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SafeWise by Rebecca Edwards - 1d ago
Overall Favourite
SimpliSafe
  • No contracts
  • Easy DIY installation
Best Smart Security System
Yale Smart Alarm
  • Less expensive
  • No professional monitoring
Bottom Line: SimpliSafe Home Security Tops the List 

The do-it-yourself home security system that’s been a great success in America is now available in the UK. SimpliSafe home security systems are sleek, small—and above all, simple. There are no contracts, no wires to deal with and no high-pressure sales. 

We like that SimpliSafe delivers reliable professional monitoring for almost half of what other home security companies are charging. You can have the reassurance of 24/7 protection without draining your bank account. And SimpliSafe works whether you own a detached home or rent a flat.

Compare the Best Home Security Systems in the UK
Brand
Lowest Monthly Price
Contract Required
Installation
Learn More
£12.99/mo. N/A N/A £39.90/mo.
£29.99/mo
No No No Yes Yes
DIY DIY DIY Pro Pro
View Packages Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon View Packages View Packages

Data effective 18/06/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Top 5 Home Alarm Systems in the UK
Reviews: Best Home Security Systems
#1 SimpliSafe: Overall Favourite

SimpliSafe offers the best of both worlds—easy DIY installation and professional monitoring service. You’re in complete control of your SimpliSafe home security system, from the equipment you choose to optional professional monitoring with no contracts. 

SimpliSafe has five preselected equipment packages, ranging from £279 to £504. If you don’t find a good match, you can skip the packages altogether and build your own system. Here’s a look at what’s included in SimpliSafe’s home security packages.

Pros
  • Affordable monitoring
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Security camera included in every package
  • Voice control with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
Cons
  • No external siren
  • Higher upfront costs
SimpliSafe Equipment Packages
Package
Price
Base Station
Keypad
Key Fobs
Door and Window Sensors
Motion Sensors
Glassbreak Sensors
SimpliCam
105 db Siren
Panic Button
The Starter
The Essentials
The Warwick
The Windsor
The Bamburgh
£279 £309 £364 £454 £504
1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1 1
0 0 1 1 2
1 3 7 5 3
1 1 0 2 2
0 0 0 0 1
1 1 1 1 1
0 0 0 1 1
0 0 0 0 1

In contrast to its American security packages, SimpliSafe includes its indoor security camera (the SimpliCam) in every UK package. Because visual confirmation is often required for police response, this extra inclusion was a smart move. 

The biggest drawback to SimpliSafe is the absence of an external siren or bell box, which is the first signal to a burglar that your home isn’t worth the trouble. Instead, the company provides a yard stake and sign, which is an effective deterrent across the pond, but not as familiar here. 

Another consideration is the upfront cost. You have to buy all of your SimpliSafe security devices outright. That can mean a hefty investment, depending on the package you need. But the good news is that after you buy your equipment, there are no other required expenses. And you can get professional monitoring starting at just £12.99 per month—that’s less than half of the monthly fees from ADT and Verisure.

Our Pick for SimpliSafe: The Windsor

The Windsor costs a little bit more, but it delivers everything you need to protect your home and loved ones. The extra siren helps make up for SimpliSafe’s lack of a bell box, and once you buy the equipment, it’s yours forever. There are no extra fees, but we strongly recommend adding SimpliSafe’s contract-free monitoring.
• 2 motion sensors
• 105 db siren
• Add monitoring for £12.99/mo.

#2 Yale Smart Home Alarm: Best Smart Security System

The Yale Smart Home Alarm combines home automation and home security—with no monthly fees. Use the Yale mobile app to set up your system, control your alarm and receive instant alerts. You can also add up to 40 extra devices (including panic buttons and smoke alarms) to make sure every inch of your home is covered. 

Pros
  • Fully customizable
  • Cheaper than other alarm systems
  • Compatible with up to 40 devices
  • Equipped with loud external siren
Cons
  • No professional monitoring
  • Long command phrases for Alexa

When it comes to smart home features, the Yale alarm system works with Amazon Alexa for voice control and Philips Hue smart lightbulbs for an extra burglar deterrent. When your alarm is triggered, Hue lights flash red to warn off intruders. 

We like that you can customize the Yale system to meet your needs—including a “part armed” setting that lets you arm devices in designated areas of your home, while leaving other areas unarmed. This is a good way to avoid false alarms from rambunctious pets. 

But there’s no option to add professional monitoring, so you’ll be fully responsible for keeping an eye on your home and contacting police in an emergency.

Our Pick for Yale: Family Kit

The Yale Smart Home Alarm Family Kit includes everything you need to keep your home safe. Plus, it works with Amazon Alexa and Philips Hue smart light bulbs. You can arm and disarm your system with your voice and program flashing red lights as an extra warning for intruders to stay away.
• 2 motion detectors
• 1 external siren
• 1 mobile app to conrol everything
• No monitoring available

#3 Blink Home Security System: Best Security Camera System

Security cameras are the heart and soul of the Blink home alarm system. Blink cameras come with a built-in motion detector and free cloud storage, so you can capture every second of an intruder’s entry or the adorable antics of your family pet. 

Pros
  • Free cloud storage
  • Live video streaming
  • Two-year battery life
  • Affordable price tag
Cons
  • No siren or bell box
  • No professional monitoring

If you’re more interested in video surveillance than a loud siren, then Blink is a good match for you. When a Blink HD camera picks up motion, it automatically starts recording. You’ll get an instant alert with the video attached. Then you can review the footage and decide what to do next. 

These security cameras are small and unobtrusive—and you can place them on a table or shelf, or use the enclosed bracket to mount them on a wall. The motion sensor is adjustable, so you can avoid a deluge of notifications every time your cat scampers past. 

But this is a limited home..

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The debate surrounding the right to own a gun in the United States is a controversial one, but answering the question about whether having a gun in the house will make you and your family safer is pretty straightforward. Our best bet is to look at the statistics surrounding gun ownership vs. gun violence and draw conclusions based on the research. 

Do guns make us safer?

A 2018 poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found 58% of Americans agree with the statement “gun ownership does more to increase safety by allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.”1 And gun owners seem to believe that idea at a higher rate. Pew Research Center found 65% of men and 71% of women gun owners say the primary reason they carry is for protection.2 While public opinion seems to support the idea that having guns makes us feel safer, science has something different to say about whether guns actually make us safer.

Before diving into the statistics about having a gun in the home, it’s important to point out that until recently, unbiased research about gun violence was hard to come by. A 1996 law called the Dickey Amendment restricted how government funding could be used for research on gun violence. For several decades, many of the privately funded studies on using guns for self-defense were either sponsored by the National Rifle Association or conversely, organizations dedicated to gun control. 

Today, however, there is a growing body of well-established research that clearly points toward one conclusion. Whether we carry a concealed firearm for self-defense or use one for recreational sports like hunting, guns in the home do not make us safer.

Statistics about Having Guns at Home

Statistically, having a gun in your home is more dangerous for you and your family, especially if you have young children or teens. A 2014 review in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded having a firearm in the home, even when it’s properly stored, doubles your risk of becoming a victim of homicide and triples the risk of suicide.3

Because the majority of gun owners do not secure their weapons, children are especially at risk of gun violence in their homes. A 2015 study in the Journal of Urban Health estimated as many as 4.6 million children in America live in homes with unsecured guns.4 Experts agree that properly securing and storing guns can be an effective way to address incidents of suicide, mass shootings, and unintentional shootings among children and teenagers. Parents who are gun owners should take the extra precaution of researching the best gun safes or car gun safes to lower the risk of gun violence for their children and prevent their firearms from falling into the wrong hands.

More Guns = More Gun Violence

The statistics on gun violence also apply on a broader scale. The more firearms there are in a country (whether for self-defense, concealed carry, or recreational use), the higher the incidence of gun violence. Even after controlling for other factors like income, crime levels, and demographics, many studies over the last decade confirm this conclusion.

Americans are about 5% of the world’s population but have 42% of the world’s privately owned firearms.5 A fact which David Hemenway, professor of health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, believes contributes to the higher rates of gun-related homicide in America compared with other industrialized nations. “Within the United States, a wide array of empirical evidence indicates that more guns in a community lead to more homicide.”6

The prevalence of guns in the community means incidents like robbery and other crimes are more likely to carry the risk of gun violence. In states that have “stand your ground” laws, Rand Corporation found even minor disagreements or physical altercations carried a greater risk of turning into violent crime. In short, gun ownership does not increase safety, and the prevalence of guns directly correlates with significantly greater risk of gun-related homicides and suicides.

While the facts surrounding the safety of having a gun in the home are clear, the choice to own a gun is more complicated for many homeowners. Be aware that the safest way to protect your home is to focus on buying the best home security system, and leave the firearms to law enforcement. If you do own guns, you can reduce the risk of unintentional shootings and other types of gun violence by storing your firearm in a gun safe or home safe.

The post Does a Gun Make Your Home Safer? appeared first on SafeWise.

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From the big national brands with multiple monitoring centers to DIY systems you can watch from your smart device, there are thousands of home security options to choose from. The best alarm system for your house makes life safer and more comfortable without breaking your budget or feeling too complicated, but how do you choose one?

Ask yourself a few questions before you start shopping:

  1. What am I protecting?
  2. How do I want to install it?
  3. How big is my home?
  4. What is my family’s routine?
  5. What is my budget?

The answers to these questions can tell you what kind of features you want, along with the best way to install, and how big of a system you need.

Security System Features

Before choosing one type of home security system, ask yourself what you want to protect. Do you want a nanny cam for the little ones or monitors to catch leaky pipes? Security systems do more than keep intruders out of your home. They can also communicate with your kids when they get home from school or tell you when that Amazon package arrived.

The right equipment package, payment plan, and features for you depend on what you want to do with your system. In today’s market, there are three main types of security system packages available: home automation, security equipment, and environmental monitoring.

Smart Home Automation 

Smart tech adjusts to your family’s schedule and preferences. Home automation can keep the lights on while you’re out of town or let the dog walker in while you’re out of the house.

Security Equipment 

Traditional home security devices like burglar alarms, glass break detectors, and outdoor cameras are helpful if you’re worried about issues like intrusion, theft, or vandalism.

Environmental Monitoring 

Equipment like smoke alarms, pipe freeze detectors, and leak detectors fall into this category. Families with older homes, especially, should look for devices in this category. 

Common Home Security Equipment and Features 

We made a list of standard security system equipment most companies carry. Security providers tend to bundle devices differently, so it’s essential to keep your priorities in mind as you browse through product packages. The following equipment and features are available from almost every security company.

  • Doorbell Camera
    What it does: records who stops by your front step and lets you speak with them remotely
    What it’s good for: talking to the mailman, shooing away solicitors, welcoming guests, catching package thieves
    8 Best Smart Doorbells for Your Home
  • Nanny Camera
    What it does: watches over nurseries, kids’ rooms, and caretakers
    What it’s good for: catching up with the nanny or babysitter, helping aging parents, watching pets while you’re away
    Best Nanny Cams
  • Spotlight Camera
    What it does: lights up the surrounding area when it senses motion
    What it’s good for: catching intruders, stopping curious animals, grounding sneaky teenagers
    Best Outdoor Security Cameras
  • Panic Pendant
    What it does: provides a wearable shortcut to emergency services
    What it’s good for: helping people who are aging or have a disability in an emergency, saving lives
    Panic Pendant FAQ
  • Door/Window Sensor
    What it does: tells you when a door or window opens
    What it’s good for: guarding entrances, preventing kids from accessing off-limits areas
    Best Door and Window Sensors
  • Glass Break Sensor
    What it does: alerts you of loud noises and broken glass
    What it’s good for: scaring off intruders who enter through your windows
    How Does a Glass Break Detector Work?
  • Motion Sensor
    What it does: alerts you when it detects motion
    What it’s good for: keeping kids and large pets out of dangerous areas, alerting you to intruders
    The Beginner’s Guide to Motion Sensors
  • Smart Home Integration
    What it does: combines the powers of your security system and smart home devices
    What it’s good for: making your system voice controlled, creating custom routines for your family
    Best Smart Home Security
  • Wireless Monitoring
    What it does: uses radio signals to connect devices in your home, allowing the sensors to send alerts to the base station and to the monitoring center from there
    What it’s good for: making installation easier, simplifying moves, functioning during a power outage
    How Safe are Waireless Home Security Systems?
  • Two-Way Talk
    What it does: turns a device into an intercom you can speak and listen through
    What it’s good for: checking on the kids, getting the dog off the couch, speaking to visitors, catching intruders
    What is ADT’s 2-Way Voice and How Does It Work?
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector
    What it does: activates an alarm when it senses carbon monoxide in your home
    What it’s good for: saving lives, sending alerts when you’re home and away
    Carbon Monoxide Detector Buyers Guide
  • Flood Sensor
    What it does: alerts you of leaks and pooling water
    What it’s good for: preventing serious water damage, catching plumbing and appliance issues
    Learn More
  • Freeze Sensor
    What it does: alerts you of severe drops in temperature
    What it’s good for: preventing frozen pipes and plumbing issues
    How to Protect Against Frozen Pipes in Your Home
  • Fire and Smoke Alarm
    What it does: alerts you to fire, smoke, and severe heat
    What it’s good for: preventing fires in your home, saving lives
    Best Fire and Smoke Alarms for the Home
  • Professional Monitoring
    What it does: connects to a professional call center that can contact emergency services for you
    What it’s good for: catching emergencies before they become disasters, providing a calm voice in a stressful situation
    Why Professional Monitoring?
Professional vs. Self-Installation

Security systems have recently adopted cellular technology, making them easier than ever to install without professional help. Naturally, there are pros and cons to self-installed and professionally installed systems.

Professional installation can come with steep installation fees, but you won’t have to do any of the work. Home security companies like Vivint and ADT send a trained professional to your home for a consultation. You’ll be able to discuss your security priorities, budget, and expectations with a real person. These professionals also offer product package bundling and years of industry experience to put you at ease.

On the other hand, the best self-installed systems like Frontpoint and SimpliSafe come directly to your door pre-programmed and ready to go. These systems may not have as many bells and whistles as their professionally installed counterparts, but they’re great for smaller homes that need the basics. Installation for these systems is a breeze because most of the equipment sticks onto your walls, doors, and windows.

To the Point: Professionally installed security systems require an installation fee, but you don’t have to lift a finger. Self-installed systems are generally more affordable, but you need to do all the placement and installation yourself.

Security System Size

Whether you opt for a DIY or professionally installed system, you’ll need enough equipment to fit your home. The best security systems for apartment dwellers should be smaller DIY systems with fewer sensors. Professional installers for systems like Vivint can recommend the right sized package and add-ons to fit larger homes.

Just remember to cover all the entrances and exits in your home with a sensor or camera, plus any other equipment to protect kids, pets, or the rest of your family. Even window wells and basement entrances are worth adding a sensor to for extra measures.

Security System Costs

It’s tempting to put the price tag as your top priority, but look for the right equipment first, and the right price will appear. All of our favorite home security systems have different tiers of services and prices, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. You can find a great home security system on a budget, but you shouldn’t compromise safety while doing it.
When looking at your budget, prices boil down to a set of one-time and regular fees. Most security systems require a monthly payment for monitoring and a one-time payment for the equipment. You can find systems without a monthly fee like Nest Secure that allow you to monitor your own home, but the initial cost is steeper.

It’s wise to read the fine print before signing onto any security system. Most companies charge for cancellation after a trial period or could add extra fees for moving equipment from house to house.

Minimum Price
Installation Fee
Moving Fee
Cancellation Fee
Risk-Free Trial
Installation Type
Learn More
$29.99 $27,99 $34.99 $19.99 $14.99
$99 $99 None None None
Yes Yes No No No
100% of the remaining contract 75% of the remaining contract 80% of the remaining contract 100% of the remaining contract No
3 days 6 months 30 days 30 days 60 days
Pro Pro DIY DIY DIY
View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages
FAQs How are landline, broadband, and cellular alarm systems different?

Landline security systems use a home phone connection to link security devices and monitoring together. They aren’t as common anymore because they’re easy to tamper with. But folks in rural areas may find that this is their only option if cell reception is poor where they live.

Broadband security systems connect to the professional monitoring center through your home’s internet connection. So if your home’s Wi-Fi goes out, so does your security system. The good news is it’s harder to tamper with than landline security, making it a little safer.

Cellular services are the most expensive, but you won’t have to deal with hardwiring or power failures. Your devices can “talk” to each other and the professional monitoring center from your home using cellular uplink.

Can I move with my alarm system?

Most security system companies allow you to take your system to a new home, but some will charge you to buy new equipment or reinstall new devices. If you move frequently, self-installed systems are much easier and cheaper to use.

Is smart home equipment necessary?

For those on a budget, the short answer is “no, but it helps.” Home automation and smart home devices have a variety of functions (and prices). From something as simple as a smart outlet that lets you turn lights on and off remotely to more sophisticated equipment like a smart doorbell, it all boils down to what makes your life easier and safer. Smart home equipment is getting better and more affordable every year, so if you’re building a home security system, it’s not a bad idea to start integrating smart devices now.

The post What to Look for in a Home Security System appeared first on SafeWise.

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Long contracts, high monitoring fees, frustrating sales reps—we get it. We’ve spent a lot of time over the years reviewing ADT home security, and despite its longstanding reputation as a leading home security provider, it’s definitely not for everyone. The good news is that there are several quality home security alternatives to ADT, and we’ve rounded them up for you. We’ll show you how they compare when it comes to pricing, contracts, equipment, customer service, and installation.

5 Things to Consider as You Shop Around

You’re pretty sure ADT isn’t a good fit for you, but the number of other home alarm system options is overwhelming. Where to start? Here are some things to consider as you shop around for an alternative to ADT.

 

1. How long do you expect to live in your current home?

 

Long contracts and high termination fees are a big frustration for ADT customers, especially when an unexpected move hits. If you think you might relocate within the next three years or you just don’t want to be locked into a contract, look for a home security company with a portable security alarm system or no contracts or termination fees. 

 

2. How much do you want to pay?

 

Security systems for just $99 seem tempting, but those systems are very basic, and they often come with the burden of a three-year contract. Adding in more equipment like cameras and app access will cost you more in equipment, installation fees, and monthly monitoring fees. It all adds up, and to get what you want, you may end up paying a lot more in the long run. Take the time to compare the costs over the course of three years before you decide which alarm system is right for you. 

 

3. Do you want professional or DIY installation?

 

One of ADT’s strengths is its fleet of experienced technicians who can get your alarm system up and running for you without you having to do a thing. But that installation comes with an extra fee, and many companies are now offering systems that require little to no technical expertise to install so you can do it yourself. ADT alternatives include both DIY and professionally installed alarm systems, so it’s important to consider which you’d be more comfortable with. 

 

4. Do you want professional or DIY monitoring?

 

ADT’s mandatory professional monitoring with redundant security monitoring centers is great for peace of mind, but it definitely ups your monthly fees. Just like with installation, you can go with a professional or a DIY option when it comes to monitoring your alarm system. There are companies out there offering a choice between professional monitoring through a monitoring center, self monitoring through an alarm app, or some combination of the two. It’s a good idea to decide which feels right to you before you start shopping around.

 

5. Do you already own smart devices that may be incorporated into your new security system?

 

If you’ve already invested in smart home devices like a Nest thermostat, Ring doorbell, or Amazon Echo, you’ll probably want to find an alarm system that works with what you have so you can operate everything from one place. While few alarm systems out there are compatible with everything, many are increasing their integrations every day, so it’s a good idea to check and see what’s compatible with your favorite devices.

Compare Alternatives to ADT

We’ve broken down our list of three strong alternatives to ADT by highlighting the main differences between each security company and the leading home security giant. 

Starting Package Price
Installation Fee
Starting Monthly Monitoring Fee
Installation
Contract Length
Weakness (Compared to ADT)
$99 $599 $244 $99
$99 $49 (often waived) $79 (DIY is free) None
$36.99 $29.99 $14.99 $34.99
Professional Professional Professional or DIY DIY
3 years None None 3 years
Less reliable equipment Limited home automation DIY installation
View Packages View Packages View Packages

Prices and fees effective as of 4/1/19. Prices are subject to change.

1. Vivint

How it’s different from ADT: 

  • No contracts
  • Cheaper equipment

When it comes to ADT alternatives, Vivint is probably ADT’s top contender. Like ADT, Vivint offers professional alarm system installation, home automation, and professional monitoring, but it does it for a lot less than the cost of ADT. Vivint’s starter packages have more equipment than ADT’s, and its smart home equipment costs less. Vivint also steers clear of lengthy contracts with affordable month-to-month options. The two companies match up when it comes to installation fees, and neither charges activation fees. 

The one place where ADT pulls ahead of Vivint is experience. Compared to Vivint’s 20 years of experience in the security industry, ADT has over 140 years, with seasoned technicians and support staff. We’ve found that Vivint’s equipment also isn’t as reliable as ADT’s, with sensors that stop working after a year or two and cameras that frequently lose signal. Still, if you’d rather have your system professionally installed and you want all the benefits of smart home integration without being locked into a contract, Vivint is an excellent alternative to ADT.  

Read Our Full Vivint Review

2. SimpliSafe

How it’s different from ADT: 

  • Lower prices
  • No contracts
  • Less smart home compatibility
  • DIY installation option

Unlike ADT and Vivint, SimpliSafe gives you a choice between professional installation and DIY installation, so you can skip the hassle of an installation appointment and install it yourself. SimpliSafe is also contract-free, and you can cancel your monitoring anytime you want with no termination fee. It’s about half the price of ADT monitoring, even when you add on remote access to your system from the SimpliSafe app, and the company is very up-front with packages and pricing.

If you don’t want your equipment bundled into a package like ADT, SimpliSafe’s Build My System tool can help you choose only the devices you need. But selection is limited—while it includes the basics like sensors and cameras, its devices don’t include protocol for Zigbee or Z-Wave devices, so compared to ADT you won’t get as many options for smart home automation. SimpliSafe also doesn’t have any outdoor cameras or video doorbells. But its systems are compatible with August smart door locks, Amazon Alexa, and Nest. 

If your idea of home security mostly includes contact sensors and motion sensors and you aren’t worried about integrating your security system into your smart home automation setup, then SimpliSafe is an affordable security service provider.   

Read Our Full SimpliSafe Review

3. Frontpoint

How it’s different from ADT:

  • Portable system
  • DIY installation

Frontpoint has consistently ranked at the top of our lists for best home security systems, and it’s for good reason. This DIY alarm system comes preprogrammed, so it’s simple to install. Like ADT, Frontpoint requires a three-year monitoring contract, but its systems are designed to be portable so you can take them with you if you move. 

When it comes to pricing, Frontpoint packages are more expensive than a lot of other DIY systems out there, but the quality of its alarm equipment is comparable to ADT. It has more smart automation options than SimpliSafe, but not as many as ADT. Its keypad doubles as a smart home hub for Z-Wave devices, and it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home so you can have voice control over your system. Frontpoint is also known for great customer service with a stellar A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. 

Frontpoint is a good DIY ADT alternative if you want a portable system that’s equal to ADT in quality and smart home integration and you don’t mind slightly higher prices and a three-year monitoring contract. 

Read Our Full Frontpoint Review

FAQs What items should I look for in a basic security system package?

Most home security systems will come with an alarm panel, keypad (which may be included on the panel), two or more door and window sensors, a motion sensor, and a remote/key fob. Alarm systems that don’t have a keypad are usually controlled with an app. Once you have your basic system, you can purchase additional items like cameras, glass break sensors, and smoke detectors. Some companies offer lower prices by bundling these items together in discounted packages. 

Do all home security companies operate their own monitoring stations like ADT?

No. Many, like SimpliSafe, contract out their alarm monitoring to established monitoring companies. Vivint has its own monitoring centers, while SimpliSafe uses a monitoring company called COPS and Frontpoint uses Rapid Response

How do ADT cameras compare with other security systems’ cameras?

ADT’s outdoor cameras are some of the best on the market. Its indoor cameras are high quality, but they don’t have the two-way talk like cameras offered by Vivint and Frontpoint. SimpliSafe cameras have microphones to pick up audio but no speaker for you to communicate with someone in your home through your phone. 

What are the benefits of having access to my system through an app?

As someone who’s had a security system since long before apps were even a thing, I can tell you that app control makes life a whole lot easier. Rather than calling a neighbor to check on an alarm when I’m not home, I can do it myself from the app on my phone. (Half the time it’s just a sensor going off because I need to replace the batteries.) And instead of giving my mother the code to disarm the system and hoping she’ll be able to figure it out, I can unlock the door for her and turn off the system from anywhere using the app. It’s also nice to be able to check security cameras for reassurance when I’m not around. Basically, when you’re out, apps give you the kind of control over your system you would have if you were home.

The Last Word on ADT

ADT is kind of like a home security grandpa: it’s old and wise, but it also holds on to some outdated notions like lengthy contracts and mandatory professional installation. Newer companies might not have the experience of ADT, but they have a lighter touch and are more in tune with what many of today’s consumers are looking for with more flexible, budget-friendly, DIY systems. They’re definitely worth a look if you’re ready for something different.

 

If you want to do a little more research before you make a final decision, here are a few additional resources.

The post 3 Home Security Alternatives to ADT appeared first on SafeWise.

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SafeWise by Rebecca Edwards - 6d ago
Best for Smart Security
Vivint Smart Home
  • Controls smart home and security
  • Available with all plans
Best for Voice Control
ADT Pulse
  • Voice control arms and disarms
  • Live video feed keeps you informed
Best User Interface
Frontpoint Mobile
  • User-friendly interface
  • Remote account management
Bottom Line: Vivint Smart Home App Delivers

The Vivint Smart Home app makes it easy to secure your home and control smart home features (like turning up the heat on the way home from the ski hill) from anywhere. Many home security system apps are compatible with smart home controls, but they usually require multiple apps to control everything.

With Vivint, you’ve got one app that does everything from arming your system to turning off the lights. And you don’t need to upgrade to a more expensive monitoring plan to get the app—Vivint includes it with every package.

  • Control your home security and smart home devices in one place.
  • Customize the alerts and notifications you receive.
  • Use the mobile app with every Vivint monitoring plan—no upgrades required.
  • Check live feed from security cameras no matter where you ar
Two Types of Security Apps: Proprietary and Alarm.com

It seems like the only types of security system apps out there would be apps for Android and apps for iOS, but it gets a little more complicated. Here’s our guide to navigating the differences between proprietary and nonproprietary (Alarm.com) home security apps.

Proprietary Home Security Apps

Proprietary apps are developed by security companies specifically for their own systems. Each company owns its app and is responsible for features, updates, bug fixes, and customer satisfaction. App quality varies by company, but the benefit of a proprietary app is that it’s tailor-made for your system. Depending on the resources of your security company, app development can be slower than with a generic, industry-wide app.

Alarm.com Apps

Many companies forgo developing their own app and partner with Alarm.com instead. Alarm.com is a home security industry leader for both security equipment and the technology that supports it—including mobile apps. The Alarm.com app is compatible with a number of security systems and generally receives high customer ratings. The downside is that updates and new features are dependent on Alarm.com and not your home security company, so some things like compatibility with new smart home devices can be delayed.

Compare the Best Home Security System Apps
Monitoring Contract Required
Available with All Monitoring Plans
Compatibility
Alarm.com
Vivint Smart Home ADT Pulse App Frontpoint Mobile SimpliSafe App
Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yes No No No
iOS 11.0 or later
Varies with Android device
iOS 10.0 or later
Android 4.4 and up
iOS 10.0 or later
Android 4.4 and up
iOS 9.0 or later
Android 4.3 and up
No No Yes No
Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review
Top 4 Home Security Mobile Apps
Other Home Security Apps We Considered
Reviews: Best Home Security System Apps
Vivint Smart Home App: Best Smart Security

You’ll need to have a customer account with Vivint to use its app, but once you do, get ready for a slew of home automation functions. Adjust the lights so they’re bright when you pull in the driveway, turn down the heat while you’re at the office during the day, or unlock the front door for your kids if they forget a key.

Our favorite feature is the built-in AI assistant (Sky) that learns your routines and habits to help you manage your smart home right from your smartphone.

Sky uses geolocation and your home’s sensors to tell if your house is empty or full of a bunch of teenagers. It automatically adjusts the climate control to make sure the heat isn’t blasting when you’re out for the day (or when a crew of kids is upping the indoor temperature). Vivint Sky helps you conserve energy and stay comfy.

Plus, you can set up rules to automatically lock up the house at 10:00 p.m. each night and get an alert if a door or window opens after that time. If you’ve got rambunctious kids looking to exert a little too much independence, this feature could be a lifesaver.

Pros
  • Comes with all plans
  • Has seamless smart home integration
  • Uses built-in AI assistant to learn routines
  • Provides 30 days of video storage with Video Playback upgrade
Cons
  • Available only with Vivint home security system
  • Requires upgrade for continuous video storage
What Can You Do with the Vivint Smart Home App? 
  • Activity Feed
    See what’s going on with detailed reports of all the day-to-day activity in your home.
  • Family Plan
    Create and manage personalized accounts for every member of the household.
  • Smart Clips
    Save 20-second clips of security camera video to review later—whether it’s someone suspicious at the door or your dog doing something adorable.
  • Vivint Playback
    Add this feature to your app to store up to 30 days of continuous video.
  • Custom Actions
    Set up rules and routines to make life easier. Automatically turn lights on or off at the same time each day or lock the doors after everyone’s tucked in for the night.
  • Sky AI Assistant
    Benefit from Vivint’s learning technology that tunes into your family’s routines to help keep your home energy efficient and comfortable.
ADT Pulse App: Best for Voice Control

The ADT Pulse app works with ADT Pulse home security systems and monitoring. It boasts a full lineup of home automation controls so you can remotely let the kids in after school or check to make sure you didn’t leave the coffee pot on.

We especially like the voice control options that come with the ADT Pulse app. It works with Amazon Alexa and Siri, so you can boss around your alarm system and tell your smart thermostat what to do. Best of all, you can use voice control to arm and disarm your system—an option that isn’t always available from a security system app.

Unfortunately, the ADT Pulse app isn’t available with every ADT home security system. You can get the ADT Pulse app only with some of ADT’s pricier packages. But it does get high customer ratings in both the App Store and on Google Play, so the high price tag seems worth it to most users.

Pros
  • Voice control with Alexa and Siri
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Live video monitoring
Cons
  • Connection issues
  • Required upgrade to pricey system
What Can You Do with the ADT Pulse App?
  • Voice Control
    Use Siri or Amazon Alexa to arm and disarm your system, dim the lights, or turn up the heat.
  • Alerts
    Receive text or email alerts when a window or door is opened, or when the status of your system changes (e.g., from armed to disarmed).
  • Video Monitoring
    Watch live footage at your front door or store video clips to review later.
  • Smart Home Control
    Turn lights on and off, change the thermostat, or see if you left a small appliance on in your rush out the door.
  • Custom Automation
    Set up schedules for everyday life or program a vacation mode to keep burglars fooled when you’re frolicking on the beach.
Frontpoint Mobile App: Best User Interface

Frontpoint is the only security company on our list that uses Alarm.com technology for its mobile app. But Frontpoint has put in a lot of time to customize the app to best serve its customers. A great example of this is the company’s DIY installation guidance. Frontpoint was one of the first home security companies to automate installation through a mobile app.

Recently the Frontpoint app got a facelift, and users are raving about the simple, intuitive interface. The navigation menu is easy to follow, and the company has given more power to the individual user.

It used to take a call to customer service to change user settings, update login information, and make other standard changes. With the latest app update, those calls are no longer necessary—which is great news if you hate having to make phone calls (like me).

Pros
  • Easy navigation and setup
  • Live video feed
  • User-controlled account management
Cons
  • Upgraded monitoring plan required
  • Delays after motion detection
What Can You Do with the Frontpiont Mobile App?
  • System Setup
    Follow the prompts for quick, easy setup of your Frontpoint security system.
  • Notifications
    Get real-time alerts via text, email, or push notifications.
  • Video
    Check in on your home, kids, or pets with live video or recorded clips.
  • Smart Home Control
    Turn up the heat, dim the lights, or unlock the front door from your office or a ski slope.
  • Account Management
    Edit users, link multiple systems to a single login, and increase app security with extra features like two-factor authentication. No more need to call customer service for these housekeeping issues.
SimpliSafe Home Security App: Best for Sharing Video
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From crashes into Venice canals to measles quarantines, 2019 has been a year full of headline-making cruise ship mishaps.¹ But the odds of running into trouble during a luxury cruise vacation are pretty slim.

Thanks to safety regulations, today’s cruise ships are better prepared to face the dangers presented on the high seas (and on board) than in the days of the Costa Concordia. That 2012 shipwreck left 33 people dead, the captain convicted of manslaughter, and the cruising industry scrambling to ensure such a tragedy would never happen again.²

Still, adherence to safety regulations is often self-monitored and cruise lines aren’t required to report every safety incident that happens on board. Because Americans like to cruise so much (nearly 12 million hit the high seas every year), we decided to find out which cruise lines with US ports are your best bet when it comes to staying safe—and which ones have the worst safety records.³ 

North American Cruise Line Safety Rankings
How We Ranked Cruise Line Safety

To find out which cruise lines are the safest, we looked at safety incidents on eight major cruise lines for the past 10 years. Factors considered include man overboard (MOB) incidents, gastrointestinal illness outbreaks reported by the CDC, crime incidents reported to the FBI, and recorded safety incidents like fires, listing, equipment failure, and onboard drownings.

Safety on the Seas: Key Findings
  • Roughly 300 people have fallen overboard between 2000 and 2018—that’s about 1.5 people per month.⁴ 
  • Intoxication is cited as a major contributor to man overboard incidents.⁵
  • Holland America is the oldest cruise line at 150 years on the seas, but all those years of experience don’t guarantee safety. Holland America is the seventh safest cruise line on our list (making it the second-most dangerous).
  • “Lifeguard on duty”—that’s not a sign you’re likely to see posted at most onboard pools. Only three cruise lines employ lifeguards: Disney, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. Sadly, there were incidents of children drowning (or nearly drowning) that preceded the decision for these cruise lines to add lifeguards.
  • Princess has had a number of drowning incidents—with June 2019 seeing the most recent drowning death—but the cruise line hasn’t made the move to add lifeguards.⁶
  • Carnival, the most dangerous cruise liner on our list, is the only cruise line that doesn’t require mandatory safety training before leaving port. Instead, it addresses safety as the ship is leaving.
  • Norwegian, which lands at number five in our ranking, doesn’t specify whether or not it conducts safety training prior to setting sail. 
  • Holland America had the highest number of gastrointestinal illness outbreaks per 100,000 passengers over the past 10 years—Princess was second.
  • Carnival has the highest number of MOB incidents per 100,000 passengers, followed by Holland America, then Princess.
  • Carnival also had the highest number of crimes reported to the FBI per 100,000 passengers, followed by Norwegian, then Disney.
  • Carnival topped the list for the highest number of vessel safety incidents (power outages, engine fires, equipment failure, listing of ship, onboard drownings and near drownings, etc.), followed by Princess, then Holland America.
  • Most cruise ships have a morgue on board, but your odds of dying at sea are around one in 6.25 million.⁷ 
  • Compared to traveling in cars—where your odds of dying in a crash are about one in 103—cruising is a safe vacation choice.⁸
The Safest and Most Dangerous Cruise Lines Ranked

1. MSC Cruises

The safest cruise ships on the ocean are part of MSC Cruises, the largest privately owned cruise line in the world. MSC Cruises welcomed two million guests in 2017, which is the fourth-largest passenger number among the cruise lines on our list. 

When it comes to safety policies and procedures, this privately owned cruise line doesn’t cut corners. MSC has the most transparency when it comes to safety procedures, including quarterly Coast Guard inspections, bi-weekly safety drills, and constantly carrying all backup equipment on board.

The one spot where MSC falls short is poolside—this cruise line doesn’t employ lifeguards, which is disappointing for a company that seems to pull out all the stops in every other safety area.

2. Disney Cruises

Disney Cruises cater to the fewest number of passengers each year at just over half a million. That may be one reason this family-friendly line has a better safety record than some of its competitors. 

After a 4-year-old boy nearly drowned on a Disney cruise in 2013, the cruise line took rapid action to deploy lifeguards at all family pools. Disney’s quick response to add lifeguards preceded other cruise lines by about three years—a delay that saw at least five drowned children and four near-misses on ships from the likes of Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and more.⁹

In addition to its vigilance at family pools, Disney Cruises also conducts weekly crew safety training and requires all passengers to participate in a mandatory safety drill before the ship sets sail.

3. Celebrity Cruises

You don’t leave port on a Celebrity Cruise without passing muster, literally. All guests must complete a “muster drill” that reinforces safety policies and ensures that all guests know where to go and what to do in case there’s an emergency on board.

In addition to passenger drills, all Celebrity crew members participate in weekly safety training. Celebrity also chooses to follow safety protocols that meet or exceed the strict requirements set by the US Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, which addresses things like railing heights, medical preparedness, and crime reporting. 

Celebrity was the only cruise line where we didn’t find any reported safety incidents related to engine problems, drowning on board, fires, severe listing, or collisions.

Even though it’s been lucky when it comes to onboard pool safety, the area where Celebrity misses the mark is providing lifeguards for its ships’ pools. 

4. Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean rules the seas, serving nearly five million cruisers every year. Despite that large number, this seafaring behemoth does fairly well when it comes to keeping passengers safe. 

Even though Royal Caribbean has a decent safety record, it’s had its share of safety incidents. In 2016, a captain knowingly sailed more than 3,000 passengers into a hurricane, despite clear weather alerts. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.10 

This year there have also been a few scares on board Royal Caribbean ships—a man was airlifted by the Coast Guard after suffering abdominal pain and eight people were injured when a ship was damaged by a crane while it was sitting in dry dock.¹¹ 

It’s unlikely that safety protocols could make a difference when a crane comes crashing in, but Royal could still stand to improve some of its safety practices. 

We like that the company is an early adopter of technology (like face identification to board the ship), but it skips other simple safety efforts like equipping engine and control rooms with fire sprinklers or other suppression measures.¹²

5. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian boasts the youngest ships on the seas, spending around half a million dollars since 2015 to build new ships and refurbish the rest.¹³ But there’s no word on whether or not Norwegian plans to dust off its safety policies and give them a facelift too. 

Unfortunately, Norwegian made headlines in June when a passenger went overboard in the Mediterranean sea.14 The fall overboard was caught on the ship’s security cameras, and a search and rescue effort ensued. This is the second fall overboard on a Norwegian ship in the last 12 months.

It’s pretty difficult to find safety information for Norwegian Cruise Lines, but we did learn that crews undergo weekly safety training and safety drills. When it comes to safety training for passengers, it’s unclear whether it happens before or after setting sail.

It’s obvious that Norwegian is willing to invest in its ships, but we’d like to see a little bit of that attention focused on increased (or at least more transparent) safety practices.

6. Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises loses points for safety in a few areas. It’s one of only two cruise lines that conducts monthly crew safety drills—most others do it every week. It’s also difficult to find safety information for Princess Cruises, which can be concerning if you’re a nervous cruiser or a newbie. 

One thing we like is that Princess Cruises requires every passenger to complete safety training before the ship leaves port. In fact, the crew will hunt you down if you haven’t completed it and escort you off the ship if you don’t get it taken care of. 

But Princess had a fatal drowning on board its Caribbean Princess ship in mid-June, and the lack of lifeguards (along with access to pools after hours) has come under scrutiny.15 Princess also had the most total reports of gastrointestinal illness outbreaks, landing it in second place for the most tummy troubles per 100,000 passengers. 

7. Holland America Line

This cruise line does a good job when it comes to safety policies and procedures, but all that preparation hasn’t been enough to minimize Holland America’s number of onboard safety incidents.

Holland has the fourth-lowest number of safety incidents among all the cruise lines we considered, but due to its lower number of guests each year, each one carries more weight. The good news is the majority of incidents on Holland America ships were illness-related rather than falls overboard or criminal acts. 

There were enough stomach-related ailments on board over the past decade to put Holland America at the top of the list for the most gastrointestinal incidents per 100,000 passengers. 

Still, Holland America could tighten up its safety practices in regard to its frequency of Coast Guard inspections. Holland only submits to inspections once per year, whereas the majority of its competitors does it quarterly.

8. Carnival Cruise Line

The second-largest cruise line in terms of annual passengers is also the one with the worst safety record. Carnival had the highest total number of safety-related incidents, and the majority of those were crimes committed on board. 

Carnival also reported the most MOB incidents per 100,000 passengers and the most vessel safety incidents over the past 10 years. 

In 2013, a fire in the engine room knocked out power, air conditioning, and sewage systems, leaving 4,200 passengers stranded aboard the Triumph for days.16 Still, Carnival doesn’t employ fire suppression systems in the engine and control rooms.  

Carnival is also the parent company of the Costa Concordia ship that wrecked in 2012, costing 33 people their lives. That tragedy sparked positive change, with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) now requiring ships to conduct muster drills before or just after departing port. It used to be required within 24 hours of sailing.

Perhaps better days are coming for Carnival’s onboard safety record. We like that Carnival chooses to conduct quarterly Coast Guard inspections and adopted a comprehensive passenger bill of rights.

How to Stay Safe on a Cruise 

No one wants their dream cruise vacation to turn into a nightmare. While the safety record and security policies of the cruise line you choose can help, it’s also up to you to make sure you and the rest of your party hit the high seas safely. Use common sense and follow these safety tips to minimize risk and ensure that your cruise is fun, relaxing, and safe. 

  • Pick a safe cruise line. Do your research and book your cruise with a cruise line that has strict and transparent safety policies.
  • Pass muster. Pay close attention to the muster drill and any other safety training.
  • Hang on for dear life. Know where your life jacket is at all times and make sure it’s easy to grab in an emergency.
  • Keep things private. Safeguard your cabin key and don’t share your cabin number.
  • Lock it up. Secure valuables in your cabin and use the safe if one is provided. Always lock your cabin door after you enter and when you leave.
  • Corral the kids. Set rules for your children from the get-go. Talk to them about not running, staying together, and what to do if they get lost.
  • Play lifeguard. Because most cruise lines don’t have a lifeguard on duty, it’s imperative that you supervise children at pools. And stay off your phone or put your book down—kids can slip under the water quickly and without splashing.
  • Forget the booze cruise. Limit alcohol consumption, especially around pools and railings.
  • Buddy up. First of all, travel only with people you trust. Then set up a buddy system so no one gets left behind in the midst of all the activity.
  • Stay on guard. Don’t leave your safety sense on the ship. Use smart travel practices when you pull into a port—research the crime risks and prepare in advance, stick with your travel buddy or group, and take only the cash, credit cards, and ID that you need. Leave the rest locked up in your room.
Last Updated: A day ago
Cruise Line Safety Update: The most recent cruise-related tragedy involved a two-year old falling from a cabin window. SafeWise urges all cruisers to remember that no matter how safe your cruise line is, you still need to be on alert to ensure both your safety and your family’s safety during a cruise vacation.
Methodology:

We looked at eight major North American cruise lines to find out which have the best safety records and how that compares to their safety policies and procedures. 

We looked at data in four safety areas: man overboard (MOB)..

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SafeWise by Katie Mcentire - 1w ago

Since 2015, Amazon has celebrated its founding day with a huge sale. This year, Prime Day starts at midnight (PDT) on July 15 and runs until 11:59 p.m. (PDT) July 16. You’ll find Christmas-caliber shopping deals on everything from furniture and electronics to toys and home goods. We’ve rounded up our favorite deals for Prime members on smart home and safety equipment. 

Prime Day Deals on Smart Home Tech
myQ Smart Garage Door Opener + Amazon Cloud Cam

Prime Day 2019 has a ton of deals on smart home devices. One of our favorites is the myQ Smart Garage Door Opener. When paired with the myQ app, you can open and close your garage door from anywhere in the world. This year’s deal also gives you the option of pairing the myQ with an Amazon Cloud Cam so you can see who comes in and out of your home. To top it all off, Prime members in select areas can qualify for Amazon Key. This service allows delivery drivers to drop off your packages in your garage and see the whole thing through your Cloud Cam. Find out if your area and garage door is compatible with Amazon Key

Check Price on Amazon

The Amazon Echo Family

The Echo family tree has grown since the device debuted in 2014. Five years later, it’s still a Prime Day staple with deals like half off Echo Dot and deep deals on other Echo devices like the Echo Spot, Echo Show, and Echo Plus. Any of these smart devices can double as a smart home hub with the right equipment. You can control compatible devices like smart lights, outlets, cameras, and TVs through your Amazon Echo, making it easy to make your home a little more intelligent. Check out our Guide to Alexa if you aren’t sure which Echo to get. 

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TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Router

Regular online shoppers and smart home enthusiasts know how important a quality router can be. This year’s Prime members can get a deal on the TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Router. A good router can cut download speeds and connect smart devices smoothly. It also comes with family-friendly features like parental controls, user profiles, time limits, and activity insights. This smart router comes with optional MU-MIMO (multi-user multi-input multi-output) technology that allows you to connect multiple users and devices without slowing internet speeds, so popcorn will be the only thing you’ll wait for during movie night.

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Toshiba 49-Inch Fire TV

If you plan on spending your summer days binging your favorite shows, check out the Prime Day deal on electronics like the  Toshiba 49-inch Fire TV. It has built-in features like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video that make it easier to stream your favorite movies and shows. Plus, this smart TV can connect to other devices like smart cameras, lights, and more to help you set up the perfect home theater for you and your family.

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Apple AirPods with Charging Case

One of Apple’s newest gadgets, AirPods, has a slick carrying case that doubles as a charger. The Apple AirPods with Charging Case keeps your earbuds safe and full of juice whenever you need them on your commute, at work, or at the gym. 

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Kindle 7 Tablet

Prime Day usually means serious discounts on Kindle tablets like the Fire 7. Last year, the Fire 7 tablet sold for under $30, so we’re predicting another serious discount. These tablets can stream movies, browse the web, and of course, access your Kindle library for books and audiobooks. 

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Proscenic Robot Vacuum Cleaner

The Proscenic Robot Vacuum Cleaner might be the smartest vacuum you’ll ever meet. If you’ve ever wanted a robot vacuum cleaner, Prime Day is your chance. You can control this vacuum cleaner through an app or Alexa to set “no-go” zones, schedule cleanings, and more. It even doubles as a mop!

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Prime Day Deals on Security Cameras
Petcube Bites 2 

The Petcube Bites 2 pet cam is no ordinary indoor camera. This puppy has built-in Alexa capabilities and a treat launcher to keep your pets on their toes. Watch your furry friends from your phone with the 160-degree view in night vision and clear 1080p resolution. 

Check Price on Amazon

Arlo Pro 2 Security Camera System

The Arlo Pro 2 cameras are tiny but powerful, and they’re under $300 for Prime Day. These security cams are durable enough to work inside and outdoors. You can mount them to your doorstep, in the nursery, or anywhere you need a little extra surveillance. You can also use Alexa to control the cameras throughout your home. Learn more in our full Arlo review.  

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Prime Day Deals on Auto Tech
Jump&Go Portable Car Jump Starter

Don’t get stranded anymore with the portable Jump&Go Portable Car Jump Starter. This is another Prime Day launch we want to keep our eyes on. This is a great gadget for anyone who has terrible luck with their car or wants to be prepared for long road trips. 

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iOttie One-Touch Car Mount

Distracted driving is never a good idea. So instead of fiddling with your phone for directions or texts, mount your phone on your dashboard. The iOttie Car Mount has built-in Alexa abilities. It only takes one touch to make a call, get directions or check the weather. 

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Prime Day Deals on Medical Tech
Etekcity Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor

If you need to check your blood pressure regularly, you might want to check out deals on the Etekcity Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor. This Prime-member exclusive has a slick, clear digital display, irregular heartbeat indicator, and a USB charger that makes home healthcare a little easier. 

Check Price on Amazon

Prime Day Deals for Babies and Toddlers
Skip Hop Dream & Shine Toddler Sleep Trainer

The Sleep Trainer Alarm Clock is a great gift for parents with restless toddlers. The cloudy cuties glow different colors to show your child when it’s time for bed and when it’s okay to wake up. You can play lullabies and white noise from the speakers, as well as adjust a timer for naps.  

Check Price on Amazon

The post Get Ready for Prime Day 2019 appeared first on SafeWise.

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SafeWise by Hillary Johnston - 2w ago
SafeWise News Update: Two Shakers Rattle California

 July 9, 2019

Two back-to-back earthquakes in California have sent people scrambling for earthquake emergency supplies and survival tips. SafeWise wants to provide helpful resources to everyone impacted by the earthquakes. We’ve reviewed this quick earthquake resource guide, and these four tips can help keep you and your loved ones safe before, during, and after an earthquake. 

If you casually pass over tip sheets on earthquake safety because you don’t think they apply to you, stop scrolling now and pay attention. Earthquakes are no longer a California thing. Today, 48 states are at risk for major earthquakes, threatening nearly half of Americans. The Pacific Northwest, Utah, and California have braced for years for their own next “Big One.”

An earthquake is one natural disaster that knows no season. It can strike without warning at any time. Are you prepared? We compiled a list of four safety tips for you to follow.

1. Earthquake-proof your home

It’s not an earthquake that poses direct danger to a person; it’s the effect of the ground shaking. Consider this: of the nearly 12,000 hospitalizations during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, most injuries resulted from objects falling and striking people. Similarly, in last year’s 6.0-magnitude earthquake in Napa, Calif., a TV falling on a woman’s head caused the only fatality.

The first step to setting up an earthquake-proof home is to secure your belongings. Never assume “It’s too heavy; it won’t move.” A major quake can send a refrigerator through your wall and down the street. The Earthquake Country Alliance website provides a detailed list of how to secure your space. A good rule of thumb is to secure anything that is above knee level: bolt bookcases to the wall, putty small objects to the shelf, and latch cabinets shut.

2. Form an action plan

Though the shaking lasts seconds, an earthquake’s damage can affect you for a lifetime. What’s your disaster plan if an earthquake hits?

The first step in your plan should be identifying a safe place in each room of your house. This is the most secure spot to seek cover from during an earthquake, like the dining room table or an interior wall free of heavy objects. There is no time during a tremor to hunt for the best place to take cover — pick those spots before a disaster happens and practice using them now.

Coordinate with family members on an evacuation plan and the location of emergency supplies. Yes, having emergency supplies in your home is absolutely necessary: the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it would take them three days or longer to aid victims of an earthquake. The least you should have on hand is a 72-hour kit for each person in your home. Tuck copies of essential documents — like IDs and insurance policies — into the kit, as well as an inventory of things you want to grab if you have to leave the house immediately, like pictures and hard drives.

You may not be home during an earthquake, so learn the disaster protocol at your office and child’s school as well. Coordinate an out-of-state emergency contact who can relay information if local phone lines are down and there’s no way for your immediate family to get in touch with one another.

3. Practice drop, cover, and hold

If you’re in an earthquake, remember the drop, cover, and hold method:

  • Drop to the ground on all fours. You will not injure yourself from falling over in this position, and staying low keeps your internal organs relatively safe from flying objects.
  • Cover yourself. Get under a steady piece of furniture, like a table or a desk. If no furniture is around, seek cover by dropping against an interior wall that is away from windows, mirrors, or tall furniture and cover your neck and head with your arms. Note that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention no longer recommends taking cover in a doorway during an earthquake because, in modern houses, doorways are not the strongest part of the home.
  • Hold your position. Grab onto the table leg and be prepared to move with it if the earthquake shifts the furniture.
4. Protect your home post-tremor

The moments after an earthquake are critical. Aftershocks — the smaller quakes after a larger quake — are likely to happen, so you’re not out of the disaster zone yet.

Seismic events trigger fires. The fires after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake branded the tragedy one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. During a quake, power lines fall, electrical wiring becomes damaged, and appliances break. If there is any damage to your home’s wiring, shut off the main breaker and keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Damaged utilities can cause a deadly gas leak. If you suspect a gas leak (signs include a pungent odor, the sound of gas leaking, or a spinning meter), shut off the main valve at your gas meter. Notify authorities of a gas leak, leave the house immediately, and do not re-enter until a professional deems your home safe.

Immediately clean hazardous spills. During a quake, medicine falls off of counters, cleaning solutions fall out of cupboards, gas cans tip over, and garden chemicals spill. Open windows for ventilation and start mopping up nasty chemicals before they mix.

With an earthquake, the question is not if, but when. Prepare for the worst and plan for the next emergency immediately. Share these tips with your loved ones to keep them safe.

The post Earthquake 101: 4 Tips to Keep You Safe appeared first on SafeWise.

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Error: Please add at least one "Anchor" component

Like any home improvement, a home security system can be a job for the pros or a weekend warrior. And home security companies are making installation easier than ever to tackle on your own. Most DIY home security systems use stickers to install basic equipment, but things like security cameras or video doorbells require some basic skills with a drill.

Are you up to the task? You might choose a DIY home security system installation over a professional one if you:

  1. Want to save some money
  2. Are aware of your home’s security vulnerabilities
  3. Want a system installed on your time frame
  4. Are comfortable DIYing
  5. Live in a hard-to-reach area
  6. Want to move your system
  7. Plan to add to your system over time
1. You Want to Save Some Money

It costs to have an installer do the work for you. If you install your home security system with your own two hands, you could save between $100 and $300. That’s extra room in your budget to buy a smart lock, invest in an outdoor camera, or reward your hard work with a spa day. What you do with the savings is up to you.

2. You’re Aware of Your Home’s Security Vulnerabilities

When a home security installer comes to your home, they’ll point out vulnerabilities on your property like that overgrown juniper bush providing cover to a potential break-in at your side door. But if you live in a third-floor apartment with one entrance or are confident you can identify potential weaknesses and fortify them on your own, a DIY system makes sense for you.

3. You Want a System Installed on Your Time Frame

We get it: waiting for an installer can be frustrating and eat into productive parts of your day. If you’ve had enough waiting around for people, you can take matters into your own hands with a DIY installed security system. You’ll have to wait for the security company to send you equipment, but you can install it within minutes of its arrival.

4. You’re Comfortable DIYing

Handy with a hammer? Proficient with power tools? You’re already overqualified to install a basic home security system. Companies like Frontpoint make it so you can install home security systems with little more than a screwdriver. Frontpoint’s systems mostly use stickers to hang basic equipment like sensors, and everything is connected wirelessly so you don’t have to run cables through your home.

For more complicated installations that require hardwiring or heavy-duty mounting—think thermostats or security cameras—you’ll need some basic electrical know-how and drill experience. If that sounds above your skill level, you can always call in a pro for a few of the more difficult tasks and do the rest yourself.

  • Quick, easy installation
  • Variety of security plans
  • Mandatory 3-year contract
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5. You Live in a Hard-to-Reach Area

If you live somewhere that service providers have a difficult time reaching, DIY installation could be your best option (as long as you have a reliable cellular connection). In those hard-to-reach locales, it can be tricky to find a time that’s convenient for you and the installer, and you’ll likely end up taking time off of work to meet them.

With DIY systems, you pick a convenient time for you to determine equipment placement, connect devices, and peel a few stickers.

6. You Want to Move Your System

Renter? Looking to relocate? If you’re sure you want a security system but not sure you want to stay put, DIY home security systems are as easy to remove as they are to install. Since you put everything up with stickers, you just remove them, use a little Goo Gone, and pack up your equipment when it’s time to go.

To reinstall, contact your home security provider and request a moving kit. Frontpoint, for example, will provide a free moving kit customized to your system so you can set it up in your new home as soon as you arrive. You don’t have to be without home security for a minute.

7. You Plan to Add to Your System Over Time

Whether you’re on a budget or just testing the home security waters, you might want to start with a basic equipment package and build from there. With DIY installation, it’s easy to add equipment as you purchase it. Instead of having a pro come install every new sensor or camera you add to your home security system, you can take a few minutes to do it yourself.

If you’ve decided a DIY installed home security system is right for you, check out our favorite DIY install alarms.

DIY Installation FAQs
What’s the difference between professional home security and DIY home security?

In home security, there are two areas that you can choose to bring in the pros or do it yourself: installation and monitoring.

Professional vs. DIY Installation

When you have a system professionally installed, the security company sends out an installer to look at your property’s needs, recommend equipment, evaluate placement, install equipment, and walk you through the system. This is a great service if you’re new to home security or aren’t sure of how to set up a system.

Since many professionally installed packages are custom designed to fit your home and property, you might not know how much they’ll cost until you get a quote. And they can cost between $99 and $299 to install depending on complexity.

A DIY installation costs you nothing. You select the equipment or equipment package you want, it gets shipped to you, and you install it with the included stickers or a few tools for devices like smart locks or video doorbells. If you have questions, you can call customer service or look at the company’s website to get answers.

Professional vs. DIY Monitoring

Professional monitoring connects your home security system with a central monitoring station where professionals watch your system for triggers, verify emergencies, and dispatch emergency personnel. We recommend professional monitoring because you can’t always be there to watch over your system. Whether you’re in a movie, the mountains, or a board room, sometimes you can’t respond to a notification.

DIY monitoring puts complete control of your system into your hands. You’ll be solely responsible to watch for triggered alarms, verify alarms, and dispatch emergency responders. Alarm systems with DIY monitoring are often inexpensive, and they’re better than nothing, but not our first choice.

What tools do I need to install a DIY home security system?

Most DIY home security systems don’t require heavy-duty tools to install since they adhere to surfaces with stickers. You’ll want a flathead screwdriver to pop off the backs of equipment to add batteries, but that’s about it.

For more involved equipment like door locks, video doorbells, thermostats, or outdoor cameras, you’ll need a little more help. Most brands we recommend have lots of tutorials and helpful customer service to walk you through those installations.

The post 7 Signs a DIY Home Security System Is for You appeared first on SafeWise.

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Like any home improvement, a home security system can be a job for the pros or a weekend warrior. And home security companies are making installation easier than ever to tackle on your own. Most DIY home security systems use stickers to install basic equipment, but things like security cameras or video doorbells require some basic skills with a drill.

Are you up to the task? You might choose a DIY home security system installation over a professional one if you:

  1. Want to save some money
  2. Are aware of your home’s security vulnerabilities
  3. Want a system installed on your time frame
  4. Are comfortable DIYing
  5. Live in a hard-to-reach area
  6. Want to move your system
  7. Plan to add to your system over time
1. You Want to Save Some Money

It costs to have an installer do the work for you. If you install your home security system with your own two hands, you could save between $100 and $300. That’s extra room in your budget to buy a smart lock, invest in an outdoor camera, or reward your hard work with a spa day. What you do with the savings is up to you.

2. You’re Aware of Your Home’s Security Vulnerabilities

When a home security installer comes to your home, they’ll point out vulnerabilities on your property like that overgrown juniper bush providing cover to a potential break-in at your side door. But if you live in a third-floor apartment with one entrance or are confident you can identify potential weaknesses and fortify them on your own, a DIY system makes sense for you.

3. You Want a System Installed on Your Time Frame

We get it: waiting for an installer can be frustrating and eat into productive parts of your day. If you’ve had enough waiting around for people, you can take matters into your own hands with a DIY installed security system. You’ll have to wait for the security company to send you equipment, but you can install it within minutes of its arrival.

4. You’re Comfortable DIYing

Handy with a hammer? Proficient with power tools? You’re already overqualified to install a basic home security system. Companies like Frontpoint make it so you can install home security systems with little more than a screwdriver. Frontpoint’s systems mostly use stickers to hang basic equipment like sensors, and everything is connected wirelessly so you don’t have to run cables through your home.

For more complicated installations that require hardwiring or heavy-duty mounting—think thermostats or security cameras—you’ll need some basic electrical know-how and drill experience. If that sounds above your skill level, you can always call in a pro for a few of the more difficult tasks and do the rest yourself.

5. You Live in a Hard-to-Reach Area

If you live somewhere that service providers have a difficult time reaching, DIY installation could be your best option (as long as you have a reliable cellular connection). In those hard-to-reach locales, it can be tricky to find a time that’s convenient for you and the installer, and you’ll likely end up taking time off of work to meet them.

With DIY systems, you pick a convenient time for you to determine equipment placement, connect devices, and peel a few stickers.

6. You Want to Move Your System

Renter? Looking to relocate? If you’re sure you want a security system but not sure you want to stay put, DIY home security systems are as easy to remove as they are to install. Since you put everything up with stickers, you just remove them, use a little Goo Gone, and pack up your equipment when it’s time to go.

To reinstall, contact your home security provider and request a moving kit. Frontpoint, for example, will provide a free moving kit customized to your system so you can set it up in your new home as soon as you arrive. You don’t have to be without home security for a minute.

7. You Plan to Add to Your System Over Time

Whether you’re on a budget or just testing the home security waters, you might want to start with a basic equipment package and build from there. With DIY installation, it’s easy to add equipment as you purchase it. Instead of having a pro come install every new sensor or camera you add to your home security system, you can take a few minutes to do it yourself.

If you’ve decided a DIY installed home security system is right for you, check out our favorite DIY install alarms.

DIY Installation FAQs
What’s the difference between professional home security and DIY home security?

In home security, there are two areas that you can choose to bring in the pros or do it yourself: installation and monitoring.

Professional vs. DIY Installation

When you have a system professionally installed, the security company sends out an installer to look at your property’s needs, recommend equipment, evaluate placement, install equipment, and walk you through the system. This is a great service if you’re new to home security or aren’t sure of how to set up a system.

Since many professionally installed packages are custom designed to fit your home and property, you might not know how much they’ll cost until you get a quote. And they can cost between $99 and $299 to install depending on complexity.

A DIY installation costs you nothing. You select the equipment or equipment package you want, it gets shipped to you, and you install it with the included stickers or a few tools for devices like smart locks or video doorbells. If you have questions, you can call customer service or look at the company’s website to get answers.

Professional vs. DIY Monitoring

Professional monitoring connects your home security system with a central monitoring station where professionals watch your system for triggers, verify emergencies, and dispatch emergency personnel. We recommend professional monitoring because you can’t always be there to watch over your system. Whether you’re in a movie, the mountains, or a board room, sometimes you can’t respond to a notification.

DIY monitoring puts complete control of your system into your hands. You’ll be solely responsible to watch for triggered alarms, verify alarms, and dispatch emergency responders. Alarm systems with DIY monitoring are often inexpensive, and they’re better than nothing, but not our first choice.

What tools do I need to install a DIY home security system?

Most DIY home security systems don’t require heavy-duty tools to install since they adhere to surfaces with stickers. You’ll want a flathead screwdriver to pop off the backs of equipment to add batteries, but that’s about it.

For more involved equipment like door locks, video doorbells, thermostats, or outdoor cameras, you’ll need a little more help. Most brands we recommend have lots of tutorials and helpful customer service to walk you through those installations.

The post 7 Signs a DIY Home Security System Is for You appeared first on SafeWise.

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