How Alexa Can Make Your Home Safer

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While Amazon Alexa can answer trivia questions and help you order groceries, this little AI assistant can also make your home safer with a wide range of nifty, little-known Alexa features. Give these a try.

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Amazon Echo dot speaker lit up on top of books with a hand holding prescription bottle nearby

Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

Prevent food poisoning

Ever looked into your fridge and thought, “Hmm, I wonder if I can still eat this?” Alexa can help. You can ask a question like, “Alexa, how long does milk last?” to see if your dairy is past its prime, for example.

Better yet, you can set up a reminder with Alexa to remind you to eat something before it hits its expiration date. Just say, “Alexa, set up a reminder.”

Help for those with vision impairment

Identifying different foods and household items can be tricky if you have trouble seeing. With the Alexa Show and Tell feature, you can hold up an item to an Echo Show and Alexa will tell you what that item is. This is particularly useful for those with food allergies. It also prevents you from accidentally mixing cleaners that are dangerous when combined, like bleach and ammonia.

To get started, hold the item 1 foot away from your device. Then say, "Alexa, what am I holding?" or "Alexa, what's in my hand?" and Alexa will give you further instructions.

Caregiver help

Alexa Together is a service for Echo devices that helps people with disabilities and older adults get help when they need it. Once you sign up, Alexa can:

  • Call for help if there is an emergency using a voice command.
  • Pass along reminders sent from caregivers.
  • Detect falls and get help.
  • Give caregivers updates on their loved one’s daily activity.

To learn more, read our Alexa Together review.

Keep your home safe

There are many ways Alexa can beef up the security around your house. For example, knowing when someone is around your home is an important way to stay safe. If you have a Ring Doorbell, Alexa can announce when someone is at your door.

Alexa is also compatible with many different security systems. You can use it to arm your security system, close your garage door and switch on security lights. Learn more about which security systems work best with Alexa in our guide, The Best Alexa-Compatible Home Security Systems.

Don’t want a full security system? Alexa Guard will listen for breaking glass and alert you that there may be an intrusion. The feature can also alert you when your smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector goes off. If you decide to upgrade to Alexa Guard Plus, your voice assistant can help you call emergency services or even make dog barking noises when an intruder is detected. Learn more about Alexa Guard in our guide.

Away Mode can keep intruders at bay, too. Just say, "Alexa, enable Away Mode," before you leave home and the speaker will play audio of people talking. This could trick an intruder into thinking you’re at home.

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Amazon discontinues Alexa Guard

Never forget your medication

For many, missing a pill can be a dangerous situation. Set up an Alexa reminder and you’ll never forget again. Here’s how:

  • Say, “Alexa, set a reminder.”
  • Tell it what the reminder is for.
  • Tell it a time you would like to be reminded and how often. For example, “Noon every day” or “2 p.m. and 8 p.m. every day.”
Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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