Facility and Risk Management Tips presented by www.solidrockfacilitymanagers.com
We commence our holiday series on safety and security with focus on our homes
10 Safety and Security tips for your homes during festive season.
The festive season is when you get to spend ideal time with family and friends and keep the stress at bay. But the festive season is also the time to ensure that your home is safe in your absence. It is the time when burglars love to practice their criminal activities and improve their skills. It is a convenient time for burglars as the holiday season is when most people go out on vacations as well.
At Solid Rock Facility Management Company Limited, we have identified 10 tips to keep your homes safe during the festive season
1. Keep travel plans offline
If you’re planning to travel during the holiday season, be sure to keep your travel plans off your social media networks. Never post where you’re going, when you’re leaving, or when you’ll be back.
This is prime information for a burglar because they’ll know when your house will be empty. Even if you have the highest level of security on your Facebook or Instagram accounts, posting this kind of information is never recommended.
2. Notify a neighbor
If you decide to go out of town during the holidays, be sure to notify a trusted neighbor. Ask them to keep an eye on your house and report any suspicious activity.
You should also make arrangements to keep snow from piling up on your walks and driveway and be sure to halt mail and newspaper delivery while you’re gone. Let your neighbor know if you’ve got someone coming by to check on things or shovel so they’ll know if it’s a potential prowler or a helping hand hanging around your home.
Another way to make it less obvious that no one’s home is harnessing the power of home automation. Add a motion sensor light or use smart plugs and smart lightbulbs to control lights, TVs, and more from anywhere. And if you feel like giving yourself an early gift that keeps on giving, look into a monitored home security system before you hit the road.
3. Hide packages and gifts
You probably want to keep gifts out of sight from children, but you also want to make sure gifts are hidden from a potential burglar as well. Putting pretty wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree looks nice, but it’s also an open invitation for a burglar. Try to keep your Christmas tree, with gifts underneath, away from windows or other places with a view. When you aren’t home, it’s easy to break through a window and grab all of your gifts.
And don't forget to take care of gifts you haven't received yet. Thieves like to strike when there's an Amazon Prime delivery or other package left unguarded on the porch. Consider adding a doorbell cam or other outdoor security camera to help deter porch pirates. Another smart move is to give delivery people special instructions about where to leave packages. If you're expecting lots of deliveries, consider renting out a package locker (Amazon Prime members have access for free) or investing in a secure drop box to keep on your porch.
4. Watch your Christmas lights
Fire hazards increase during the holidays.1 Before you string lights on the house or the tree, be sure to inspect the strands for frayed cords or cracked lamps. To prevent an accidental fire, replace any broken lamps, and throw away strands with frayed cords.
If it’s time for new lights, look for cords that have been tested by an independent laboratory, like the Underwriters Laboratory. Be sure to check the packaging to see that the manufacturer’s name and information are clearly marked.
Also, be sure to turn holiday lights off when you leave or before tucking in for a long winter’s nap. Try using an outdoor timer or smart outlet to switch lights on and off. And gather the whole clan together to review how to use a fire extinguisher and make sure yours is accessible and unexpired.
5. Deter thieves with CCTV
It is believed that 67% of domestic burglaries could be prevented by CCTV as thieves are deterred by the possibility of getting caught on camera. There are a range of CCTV cameras on the market that offer different features for securing a home all year round. These features include Smart Infra-Red night vision, Remote viewing for iPhone or Android, and Digital recordings with smart search.
If you are hoping to purchase CCTV for the first time, there are several cost-effective systems you can install. For those wishing to upgrade their current CCTV, installing a backwards-compatible system means you don’t have to replace all your existing cameras at once. This offers a more cost-effective and easy to upgrade solution.
6. Avoid trailing cables from Christmas lights
While Christmas lights can help up light up your home, a common mistake many households make is to feed the power cord through the gap in an open window. Burglars actively look for this common light set-up (even on top floors) so that they can use the open window to gain access to your home.
To avoid giving intruders this opportunity, use battery or solar-powered Christmas lights or use outdoor sockets. This may mean investing in some new lights this year, but the cost is likely to be much cheaper than being robbed.
7. Securely lock sheds and garages so burglars can’t use the tools and ladders inside to access your home. Similarly, cut back tall trees or shrubs that may be used to access upper levels of your home.
8. Eliminate potential hiding spots by cutting back foliage around the house and install motion-sensor flood lighting to startle a thief if they approach the home at night.
9. Never hide a key outside your home. Instead, give it to a trusted neighbour or friend as thieves know to look for keys under pot plants and other hiding spots.
10. After the holidays, don’t pile up boxes from expensive purchases outside your home. Burglars will appreciate knowing you have valuable new items inside and may add them to their ‘shopping list’. They also know that you’ll likely replace the stolen items and may return to break-in a second time.
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