Archive for the ‘ HowTo Articles’ Category



Which Diversion Safe Matches Your Personality?

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Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Which Diversion Safe Matches Your Personality?If you are like many people, you probably have a fire safe or safety deposit box that you use for storing important documents and items. However, it might be a hassle to get into these boxes, and you might be looking for a safe way to store your cash or other things close at hand without tempting people to steal them from you. One great option is to use a diversion safe.

A diversion safe is simply a safe that looks just like a household item. For instance, you can find diversion safes in the form of realistic-looking “cans of mixed vegetables” and so-called soda pop bottles. These items typically look very realistic, but they aren’t real at all. Instead, they are miniature “safes” that can be used to hide cash and other items without people knowing what the safe contains.

With so many diversion safes out there for you to choose from, however, you could be wondering which one is right for you. Although you can use a ton of ways to choose a diversion safe for your needs, one great way to choose one is by looking at your personality. If you do, you can find a diversion safe that suits you and that will actually be seen as being realistic. If you choose carefully enough, you won’t have to worry about anyone guessing that your diversion safe is actually a safe at all, which can help you keep your cash and other items safe from theft and tampering.

The Health Nut

If you are one of those individuals who is constantly spending time at the gym or who eats lots of healthy foods, you probably don’t want to buy a diversion safe that looks like a big box of candy. Instead, you should consider choosing one that suits your personality a little bit better.

For instance, you can try a water bottle diversion safe. You can typically find options that look like the bottles from all of your favorite brands, and for all of the people who frequently see you carrying around a bottle of water, your diversion safe won’t be obvious at all.

The Girly Girl

If you are one of those females who spends all of your free time primping and working on your good looks, a lot of people probably don’t even notice all of your beauty products any more. This is a good thing because you can use it to your advantage by looking for a clever diversion safe that is reminiscent of one of your favorite beauty products.

For instance, there are diversion safes out there that look like hairbrushes. They allow you to stash your items where no one can find them, and no will will ever think of opening up your “hairbrush” in an effort to find your secret stash. This can be the perfect diversion safe for you!

If you don’t want to try using a fake hairbrush as a diversion safe, try looking at your other feminine-style options. For instance, there are diversion safes out there that are in the shape of a lipstick tube! Even though you can’t use them to touch up your lips between meals, you can definitely use one as one clever diversion safe.

The Bookworm

If you are a bookworm, the people that you know probably know you as the one who is always carrying around a novel. Even those who don’t know you well might have spotted you with a book a time or two. This is a positive thing, of course, because it means that you can use a faux book as a diversion safe for all of your private, valuable and important things.

In fact, books make great diversion safes because they are typically a little bit bigger than other diversion safes. This can provide you with extra space for stashing stuff that you don’t want anyone else to mess with.

The Cleaning Nut

For those who can’t stand to see a single speck of dirt or dust in the house, there are perfect diversion safe options for you. Although someone with a messier home might not be able to use a cleaning detergent bottle as a diversion safe, you will most certainly be able to because your home is spotless. Your friends and family members might even be tired of seeing you with cleaning solutions in your hand, meaning that nobody will even think about touching your diversion safe.

For instance, there are tall and roomy diversion safes in the shape of Ajax cans and other similar cleaners. These cans offer lots of room for stashing coins, cash, important documents and more, and you can place them in plain sight. Even if someone sees it, they will think that it simply goes with the territory of your spotless home and won’t even think about bothering with it, allowing you to hold onto your cash and valuables without a worry.

The Gardener

Are you someone who loves getting your hands dirty and planting vegetables, flowers and other plants? If so, there are plenty of great diversion safes for you. For instance, one popular type of diversion safe is a safe that looks like a flower pot. Instead of planting your next crop of veggies or your favorite flower in it, however, you can plant your valuables so that no one will spot them.

You can even look for other diversion safes, such as a thermometer that mounts on the wall. When people see it, they will think that you are just checking the temperature so that you can plan which plants you will be planting.

The Junk Food Junkie

If you enjoy munching on your favorite junk food snacks constantly, you can actually use this habit to your advantage. Instead of thinking that you need to quit eating these tasty snacks and drinking your favorite sweet sodas, you can actually use your junk food habit as a way of hiding your stuff from someone who might steal it.

There are countless diversion safes out there that look like junk food favorites, so try to look for one that will be as realistic as possible and that is something that you actually like to eat. For instance, you can look for a soda can or soda bottle from your favorite brand, or you can look for a safe that looks like your favorite boxed cracker or other snack. These possibilities really are endless, so take your time finding something that people will actually believe that you are eating or drinking.

The Caffeine Addict

If everyone knows you for being the one who is constantly drinking coffee, you should look for a diversion safe that looks like a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop. There are plenty of diversion safes out there that resemble the cups from some of the biggest and most famous coffee chains, and one of these cups should blend right in your home.

The Grease Monkey

If you are always working on your car or motorcycle and are known for having your hands dirty and always being in the garage, you should look for a diversion safe that resembles engine oil, your favorite car washing solution or another similar product. If you do, you could even leave it in your garage without anyone noticing what it really is.

It can be a lot of fun to look at diversion safes, and you might be surprised by just how many of the options actually speak to your own personality. By taking the time to choose a diversion safe that really speaks to you and the things that you do and use regularly, you will be able to trick nearly anyone into thinking that your safe isn’t really a safe at all. Not only can this process be a lot of fun, but it can actually help you to keep your belongings safe. In fact, you might end up confusing yourself, and you might forget that your diversion safe is a safe at all if it blends in well enough with your life and your belongings, which is a good thing if you are trying to keep your things as safe from theft as possible!

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How to Teach Your Kids about Stranger Danger

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Friday, August 2nd, 2013

How to Teach Your Kids about Stranger DangerEven though there are a number of dangers that face children in today’s society, one of the most feared dangers is that of dangerous strangers. It can be the most heartening for parents today, which is why it is important to speak with your children about strangers and all of the potential danger they bring with them. Helping children to understand the dangers that they face when a stranger is around is one of the most effective tools for helping them to stay safe and away from harm.

Consider the following from the Department of Justice:

• Over the course of one year, 797,500 children went missing. That equates to around 2,185 children each and every day.

• Family abductions amounted to 203,900 children every year.

• Abductions by non-family members equated to around 58,200 children annually.

• Kidnapping accounts for 115 children where they didn’t know the person or only slightly knew them. Thousands of success stories are out there about children who had an abductor approach them and they acted in a manner that ended up saving their lives. They were able to use the information that parents, community events and schools provided to them. Talking with your children about strangers can help to save their lives. Based on the age of your children, you will need to approach the topic of strangers in a certain manner.

Preschool

Since preschool children don’t have a great deal of fear, they are normally willing to talk or say hello to anyone that they come in contact with. Even though you don’t want to scare your children with the reality of an abduction, you do want them to understand the importance of staying safe. Begin by providing them with a simple explanation, there are bad people who want to harm children, which is why is it important that you don’t ever:

• Speak to a stranger

• Open the door if you hear someone ringing the doorbell or knocking

• Leave your parent’s side when outside or in the store

• Go outside without an adult that can be trusted

• Go with a stranger who is unable to find his dog, offers you candy, offers you money, asks to show you something in their vehicle and so on

• Approach a vehicle that you don’t know, regardless of if they know your name or your parent’s name Make sure to keep the information for children simple and straight to the point. If they ask you any questions, you will want to be honest with them. Always keep the honesty in line with their specific age group. Discuss simple tactics with your children in the event they are approached or don’t feel safe in a certain situation. Screaming and trying to get away from the danger or stranger are both excellent points to make to them.

Points to consider:

• Keep the information simple and straight to the point.

• Be honest when your children ask any questions of you.

• Discuss potential tactics with your children on how to get away from strangers such as screaming and running.

• Go over all of the main points discussed previously. Kindergarten to Third Grade

Children who are a little older will know more about strangers through community activities, schools and the news. This age group still needs to be told about what they should avoid doing to ensure their safety, such as:

• Never speak with a stranger.

• Avoid opening the door if you hear someone ringing the doorbell or knocking.

• Stay close to your parents when outside or in a store.

• Never head outdoors without an adult present.

• Never trust a stranger who says they cannot find their dog, offers you candy, offers to show you something, offers you money and so on.

• Stay away from strange cars, regardless of whether they know your name or the name of your parents. Many families decide to implore the use of a code word that only the family members are going to know. In the event of an emergency, an adult will be able to give the word to a trusted friend or family member so the child will know the person is someone that is safe. Children need to understand the importance of not giving the keyword to anyone.

Children in this age group understand what safe people are, so you will want to go through this with them. If children are lost or there is an issue with a stranger, children will need to feel safe approaching certain individuals who are:

• Store personnel

• Police officers, fire, EMT and security guards

• Teachers

• Mail carriers

• Mothers who have children with them

• Office staff Children will have the option of running to someone who is not going to harm them. If an incident happens when the child is alone, separated from their parent or gets lost, they will know who to turn to for assistance.

Points to Ponder:

• Discuss safe people with your children.

• Implore a code word for the family to use.

• Discuss tactics for fighting a stranger and getting to a safe place.

• Make sure children understand they need to stay in a group with other children if they are going to play outside or walk home from school. Fourth through Sixth Grade

Children who fall into this category need to consider dangers, so that way they are not as dangerous as you might think. For this particular age group, children need to understand the extent of stranger danger. Discuss cases you know about in the family, through the media or with friends. Even though you may not need to tell them all of the case details, you will want to be honest about the situation with your child. Tell them if the child lost their life or got away. Even though you may not want children living in fear, you do want to let them know the dangers associated with strangers.

As children get older, you will want to have important numbers of friends and family close by and a cell phone or whistle, especially if they are going to walk home from school or remain inside of the house without a parent after school hours. Children need to implement some type of buddy system. It is imperative that they walk with a group of friends or friend to get where they need to go. For those who are isolated, they tend to pose more of a risk than those who walk in a large group.

Make sure to discuss tactics for fighting and screaming to break away from strangers who attempt to grab them. Tell the children that they need to do whatever they can to get away from the stranger. Don’t allow the person to get them into the car, no matter what. If the person were to get them into the car, they will end up somewhere far away that can make it difficult to find them in the long run. Let them know that kicking, biting, screaming and anything else necessary to get away is perfectly acceptable.

Consider These Points:

• Discuss the dangers associated with strangers.

• Make sure children keep all of the important phone numbers with them, as well as a cell phone or whistle at all times.

• Discuss who the safe people are.

• Talk about screaming and various other tactics to get away from a stranger.

• Make sure they understand the importance of staying in a group of children when playing outside or walking home from school. Strangers: Who Are They?

One of the biggest things children need to understand is what you mean when you say a stranger. Not everyone they don’t know is dangerous to them, so they need to understand the differences between a bad stranger and a good stranger. Put it into terms that the child is going to understand. Children need to know where they can turn to and who to talk to in the event they are lost, threatened, scared or if they believe someone is following after them.

Some examples of good strangers include security guards, police officers, store clerks, teachers and so on. If your child were to need assistance, these individuals are someone that they can turn to for the assistance and security that they need. In countless situations, your children may have a bad stranger come up to them in the park, on the street and so on. If an easily identifiable person is not around to help, children need to know what they can do to get away from the stranger.

Children need to understand that they are generally more good people than there are bad ones. If a bad stranger approaches them and tries to physically pull them or lure them away, they need to do whatever it takes to get the attention of another adult in the area. Regardless of whether that means running to another home or making noise, most adults will come to help children who are in potential danger.

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How to React During a Home Invasion

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Friday, August 2nd, 2013

How to React During a Home InvasionConsider the following scenario. After working hard all week, you are relaxing at home with your significant other while your two children are upstairs. You are sitting in the comfort of your living room watching television with your significant other and your children are playing together. Since you have worked hard for a number of years, you are able to live comfortably in one of the best communities in town.

You hear a knock on the door and your significant other goes to answer it. As soon as the door is unlocked, you hear an outburst and two men push their way into your home. They begin beating your significant other until he is lying on the floor. Before you have time to think about what is going on, they threaten to harm you and your loved ones as they throw you to the couch. They have guns and are shouting obscene commands and threats at you. One of the men stands over you as the other starts looking through the house for occupants.

Your mind starts to race trying to figure out what is going to happen. Are you going to be killed? Are the attackers going to molest you and beat your children? Anxiety and terror levels rise to enormous proportions, which cause victims to act irrationally. Some people end up freezing up and becoming incapacitated out of fear. Others will try to fight back out of instinct, while others yet will resist the demands of the attackers. Some choose to run away from the scene if they can. This is termed as the fight or flight syndrome. In reality, the first thirty seconds of an attack are often the most crucial to whether your family is going to survive or not.

What Would You Do? Most of the time, people never think about this type of question for their family or themselves. Understanding how you would react under these circumstances is pivotal. How is your family going to act? How will you act together as a group unit? Your natural reaction depends largely in part to a number of different factors: age, sex, culture, physical condition, personality, special training, how you react under pressure, how you process information, skills and any past experiences in handling aggressive behavior. Most of the time, people have no idea how they are going to react to a personal crisis until they are put in that situation for themselves. Many people are shocked after it happens by their behavior as being calm, heroic, stupid or cowardly.

Will you attempt to overpower the intruders? Will you attempt to get your gun? Will you try to trigger your security alarm? Will you make an attempt at escaping to call the police? Will you comply with the demands of the intruders and hope they leave you unharmed. Will you let them tie you up? Will you let them take someone in the family out of your home? Will you risk death to help save those you love from being harmed?

The different possibilities for how you are going to respond are countless, but the majority fall under three distinct possibilities. You have the option of complying with their demands, resisting the assault or try to stay calm and wait, resist, comply and attempt to flee when the time is right. There is no single correct response to a home invasion that is life-threatening. Everyone has to make a personal choice based on your assessment of the situation. You will need to evaluate your own mental and physical capabilities and what level of danger you believe you are dealing with.

At times, screaming and fighting may work, especially when you have neighbors who will call the police and intervene on your behalf. If you are incapable of fighting, you don’t want to risk getting yourself hurt more in the process. Total compliance may be the key to staying alive and unharmed. Compliance can also increase the amount of time they stay in your home, which increases the risk of being molested. You will want to carefully consider how you and your loved ones will act under the circumstances and figure out a plan based upon that information.

What is Going to Work the Best for Your Home? Having a neighborhood or family plan is imperative. If you can create a home security plan and discuss it with neighbors and family, the chances of being able to act properly and get the help you need are dramatically improved.

Prevention is imperative to your safety. Installing strong locks and doors with three-inch screws for the strike plate and hinges will help to further enhance your safety. Using a wide-angle peephole and telling everyone in the family to keep the door closed when a stranger is outside will help to enhance your safety. Chain latches are not an effective means of protecting your loved ones, so make sure to look through the peephole before you open the door to anyone outside. Anyone who is claiming to have a delivery that you didn’t order or using other tricks for opening the door is something that you need to be leery of. People will try all sorts of things to get you to open the door, so you need to constantly be on guard. Fortification of sliding glass doors, rear doors and garage doors is critical. This will help provide you with the time you need to call 911, sound an alarm and arm yourself.

Local Alarms

An audible alarm siren will help to prevent potential home invasions when they are activated. Alarm systems can be set so that the perimeter windows and door sensors are activated whenever someone is inside of the house. The alarm will instantly trigger when someone attempts to get inside of your home without your permission. Make sure you have a prearranged password with the alarm company if they call your home when the alarm is triggered. Most of the time, an alarm panel will have an emergency button that will function similar to that of a 911 call and let the alarm company know to call the authorities. Window and lawn signs from the alarm company help let others know that your home is wired and capable of having the police come to your property. The decals and signs help offer a great deterrent for potential intruders.

Automatic Phone Dialers

An automatic dial telephone will be able to call 911 when used in speakerphone mode, which will prove beneficial in getting you the police assistance that you need. If an intruder breaks into your home, you may only have that second to push the 911 button on your phone. When you have your phone placed in speakerphone mode, the dispatcher will be able to hear everything that is going on inside of your home. Every phone in your home will need to have this feature programmed into them to help keep everyone safe and secure. Make sure all of the family members are aware of what they need to do to use the feature. The address to your home will automatically display when you call police and an officer will come even if the wire gets cut. All calls to 911 are going to be investigated due to this type of situation happening.

Try to Have an Escape Plan in Place

If someone is able to get out of the home and call the police, the invaders will not have the advantage of time and privacy. To some people, running away from your loved ones in their time of need is distasteful, especially when you have women and children inside. The alternative may mean that you end up tied-up or handcuffed to the point where you are incapacitated and left to sit there and watch as your loved ones are molested. If you have a plan in place for escaping, you want to make sure you have included what to say and where to go. There are times when a radical escape may be the only solution. Diving through a glass window, jumping from a balcony or climbing out onto the roof may be your only chance to survive the situation. Even though you may end up with some minor injuries, they are far better than taking your chances against an intruder.

Intruders will often make threats of harming the children to get the adults to do what it is that they want. At the same time, children are often overlooked as the ones who are able to rescue the family and escape the situation at hand. They don’t guard children as well as they do the adults, so you will have a chance to get the help you need. If the opportunity arises, the child will be able to dial 911, escape to the neighbor’s home or push the panic button on your security system. Children who are capable of doing so need to take matters into their own hands and do it.

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Top Self-Defense Moves Everyone Should Know

Written By:
Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Top Self-Defense Moves Everyone Should Know Self-defense classes will teach you how to protect yourself if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation. There are a variety of self-defense classes for people of all ages. These classes are usually held at karate schools. Look for self-defense classes in your area by searching online. It is important that you learn the critical moves you need to protect yourself in a dangerous situation. These types of situations can occur almost anywhere. Whether you are traveling or shopping at your local mall, you can be prepared for the unexpected. The following is a list of top self-defense tips.

Use Your Elbow

Did you know that your elbow is one of the strongest parts of your body? If you are confronted by a stranger, use your elbow if you can. Of course, if you take karate then you will be more likely to carry out this maneuver successfully. Self-defense moves like these are often taught in a classroom setting. It is important that you learn how to do this move correctly to avoid further irritating your assailant. Once you use your elbow, turn around and run as fast as you can. If you have a cellphone, dial the emergency number while you are running. Make as much noise as you can to call attention to the matter from nearby bystanders.

Give Up Your Wallet

If you are approached and asked for your wallet or purse, toss it away from you. Chances are the robber only wants your money and you can avoid possible injury. In most cases, the assailant will pick up your wallet or purse and take off. It is of no use to try to fight your assailant if they just want your money. Money can be replaced and it is not worth risking your life. Make sure you keep your identification and other important documents in a carrier that fits on your waist if you are traveling. Trouble when you are traveling often comes at times when you least expect it. Make sure you don’t travel alone. Group traveling is the best way to tour a city when you are unfamiliar with the area.

How To Escape The Trunk

If your assailant places you inside of a trunk, you can easily kick the lights out. Some trunks have an emergency release handle that you can use to escape. If there is no emergency release, then kick the lights out and start waving at traffic. This has saved lives in the past and is worth a shot. Once you are in a secluded location, your life could be in danger. Your assailant won’t be able to see you waving from the back of the car. If you have a cellphone in your pocket, then call the emergency number quickly. Try to determine your location by peeking out from the lights. This will help emergency personnel locate you and the vehicle. Pay attention to your surroundings at all times when you are traveling especially out of the country.

Vehicle Safety Tips

Women especially love to sit in their vehicles after they have been shopping, working or traveling. They use this time to make lists, figure out their bank balances or a number of other things. You should always leave the location after you get in your car. You don’t know if someone has been watching you and decides to climb into your car. If you suspect someone is following you, then drive to a public place. Never go home when someone is following you. Call the emergency number on your cellphone for police assistance. Describe the vehicle and get the license plate number to report the information to the police. It is especially important for you not to get out of your vehicle. Honk your horn to draw attention to you. The stalker may well drive away and find an easier target.

If You Are Threatened With A Gun

If you are ever threatened with a gun, do not get into the assailant’s vehicle. Once inside their vehicle, you are at their mercy. Try to make a lot of noise and call for help. Your assailant may very well be frightened and run away. If you take self-defense classes, your instructor will be able to further advise you on the best way to handle these types of situations. Taking self-defense classes is the best way to respond to threatening situations. Establish the habit of looking around you before you get into your vehicle. If you see someone suspicious, turn around and go back inside the mall or shopping center. It is better to lean on the side of safety than to risk a threatening situation. Find mall security to walk you to your car if you are afraid. Mall security personnel are trained to handle suspicious persons or vehicles. They will likely get the local law enforcement office involved too.

Elevator Versus The Stairs

Stairwells are especially secluded in large buildings. Always take the elevator instead of the stairs in these situations. This is also true in condos and apartments. Secluded areas of any building should be avoided. If you are walking alone, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t go into the elevator with someone that makes you uncomfortable. When you leave work at the end of the day, you should walk to your vehicle with another coworker. This is the safest way to avoid possible confrontations with strangers. Many criminals stalk parking garages and lots to look for victims.

Even if you are familiar with your surroundings, you should walk with other people. If you are confronted by a criminal with a gun, you should turn around and run. The perpetrator will likely have problems shooting someone who is running. If you take self-defense classes, you will feel better able to handle most threatening situations. The key is to be prepared and know what to do. Many people have no idea what they would do in these types of situations.

More Security Tips

Study the art of karate if you want to improve your skills. This is a great way to give you more self-confidence when traveling alone. Try not to put yourself in threatening situations by staying with a group when on vacation. Many countries have criminals who prey on tourists that visit their city. Don’t look like a tourist to avoid these criminals. It is important that you research the location where you will be traveling.

It’s not likely that you will find safety information on your hotel’s website. Try to find this information by going to reputable law enforcement sites online. Consider using the government’s embassy’s website for more information about traveling to your particular destination. Group traveling is a fun way to explore a new destination. You won’t have to worry about your safety and you will make new friends from all over the world. Choose a group tour when you are looking for fun and exciting things to do in your new city.

If you are taking a cruise, the same safety rules apply. Most of the excursions are designed for groups. Stay with the groups when you get off the ship at a new port. Even if you are in the United States, you should still stay with a group. Traveling alone is the best way to come into contact with criminals in any city. There is absolutely no place in the world where crime is non-existent. Follow safety rules on board your cruise ship too. It is easy to become relaxed when you are on a cruise. The fact is you are on a cruise with a lot of strangers.

Most people you meet with be nice and not threatening. Just be aware of your surroundings while on board. Cruises are a fun way to relax and enjoy your vacation but you should always follow safety rules wherever you travel. If you do decide to explore the ship on your own, make sure your friends or family members know where you are going. Most cruise ships have security cameras on board. If you feel threatened, don’t hesitate to call security.

The cruise lines want all passengers to feel safe and have a good time. Your cruising vacation is a well-deserved break from your normal routine. Following good safety rules will ensure that you have a good time without dealing with unexpected security problems. Keep your cellphone with you at all times. Avoid going to the gambling hall by yourself late at night. Avoid the secluded staircases on your cruise during the late night hours. Your cruise vacation is a great way to discover new hobbies and interests. Most cruise lines have a variety of activities for people of all ages. Discover the spa on board to give yourself a treat. There are clubs on board that are suited for people of all ages. If you take your kids on your cruise, make sure they follow the same safety rules. They should never be left unattended at the pool, game rooms or any other area of the ship.

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A Common Sense Approach to Choosing Cameras for People Fed Up With Salespeople and Pitches

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Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Common Sense Approach to Choosing Cameras for People Fed Up With Salespeople and Pitches A Common Sense Approach to Choosing Cameras for People Fed Up With Salespeople and Pitches

One of the most confusing things anyone can do is attempt to buy cameras with a limited amount of knowledge.  There is so much misleading, conflicting, and flat outright wrong information on the internet and coming from sales persons, that its enough to drive any new buyer absolutely insane!  I’m going to try to help you, the end user, make the very best decision possible with these few tips.  Use them as a checklist, and you should be able to quickly narrow down the right camera for your needs.

TIP 1:  Don’t believe the hype! 

You’re going to see, hear, and read all sorts of crazy claims.  Seven million television lines (TVL)!  Super ultra thingy ma doo dad.  Three hundred feet of infrared!  One millionth of a millionth lux gigawatts!  Most of what you read is a specification that is either someone’s opinion or guesstimation or has simply been tested under unrealistically ideal situations.  What’s worse than that?  Some of these “fantastically amazing whiz bangs” might not even apply to you.

TIP 2: TVL only matter up to a certain point.

If you’re purchasing an analogue transmission camera system, you’re going to hear all about the size of the camera’s TVL (TeleVision Lines).  This is an important measurement of sharpness.  However, what most companies or salesmen don’t realize or want you to know is that after four hundred and eighty (480) TVL, the entire number is moot.  That’s right.  You’ve bought the world’s largest left handed smoke shifter.  Every retailer on the planet goes out and brags about huge TVL numbers like they’re horsepower in a Ferrari.  Well unfortunately analogue transmission is the little old lady in a Buick in front of you doing 45 in a 55 zone.   Your Ferrari can do it.  You’re conscious is clear, there’s no harm in speeding up…  But she just won’t get out of the way.  That’s analogue for ya.  Welcome to disappointment.

TIP 3: Figure out what you need.

Look at your camera environment.  I mean really…  Look at it.  Figure out with common sense what is going to work for you.  Figure out the field of view you need.  Why you’re buying cameras in the first place.  What do you NEED it to do.  If you can afford it; What would you like it to do.  These days camera systems integrated with other systems can do all sorts of thing.  I just bought one that walks my dog twice a day.  Ok, I didn’t…  But they’re supposed to be out in a few months.

TIP 4: Talk to people, ask questions you know the answer to.

This practice should yield obvious results.  Having an idea if the guy is pulling the wool over your eyes or not is definitely useful info.  Use the old “how many TVL do I need?”   That always works like a champ to root out a clown.  If they’re knowledgeable and truthful, you’ll hear what you already know.  Then you might be able to have trust in them to answer your other questions as well.

TIP 5: Features are greater than numbers (for the most part). 

Resolution is an extremely important number.  This is the size of your image.  Bigger images mean better detail (like looking at a wallet size and letter size version of the same picture side by side).  Other than resolution you should really be finding out about the guts.  Ask the QUALIFIED salesperson about their interior components.  If they are top notch, SOMEONE will know whats in there.  There is a lot of garbage on the market, and those systems are the ones that no one has a clue what’s inside.  If a company is spending money on quality components, they will know about it.  Also ask “What makes this camera different from others”.  If they simply say “well it just looks better”, don’t buy it.  Higher end/higher quality cameras are loaded with features and enhancements that improve quality, counter light issues, and give excellent characteristics to the final recorded image.

TIP 6: Listen, think, and determine. 

Again, this is a common sense process.  If an article, ad, or salesperson are rattling off about something that sounds cool, but you’ll never use; you probably don’t need it.   Huge hard drives, remote access, and other features could be this way.  Its easy to over buy on security.  Just simply ask yourself each time you hear about a feature: “Will I use that”?

TIP 7: Demos.  This should really be a no brainer. 

Ask a company for their footage.  Live demos can be deceiving because factors that aren’t in play on your own installation are effecting the quality.  By asking for the recorded footage, you are getting a real life example of what to expect if you’re broken into or otherwise need your footage.  Recordings are what the security camera world go around.  Think about it.  You’re not going to hand the police a live video stream.

TIP 8:  Warranty. 

Warranties of over a year say a LOT.  One year warranties are everywhere, so we’ll call them “average durability”.  When a company goes as far as extending beyond that, it means they KNOW the quality is above average, and they are willing to put the money where their mouth is.  Buying products with above average warranty is always a good sign.

TIP 9:  Always call the service line. 

If you have a problem, who are you going to call?  Try it out.  If you’re on hold for an hour, guess what?  That’s right…  you’ve entered the black hole of information.  Thousands of people like you are sucked in and no one gets out alive.  Ask about support and service.  Find out who is going to take care of you if you have a problem.  most companies have little or no support for the products they sell.

TIP 10: Find out where the goods are. 

The newest trend is to sell inventory that doesn’t exist.  Some of it isn’t even in the country.  Its being shipped from some other company, in China, Mexico, or elsewhere.  This doesn’t bode well for warranty issues.

TIP 11: Buy from established companies. 

Good companies are the ones that have been around awhile usually.   John’s start up might be a good company, or maybe not.  Plus start up companies have a harder time capitalizing their business often.  Choosing an established source for your security equipment often means you’re buying from an organization that hold a much better chance of being able to combat Murphys law and will also have a more likely chance of being around in a few years.

TIP 12: USE COMMON SENSE. 

Just pay attention.  If something seems like it is nonsense, it probably is.  This is not rocket science.  The security camera industry is over 50 years old now.  There are no sudden revelations that are being handed down.  Yes, revisions.  But they are hardly Earth shattering.  Simply pay attention and think.  Most of your needs should be easy to determine a solution to.  Find a company and sales person you like and isn’t trying to sell you swamp land on the moon, ask them many questions, and let them make your eventual purchase much easier.

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