March 14, 2020| |
14 STEPS FOR HOME SAFETY AND SECURITY WHILE ON VACATION
Many of us, due to safety and security, have worries about leaving our homes completely unoccupied when planning to embark on vacations out of town. These worries aren’t baseless because we have heard, read and seen several cases of families returning to their home after a vacation, only to find it vandalized; discover gas leaks, burst pipes, etc. Many of these problems could cost a lot of money to fix, or could lead to the loss of valuables.
For African families, I’ve observed that the default action they take is to call on a close relative to occupy the property while they are away, a means to ensure that everything is running smoothly in their absence. This is an effective step to take, no doubt about that. But, if you want to know about more effective approaches to keep your home safe and secure while you’re on vacation, do read on!
KEEPING YOUR HOME SAFE AND SECURE WHILE ON VACATION
Although, asking someone to occupy your home to ensure that it is safe and secure while you are on vacation is a superb idea. But, if the following tips can keep your home safe and secure, why, then, should you disturb the freedom of others by making them stand guard at your home while you’re having a good time on your vacation?
1. LOCK DOORS AND WINDOWS PROPERLY
This might sound like a no-brainer, but the majority of homes that get broken into have their doors opened. Ensure that all your windows and doors are properly closed, including backdoors, garage doors, bedroom windows, and windows on top floors.
2. CLEAR OUT YOUR MAILBOX AND REQUEST A HOLD TO MAIL DELIVERIES
Before you leave for your vacation, ensure that you clear out your mailbox and request a hold to all incoming mails. You should also tell a trusted neighbor to help you check periodically for mails in your mailbox or at your home, because random unexpected mails may arrive at your door. Uncleared mailboxes and newsletters hanging at your doorstep are signs for burglars to know that there’s nobody at home, thereby permitting them to go ahead.
3. INSTALL A HOME SECURITY SYSTEM
If you do not already have a home security system installed at your home, you need to do so immediately, or before you embark on that vacation, so you can be assured that your home is safe and secured. If and when you have it installed, inform your home security company that you will be out of the home. Also, ensure that as part of your home security system, you have a video doorbell to monitor visitors at your door. Endeavour to invest in security cameras as well. Your system should also include an outdoor sensor light to track movements around the corridors of your home. Finally, you should advertise your home security system by placing stickers that announce the presence of the home security system, because this serves as a strong deterrent to burglars. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to help set up your home security system.
4. LOCK UP VALUABLES
When going on a vacation, you should never leave your valuables like pieces of jewelry laying around. They should be kept in a safe, where they will not be easily found by burglars.
5. LEAVE SOME LIGHTS ON AND WINDOW BLINDS OPEN
To create an impression that you are at home, you should leave some indoor lights on, as well as outdoor lights that surround your home. Burglars will not enter a home that is (or seems) occupied, so leaving lights on, and window blinds open can help to create an impression in the mind of potential burglars while you are away. You can also choose to set up timers for the lights so they can automatically go on and off at designated times. Another option is to connect the control to your smartphone to enable you to switch the lights on and off from where you are vacationing.
6. KEEP THE YARD MAINTAINED
Keep the yard maintained by paying someone to mow your lawn and keep the environment clean while you are away. Leaving your lawn unmowed, and the environment unkempt suggest to potential burglars that the home hasn’t been occupied in a while. You could choose to pay someone to do this for you or seek the help of a neighbour.
7. USE A SMART THERMOSTAT TO REGULATE TEMPERATURE
Irregular temperature changes could damage household equipment while you’re on vacation. To solve this problem, you can get a programmable smart thermostat to keep the temperature at your home moderate and regulated.
8. DO NOT OVERSHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
With the wave of social media and habit of people sharing every minute information about their whereabouts and life activities online, this might be an opportunity for burglars to be aware of your absence from home and use the opportunity to break in.
9. DISCONNECT ELECTRONICS
The need to turn off electrical appliances like television sets, refrigerators, etc. can never be over-emphasized. It sounds so normal to do, but most people might still skip this because it is underplayed. It should be made a deliberate action to take, and not just an after-thought. Failure to do this could lead to damage to the electrical appliances through a power surge or even an electrical mishap which could cause a disaster.
10. LEAVE A VEHICLE IN THE DRIVEWAY
This is another effective way to disguise occupancy of your home while you’re away. Because a burglar will most likely not break into a home that is occupied, seeing a car on the driveway will give him the impression that someone is in, thereby deterring him from making a way in.
11. DO NOT KEEP SPARE KEYS AROUND
Almost everyone keeps a spare key hidden somewhere around the home. Burglars know this and will almost always find the key wherever they are because they know most of the common places that you hide them. Instead, you could hand the key to a trusted neighbor to keep while you’re away on your vacation.
12. … OR USE A SMART DOOR LOCK
You can also opt for a smart door lock instead of the traditional lock and key. This can be a part of your home security system.
13. DOUBLE-CHECK TO BE SURE
To effectively double-check that nothing is amiss in your home security and safety measures for your vacation, you must have created a checklist. It is important that you double-check all these measures (or triple-check) just to be completely sure you can leave for your vacation and return to a safe and secure home.
14. ASK SOMEONE TO CHECK IN REGULARLY
The final thing to do before embarking on that vacation is to ask someone to check into your home regularly to make sure everything is running smoothly in there. This can be a close friend/relative or a trusted neighbour. Do not also forget to get them a gift on your way back from your vacation to show gratitude.