Alert 360’s Back-to-School Home Security Guide
As we head back to school, whether online or in the classroom, your home security system from Alert 360 can lend a hand. Now, more than ever, as we take steps to protect ourselves and others from the COVID virus, a flexible cutting edge home security system is very helpful. With many students learning from home or enrolled in remote learning due to COVID-19, Alert 360 indoor and outdoor video cameras make it especially easy to keep an eye on them and safe at home.
Stay Connected with Home Security and Smart Planning
Chances are, your kids are already back in school or you’re preparing to send them. This time of year, and with COVID-19 in mind, there are so many things to check off your “to do” list. Between shopping for school supplies to finding the perfect backpack, we’re here to help with your family’s back-to-school home security plan.
Whether or not you have a smart home security system or home security cameras, there are easy home security steps that can keep our families and home safe. Consider these tips when helping your family stay secure before and after school:
Keep Kids Safe After School with Home Security
Family and home security starts with having a plan especially if you have an older child who may be home alone. Make a plan today to stay connected through your security system and remote alarm monitoring or through neighbors, nearby family, and school officials. Alert 360 offers these family and home security tips to help keep kids who are home alone secure and provide you peace of mind.
• Identify a trusted neighbor and emergency contact for you and your child to reach if things don’t go as planned. In addition to a neighbor, consider a nearby relative or even a co-worker in case your child can’t reach you. Keep contact information for school representatives with you as well, such as your child’s principal or the bus/transportation department.
• Teach awareness for arriving home. Teach your child to assess your home upon arrival and before entering. If something looks off, such as a torn screen, open door, or broken window, your child should not enter and should go to a neighbor’s home and/or call you. Use a plan that makes sense for your family, but teaching a general awareness of what to look out for will help protect your child.
• Keep all doors closed and locked and teach front door safety. At Alert 360, we suggest a strict rule of never opening the door to anyone. Have children follow tips we share in our previous blog “Staying Safe When Strangers Knock” or have your child call you or a neighbor if someone comes to the door. Remind your children that even “bad” guys can look nice or impersonate professionals we trust, such as utility workers or emergency personnel. And, anyone can be convincing, with stories of lost pets or car trouble. Front door security cameras and text notifications also can help you confirm who stopped by. Doorbell cameras (or video doorbells), with two-way voice, also allow you to speak to visitors so that you appear home and aware.
• Establish a routine or schedule. When everyone knows what to expect and what’s normal, it helps increase safety. Plan together with the route home, time of arrival and check-in routine. Have agreed upon snacks, chores, or homework plans plus downtime for students to relax safely after school. In the event of an emergency or a lost child, knowing the daily route and routine can help you and the authorities.
• Schedule a check-in for peace of mind. It’s easier than ever to call, send a text or wave to your home security camera. Set a time for this check in to happen every day with your child. Homeowners with wireless security installed and an alarm monitoring app can receive notifications that show a video of a child entering the home or when a door is opened or closed.
• Consider smart locks or keyless entry. To increase security at your entry points, consider installing smart locks as part of your home security system. The keyless entry also allows you to lock or unlock a door remotely if your child forgot a key or to secure the door after entering.
• Protect sensitive areas. Home security systems can also send notifications if someone enters sensitive areas that shouldn’t be accessed when you’re not home. Off-limit and sensitive areas might include swimming pools, guns, liquor or medicine cabinets.
• Put video cameras to good use. Alert 360’s video cameras include two-way voice capabilities. This means you can keep an eye on your students and communicate if someone comes to the front door or your child needs you. Now would be a great time to schedule a home security consultation to consider ideal placement of security cameras.
• Discuss kitchen safety and more. Unfortunately, potential dangers come in many forms. When considering the safety of your children, remember hazards such as falls or burns. Discuss safe snack options and make a plan for having healthy foods available, within easy reach. Carefully consider the ages of your children before allowing heated snacks to be prepared.
• Plan for emergencies and any unforeseen situations. Keep emergency numbers by the phone, and make sure your children know your address and when to call 911. Discuss what to do during an emergency or unexpected event. Role play situations and outline steps they should take if a storm approaches, the power goes out, you get stuck in traffic, your home security alarm is activated, etc.
• Educate on your home security system. If your home is protected by a monitored alarm system, make sure your child knows what to do if the security system sounds and an alarm dispatcher calls. This time of year is also a good time to review the contact list with your alarm monitoring provider to ensure it’s up to date.
Increase Crosswalk, Bus Stop, and Neighborhood Safety
Home and family security includes neighborhood safety. Follow these tips for helping students safely get to and from school.
• Review the route to school and bus stop plan. Team with other students and parents to map out the safest route, discuss neighborhood safety, and agree on rules for staying safe. Some basics: Have your child carry your contact information, avoid empty lots or alleys, and walk in pairs or groups. Teach what to do if an adult approaches in a car or on foot. Don’t wear headphones or play games while walking or riding a bike. Bike helmets are a must, and a whistle can come in handy to attract attention if needed.
• Talk to your children about their responsibilities. Remind children that others will be watching out for them but they need to watch out for themselves too. Drivers can sometimes be distracted, so your child needs to stay alert and aware of their surroundings. For example, make eye contact with drivers before crossing a crosswalk, and avoid headphones or playing on a device along the way.
• It’s OK to be cautious. Don’t feel guilty or overprotective if you watch until your child gets safely into the school (no matter how long the drop-off line is). If something doesn’t feel right, take steps to help make you and your child more comfortable (see the next tip). Also, be aware that states vary in their notification methods, but you should have access to a local sexual offender registry. Conduct an online search or ask your law enforcement office about your area.
• Speak up and share concerns. Most schools have security measures and notification systems in place for the school day, including students’ arrival and departure times. Are school crossings adequate? Would you receive a call if your child is absent? If you have concerns about or ideas for improving security measures, visit with school administrators so they are aware. A team approach will go a long way in keeping students safe.
• Foster open communications with your kids. Remind your children that they can come to you or another trusted adult if something is making them uncomfortable. This could include bus stop bullies to an unknown adult hanging around the neighborhood.
We know that parents with remote home security options and home security cameras rest a little easier. The ability to stay connected, peek in, and receive visual verification of their children’s safe arrival provides peace of mind. However, as part of your back-to-school checklist, following these tips can help keep everyone safe, with or without a home security system.
Let Smart Home Automation Lend a Hand
As your family’s schedule changes and fall approaches, remember to adjust your home automation system if needed. Review the settings for your smart lighting, smart thermostat and, for Alert 360 customers who use our app, your “Scenes.” Remember also that you can adjust the home security notifications you receive from your home alarm system. These notifications provide reminders and allow you to see that children are safe and things at home are running smoothly. In addition, smart locks and remote garage door control are also handy home automation and security options all year round.
Schedule a Free, Home Security Evaluation
From a basic home security system to integrating home automation devices, your local Alert 360 home security company can help. Alert 360 also offers free home security consultations. In response to COVID-19, Alert 360 has taken precautions to provide uninterrupted service to customers, following CDC guidelines. In addition to free security consultations, we also offer a “Limited Touch” security sales and installation. This ensures the safety of customers during security consultations, service and installations. Find a local Alert 360 home security office near me at Alert360.com.
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