Watch Guard of the Potomac

Electronic Security Professionals Since 1974

Sterling, VA

(703) 938-2400

Filtering by Category: Watch Guard Alarms

School Bus Safety Discussions

It’s that time of year again – back to school! It’s an exciting time for kids and parents alike, as summer boredom becomes a distant memory. New teachers, new classes, new friends – students have a lot to look forward to! Parents may have mixed emotions, especially for all those first-timers. However you may feel, one thing is certain – safety must always be a priority! For those students riding the school bus, there are special safety concerns that should be discussed with your children. Below are some guidelines you should establish with your children prior to school starting and continue to discuss throughout the school year.

Bus Stop Safety

While waiting for the bus, you should always stand at least three steps back from the curb. Depending on where your stop is located, there may be other special traffic concerns such as bike paths, turning lanes, etc. Always use the handrails when entering the bus, watching out for backpacks and other kids. If you have to cross any roads to enter your bus, make sure you look both ways and then look again. If you forget or drop something around the bus stop, make sure the driver sees you and the bus is not moving before running after it. Once you are on the bus, it is imperative that you follow all the rules so as not to distract the driver or pose a risk to other students.

Walking Home

It is critically important that you know your neighbors. Living in the suburbs of the DC area, you may feel as though you can trust your neighborhood. Hopefully, that is the case. However, kidnapping and other crimes can occur anywhere, regardless of the status of the neighborhood. You must always follow direct paths to and from your bus stop and avoid any shortcuts. If a stranger tries to talk with you, run straight home and tell your parents. Never, ever get into a car with a stranger or accept any gift. Try to always walk to and from your bus stop with a buddy.

Know the Law

Laws vary slightly state by state; but for the most part, you should always stop when you see flashing lights and the Stop Sign popping out from the sides of the bus. Even if you are not required by law to stop, use extreme caution when driving near a school bus. Children are very unpredictable in their movements, so always be prepared to brake for a child running across the street. Know the laws in your state as it pertains to divided highways and intersections. There is nothing more precious than the life of a child, so don’t be in too much of a hurry that you put their lives in danger to avoid being a couple minutes late.

Through the eyes of children, school buses can be an exciting adventure! While maintaining their innocent wonder, be sure to discuss these topics with your children and make sure they understand safety precautions and rules to follow when riding the school bus. If you would like more information on keeping your home secure while they’re at school and you’re at work, please contact Watch Guard today!

Those Tiny Treasures

When we are on vacation, we all worry about the valuables in our home and do our best to protect them while we are gone.  We hide them, lock them away in a safe, and secure our doors and windows.  What about our little furry treasures, though?  Who’s looking out for man’s best friend? Many of us like to use home pet services, friends, or neighbors to check in on our pets while we are on vacation.  This is typically cheaper and more convenient than housing them in kennels or pet hotels.  However, this also means they are spending a lot of time on their own, unsupervised, while their beloved owners are away.  So, how can you ensure their safety and well-being?

The good news is that a home security system can offer monitoring services that help keep an eye on your dear furry friends when you are not there.  If you opt for video monitoring, you can check in on them from your mobile device to ensure they are safe (and to see how many shoes and pillows have been destroyed).  You’ll also be able to observe whether or not your hired caretakers are doing their job by knowing if food/water is being replenished and if your pets are going out as they should be.  This is also helpful to make sure nothing shady is going on with those entering your home, as well.

Even if you don’t have video monitoring, home security systems can offer alerts for fire and break-ins.  If your house is broken into, your pets may be in harm’s way or have an avenue for escaping from your home.  Obviously, if there is a fire or other emergency, they are in urgent danger.  By receiving an alert and by having authorities immediately notified, your pets have a much higher chance of survival when you cannot be there physically to help.

Now that school is out and you are making all your plans for summer vacation, don’t forget about those smaller members of your family you may be leaving behind.  You cannot put a price on the joy they bring to your home, so don’t risk their safety by overlooking those tiny treasures when you are considering securing your home while on vacation!  If you’d like more advice on the safety of your home and pets, please contact Watch Guard today!

Springtime Security Scams

How do you feel after a door-to-door salesman stops by? Are you one of those people simply agitated and annoyed and who probably won’t even answer your door? Or are you more likely to hear them out and wonder afterwards if you should have snatched up the deal they were selling? Perhaps, you are one of the few who always say yes, just because they are way too convincing. No matter which category you fall under, you should be warned when it comes to home security scams. With the nicer weather of spring abounding, door-to-door salesmen come out of hiding. You will likely begin hearing your doorbell more and more, with many of those rings coming from salesmen pushing home security systems.

Call and Verify

While a few of these may be legitimate, chances are high that most will be scams you should run far away from. The number one litmus test you should always apply is contacting the parent company before ever agreeing to anything. Get the name or business card of the salesman with whom you are speaking, and then call the company they are claiming to be from to verify their employment and the offer they are selling. You may be surprised to find out the company has never heard of this employee or their sales pitch.

Do Your Research

Even if you call and verify with the company, you should still do your due diligence in researching the company. Salesmen are smart when it comes to scams (that’s why they work so well), so you have to research thoroughly the legitimacy of the company. Fortunately, the Internet is a powerful tool for this, but you should also check with your neighbors to see if they have had any positive of negative experiences with this company. Many HOAs also have requirements to register before being allowed to solicit, therefore helping to weed out the illegitimate companies. Before buying into any sales, check with your HOA to make sure this is a verified company.

Never Sign on the Spot

A big part of why door-to-door scams work so well is that they get you to sign and agree to it on the spot. By making statements such as “If you sign up now, I’ll give you a 50% discount,” or “This is good for today only, if you sign right now,” these tricky salesmen will get you to sign a binding contract in pursuit of a great deal. Never let yourself be enticed by a “deal you can’t refuse,” because that deal will likely cost you big time. A reasonable and legitimate company, one you would want to entrust the security of your home to, should honor any offer presented to you by a salesman at your door when you call to verify.

If you would like to know more about a home security company who will not run any scams and one you can rely on, consider contacting us at Watch Guard Alarms today. We’ll walk you through what you need, why you need it, and get you an affordable home security system – without the need for shady door-to-door tactics!

Three Surprising Facts About Burglaries

In this day and age, we’re all relatively educated when it comes to home safety.  We pretty much know we can’t leave our doors unlocked anymore and not to say we’re out of town on our answering machine.  What may surprise you, though, are the lesser-known facts about home burglaries and thefts.

Daytime vs. Nighttime

When most of us imagine a break-in, we think of the man in the ski mask at night sneaking around in the dark.  We are mistaken, however, if we believe this is how most burglaries occur.  The fact is that most home thefts happen between 9:00am and 3:00pm daily.  If you think about it, it makes sense.  During a typical day, most people are away from their homes at work, school, or running errands.  Daytime is the prime time for homes to be left empty, whereas, most people are at home during the evenings and at night.  No burglar wants to get caught, so the best time is when nobody’s around!

Trimming Matters

We all know that HOAs and OCD neighbors like us to keep a well-trimmed and maintained yard.  For more than just avoiding being Public Enemy No. 1 at the neighborhood barbecue, it is of utmost importance to keep a tidy yard for the purpose of preventing burglaries.  Thieves look for untrimmed bushes and hedges to hide in.  The more overgrown the foliage, the better.  Especially in acreage near your house, if you have any dark or hidden areas due to plants, trees, or any other kind of clutter, you will be a prime target for a break-in.

Front and Center

We’ve seen in the movies where the burglar is sneaking in the tiny bathroom window, maybe getting stuck or tripping over the toilet.  While it may seem more logical to maneuver a sneak attack through a difficult entry, the fact is that most burglars enter through the front or back door.  Even more surprising, almost half of those are not even forced!  This tells us that obvious points of entry are the easiest for a thief, most likely because the lock is inadequate or they are never even secured to start with.

Especially in this day and age, never make assumptions about or take for granted the safety of your home from theft.  If you place the security of your family and valuables at a high priority, you should know that homes without alarm systems are three times more likely to be broken into than those homes protected with electronic security systems.  If you would like more information on how Watch Guard can defend your home from often unpredictable intruders, please contact us today!

Who's Next Door?

When you were a kid, were you out playing in the neighborhood until you heard your mom calling for dinner?  Did you and your friends ride your bikes around town until dusk?  These may be pleasant memories for you, but unfortunately, kids these days have limited freedom.  Gone are the days where kids are safe to play in the streets by themselves without risk of predators stealing their innocence. As unfortunate as this sad fact is, the good news is that there are advances being made in locating and knowing if registered sex offenders are living or working in your neighborhood.  Although not a method of preventing crimes from occurring, knowledge of who is living next door can help to either reassure or warn you when it comes to the safety of your children.

By clicking the link below you are able to search by state or name to see registered sex offenders.  Information varies by state, but typically will include their pictures, homes addresses, offenses, and work addresses.

U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website

By looking through offenders in your area, you will be better able to recognize suspicious characters, stop your children from spending time with or near them, and have a knowledge that may end up protecting your loved ones from potential harm.  The G.I. Joes knew what they were talking about when they said, “Knowing is half the battle.”

If you are aware of sexual offenders living or working in your area and would like further assistance in safeguarding your kids while in your home, please contact Watch Guard today.  We’ll put a security system in place to protect your home from any unwanted neighbors from next door.

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

Watch Guard Of The Potomac, Inc. BBB Business Review

All content copyright Watch Guard of the Potomac

Background image source: Flickr