Watch Guard of the Potomac

Electronic Security Professionals Since 1974

Sterling, VA

(703) 938-2400

Filtering by Category: Watch Guard Alarms

Back to School Safety

Sending the kids back to school at the end of summer evokes different emotions – happiness to gain some relief from the incessant “I’m bored” comments, but also some nerves as, once again, your kids are out of your site and left to a certain level of independent responsibility.  All you can do, though, is train them in the right and responsible ways of conducting themselves as it pertains to their safety and hope that they make smart decisions based on that. Beyond School Bus Safety, here are some other key topics to be sure to address with your children to prepare them for their school year.

Stranger Danger

Although we must teach our children to be polite and respectful to others, we must also train them to know when it is inappropriate for an adult to be speaking with them.  Be sure to explain that it is ok for a teacher or parent volunteer at their school to have a conversation with them, give them directions for what to do, or instruct them as to where to go.  However, an example of what is not ok is for a stranger on the playground to start talking with them, asking questions about them, or telling them to go somewhere.  Be sure to distinguish between a known and trustworthy adult versus an unidentified stranger.  An important fact that needs to be made clear to your children, as well, is that there is no need to be polite or respectful when it comes to somebody trying to harm them.  If they feel threatened or if a stranger is acting inappropriately, it is absolutely ok to run away to a teacher or to fight back, if necessary – no need for politeness then.


Picking up your kids from school can sometimes be rather chaotic.  Whether you are in a car line to pick them up or waiting for them to come out of the door, there is a good chance there is a brief period of time where another adult could be speaking to them before you have a chance to connect.  Instruct your children to stay directly with their teacher until they have seen you.  Once they do see you, they should come straight to you without stopping to talk to friends or anyone else.  With so many parents and kids around, it would not be difficult for someone will ill intent to quickly take advantage of this scenario.  This same rule applies for dropping off, as well - head straight to the classroom after being dropped off without stopping to talk to anyone.

Bully Beware

Oftentimes, the danger to our children is not a criminal adult but rather another child.  These are the more every day types of situations that your children may not be equipped to know how to properly handle.  Kids can be ruthless when it comes to making fun of or hurting other kids.  Be sure to demonstrate how well loved your children are at home, and that no matter what anyone else at school says, they are special and loved.  Build up your children’s confidence at home by reinforcing everything good they are doing.  If children are taught to believe in themselves, they are less likely to be swayed by bullies intending harm.  If consistent bullying is taking place, though, you and your children should speak to school administration as to what is occurring.  If children find themselves in immediate danger from a bully, they should do whatever it takes to remove themselves from that situation, if possible, and tell a teacher right away.  Your children deserve a safe and respectable school environment.

For advice on keeping your children safe and secure while at home, reach out to us at Watch Guard Alarms today!

Protecting Yourself from the Bumps in the Night

It’s the middle of the night, and you hear the rattle of a doorknob or the breaking of glass.  You jump out of bed, your heart pounding out of your chest, and in that moment you have to begin the fight of your life. For many people, a gun is kept in their homes for moments such as this.  It is oftentimes the most effective method of protection for those trained to use it.  For those who do not own a gun, though, how can they protect themselves?  What are their options when engaging in a 1v1 against an intruder?


Perhaps one of the better options is utilizing a spray to give you a chance to escape.  Pepper sprays are effective in stopping an assailant while his eyes are burning and he is temporarily focused on that alone.  This could be enough time for you to run out of the house and to your car or to a neighbor for help.  However, you should be careful with this option because they are normally close-range, and there is a chance of the spray blowing back in your face.  If you do not have pepper spray, some aerosol hairspray or deodorant may give you similar results.

For longer distance protection, wasp sprays or fire extinguishers can allow you to hit your attacker while keeping your distance and reducing the chances of you feeling the effects, as well.

Household Items

Think creatively and you will find there are numerous items around your home that could be used as weapons.  A baseball bat, golf club, crystal candlesticks, or broom handle could all be used to hit (aim for strategic locations) and should be kept near your bed and not in the garage if you intend to use them as self-defense.  If you’re running through the kitchen, glass bottles, cans of food, skillets, or other heavy objects can be thrown to deliver a heavy blow.  If you’re fortunate enough to have hot coffee brewing or soup cooking, you could also toss that to deliver burns that will enrage the intruder, but also give you a few moments to escape.  Be very careful, though, if you choose to grab a knife for defense – these can easily be snatched and used against you.

If you find yourself running through your home, throw as many objects as you can into the path of your pursuer.  The more he has to jump over or move out of his way, the slower he will be.


Your best method of self-defense, though, is prevention.  Burglars are opportunists, taking advantage of an unlocked door or open window.  Triple-check such things before going to bed to ensure you have not left an open invitation.  Also, take care of any simple DIY solutions to secure your home and to create an environment unwelcoming to intruders. A reliable home security system is also a must for prevention.  Thieves typically do not want attention drawn to them, so if an alarm is sounding and sirens are on their way, then they will be much more likely to turn and run than to continue entering your home.

If you would like to invest in a one of those reliable home security systems, please contact Watch Guard today.  We will walk you through your needs and supply you with a system to protect you and greatly reduce any chances of you needing those candlesticks and wasp sprays.

When the Weather Outside Is Frightful

As a home alarm company, our focus is ensuring that your home is guarded against any unwanted intruders or emergencies.  More than that, though, we know how much is entailed in keeping your home up and running.  It seems as though there is a never-ending to-do list, for both indoors and out, that gets even worse in inclement weather. For us residents here in Northern Virginia, this winter has been a rough one, with colder temperatures and more snow than we are typically accustomed.  Because of this, the home vulnerabilities that come along with that may have caught many of us off guard.  Unfortunately, many homeowners have for the first time in their lives experienced destructive floods and fires already this winter – and it’s only January.

For those who have not yet done so, below are some precautions to take to help avoid becoming one of the victims of this harsh Virginia winter.

Fire Hazards

Sometimes our central heat is just not enough (or we don’t even have it).  There is much to be said for snuggling by a cozy fire as the snow falls outside.  However, any time there is an open flame, there is great risk for a devastating house fire.  Make sure your chimney is clean before starting a fire and make sure any sparks are not hitting a flammable surface.  Completely put out your fire before leaving the house or going to bed.  Remember that even a candle can burn down a house, so use precautions when relying on these for heat or light.  Portable heaters are often a great solution for drafty rooms, but be sure to use these exactly as the instructions say.  Position these in the room far away from any fabrics, furniture, or other combustible items.  If the power goes out, make sure all electronics and appliances are unplugged so as to avoid the power surge once the power is restored.  As always, check the batteries in your smoke detectors and have fire extinguishers on every level.

Water Damage

Something we are not used to having to do in our area is protecting our pipes from freezing.  Pipes are freezing and bursting all over the DC area, as many residents never knew how to properly prepare them for sub-freezing temperatures.  To prevent this, turn off the water supply to your outdoor faucets and turn them on to allow all water to fully drain.  This will stop any water left in them from freezing, expanding, bursting, and subsequently flooding your home.  For your indoor pipes, surround them with insulation or keep your cabinet doors open to allow the heat from your home to keep them warm.  If you do find that your pipes are beginning to freeze, thaw them with a hair dryer (not a flame!).  Remember that even water meters can freeze, so a clever solution is lowering a light bulb to thaw the meter so your water can resume.  You also must be sure to clear snow from windows, doors, and ceilings to avoid water leaks as the snow melts.

Deadly Fumes

An invisible threat to homeowners is toxic (and perhaps deadly) fumes.  If you are using a generator to provide power to your home, keep it outside and at least 20 feet away from your house.  These can produce deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.  Also use caution when using alternate sources of heat, as the fumes from these can quickly accumulate inside your home.  Never use portable gas stoves or grills inside – save them for those summer nights outside!  As a general year-round precaution, install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home since you cannot see the threat of deadly fumes.

For more information on protecting your home from this extreme winter, please contact us today!  We would love to help make sure your house is fully protected from all threats, including Mother Nature!

Don’t Let the Gadgets Get You!

I don’t know about you, but I’m often tempted by the latest technology and gadgets and eagerly anticipate “releases.”  Perhaps surprisingly, the security alarm industry is no different.  There is a trend now for remote monitoring, automation, and control over just about anything in your home.  Forget to turn off the coffee pot – no problem!  Left the light on in your bedroom – just switch it off from your phone! This all sounds wonderful, and at first glance, I would be the first to say, “Sign me up!”  However, one must be cautious about such conveniences.

First off, many companies offering these services focus on the glitz and glamour of such offerings.  A fancy looking app and the illusion of complete control are all it takes to seal the deal with many consumers.  These companies choose to focus on those features but often time lack the strength in the areas that matter most (like true home security).

Another thing to be careful about is relying too much on technology.  Here in the heart of the DC Metro area, we seem to be inundated with technology at every turn.  Even though technology is extremely helpful and reliable in most cases, there is no substitute for manually checking your locks and doing a walk through of your home or business before leaving.  Alarm system door sensors only detect if the door is opened about an inch.  They do not confirm that the door is latched and locked.  I would be leery of turning over complete control of your home to an app to the point in which you neglect your own responsibilities in the safety and security of your home.

The last thing I would caution a consumer is to know the facts.  Research the credibility of the company.  Is this a new company emerging with no references or customer base?  Did they just create a cutesy app that they will turn around and use to gain access to your home or personal information themselves?  What exactly are the services you will be getting?  Do you get to adjust the temperature of your home at the expense of compromising your home’s security?  It’s good to know the thieves will be warm and toasty as they break in!

As is the case with any new product you are making a decision to purchase or pass on, do your research.  Don’t be enticed by the smoke and mirrors and go instead with functionality and reliability.  Please give us a call if you have any questions regarding what Watch Guard can offer regarding convenience, monitoring, and technology for your home!


License Numbers

DCJS 11-2122
Va. Class A 2705 058225A
Md. 107-865

Contact Us

email: Contact Form
phone: 703-938-2400
fax: 703-433-1592

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