How Professionally Monitored Doorbell Cameras Improve Home Security

Installing a home security system is the first step to ensuring you’re doing everything you can to protect your home or business. But there are also ways to customize your system with SmartHome upgrades to design the perfect setup that suits your needs. Adding a smart doorbell camera is a simple and affordable way to add another layer to your security.

Doorbell Cameras Deter Burglars

Generally, installing security surveillance cameras in your home can reduce the likelihood of thieves breaking in. Which in turn can add a positive impact on neighborhoods and communities overall.

A visible doorbell camera can also act as a deterrent. Think of it like your security yard sign that lets any would-be intruders know your home has monitored security. On one hand, you’d be notified of any suspicious activity happening on your cameras. And should a crime occur you would have video evidence of proof.

Doorbell Cameras Integrate With Home Security Systems

Modern doorbell cameras can be integrated into home security systems, offering an added layer of security. The camera will not only monitor and record activities but also send you notifications. These notifications allow you to take the next step with your SmartHome automation. For instance, let’s say you’re away from home and a housemate forgets their key. Simply unlock the door from your mobile device when you confirm they’ve reached the front door.

Cameras And Motion Sensors Work Together

Buying and installing a camera that features a motion detector ensures you know when a visitor reaches your front door. You’ll still get a notification even if they do not press the doorbell. Other features that help to enhance home security include the two-way audio that supports conversation with visitors and full-color night vision that keeps you feeling safe at night.

Cameras Link To Law Enforcement

When a doorbell camera integrates with your monitored security system, law enforcement authorities will be notified if someone breaks in. Which in turn will allow them to respond quickly. And in case of theft, the security footage will serve as proof of the crime, a factor that can help to identify the intruder.

For More Security And Home Automation Tips And Solutions, Stick With Boyd & Associates

A doorbell camera offers much more than just security benefits. It can also help increase the value of your home and let you screen and speak to any visitors, no matter where you are. And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

 

Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

The internet is a great place to hang out. Not only can all sorts of information be found there (some correct, some not so much) but it’s also a great way to stay in touch with friends and family.

Sadly, the internet is also a dangerous place to hang out – particularly for children.

Cyberstalkers, child molesters, inappropriate content, cyberbullies, and more are lurking, waiting for an opportunity to reach out to your children. Such an experience could possibly damage a child for the rest of their life.

Here are a few tips to keep your children away from online dangers:

Place your computers in a common area of the house

Don’t allow kids to have a computer in their room. You’d be surprised by how much the mere presence of a parent who may or may not be looking over a child’s shoulder while they use the computer can keep a child in line. They have no way of knowing if your eyes actually are good enough to see across the room, now do they? Make sure the computer’s screen is visible from other parts of the room and isn’t turned toward a wall.

Spend time online with your kids

Make browsing the web a family thing (just like watching television was for most of us when we were kids.) Hang out with your kids and help them with their homework online, searching for information together. Also, make sure to put the Google search filter on “safe.”

Have a conversation with your children

Kids are getting their first internet-connected gadgets at young ages. So, start talking to them early. Warn them about malware, dangerous websites, and sex offenders. Let your kids know you’re looking out for them, speak honestly with them, and listen. After all, if it’s just you talking, it’s not a conversation. It’s a lecture. And no one likes a lecture.

Know your children’s passwords

If you have a younger child, create an account for them in your own name to avoid exposing your child’s name — and so you’ll have the password. But please respect the age limitations on accounts. If a site says you should be 18 to sign up, then maybe your child should wait. Whatever your choice, though, make sure you get their passwords and warn them that you’ll be checking their accounts from time to time to make sure everything’s kosher. (Spying on your kids’ accounts without their knowledge could weaken their trust in you.)

Check your children’s browsing history

Open your child’s web browser and look for “History” to see a list of websites they have been to. Also, check the recycle bin to see if any files have been deleted. You may be surprised.

Set reasonable time and usage limits

Set rules about what your child can and can’t do when on the internet. Set time limits on their computer use. If they say they’re researching homework, maybe you don’t include that in the time limits. But, make sure they are actually using it for homework.

Set parental controls

You can’t be around all the time to monitor your children’s internet usage. One of the best things you can do to prevent your kids from visiting sites that are not appropriate to them is to set parental controls. Check with your Internet Service Provider for any parental controls, blocking, and filtering tools they may offer to make the internet a safer place for your younger family members.

For More Security and Tips and Solutions, Stick with Boyd & Associates

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

 

Safety Tips On The Road

Your bags are packed. The car’s loaded up. Your security system is set. But are you really ready to hit the road? Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or you’re getting one last fall trip in before winter, it’s always important to consider safety tips on the road. Check out our latest round-up of road trip safety guidelines to make sure your trip is as secure and enjoyable as it can be.

  1. Check Your Vehicle

Before leaving for your trip, make sure your car is ready to make the journey. No matter how far you are traveling, there’s nothing like car trouble to ruin a trip. Take your vehicle to your local mechanic (someone you trust of course!) to ensure that everything is working properly. That includes tires, battery, belts, fluids, and air conditioner. If you plan to travel to a hot climate, or plan to tow a boat or trailer, check to see if you need motor oil with a higher viscosity.

  1. Be Mentally and Physically Prepared

When planning a vacation that will require a lot of driving, it is essential you get a good night’s sleep. Statistics show driving while drowsy is a contributing factor to over 100,000 accidents every year. Always use caution on the road. And if you’re traveling with multiple people, plan to switch drivers every few hours if possible.

  1. Bring a Safety Kit

Every car should have a safety kit in case of an emergency. It is hard to predict everything you may need, but some basic supplies include water, warm blankets, a flashlight, jumper cables, flares, a tool kit to change a tire, a first aid kit, snacks, and a phone charger.

  1. Make Sure Your Home is Secure

You might not think safety tips on the road would include the place you’re leaving from. But the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not your home is protected while you’re away. Make sure you properly arm your home security system. You might even consider asking a friend or neighbor to check in on it. And if you utilize home automation features like surveillance cameras, you can check in on your property no matter where you are!

  1. Buy a Roadside Assistance Plan

Unfortunately, no matter how much you prepare, accidents can happen. This is why a roadside assistance plan works perfectly as a little extra insurance. This is especially important if you plan to travel a far distance. Whether you purchase it from a travel company, or your dealer, be sure you can always get help when you need it most.

  1. Secure the Backseat

Traveling with children or pets? Ensure that child safety locks are activated for doors and windows that could be within reach. If you’re also packing luggage in the same seating area, make sure it is also secure and not at risk of injuring passengers. Look around for any potential choking hazards as well. And if you’re utilizing car seats, always read the instructions for proper installation.

  1. Pack the Vehicle Strategically

When packing the vehicle, make sure heavy items are secured first. When the car is traveling at high speeds, everything in the car is as well. You wouldn’t want anything heavy to hurt someone if you need to slam on the breaks. A packed-to-the-gills car can also limit your ability to see out of all of your mirrors. Be sure you have clear visibility of other drivers before hitting the road.

  1. Adjust Your Posture

As the driver, make sure you are sitting in an upright position. Slouching can make you feel drowsy and uncomfortable. Many people tend to sit too far or too close to their steering wheel. To be in the proper driving position, your legs and elbows should be bent so you can exert a strong pressure onto the brake and so you have adequate leverage to easily to turn the wheel. Plus, who wants to have a sore back on vacation?

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Breaks

Everyone is in a rush to start their vacation but that is no reason to forego breaks. Stop at a rest stop or switch drivers every two hours. Drinking water will also make you more alert and force you to take regular bathroom breaks. It’s tempting to skip meals, but you should always make sure you’re taking proper care of your body to have enough energy for the trip.

  1. Avoid Disruptions

It may be hard to control your crying two-year-old in the backseat, but it is important to limit any other distractions when possible. If you’re traveling with a pet, get them active before you hit the road to tire them out. A little advance planning may be all it takes. Timing your departure to coincide with your infant’s or toddler’s nap schedule can be good for all of you!

For More Home Security Tips and Solutions, Stick with Boyd & Associates

Take the time to prepare for more than just your destination before you leave on your family road trip. Secure the car and the kids, and make sure you’re prepared to handle a few bumps in the road. Just a friendly reminder to keep your family safe and always make smart driving decisions!

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

Fire Safety Tips For Homeowners

When you’re a homeowner, your home should feel like the ultimate place of safety and security. But sometimes, accidents can happen. House fires in particular can always pose a dangerous threat. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 358,500 homes experience a structural fire each year, and FEMA reports that more than 3,000 Americans are killed in fires annually.

You might think that taking the normal baseline precautions are enough but remember that even a small fire can spread within minutes. Beyond that, it can take more time to escape your home than you think. Take a look at these fire safety tips to help prevent a fire and stay safe in the event of an emergency.

Cooking

FEMA also reports that the top three causes of fires in homes are cooking, heating equipment, and electrical malfunction. When cooking especially, there are a few simple safety steps to be mindful of in the kitchen:

  • Ensure that the burners and stove are always turned off when you are finished cooking
  • Be especially careful when cooking or frying with oil and grease
  • Make sure that all clothing and other combustible materials stay far away from open flames

Additionally, you can take preventative action with our fire detection systems, which can alert you when burners are remained on.

Heating

Any risks with your home’s heating system will change depending on your own specific situation. If you use conventional gas heating, it’s a good idea to have annual inspections to ensure everything is working properly. Plus, you want to check for any gas leaks and the potential risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Other factors to consider include:

  • Make sure there are at least 3 feet of clearance between space heaters and any flammable objects
  • Ensure wood-burning heaters and fireplaces are properly maintained and cleaned on a regular basis
  • Always check the wiring on any electronic heaters to make sure there is no damage

Watch your Candles

Candle safety seems like a no-brainer, but you can never be too careful! When using candles, be smart about their placement. Never leave an open flame unattended or near children. Extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Appliances and Furniture

Be aware of the way that you choose to decorate and furnish your home. In general, furniture can catch fire very quickly. Take special care with placing furniture near heat sources. Electrical malfunctions account for about 6% of residential building fires. It is important to check electrical cords and to replace them if they are damaged, especially if you’re using outlets that are near your furniture or curtains.

Utilize Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are one of the best ways to prevent house fires. But, they’re pretty useless if you don’t know if they even work. Ensuring that your smoke detectors are working properly is a huge part of ensuring your safety. Check that you have a smoke detector in every room in which people sleep and outside of the sleeping area. Test the detector once a month by pushing the test button until it beeps. If your smoke detector needs a new battery or is malfunctioning, take care of it as soon as possible. Smoke detectors older than 10 years need to be replaced and batteries older than six months should be changed as well. If you ever hear the fire alarm, it is important that you immediately leave your home.

Invest in Fire Extinguishers

In the event that a fire does occur, you should be prepared to handle it. Fire extinguishers are easy to store in the kitchen to help contain any small accidental outbreaks. Make sure that you purchase one. Only one in four Americans have a fire extinguisher in their household, but it’s truly a necessary item to stop minor fires before they spread. Ensure that the fire extinguisher is up to date and working properly. Familiarize yourself with PASS (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep) on how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Develop an Escape Plan

Aside from fire prevention, it’s always important to know what to do should the worst occur. If you find yourself in the midst of an active house fire, you don’t want to panic and make a mistake. Creating a fire escape plan is very important and will allow you to be ready in case a fire ever does occur. Identify all possible escape routes from your home and establish a meeting place outside, a safe distance from your house, with your family. Conduct your own fire drills, both during the day and at night, so you’re never caught off guard in an emergency.

For More Home Security Tips and Solutions, Stick with Boyd & Associates

At Boyd & Associates, monitored CO and fire prevention systems are linked to our central monitoring. That means we can summon appropriate help when an alarm goes off, whether you are home or not, even if the security alarm is not armed. Monitoring is especially important in cases where occupants are not capable of responding appropriately to a traditional alarm. Such as the elderly or disabled individuals, children, individuals already overcome by the effects of CO or smoke, and pets in an otherwise empty house. Firefighters recommend placing one monitored smoke/CO detector in every bedroom and living space.

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

Do I Need Fire Alarm Monitoring?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. Fire Departments respond to a house fire every 86 seconds, or more than 1,000 fires in U.S. homes each day.

While a fire monitoring system cannot necessarily prevent house fires, it does offer early detection due to photoelectricity and heat sensors. Not only can this increase your chance to get your family out safely, getting the fire department there quickly can minimize the damage to your home. These monitoring systems offer several very important benefits to home fire safety, including:

Fire Alarm Monitoring Ensures Immediate Action

A fire alarm monitoring system guarantees that any signs of a fire are immediately identified. This is particularly important since a fire can spread through a house in only minutes. Fires that start while residents are asleep or when no one is home can be especially dangerous. Fire alarm monitoring with Boyd & Associates ensures the earliest detection possible, and monitoring ensures that the authorities are quickly dispatched. It is also important to have your CO alarm monitored, too. As an odorless, colorless gas, Carbon Monoxide often goes undetected unless an alarm sounds.

Special Needs Residents

When Boyd & Associates receives an alert that the fire alarm monitoring system has detected signs of a house fire, fire responders are dispatched to the location as soon as possible. If anyone living in the home is physically impaired or elderly, firefighters are informed by the monitoring service, which maintains information about the residence, to help make sure all family members get out safely.

Leave it to the Professionals

When reacting to a fire in your home, every second counts. A fire alarm monitoring system ensures that you can focus on following your family’s fire escape plan to get everyone out as quickly as possible. Rather than calling authorities yourself as you would need to do with a traditional smoke alarm, a monitored system does that step for you, resulting in an earlier notification and a faster response.

In need of fire alarm monitoring? Boyd & Associates provides fire monitoring solutions to ensure your home security is covered. Talk to us today to learn more.

Protect Yourself From Bluetooth Hackers

Many people believe that being hacked is not easy and unfortunately this is not true. Many people also believe they will not be hacked because they do not have any essential information, but this is false as well. A hacker can find out more than you would think just by hacking into your cell phone. Be cautious and protect yourself from hackers by following these safety tips:

Protect Your Home Devices From Hackers

Turn Off Your Wi-Fi And Bluetooth

Hackers can see if you keep these features on your phone at all times. The reason why this is important is that they could view what networks you have connected to before and can spoof them and trick your phone into connecting to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices that hackers carry around. Once in control of your device, hackers can bombard your device with malware, steal data, or even spy on you.

Use Two-Step Authentication

Many major internet websites will provide a login option for two-step authentication. Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a few of these companies that will ask you for a secret code that is sent through text message to your cell phone, to log into your account. This is a great form of protection because even if someone manages to guess your password, it would be impossible to log in without having full access to your phone.

Create A Smart Password

Consider using various characters and numbers sporadically throughout your password. Make sure this is something you will be able to remember. The more unique your password is, the less likely someone will be able to guess it.

Guard Your Home Wi-Fi

Setting up your home Wi-Fi system is an important way to stay protected. First, change the password to the Wi-Fi network. Do not continue to use the random password that is written on the side of your router. When asked what type of security encryption standard you would like to have for your network, choose WPA-2.

Do Not Hide Your Wi-Fi Signal

If your home router asks to “Hide The SSID”, click no. This means that all your devices will always be looking for a new network to join. It could also mean that you are joining networks that are not safe.

Protect Your Bluetooth Devices From Hackers

Scammers gain access to cell phone users by hacking into your cell phone using Bluetooth. To protect yourself consider these tips:

Create A Good Password

To prevent your Bluetooth from being hacked, always use a minimum of eight characters in your pin.

Use “Not Discoverable” Setting

Switch Bluetooth into “not discoverable” when you are not using it.

Be Cautious Of Other Devices

Do not accept any pairing requests from any unknown devices. This is especially important because this is how a hacker gains full access to your cell phone including calls, texts, pictures, credit card information, and any other important information your phone contains.

Be Aware Of Ways To Get Hacked

Familiarize yourself with these terms hackers and security experts use when identifying hacking instances:

  • Bluejacking: This is one of the most common ways that people are being hacked. This is when a hacker searches for discoverable devices around them and sends spam in the form of a text. This method is usually harmless but is more annoying than a significant security issue. This method is specifically used for different types of spam messaging and does not give hackers access to your phone or its contents. The best way to handle this mode is to ignore messages if you receive them. If you keep your Bluetooth setting on “non-discoverable” then you should not have any problems with this form of hacking.
  • Bluesnarfing: This type of hacking can lead to a hacker gaining access to your private information on your smartphone. A hacker could potentially purchase software that allows them to request information from your device. It is possible for this to happen when you are set to “invisible” or “non-discoverable”, but it is much less frequent due to the time, effort, and money needed to complete this type of hack.
  • Bluebugging: If a hacker uses bluebugging, then they have received full access to your cell phone. They can see all your photos, apps, contacts, texts, and phone calls. This type of hacking is only feasible with older phones with outdated firmware. Newer smartphones are less likely to have this happen because of constant security updates.

While your wireless security system protects your home and those within it, it doesn’t necessarily protect the software within your home. Be smart when using your Bluetooth devices so that they are not vulnerable to a hacker waiting to prey on your network. Take the time to avoid being an easy target for a hacker.

For More Security And Home Automation Tips And Solutions, Stick With Boyd & Associates

If you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

 

Summer Grilling Safety Tips

It’s warming up outside, which means we’re about to get elbow-deep in BBQ season. Along with fun summer days and lazy summer evenings are family nights grilling delicious food and enjoying one another’s company. All this talk of BBQ also means it is time to talk BBQ safety. Because while backyard grills may be commonplace, that does not mean they are without their own set of safety issues. Grill safety starts with a sprinkling of vigilance and a side of precaution.

Here are 7 grilling safety tips to keep your summer grilling season as safe as it is delicious:

  1. Read Your Owners Manual

We know — no one likes to read the manual. Especially for a grill, which seems self-explanatory, right? Turn it on, cook the meat.

This is one manual you should read. Every grill works a little differently, and you need to understand specific usage for your new backyard tool to ensure grill safety. Also, if you are assembling your barbecue, you’ll want to be extra careful that you don’t miss anything. You really, really do not want a leftover screw from this project.

  1. Prepare for Flames

Charcoal or propane, your grill uses raw fire. Chances are you won’t have a problem, but you should always be prepared for a rogue flame to jump out. Always keep a fire extinguisher close at hand to stay safe.

Additionally, you should keep basic burn first aid in your house and make sure it’s easily accessible. And never, ever leave your grill unattended. Fire is fire, no matter how contained it appears to be.

  1. Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke

Smoke lends great flavor to food, but it can also be dangerous. There is the carbon monoxide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) to consider, not to mention the fact that a coughing fit from breathing in a bit too much smoke can cause serious distraction. Our tip: Step away (but don’t look away!) from your grill while the food cooks.

  1. Ventilation is your Friend

When it comes to both fire and smoke, ventilation is the name of the game. Install your grill in an open area, away from high-traffic spots, roof overhangs and combustibles like plants and leaves. Bonus points if you keep your grill more than a few feet from the house. (A good breeze can whip sparks around like you wouldn’t believe.)

  1. Gear Up

If you love your grill, you’ll love this grill safety tip: Get the right gear. That’s right, you’re going grill accessories shopping. A spark-resistant grilling apron, long-handled tools, a grill mat, flame-retardant mitts, and other gear can keep you, your family, and your home safe.

  1. Keep it Clean

A clean grill means a safer grill, since fat and grease buildup can be a fire hazard. Make sure you always scrape off the grates and clean other surfaces of the grill before using.

  1. Stay Close

It’s tempting to fire up the grill and then head back inside to watch the big game, you’ll be breaking one of the most obvious the rules of Grill Safety 101. Stepping away from the grill increases the risk of fire or injury to kids or pets that may be playing nearby. So, stay close, while making sure the kids and pets keep a safe distance.

Are Propane Grills Safe?

Though we have given you a slew of BBQ safety tips, we don’t mean to give you the wrong impression. Propane grills are very safe when you’re using them properly. We are not here to cause undue stress over your next grilling party. Just make sure you know how your grill works and take all the right precautions, and you’ll have a great time—and an even better meal.

How to Put Out a Grill Fire

No matter how safe your grill is, we advise all BBQ enthusiasts to know how to put out a grill fire. Here’s what to do:

  • Turn off the knobs. (If you can reach them safely.)
  • Smother the fire with sand, salt, baking soda, or some other non-flammable material. (Never put water on a grease fire!)
  • Put the lid over the flames.
  • If the fire is still raging after about 30 seconds, use the fire extinguisher on the flames.

For More Security and Home Automations Tips, Stick with Boyd & Associates

If you are looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

Happy grilling!

This Holiday Season Porch Pirates Don’t Stand A Chance


Never Miss Activity at Your Door


No matter where you’re at, you can see who’s at your door before opening it. Simply check your notifications and talk with visitors using two-way voice communication. This lets you protect yourself and your family from inside while also keeping an eye on delivered packages and other belongings at your front steps while you’re away.


Virtual Keypad App Doorbell Support


The Virtual Keypad app ensures that you’ll be able to check in on your home whenever you’d like. Any time motion is detected or the doorbell is pressed, you’ll receive a notification and be able to monitor who’s approaching with 1080P precise clarity, 180-degree field of view, and Pinch-to-Zoom technology for a closer look.

Perks of Having a Security System for Your Business

Perks of Having a Security System for Your Business

Because of your rigorous planning and plenty of hard work, your business is doing great. But like any proud owner, you want it to get better. Adding a security system can bring all kinds of perks to your enterprise for you, your employees and your customers. Read more