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Harness Technology to Stay Safe, Frugally

From Smoke Sensors to 'Grannycam,' A Look at Affordable

Security Systems

By Gabe Goldberg
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, June 21, 2008; Page F01

Modern living sometimes seems threatening. It's tempting --but impractical -- to live in a fireproof underground concrete bunker with armed guards nearby.

Aboveground, in the real world, security systems can be a comfort, but expensive installation and traditional monthly monitoring costs of $30 or more are sometimes daunting.

However, new technologies and ways to communicate can keep you safe while possibly even saving money.

In addition to gadgetry, Lt. Ed O'Carroll, assistant commander of the Fair Oaks police station in Fairfax County and former president of the Virginia Crime Prevention Association, strongly recommends a layered approach to home security.

"Homeowners should not just do one thing," he said, but should use many means "to best protect home and personal property from attack."

And, he added, "any electronic device should be reinforced by ood community/neighborhood involvement -- eyes and ears f neighbors."

He also suggested that systems have reliable backup in case of ervice delivery interruptions, such as a cut phone line. Wireless backup is suitable," he said, and "we have made recommendations such as burying phone lines to reduce the possibility of tampering."

As examples of the expanding choices available, here's a closer look at four systems that use modern options -- high tech and low, centrally monitored or able to notify you directly if there's a problem…

A simple, self-installed intrusion-detection technology comes from LaserShield, based in Las Cruces, N.M. Its starter kit, costing $199.99, includes a master alarm unit, an infrared wireless detection unit, two key-chain remotes and a device to prevent animal-triggered false alarms. Only the master unit needs a telephone connection; units have panic buttons and battery backup.

The master alarm can monitor up to 12 detection units, which can be as much as 150 feet away and separated by walls or floors. Used without a monitoring service, LaserShield operates as a local intrusion and panic-button alarm. Monitoring costs $19.99 a month with a $25 activation fee, though discounts are often available. Optional add-ons support alternatives to telephone notification: Cyclone, for cellphone support, costs $229.99 plus $10 per month for monitoring; Sparrow, for broadband connection support, costs $129 plus $10 per month for monitoring.

10 Inexpensive Ways to Increase Your Apartment's Security
  Good security for folks who live in apartments, town homes or college dorm rooms doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. These ten inexpensive ideas can help give you piece of mind and make you less vulnerable to break ins.

1) Secure all windows. Make sure to include bathroom windows and other small windows. Place a broom stick or other similar device in the track of a sliding glass door. Cost: $2.00

2) Never depend on a chain lock to secure your doors to the outside. Always install a good deadbolt lock. The key cylinder should be changed within the lock if the keys are lost and they clearly identify the location of your building or apartment. This should also be done if the apartment was formerly occupied and you are the new tenant. Refrain from having too many extra keys made - and never lend out the master key. Cost: $40.00

3) In addition to locks, install a "peephole" (wide angle viewer) on your outside doors. Use your peephole to "interview" strangers at your door. Be extremely cautious of any salespeople or workers (from the cable company or gas company, for example) that show up without you having called them. Ask all salesmen, solicitors, and information seekers to produce valid credentials (drivers license and employee ID) and call the company to double-check their legitimacy. Any stranger who does not cooperate should be reported to the police as a potential threat. Cost: $35.00

4) If your building has an intercom system, use it wisely. If you do not know the person who rang your intercom, do not "buzz" them in - even if they claim to be a friend of another tenant. Awkward perhaps, but you can always say "I'm sorry but I don't know you so I cant let you in." Cost: Free

5) Cooperate with all other tenants in keeping the outer main doors locked. Do not permit strangers to enter the building as you are leaving or entering. The main entrance front door is a critical area for security. There must be a building policy that requires all nonresidents to be screened outside the main entrance door by the tenant who is being visited to prevent unauthorized access. Cost: Free

6) Never place your full name on the identification slot, mailbox, or in the telephone directory. Use first and middle initials. For example, use "J.T. Smith" rather than John Taylor Smith. Also, do not leave messages or notes for the postman, paperboy, or manager advertising your absence. Have deliveries picked up by a friend or neighbor while on vacation. Cost: Free

7) Be careful in carport areas. Lock your car. When entering or leaving, look around and make sure that no one is lurking in the area. If you do see someone loitering, leave immediately and notify the manager and/or the police. If there is a storage compartment in the carport, don't place valuable items in them. Do not expect your items in these storage areas to be very secure. Use a good quality padlock and have well-secured hasp attachments. Cost: $5.00

8) Makes sure the lights work.  Security lighting is an important aspect of security in the carport, as well as the stairwell, alley, recreation room, patio, and other common areas - both inside and out. Bulbs should be of adequate wattage and burned-out bulbs should be replaced promptly � don�t wait for building maintenance to do it � take charge yourself. Cost: $2.00

9) Avoid using the laundry room in your apartment complex by yourself, especially at night. Develop a buddy system. A well organized and active tenant association is always very helpful, as are active Neighborhood Watch groups. Cost: Free

10) Install a motion sensor alarm. Wireless home alarm security systems like the LaserShield system require no installation and are portable when you move to another apartment or home. Motion sensors immediately detect an intruder and emit a loud siren, and can also be professionally monitored. Cost: under $200.00.

Be Safe!

21 Tips to Secure Your Home When You're on Vacation
 
Lock the door and go! That's how we all want to feel when we go on vacation. You can make your vacation more enjoyable by following these simple steps to make you're your home is secure and protected while you are away.
 
Tips for Outside the Home
 
1) Exterior Lighting. Put outdoor lighting on timers, light-sensitive photocell mechanisms, or motion detectors. You want your home to have the "occupied look" in order to deter criminals. All potential entry points such as garage, doors, windows, and basement entry-ways should be illuminated.
 
2) Keys and Locks. Don't hide keys in mailboxes, under door mats, or any other place that burglars will know to look. Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor.
 
3) Landscaping. Keep plants trimmed and below the windows and away from doors.
 
4) All doors should be locked. This includes the doors leading from the garage to the house and the basement door. Place a dowel the width of the door in the track for all sliding glass doors if you don't have track locks.
 
5) Windows. All windows should be secured to include second story windows. Dowels are good here, too.
 
6) Grass and Snow. Arrange to have your walkway and drive shoveled and plowed. Have the grass cut while you’re away. If your yard and garden are not already on a sprinkler system, set one up with timers. Two weeks in the hottest part of the summer can result in dead plants and a house that is obviously deserted. Hire a reputable lawn service and have everything trimmed and mowed while you're gone. It's a treat to come home and not have to deal with it right away.
 
7) Car in the Driveway. Ask one of your neighbors or friends to park a car in your driveway while away. This will give the appearance of someone being home. If it's your car, leave a key with a neighbor and have them move it every few days to make it look like someone is home. Make sure you store the garage door opener in a secure location inside the house; don't leave it in the car.
 
8) Store all ladders and tools and lock all storage sheds and the garage. Whoever is watching your home needs to know any services you've hired, such as the lawn service, so they will know who shouldn't be there. Thieves often disguise themselves as service people to blend in.
 
9) Home Alarm Security Systems. If you have a home alarm system that comes with yard signs or window stickers, use them! Given a choice, a burglar will go elsewhere. Systems like LaserShield that come with yard signs and stickers make it easy to make your home look secure.
 
Tips for Inside the Home
 
10) Interior Lighting. Use timers to activate inside lighting, radios, or TVs. Make it look like someone is home.
 
11) Remove Valuables from Home. If possible, remove valuables from your home and leave with a family member, trusted friend, or neighbor.
 
12) Hide the good stuff. Easily sold valuables like electronic equipment and computers should not be visible from uncovered windows. Thieves think in terms of risk to benefit ratios just like any business person. If they can't see something that they can easily convert to cash, they may move on to the next prospect.
 
13) Don't forget to set the alarm system. Make sure your caretaker has the code (or in the case of a LaserShield alarm, a wireless keychain remote) and knows how to use it. Rehearse, especially if they are unused to such a system. Also, contact the alarm monitoring company and let them know you are leaving and who has the authority to enter your home in your absence. If you don’t already have an alarm system, you can get a LaserShield wireless home alarm system which requires no installation, sets up in a few minutes and costs under $200.00. Now you will have peace of mind.
 
14) Secure important papers and valuables. Anything that cannot be easily replaced such as personal, legal, and financial records, expensive jewelry, and family photos should be stored in a secure location. Include blank checks and passports. Back up your computer, and store it with your other records. A fire-proof floor safe in a closet may work or use a safe deposit box. Last but not least, shred anything that contains ID information that won't be secured but which you don't need to retain; a clever crook only needs one set of social security numbers to steal your identity.
 
15) Turn off all unnecessary appliances and make sure everything that draws current is unplugged. Turn the hot water heater down to “vacation” setting it will save money and energy too.  Cable TV set top boxes are another energy sucker you may have overlooked.
 
16) Telephone Answering Machine. Set the telephone answering machine so that the rings do not exceed three or four. A telephone ringing for a long time many times through the day and night is an indicator that the home is empty. Do not leave a message indicating you are away on vacation! Alternatively, you can forward land line calls to your cell phone. Just because it rings doesn't mean you need to answer.
 
Tips to have others help you
 
17) Inform a Neighbor. Alert your neighbors or ask a trusted friend to keep an eye on your home. Ask them to keep an eye on your house, collect daily newspapers, collect the mail, and put garbage out on trash pickup days, etc. Nosy neighbors can be the best deterrent to break ins. Provide a spare key for emergencies if appropriate and numbers where you can be reached. Make sure they know how to work the alarm system.
 
18) Cancel Deliveries. Cancel newspaper, milk, and mail deliveries if someone is not going to collect these items on a periodic basis.
 
19) Crime Prevention and Neighborhood Watch. If your neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch program, let them know your vacation plans.
 
20) Inform Your Local Police Department. Some police departments encourage you to inform them of your vacation plans. They will increase patrols in your area and some will walk around the house looking for anything unusual.
 
21) Get a house sitter.  Especially if you plan to be away two weeks or more. For less than two weeks, a trusted neighbor's responsible teen could be perfect for taking care of pets, watering plants, putting out the garbage bins and bringing them back in, and generally supervising your home. Instead of a kennel, a house sitter may also be willing to care for your pet. Animals generally prefer being in their own territory and your dog can be counted to protect it. Take reasonable precautions to provide for your dog's well being and he will provide an efficient alarm system. (A house sitter may cost less than kenneling your pets.)
 
Bonus! 22) Check your insurance policy and make sure it is up to date. If the worst happens, you don't want to wonder if it's going to cover your losses. A copy of your household inventory should be stored with the rest of your important papers.

Be Safe!


Campus Dorm Room Security Check List
 

Going to college is one of life's greatest experiences -- fun, exciting, scary, and challenging all at the same time.  Today students have more electronics and gadgets than ever before, making them prime targets for theft.  Beyond that, students can lose months of work, notes, memories and so on which are worth far more than a $1,000 laptop computer.  Be safe and secure, talk to your student and print this check list for them to really think about what could happen and how they can stay safe and not become a victim of crime.

See What Security the Campus Offers:

  • Learn what help campus security can offer to increase your safety. Find out where they do, and don't, patrol and monitor the campus.
  • Put the Campus Security phone number in your cell phone speed dial.
  • Register your more valuable items with the campus security to make identification easy. 
  • Many campuses offer emergency phones, escorts, and shuttle services.  Find out what is available.

Be "Street Smart":

  • Stay on lighted paths on campus after dark.
  • Make sure you have a computer backup plan in place so that you don't lose all your data.
  • Let a roommate or friend know where you are going and how long you might be gone when you leave campus. 
  • Often the security for each dorm hall is lax, if it exists at all. Make sure that you keep your room locked at all times. Don't give out keys.
  • Use the buddy system -- always have at least one other person when jogging or exercising outside. 
  • Turn down the iPod  -- wearing headphones as they can seriously impair your ability to hear an attacker and avoid confrontation.  
  • Freshmen should "respectfully decline" to have their photo and personal information published for distribution to the campus community. Fraternities and upperclassmen have abused this type of publication to "target" naive freshmen.
  • Study the campus and neighborhood with respect to routes between your residence and class/activities schedule. Know where emergency phones are located. Survey the campus, academic buildings, residence halls, and other facilities while classes are in session and after dark to see that buildings, walkways, quads, and parking lots are adequately secured, lit and patrolled. Are emergency phones, escorts, and shuttle services adequate?
  • Share your class/activities schedule with parents and a network of close friends, effectively creating a type of "buddy" system. Give telephone numbers to your parents, advisors, and friends.
  • Always travel in groups. Use a shuttle service after dark. Never walk alone at night. Avoid "shortcuts".

Dorm Room and College Apartment Safety

  • Doors and windows to your dorm residence hall should be locked when you are not home. Do not lend out your key. Change your locks if a key is lost or stolen.
  • Make an investment in a dorm room or apartment alarm system, deadbolt, and other safety measures.
  • Never compromise your safety for a roommate who asks you to leave the door unlocked.
  • Dorm residents should insist that residential assistants and security patrols routinely check for "propped doors" --  day and night.
  • Do not leave your computer, iPod, identification, wallets, checkbooks, jewelry, cell phone, cameras, and other valuables in open view.  Identity theft is rampant on college campuses.
  • Program your phone's speed dial memory with emergency numbers that include family and friends, and campus security.
  • Know your neighbors and don't be reluctant to report illegal activities and suspicious loitering. 

Harness Technology to Stay Safe, Frugally
 

Harness Technology to Stay Safe, Frugally

From Smoke Sensors to 'Grannycam,' A Look at Affordable

Security Systems

By Gabe Goldberg

Special to The Washington Post

Saturday, June 21, 2008; Page F01

Modern living sometimes seems threatening. It's tempting --

but impractical -- to live in a fireproof underground concrete

bunker with armed guards nearby.

Aboveground, in the real world, security systems can be a

comfort, but expensive installation and traditional monthly

monitoring costs of $30 or more are sometimes daunting.

However, new technologies and ways to communicate can

keep you safe while possibly even saving money.

In addition to gadgetry, Lt. Ed O'Carroll, assistant commander

of the Fair Oaks police station in

Fairfax County and former

president of the Virginia Crime Prevention Association,

strongly recommends a layered approach to home security.

"Homeowners should not just do one thing," he said, but

should use many means "to best protect home and personal

property from attack."

And, he added, "any electronic device should be reinforced by

good community/neighborhood involvement -- eyes and ears

of neighbors."

He also suggested that systems have reliable backup in case of

service delivery interruptions, such as a cut phone line.

"Wireless backup is suitable," he said, and "we have made

recommendations such as burying

phone lines to reduce the possibility of tampering."

As examples of the expanding choices available, here's a closer

look at four systems that use modern options -- high tech and

low, centrally monitored or able to notify you directly if there's

a problem…

A simple, self-installed intrusion-detection technology comes

from LaserShield, based in Las Cruces, N.M. Its starter kit,

costing $199.99, includes a master alarm unit, an infrared

wireless detection unit, two key-chain remotes and a device to

prevent animal-triggered false alarms. Only the master unit

needs a telephone connection; units have panic buttons and

battery backup.

The master alarm can monitor up to 12 detection units, which

can be as much as 150 feet away and separated by walls or

floors. Used without a monitoring service, LaserShield

operates as a local intrusion and panic-button alarm.

Monitoring costs $19.99 a month with a $25 activation fee,

though discounts are often available. Optional add-ons support

alternatives to telephone notification: Cyclone, for cellphone

support, costs $229.99 plus $10 per month for monitoring;

Sparrow, for broadband connection support, costs $129 plus

$10 per month for monitoring…

Home Holiday Security Tips
 

The holidays are a special time when families and friends come together to celebrate the season. It is also the time of year where families and friends are most generous and practice the tradition of gift giving. It should be a joyous and happy time for all of us.

Unfortunately for us, home burglars view the holiday season a little differently. For them, it is a time of opportunity to burglarize your home for cash, credit cards, and all the new gifts of small electronics, computers, jewelry, and easily sold valuables. Your home offers a tempting target to pick up new items that are gift wrapped and ready to go - many with gift receipts right in the box!

So while you dream of a holiday filled with football, family and friends, thieves are thinking about your stuff.  

Here are a few tips of what criminals look for when shopping for a house to burglarize. Know what they are looking for, and take advantage of these tips so that you and your family may enjoy the holidays without incident.

  • Burglars look for an easy entry with good escape routes. Don't openly display your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window so it's easily visible from the street. It's too tempting for them to smash the window and grab the wrapped packages.
  • Burglars look for occupancy cues like outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, piled up newspapers, or advertising flyers hanging on the door knob. Use an inexpensive light timer when you are away and ask a neighbor to keep the front of your home clean of papers and debris.
  • Burglars know to look for the hidden door key near the front entrance. Don't hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to a trusted neighbor.
  • Burglars prefer to enter through unlocked doors or windows. Sliding windows that are not secure can be seen from distance. One holiday problem can occur when exterior Christmas light extension cords are run inside through a window and prevent it from being secured. Hire an electrician or handyman to install an inexpensive exterior outlet for your holiday lights.
  • Burglars look for information.  Don't post your family name on your mailbox or on you house. A burglar can call directory assistance to get your telephone number and call your home while in front of your house to confirm that you are away.
  • Don't leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages like, "You've reached the Wilson's...we're away skiing for the Christmas holiday...please leave a message." Burglars love to hear that they have plenty of time to break in and completely ransack your home.
  • Burglars appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal.  After Christmas day, don't pile up empty gift boxes from your new computer, DVD player, or stereo receiver on the street for the garbage man.  Break them down or cut them up to conceal the items better. 
  • Burglars look for unprotected homes.  Make sure you have placed your LaserShield window decals and yard signs where they can be seen.  And ALWAYS arm your LaserShield home alarm when you leave the home.
  • After a lucrative burglary, the chances of being burglarized again are increased to steal the new replacement products.  Last, but not least, fortify your home by installing solid core doors, heavy duty locks, longer screws in the lock strike plates and door hinges, and install secondary security devices on all accessible sliding windows.
How To Protect Yourself If Your LaserShield Alarm Goes Off While You Are Away
 
One advantage of LaserShield home alarm monitoring is that you will be notified by our rapid response center if the alarm is triggered, thus keeping you out of a home that may have been broken into until authorities arrive.  If you own a LaserShield System but have not activated monitoring, you can do so at any time by calling 1-800-ALARM-55.
 
We recommend you do not approach a violated property until after authorities have arrived and confirmed the home is safe. If you feel compelled to investigate the property, here are some tips of what to look for and how to approach it.
 
  • Do not approach the home alone. Have a neighbor go with you. The more the merrier. Make plenty of noise when you pull your car up to the house.
  • Honk the horn 3-5 times.Make sure a potential intruder knows people are coming. This will urge them to vacate the property.
  • If it's night time park the car so you can leave your headlights shining on the windows of your home.
  • If you have a remote for the garage, open it from a distance, while still inside your car. Let the garage light illuminate the interior of your parking area. You want as much light on the property as possible. Keep your car pulled back from the house at a safe distance in case you need it to vacate the scene.
  • Look for signs of forced entry from your neighbor's yard, and from a distance. Though most burglaries at a residence occur during the daytime, use a flashlight if exploring at night. Investigate from over the fence, or at an arm's length distance. Examine what you can see through windows. Is a door or window open that shouldn't be? Is a screen frame bent?  Is screen mesh torn? Are there any chisel marks around the door frame?  Is there any evidence of broken glass?  Are lights on or off and different from when you were last home?  Is a sliding door lifted off its track, or is the screen door open or different from how you left it?  Are their scratch marks around window sills and locks?  Is the door mat misplaced?  Are their foot prints or trampled plants in planter boxes or garden areas around windows?
  • When entering the home always have a group of three people. Not two. Three is too much to manage for even a pair of intruders. It is unlikely after the ruckus you've made, that an intruder remains, but, you can never be too sure.
  • Switch on every light in the house as you move through it and stay together with your group. Check under every bed, in every closet, and in every large cupboard.
  • Check your drawers and do a quick inventory of your valuables. If the house is clear and there are no signs of forced entry, look for evidence of a false alarm trigger. Did you leave party balloons in front of the motion sensor?  Did you leave a window open on a hot and windy day, with curtains blowing in front of the motion sensor?  Was anyone scheduled to enter the house for maintenance or cleaning that you forgot to instruct about the alarm?  LaserShield should not trigger a false alarm if set up and used properly.  It is important to determine the cause of the alarm.
With LaserShield's history of burglars in custody, it is more likely that an unauthorized intrusion has occurred, and the system has successfully done its job. Please do not ever attempt to apprehend or confront an intruder. Observe and report details to law enforcement and leave it to the professionals. Whatever you can remember about height, gender, age, tattoos, hair color, clothing, general appearance, car, or license plate is helpful.
Identity Theft: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself
  Identity theft remains one of the fastest growing crimes in America and has topped the FTC's list of consumer complaints for the past eight years straight.

Chances are, you know someone in your family or at work who has been a victim of identity theft. Financial costs aside, identity theft victims can spend hundreds of frustrating hours talking to credit card companies, banks, police and credit bureaus repairing the damage. Factor in that thieves may hold onto information for as long as six months before using it, and that a single stolen identity may be used up to 30 times, the full impact of the crime really begins to take shape. And unfortunately, you are guilty until proven innocent when it comes to identity theft -- adding insult to injury. You even need to protect your patient medical records at your doctor's office as they usually include your SSN. The fact is you could already be a victim of identity theft and not know it for months.

Here are the top five things you can do now to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft:

1) Place Fraud Alerts On Your Credit Report

Fraud alerts make it extremely difficult for thieves to open new lines of credit in your name. Fraud alerts have proven 82% effective in stopping unauthorized use of personal information according to LifeLock, the leading provider of identity theft protection. You can place fraud alerts with all three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion), but alerts last only 90 days and so must be renewed constantly to remain effective.

2) Order All Three Free Credit Reports

Regardless if you are a victim of identity theft, take advantage of your free annual credit reports. They are available for free at www.annualcreditreport.com .

3) Opt Out Of Unsolicited Credit Card Offers.

Opt out of pre-approved offers of credit at www.optoutprescreen.com . You may choose a five-year or permanent opt out status. This reduces the possibility of someone getting a pre-approved offer out of your mailbox and opening credit under your name.

4) Shred it and Forget it!

All read mail should go through a shredder before putting it into the trash. Most identity theft occurs the old fashioned way -- by digging through the trash. Using a shredder on all of your personal documents makes it hard for any identity thief to get your information.

5) Let The Experts Protect You.

Do the steps above to eliminate the obvious sources of identity theft, and then back it up with a service that will monitor any activity related to opening lines of credit in your name. Most of these services are available for $10-20 a month and are well worth the peace of mind you will have in knowing your credit and identity are safe. You have probably seen their services in their TV advertisements.

In the event of identity theft, LifeLock will identify, retain and pay for qualified professionals to restore your good name when you subscribe to their service. To learn more, visit www.lifelock.com and use promotion code "LSD" to save 10%.

Laser Shield FAQ's
  Untitled Document

At LaserShield DIRECT our mission is simple: to provide the best home alarm security systems with no any long term contracts or complex installation required. Our online store is designed to provide you with a safe and secure environment to find the right home alarm product for you.

The LaserShield® Instant Security System is a family of innovative, easy to use, low-cost, security system products. LaserShield® is ideal for rental homes, apartments, townhomes and condos, and is a perfect security solution for college dormitories, retail stores, offices, boats, recreational vehicles and more.

LaserShield is quick, easy and affordable:

No long term monitoring contracts - go month to month

Wireless - no complex installation in your home or office

Works with your existing phone service including cell phones and digital voice (VoIP) lines - unlike other alarm monitoring systems

Easy to turn on and off - use the easy key fob, or call into the system remotely if you forget

Click here to view our LaserShield Alarm Product Demo.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are questions and answers that will help you determine that the LaserShield® Security System is right for you.

For further questions, please contact our Customer Support Team directly at 248-946-0225 or e-mail us at support@lasershield.net. We look forward to assisting you.

SET UP QUESTIONS

How do I set the system up when it arrives?

It is amazingly easy, your LaserShield system sets up in 3 easy steps:

1. Plug the Master Alarm Unit into an AC power outlet

2. Turn on the power

3. With the touch of a button, Link the key chain remote and infra-red Wireless Detection Unit

4. Optional: Activate the optional 24-7 Monitoring and Police notification service over the web in minutes or by fax or mail.

How complicated is the programming?

Press a couple of buttons on the remote, nothing more. No complicated coding, no programming of keypad. People have trouble programming their VCRs. Keypad alarm systems make them crazy. Laser Shield does away with all that.

Where do I place the unit?

A LaserShield® unit covers a 35 by 35 foot area to detect motion. Ideally units should be placed in a corner to cover the main entrance and floor space. The coverage area spans out 110 degrees from wherever the unit is placed. Typically, whatever you can see from this position, the LaserShield® can see. An indicator light illuminates when the LaserShield® detects movement and can be used to test the units coverage. A dwelling or office with multiple entrances may require a Wireless Detection Unit. If the unit can be aimed toward a general hallway leading to bedrooms, this is always recommended. Burglars usually search bedrooms for valuables. We recommend the LaserShield® be placed on a table, counter, or bookshelf, preferably 4-6 feet off the floor, and it is always a good idea to purchase an additional sensor to protect the master bedroom. Intruders who seek to obtain small valuables and jewelry that can easily be carried often frequent the master bedroom.

I have lots of bedrooms or office suites. How many LaserShield® Systems do I need?

Most LaserShield® Systems are purchased for small apartments, condos, and office suites. They often require only the main unit for adequate protection. Subscribers with larger homes and businesses can expand their LaserShield® protection zones by purchasing additional LaserShield® Wireless Detection Units. Wireless Detection Units do not require additional phone outlets or wiring, and the system can support up to 12 total (one comes with your Starter Kit). They simply plug into an electrical outlet and communicate through radio wave technology to the main unit. Of course, in any room containing high value items or electronic equipment, we recommend additional units for protection. Main living, office quarters and bedrooms with accessible doors and windows to the outside are always smart to protect. Historically, burglars in residential situations, almost always visit the master bedroom as a primary location.

Will the system still work if there is a pet in the house?

Yes. The Laser Shield Pet Shield can be set to accommodate the movement of a dog or cat, and not trigger a false alarm. The pet blocker shield narrows the detection corridor of the motion sensor and lifts the coverage off the floor so pets can pass safely beneath the area of detection. Pets can be tricky and are known to jump on furniture and other items. We recommend pet owners refer to the user manual included the system for expert instruction on unit placement when pets are involved. Often, pet issues can be resolved by simply isolating pets from the main coverage area.

Do I need a dedicated phone line for my LaserShield® system?

No. LaserShield® plugs into your existing phone line much like any normal telephone. If the phone jack is currently occupied, LaserShield® incorporates a dual jack on the back so that both units may occupy the same phone jack eliminating the need for any additional hardware. Only the LaserShield® main unit requires a phone line, Wireless Detection Units do not.

Can the Laser Shield system be used when the resident is home?

Yes. It protects the interior, but if you have added a Wireless Detection Unit in the bedroom, the unit can be easily bypassed at the push of a single button, allowing you to move about the room. However, the panic button remains active in case of the need to summon assistance.

MONITORING

Can I operate LaserShield with only the alarm or do I have to pay for monthly monitoring?

You have the choice of setting up your LaserShield Alarm with or with out monitoring. Without monitoring, the system will emit a 105 DB alarm when the motion sensor is triggered.

If you do activate monitoring, the alarm will sound and our Rapid Response center will notify you that the alarm has beet activated and ask if you want them to call the police. If you don?t answer, the police will be called immediately.

There is no long term contract for the monitoring, no credit check, and you can cancel at any time (go month to month).

How will I be billed, and how much does it cost?

You can pay for your monthly service by American Express, Visa, Master Card, or Discover Card. LaserShield® alarm owners can subscribe in only minutes using either the internet, or by mail or fax forms included when you purchase a LaserShield®. Now you can enjoy reliable, effective protection in a security package in which you can literally buy today, and be protected tonight! Monitoring is $19.95 a month. Monitoring for VoIP phones or GSM Cellular monitoring is $29.95 a month if you use a VoIP phone line with the Sparrow Adapter, or if you choose the GSM Cellular monitoring with the Cyclone Adapter.

How quickly is the owner notified with Laser Shield?

Usually the premises is phoned within a minute. If the monitoring station does not reach you at home, they'll call you on your cell phone - wherever you are.

Warranty: Lifetime with monitoring service, without monitoring service 1 year parts and labor.

What information do I have to provide to the alarm company to activate my account?

Registering for Rapid Response Monitoring Service is fast and easy. We require a signed monitoring agreement or completed on line procedure to activate your monitoring service. You simply supply the address the unit is located, the alarm device ID number (located on the bottom of your master alarm unit), a phone number at the protected premises, additional contact numbers such as cell phone or work phone, and we recommend three parties to contact in the event we cannot reach you during an emergency (friends and family). If your city requires a police permit the alarm company will need to be notified of the registration number. Billing is provided by either debit card or credit card and is hassle free. No credit check is required.

When the LaserShield® activates whom does it call?

Upon activation LaserShield® instantly phones a multi million-dollar central monitoring station via 800 numbers, using your existing telephone line. The monitoring station currently monitors accounts throughout the United States. It is equipped with emergency power, redundant computer systems, and full backup systems. The monitoring station holds an AA rating from Underwriting Laboratories who govern, regulate, and rate alarm monitoring stations. All employees are screened, bonded, and highly trained in a variety of emergency scenarios. The Rapid Response monitoring facility handles monitoring for hundreds of thousands of alarm and fire systems across the nation, including high risk retail chains, government installations, and commercial high rise systems.

Will I be charged for a toll call when the LaserShield® sends a signal to the monitoring station?

No. LaserShield® uses a proprietary toll free 800-phone number to contact the central station.

Can the alarm be used while I am at home?

You can use the alarm while retiring for rest at home. If you have a Wireless Detection Unit in your bedroom, and additional sensors in other areas, the bedside unit/s can be bypassed while sleeping. This feature allows subscribers to move freely in the bypassed areas enabling them to access facilities at night. Even though the Wireless Detection Units are bypassed, panic buttons remain active. The panic button allows you to instantly create an alarm condition if they hear or see a sign of a potential danger or intrusion.

Who provides the monitoring service?

LaserShield system monitoring is provided by Rapid Response Monitoring - America's leading alarm monitoring company serving over a quarter of a million customers nationwide. Rapid Response is one of only a handful of monitoring facilities licensed to monitor commercial high rise fire systems in New York City. Rapid Response Monitoring Service is certified by the U.S. Department of Defense. The customers and locations they protect include over 260,000 homes and businesses including military, government, high risk commercial, celebrity estates, and major retailers. Rapid Response has been monitoring alarms nationwide since 1991. The Rapid Response monitoring facility is revered by experts in the industry. The facility is recognized as housing the most advanced alarm monitoring technology available in the business today, as well as the most thorough industry training program for its highly motivated professionals. Rapid Response is a U.L. Certified Alarm Signaling Station and holds memberships and certifications by NYFD, FM, NFPA, IQ, SIA, and the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association.

EXPANDING THE SYSTEM

Can a user buy more keychain remotes and wireless units?

Absolutely. Up to 11 more wireless detection units may be added for a total of 12.

What if I move or relocate?

Breathe easy. LaserShield® can be easily moved to a new location. Just follow the instruction procedures described in your LaserShield® user manual to power the unit down for relocation. You can update your new address using the internet or a fax form. When you plug LaserShield into your new location the service will already be ready and active! Simply test the unit with your new telephone line, and your alarm service and protection is immediately restored. And the system is expandable up to 12 Wireless Detection Unit motion sensors - plenty for you new big home!

GENERAL QUESTIONS

How does LaserShield® compare to other alarms?

LaserShield® provides the state of the art features and benefits of a conventional monitored alarm system. LaserShield® is an advanced and effective security system that does the job right. LaserShield can be activated in seconds without programming, installation, in-home sales people and technicians; and with no hassle, mess, or waiting. There are no hidden costs, no on-going service calls and costs, and Rapid Response Monitoring Service provides the most technologically advanced monitoring service available. All at a fraction of the cost of other major brands. LaserShield® is perfect for homes, condos, apartments, small offices, and retail stores.

Have their been other do-it-yourselfer alarm systems on the market before?

Yes, but first the were not plug and play like Laser Shield. They required some installation and programming. And they are far more complicated. Some require attachment of magnets to windows and doors, and you still have to string wire between detection units in some cases. Many do not come with monitoring, only a pager-alert to the owner and a siren. None have had much success and some already have been taken off the market.

What is the redundancy of the system?

The Laser Shield units includes re-chargeable backup batteries. If they run low, the system dials the monitoring station, which in turn, notifies the user.

I live in an apartment. Do I need to notify my landlord that I have an alarm?

Anyone who is legally allowed to enter your premises for the purpose of emergency or service should be notified that you have an alarm. LaserShield® offers remote control of your alarm using a secret pin number included with your unit, and any remote telephone or cellular phone. This pin number allows you to phone your premises and disarm the system by remote to allow access for maintenance or landlords.

What happens if I am away on vacation and a door or window is broken?

When the LaserShield® detects a burglar the unit activates a 105-decibel siren and immediately uses your existing phone line to signal the 24-hour monitoring service. The monitoring station will work to notify the appropriate authorities and responsible parties who can secure the premises and address the situation in your absence.

What if power is lost to my unit?

LaserShield® alarms are equipped with back up battery systems. If the system loses power and switches to emergency battery power the monitoring station will be notified and the company will contact you to inquire about the condition. Master alarm unit batteries are rechargeable. Wireless Detection Unit batteries do not recharge but last for up to five years.

How do I test the alarm?

To test the alarm, simply notify the central monitoring station by phone and inform them you are going to test the unit. After the station is notified, arm the system. After one minute move in front of the system which will trigger the alarm. Do not disarm the system using your remote control until the siren begins to ring. After the siren rings, disarm the system with your remote, and contact the central monitoring station to verify they received a signal. Always inform the central monitoring station when your test will begin and when your testing is complete. Pressing panic buttons can also create instant alarms for testing.

Will the LaserShield® System work with my answering machine?

Yes. LaserShield® is designed for use with most answering machines.

What are the features for the seeing and hearing impaired?

LaserShield® has visual and audible indicators to alert hearing and seeing challenged as to the state of the alarm, including arm, disarm, entry/exit delay, and alarm conditions

What if I lose my remote arm/disarm control?

LaserShield® can be armed or disarmed by remote using a five digit access code using any remote telephone or cellular phone. You can purchase replacement remotes by contacting the LaserShield® Customer Care department. If you lose your remote you can also use a secret emergency shutdown feature to disarm the alarm. The emergency shut down feature is different for every LaserShield® unit and is described in your instruction manual.

What if my child or someone accidentally triggers the alarm or panic button?

Immediately disarm the alarm system. The monitoring station will rapidly attempt to contact your residence before contacting the authorities. If you provide your secret passcode, the alarm will be canceled. You may also phone Rapid Response Monitoring Service directly to cancel an accidental alarm response.

RETURN POLICY

What if I want to return the system?

We fully stand behind our products with our "No Questions Asked" 30-day return policy. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your system you can return it for a full refund. Thats it - pretty straightforward and simple. But we think you will love your LaserShield System!

Medical Home Alert Systems - Frequently Asked Questions
  Ordering the Medical Home Alert Alarm System

Q. Is the Medical Home Alert service available in my area?
A. Yes - we cover the entire United States - all 50 states.

Q. What do I need to prepare to order service?
A. Ordering your medical alert system takes about 10 minutes.

Most important is the name, address, and phone number of the protected person. You will also need to consider who our monitoring center will call in an emergency. Many customers have a list of 2-3 names that may include doctors, neighbors or nearby relatives. You will also give us a "Notify" list. This list is names of people the monitoring center will call after help has been dispatched. These people may not be able to provide help, but need to know if an emergency has occurred. Your contact and medical information is kept strictly private and collected prior to activation. The Monitoring center agents have this information at the time your call is received. They can tell EMS about any conditions you may have, and even how to enter your home if your door is locked. When you order you will also need to provide your initial payment using a credit card or other approved method.

Q. How do I sign up for medical alarm service?
A. Call our toll free number, 1-800-800-0213. Our knowledgeable representatives will answer any questions you may have, and explain any information you should know about our medical alert service. Click here to learn more about Medical Home Alert.

Q. What payment options are available?
A. We accept all major Credit Cards, PayPal, and Checks through Automatic Withdrawal (ACH). Three payment options are available to suit your needs, Monthly, Quarterly and Annual.

Q. How quickly can I obtain service?
A. Medical Home Alert ships your medical alarm system the same day if the order is received by 3:00 PM Eastern Time. All systems are shipped using FedEx Ground . Ask your representative about the various shipping options available. Just call our customer service at 1-800-800-0213 to order today. Our representatives are available to answer your questions. Ordering takes about 10 minutes.

Q. Who is the medical home alert service right for?
A. Our medical alert service is right for seniors, or people of any age who are:
  • living alone, or left alone for long periods and need assistance,
  • with a medical condition that could require immediate medical attention (such as epilepsy, seizures, strokes, heart conditions),
  • recovering from a fall, hip replacement or other major surgery,
  • may have trouble speaking clearly with 911 in the event of an emergency,
  • Want to maintain their independence, be safe, and have peace of mind.

Q. What type of call buttons are available?
A. Medical Home Alert gives you the choice of wearing your waterproof call button as a necklace, wristband or clip on. Please tell your Medical Home Alert representative your choice.

Q. Who provides maintenance and is there a cost?
A. Medical Home Alert is responsible for all service and repair as well as battery replacements at no extra cost. Your medical alarm and wearable transmitters have a 100% lifetime replacement warranty. How the Medical Home Alert Alarm System Works

Q. Who installs the Medical Home Alarm System?
A. There is no complicated installation procedure with Medical Home Alert. We ship the medical alarm system to you via FedEx Ground. Our medical alarms simply plug into an electrical outlet and a telephone jack. Other companies may charge you a substantial installation fee to come plug in their system, but it is often unnecessary. Once you connect the system, you press the button to verify the connection with our Monitoring center and you are all done.

Q. Can more than one person be protected at a location?
A. Yes, extra Medical Alert Call Buttons are available for $39.95 each. The monitoring service fee remains the same. More than one transmitter can be ordered, up to three. So you can protect multiple family members living together.

Q. How will EMS access my home if the door is locked?
A. You can order an optional key lockbox that holds a key to your door. The key lockbox is a secure box which easily attaches to your home - just like a real estate agent uses when showing a home for sale. Local emergency personnel are given the combination to the lockbox so they can quickly get a key to your home in the event of an emergency. The lockbox can also be used so that family members or friends can readily get a key to your home when necessary. There is a one-time fee for the purchase of the key lockbox.

Q. Can the medical alarm go with me if I move?
A. You can easily take the system with you, whether you move permanently or just move back and forth between a summer and winter residence. It is very easy to unplug and re-install. Simply notify our monitoring center of your current location. Information can be changed anytime and as many times as needed at no charge.

Q. What if I want to return the system?
A. No problem. We have no long term contracts, so simply notify us that you want to send the system back and discontinue service. Once we receive the medical alert equipment back from you, we will cancel your service and cheerfully refund any pre-paid balances on your account.

Q. Can information be changed after a medical alarm system is ordered?
A. Yes, information can be changed anytime and as many times as needed at no charge.

Q. What if I have VoIP for my phone service?
A. Medical alarms may require a line conditioner to work with VoIP telephone service.

How to talk about getting a Medical Home Alert Alarm System

Q. How do I talk to my elderly family member about getting them a medical alert system? What if they don't want one?
A. After over 30 years of providing service to seniors around the country, we have found that most seniors welcome having a medical alert system. They like the control and independence it provides them, and the peace of mind it gives to family members. We also find that it works best if you order a medical alert system and present it to them as a gift - it then becomes easy for them to accept your generosity and concern.

Q. How do I talk to my family members about getting a Medical Home Alert system, and about paying for it?
A. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member, the decisions often fall on your shoulders. It is hard for you to get everyone to agree on anything, especially where money is concerned. Remind the other family members that over 68% of seniors will suffer from a fall in their own home, often with tragic consequences. You do not want to take the risk of having an emergency situation where your senior loved one cannot get immediate help. Our subscription fee of $29.95 a month is less than $1 a day - a reasonable price to pay for peace of mind and truly life saving help when needed.

Q. My elderly parents live with me - why would they need a medical alert system?
A. Regardless of where they live, they will be home alone at times and may suffer a fall, stroke or other medical emergency. If your older parents live with you, you still need to go grocery shopping, run errands and so on, and you cannot always be there 24/7 365 days a year. A medical alert system provides peace of mind for all of you.

Learn more about our Medical Home Alert system here.

Tips for Inside the Home
  Interior Lighting.  Use timers to activate inside lighting, radios, or TVs.  Make it look like someone is home.  

Remove Valuables from Home.  If possible, remove valuables from your home and leave with a family member, trusted friend, or neighbor.

Hide the good stuff.  Easily sold valuables like electronic equipment and computers should not be visible from uncovered windows. Thieves think in terms of risk to benefit ratios just like any business person. If they can't see something that they can easily convert to cash, they may move on to the next prospect.

Don't forget to set the alarm system. Make sure your caretaker has the code (or in the case of a LaserShield alarm, a wireless keychain remote) and knows how to use it. Rehearse, especially if they are unused to such a system. Also, contact the alarm monitoring company and let them know you are leaving and who has the authority to enter your home in your absence.  If you don’t already have an alarm system, you can get a LaserShield wireless home alarm system which requires no installation, sets up in a few minutes and costs under $200.00.   Now you will have peace of mind.

Secure important papers and valuables. Anything that cannot be easily replaced such as personal, legal, and financial records, expensive jewelry, and family photos should be stored in a secure location. Include blank checks and passports. Back up your computer, and store it with your other records. A fire-proof floor safe in a closet may work or use a safe deposit box. Last but not least, shred anything that contains ID information that won't be secured but which you don't need to retain; a clever crook only needs one set of social security numbers to steal your identity.

Turn off all unnecessary appliances and make sure everything that draws current is unplugged.  Turn the hot water heater down to “vacation” setting it will save money and energy too.

Telephone Answering Machine.  Set the telephone answering machine so that the rings do not exceed three or four.  A telephone ringing for a long time many times through the day and night is an indicator that the home is empty.  Do not leave a message indicating you are away on vacation! Alternatively, you can forward land line calls to your cell phone. Just because it rings doesn't mean you need to answer.
Tips for Outside the Home
  Exterior Lighting.  Put outdoor lighting on timers, light-sensitive photocell mechanisms, or motion detectors.   You want your home to have the "occupied look" in order to deter criminals.  All potential entry points such as garage, doors, windows, and basement entry-ways should be illuminated.

Keys and Locks.  Don't hide keys in mailboxes, under door mats, or any other place that burglars will know to look.  Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor.  

Landscaping. Keep plants trimmed and below the windows and away from doors

Doors.  All doors should be locked.  This includes the doors leading from the garage to the house and the basement door. Place a dowel the width of the door in the track for all sliding glass doors if you don't have track locks.

Windows.  All windows should be secured to include second story windows.  Dowels are good here, too.

Grass and Snow.  Arrange to have your walkway and drive shoveled and plowed.  Have the grass cut while you’re away. If your yard and garden are not already on a sprinkler system, set one up with timers. Two weeks in the hottest part of the summer can result in dead plants and a house that is obviously deserted. Hire a reputable lawn service and have everything trimmed and mowed while you're gone. It's a treat to come home and not have to deal with it right away.

Car in the Driveway.  Ask one of your neighbors or friends to park a car in your driveway while away.  This will give the appearance of someone being home. If it's your car, leave a key with a neighbor and have them move it every few days to make it look like someone is home. Make sure you store the garage door opener in a secure location inside the house; don't leave it in the car.

Store all ladders and tools and lock all storage sheds and the garage.
Whoever is watching your home needs to know any services you've hired, such as the lawn service, so they will know who shouldn't be there. Thieves often disguise themselves as service people to blend in.

Home Alarm Security Systems.   If you have a home alarm system that comes with yard signs or window stickers, use them!  Given a choice, a burglar will go elsewhere.  Systems like LaserShield that come with yard signs and stickers make it easy to make your home look secure.
Tips to have others help you
  Inform a Neighbor.  Alert your neighbors or ask a trusted friend to keep an eye on your home.  Ask them to keep an eye on your house, collect daily newspapers, collect the mail, and put garbage out on trash pickup days, etc. Nosy neighbors can be the best deterrent to break ins. Provide a spare key for emergencies if appropriate and numbers where you can be reached.  Make sure they know how to work the alarm system.

Cancel Deliveries.  Cancel newspaper, milk, and mail deliveries if someone is not going to collect these items on a periodic basis.

Crime Prevention and Neighborhood Watch.  If your neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch program, let them know your vacation plans.  

Inform Your Local Police Department.  Some police departments encourage you to inform them of your vacation plans.  They will increase patrols in your area and some will walk around the house looking for anything unusual.

Get a house sitter if you can, especially if you plan to be away two weeks or more. For less than two weeks, a trusted neighbor's responsible teen could be perfect for taking care of pets, watering plants, putting out the garbage bins and bringing them back in, and generally supervising your home.  Instead of a kennel, a house sitter may also be willing to care for your pet. Animals generally prefer being in their own territory and your dog can be counted to protect it. Take reasonable precautions to provide for your dog's well being and he will provide an efficient alarm system. (A house sitter may cost less than kenneling your pets.)

Check your insurance policy and make sure it is up to date. If the worst happens, you don't want to wonder if it's going to cover your losses. A copy of your household inventory should be stored with the rest of your important papers.
Vacant Home Protection - Stop Copper Pipe Theft and Vandalism
  The recent rise in foreclosures has created a wave of vandalism and theft among vacant homes. Copper, wire, HVAC units, appliances, hardwood floors, granite counter-tops and more are all targets of these thieves who cause thousands of dollars in damage to recover a few hundred dollars worth of scrap metal.

We have recently seen an increase in orders from contractors, builders, property managers and owner/investors for our LaserShield wireless home alarm systems with 24/7 cellular monitoring to protect their vacant homes. The systems set up in just a few minutes, and are portable so they can be moved to other properties as needed. There are no long term contracts for monitoring, so the owner can go month-to-month and have the alarm monitoring only when needed. When the alarm is triggered, the cellular unit calls the dispatch center who will call the owner to verify if there is a problem (or just a false alarm) and then will dispatch police.

Average cost of a system is $429.98 - well under the cost of the damage that can be inflicted by a copper thief. To learn more, check out the LaserShield Cellular Monitoring Bundle Pak, or send me your comments.
How do I contact you?
  Please click here for our company contact information.

 
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