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Best Home Security Systems
If you are in the market for a home security system then continue to read on. We conduct reviews of the best home security system providers and compare them side-by-side so it is easy to make sense of the many features and services offered by each provider. Home security has come a long way in the past five to ten years and there are many more features available. The home security experts at SECURITYPLANETTM independently review and rank each home security company on a range of factors.
Home Security Monitoring Services
There are several forms of home security monitoring that are available today. The three main types of monitoring are landline, broadband and cellular. Cellular monitoring is recommended as it is a 100% wireless technology. Having a cellular-based home security system can boost your security because there are no wires for an intruder to cut as there are with landline and broadband-based systems. The top three rated home security system companies on SECURITYPLANETTM offer their customers cellular monitoring services along with wireless home security systems from brand name equipment manufacturers.
Home Security System Cost
Home security and home automation services are more affordable now than ever before. For around a $1 a day you can have a home security company monitor your home for intrusion, fire, and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide 24/7. Not to mention that most insurance companies will offer up to a 20% discount to homeowners who have a home security system with active 24/7 monitoring services. The basic home security monitoring plans range from $20 to $30 per month. These plans will provide basic monitoring services and most carries who offer several monitoring packages will offer landline monitoring at this level. The next step up in the $40 to $49 price range you can get mobile access features and cellular monitoring. Most people opt for the mid-grade plan as it provides the most value.
Home Security Customer Service
At SECURITYPLANETTM we heavily weigh a home security company’s customer service record. There are a few aspects involved when investigating a company’s customer service record. The first item is to look at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and see if the company is accredited. The BBB will also provide ratings for companies on a scale of A+ to F. Stay away from the low ratings. It is quite similar to highschool, if you get a D or lower, you’re failing. The BBB also tracks the number of customer complaints in the past 3 years and 12 months. This alone doesn’t give you the entire picture because some companies are a lot larger than others so the number of resolved complaints might be higher but the number of complaints to customer ratio might be a lot better. We look at all of these aspect plus a few more when rating companies on customer service.
Home Security System Safety & Reliability
All of the home security system companies ranked on SECURITYPLANETTM are highly rated when it comes to safety and reliability. There are a few aspects that we look at regarding this category. First is the quality of the home security equipment. Is it brand named equipment and has it been thoroughly tested are questions we ask. What is the average response time to dispatch the police or fire department are questions you should ask the home security company you are considering. Each home security system company’s response time might vary slightly but they all will have an accredited central monitoring station that is staffed 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Home Security and Home Automation
Home security and home automation now go hand in hand. The same control panel that is used to secure your home can also be used to control the environment of your home including temperature, lighting and turning small appliances on and off. This adds another layer of convenience to a home security customer’s lifestyle. Forget to turn the iron off? No problem, just remotely shut off the power outlet from your iPhone while on your way to work. We do however recommend waiting until you get to the next stop sign before using your phone.
Home Security Mobile Access
Remote features from the iPhone, iPad and Android devices are the far most popular features of home security systems today. They are the favorite features of consumers because there is an app for almost everything and home security is no exception. Customers have the ability to remotely arm and disarm their home security system from the mobile device as well as configure their home security system to send family member text message notifications when certain events occur in the home like the kids arrive home from school or the backyard fence gate was just opened. Additionally, customers who take advantage of the home automation features can remote control a homes environment or stream video from a wireless home security system camera strategically placed inside or outside of the home.
Top Security Companies by State
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Personal Protection Equipment
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Firearms are unlawful to carry, especially when concealed, in most states. Many states have passed laws allowing citizens to obtain permits for concealed carry, but impose conditions and qualifications which must be met before a firearm can be acquired and carried. Firearms are the most lethal legal weapon, and (depending upon the type of ammunition used) may inflict fatal injuries on unintended targets.
If you’re thinking about a firearm for personal defense, make absolutely certain you’re informed about the applicable laws.
And, if you’re considering a firearm for personal defense, definitely plan on seeking out proper TRAINING on safe use, defensive/combat and weapon retention training (keeping an attacker from taking it away from you!), AND practice.
Knives may be unlawful to carry, depending upon their size and type. Those which are legal to carry are often not very effective as weapons. Knives are difficult to achieve proficiency with, and almost impossible to practice with effectively. Knives require close proximity for use, and thus put you closer to an attacker.
While knives can be very effective as defensive weapons, to be proficient takes professional training and plenty of practice.
Pepper Spray (Oleoresin Capsicum)
Pepper spray is quite effective, if used properly, under certain circumstances.
Many police departments issue pepper spray for use by their officers. Police generally use the same 5% concentration mixture. Pepper sprayers are available to the public in 5% and 15% concentrations in many states.
Other Chemical Sprays
“Tear Gas” (chemically alphachlorocedenphone and generically ‘CN’) is sold in packages intended for use by citizens as a self-defense device. It works by irritating the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, and throat. It is fairly effective if sprayed into a “normal” person’s nose or throat or directly into the eyes. Considered by many authorities to be less effective than OC Spray.
Some chemical sprays come in “foam” form
There are hybrid chemical sprays on the market that combine OC and CN, and these are considered by some to be more effective than either agent by itself.
There are a nearly infinite variety of martial arts which may be learned. Some are intended for defense while others are primarily offensive. Every martial art requires physical dexterity, conditioning, very substantial mental discipline, and lots of practice. To think that you can take a few lessons and pick up a few pointers and be ready to defend yourself is delusional. While martial arts techniques certainly do enable a diminutive individual to defeat a larger, stronger person, success is dependent upon proper execution. This is difficult in the practice environment and often impossible under conditions encountered in everyday activities.
We encourage participation in martial arts; they’re good for you mentally and physically, and constitute outstanding exercise even if you never utilize the techniques. But we discourage the “ordinary person” from relying upon martial arts for personal safety and defense.
Personal Alarm/Siren (or even a simple whistle)
Many types of electronic alarm mechanisms are available – often on key chain attachments – which can be carried and sounded if you find yourself in trouble as a way of attracting attention and discouraging an assailant. Better models produce sound levels above 110 decibels.
As a device, such items are still only useful if kept immediately at hand. If you don’t have it with you, or readily available when assaulted, it won’t do you any good. A positive side is that these devices are not offensive weapons and can’t really be used against you like a can of pepper spray might be, should the attacker take it away from you.
Like virtually all electronic personal defense devices, if the battery is not replaced, it will eventually just be taking up space in a purse or pocket, useful only as a handy object to throw at an assailant.
If you’re considering a “noise maker” as a means of summoning help, alerting passers-by, and discouraging an assailant, we’d suggest you consider a good quality whistle. Extremely loud whistles have no moving parts, no batteries to replace, have little weight, take up little space, cost very little, and can be used while running away from an assailant.
Unlike an offensive weapon, noise-makers don’t require that you be (and stay) within a certain proximity of your attacker to use. You don’t have to “confront” your attacker to use a noisemaker.
Consider, however, that just making noise isn’t enough. If there are other people in the area, yell to get their attention and call for them to help. Yell for them to call the police. Even yelling at an non-existent passerby to call the police (“Hey, YOU! Call the police!”) may make your attacker pause to look, giving you a chance to gain distance and get away.
Why your “self-defense strategy” shouldn’t be built around a device:
There are a number of components to building an effective self-defense strategy. While devices may be enough, please review alternative strategies for dealing with an assault:
Most defensive tactics instructors will recommend that you have a multi-tiered strategy for defending against an assault. If one thing fails, try something else. If that fails, try a third technique. The key is to having lots of options.
What you don’t want to do is depend on a single device, ploy, or defense technique to handle any possible assault under any set of conditions.
A well prepared/trained person will have given the potential for an assault a lot of “pre-thinking” and pre-planning.
That well-prepared person will have the confidence that comes from knowing both his/her limitations and strengths, and have a flexible strategy that accommodates varying circumstances and which can best utilize whatever tools or conditions are at hand.
Good preparation for an active defense includes not only simply learning some good defense techniques in a book/classroom, but also practicing the techniques, visualization, role-play training, how to use common items as defensive tools, as well as preventive measures including such things as body language and eye contact in public, how to minimize your risk factors, and create positive mental images of how you will handle, and survive, any type of potential assault.
And, no matter how many techniques you learn, the first rule to avoid an assault is often, “Run!” Even police officers have to be taught that there are certain times when “discretion is the better part of valor,” and it’s wise to pull back and call for reinforcements. The best self-defense strategy is usually:
Escape and Evade!
There are a number of excellent books on the market at any major bookstore, which can help you devise your personal defense strategy. Most communities also have local martial arts instructors, or even free defense training through the local police department.
Contact the Crime Prevention Unit of your local police department to find out what type of training resources may be available in your area.