords should be used with extreme caution. Never stretch them across doorways, in front of furniture, or in any other area exposed to foot traffic. Also, be careful not to leave extension cords plugged in for long periods. These are intended to be temporary power solutions, not permanent feed lines.
- Circuit Breakers – The circuit breakers in your panel box are designed to trip in an overload condition. This prevents accidental house fires resulting from burning circuits. However, if you find your breakers are tripping constantly, there is likely a problem within your electrical system that could be dangerous. Contact an electrician as soon as you can.
- Electrical Outlets – Don’t fall into a bad habit of overloading electrical outlets by using splitters. An outlet is designed for only two plugs for a reason. If you must exceed the two-plug limit, use a power strip with a built-in overload system and surge protection. Do not rely on simple splitters that could easily cause a fire.
- GFCI Outlets – When exposure to water is possible, GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets should be used instead of standard outputs. You'll recognize them by the red and black switches located between the two receptacles. These outlets are specifically designed to trip if exposed to moisture, thereby reducing the risk of accidental fire or electrocution.
Of course, whenever you are using electrical appliances be sure to follow all manufacturer safety instructions. That includes being careful of water, overheating, and so on. Manufacturers know best when it comes to how to use their products safely.
Don't Be a Statistic
The National Fire Protection Association says that local fire departments responded to more than 47,800 house fires directly relating to electrical malfunction between 2007 and 2011. Those fires resulted in more than 455 deaths and 1,500 injuries.
Please practice electrical safety at home for the benefit of yourself and your family.
- NFPA – http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/electrical/electrical-safety-in-the-home/electrical-safety-tips
- SafeElectricity.org – http://www.safeelectricity.org/component/content/article/317
| May 06, 2014
Remote video camera access has really given the edge to homeowners wanting to protect themselves, their families and their property against burglars, rogue babysitters, and anyone else who might present a threat. Now, thanks to HomeTouch®, you can do more than ever before with the cameras installed around your home.
HomeTouch is a home automation system that lets a homeowner control multiple aspects of the home remotely. For example, it can be used to adjust the thermostat in your home from just about anywhere in the world. When used in conjunction with a security system, you can control door locks and conduct remote video surveillance. HomeTouch transforms a standard security system into a home automation powerhouse.
Remote Video Monitoring
Monitronics really appreciates how well HomeTouch integrates with video surveillance cameras. It begins with choosing the appropriate locations for your cameras. Many homeowners install a camera to monitor the front door, given the fact that most home burglaries commence through front door entry. Other cameras might be installed in high-traffic areas like the family room, the kitchen, and the main hallway leading to the bedrooms.
Cameras mounted on your home's exterior provide an excellent deterrent to burglars. Why? Because they never know whether or not those cameras are remotely connected or simply recording data inside the home. Furthermore, they know any images captured by those cameras provide powerful evidence in court.
The HomeTouch system ties all of your cameras together for easy remote monitoring. You simply log into your account online, access your system through specialized software, and then switch between the separate video feeds in your system.
Including HomeTouch in your video surveillance package offers a number of other benefits as well. For example, the system makes it easy for you to keep track of what’s going on even if you can’t sit and watch video feeds for extended periods. This is done by way of automated e-mails or text messages sent directly to you in the event your cameras detect motion.
Another benefit of HomeTouch is that it allows you to store video clips for later retrieval. Those video clips are arranged in a searchable library that makes it easy to find just what you're looking for. And as we said, video evidence is powerful in the courtroom.
More than Just Security
Monitronics wants you to know that video surveillance with HomeTouch is about more than just securing your home against burglary. It’s about always knowing what's going on at your home when you're not there. You can use your video surveillance cameras to check on package delivery, make sure your kids arrive home from school on time, monitor what your pets do during the day, and even check on the babysitter from time to time. Just about anything you monitor live, with your own eyes, can be accomplished through video surveillance and HomeTouch.
If you would like to learn more about putting video surveillance to work in your home, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Monitronics. We will show you how the entire system works and answer any questions you might have. We believe that once you have seen HomeTouch and video surveillance in action, you will want it for your home.
| May 05, 2014
If you’re looking for a home security system, you might call Monitronics. However, if you’re caught in a disaster, you’ll probably turn to the Red Cross for assistance.
In honor of International Red Cross Crescent Movement founder Henry Dunant, World Red Cross Day is celebrated each year on his birthday, May 8th. Inspired to help after witnessing the suffering of war, Mr. Dunant was the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize. Be sure to set aside some time on May 8th to honor the work that the Red Cross has done across the world for almost a century.
As an international humanitarian movement, the International Red Cross Crescent Movement led to the establishment of the International Red Cross Committee in 1863. Between the ICRC, the International Federation, and the National Societies, there are a total of about 97 million members serving worldwide. Similar to the organizations it’s designed to honor, World Red Cross Day is dedicated to upholding human dignity, protecting life, alleviating human suffering, and preventing emergencies and natural disasters such as flood, epidemics, and earthquakes. Recognizing the fundamental principles upheld by all Red Cross organizations, World Red Cross Day embraces impartiality, humanity, independence, neutrality, voluntary, universality, and unity.
Why set aside a day? The purpose of World Red Cross Day is to inspire, facilitate, and promote humanitarian activities, raising awareness of the need to help people who are suffering. Globally, Red Cross organizations work to provide relief to people whose lives have been affected by war, famine, disease, or natural disasters. World Red Cross Day adopts a theme each year to highlight the celebration and attract both private and governmental organizations to become more active in protecting people’s lives and dignity.
The theme of World Red Cross Day 2014 is “Together for Humanity.” There are volunteer opportunities available for people who wish to get involved with World Red Cross Day, including blood drives.
Any time there’s a disaster or crisis, you can depend on the Red Cross to step up and take care of people. When you’re looking to take care of your family and home, check out the home security systems offered by Monitronics. For more information about how a home security system can protect your home and family, visit the Monitronics website, or connect with like-minded people on Facebook, Twitter & Google+.
| Apr 28, 2014
Home alarm monitoring systems can give you peace of mind regarding your home and family’s well-being, but have you found your own peace of mind? Mental health is a topic people often avoid due to the sensitivity of the issue. These matters affect many families across the country; therefore, discussing the topic is extremely important.
Protecting your mental health is a big part of living your best life. So, how can you boost your own well-being and maintain mental and emotional health?
- Build connections. A strong support system is the foundation of a healthy mental state. Personal relationships are worth the time and energy it takes to maintain them, but don’t stop there! Reach out to those in your community - participate in activities and find ways to give back.
- Create “me time.” Even though it’s important to nurture connections with other people, it’s also vital to spend time doing the things that make you happy. This can mean different things for different people - it could be playing with your children or pets, reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, creating something, or simply taking a walk in the park. There is no wrong answer - only you can determine which things make you feel good about your life.
- Manage your stress. Reduce stress when you can, and embrace it when you can’t. Maintain a balanced lifestyle; understand that it’s possible to use stress to your advantage and don’t allow it to cause you distress. Consider yoga or meditation to help remain calm and focused in the face of elevated stress.
- Take care of yourself. Stay active, eat well, and get plenty of rest. Challenge yourself to learn new things, and make the most of your talents and skills. On the other hand, make sure to take some unfocused time each day to rest your brain and simply daydream or sit and watch the clouds float through the sky.
- Practice mindfulness. Taking time to stop and smell the roses isn’t just a cliché. By noticing the joys of everyday life, you’ll improve your mood and your mental health. Be in the moment, experience the things that are happening right now, and notice the little things, like the sun on your face and the beauty around you. You’ll find that practicing living in the here and now gives your outlook a boost.
- Don’t forget about the children in your life. We often forget that children can also suffer from stress and sometimes need help managing their own mental wellness. Did you know that May 4-10th is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week? This year’s theme is “Building a Circle of Wellness,” and it’s the perfect opportunity to think about the children in your life and consider if they have enough support for their young psyches.
- Remember that asking for help is never a bad idea. Allow the people in your life to support you, and don’t be afraid to admit if you’re struggling with something. We all have our ups and downs, but seeking help when you have a problem is a smart choice.
To learn more about mental health issues, visit Mental Health America online. There you’ll find information about mental health, resources to help you live your best life, and opportunities to get involved and help.
When it comes to protecting your family, a monitored alarm system can give you peace of mind whether you’re home or away. For more information about home alarm monitoring services, visit the Monitronics website, or connect with like-minded people on Facebook, Twitter & Google+. Monitronics is a leader in the home alarm monitoring industry and can help you find the service plan you need to protect your home and family. Sources
: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/ten_tips_to_stay_mentally_healthy https://www.ffcmh.org/awarenessweek