Important Home Safety Checks to make before your Holiday
With the Christmas and new year festivities behind us, and the routine of work kicking back in, many of us now turn our thoughts to getting away from it all on holiday.
Whether you’re planning to jet off in the summer sun, or nipping away for a quick late winter break to alleviate those blues, make certain you don’t forget to ensure that your home is fully protected while you’re away.
While making our homes 100% impenetrable is unrealistic, there are a number of simple steps we can all take to increase security and put off opportunistic burglars…
- Timed Lights
Relatively cheap to get hold of, timers can be used on lamps to turn them on and off at natural times, giving the appearance of your home being inhabited. You could even use these devices on other electronics, such as TVs or radios, to emphasise the appearance of occupation. Timers are far more favourable to leaving your lights on the whole time, which will look unnatural as well as being highly expensive in terms of energy bills.
- Keep Curtains Drawn
While you may be concerned that having your curtains open overnight makes your home look empty, it is far more favourable than having them closed during the day, as nothing makes a house look less occupied than this. Employing timer lights, as mentioned above, will combat some of the dangers of exposed windows after dark.
- Tell the Neighbours
If you have a good relationship with your neighbours, they can be a crucial element of your home security while you’re away. Give them the exact dates of your holiday, asking them to keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour and letting them know if anyone else has a key and is due to visit your home while you’re gone. If possible, they could park outside your house to make it look like someone’s in.
- Stop Deliveries
Nothing says “unoccupied house” like a big stack of mail and newspapers on the doormat, or a few uncollected bottles of milk outside. If possible, pause all post, subscriptions and deliveries for the period that you’re away to avoid the tell-tale build up.
- Check House Alarms
While, in some cases, just the appearance of a house alarm attached to your property is enough to put off passing opportunists, ensuring that your system is fully operational is the best way to maximise security. Test your alarm before leaving, and immediately address any issues you may come across.
- Keep Quiet Online
It may be tempting to chronicle your trip every step of the way, uploading photos of the plane or writing excited status updates, but try to refrain. Although you may trust those following your social networks, information online is never completely private, and your photos might end up in the hands of people that you wouldn’t want knowing about your empty house.
- Hide Your Valuables Correctly
This doesn’t mean put your laptop under the bed, or your jewellery in an underwear draw – these will be the first places a burglar will check. Place your valuables and sentimental items in hard to reach places to avoid being found by thieves looking for a quick in-and-out job, even putting a small amount of ‘decoy’ cash in a more obvious place to throw them off the scent.
The ultimate method of home security, CCTV systems will not only show you the culprits if a break-in does occur, but will act as a major deterrent if the equipment is visible on the exterior of your home. There are a number of systems available depending on your needs, from analogue to Internet protocol (IP) cameras.