Your home is your sanctuary. It is a place where fond memories are made and relaxing evenings are spent after a busy day. Your home is a safe haven where you and your family most feel at ease. If your home is under-protected this may compromise the security you feel in your own home.
Using a few simple home security tips and tricks, you can protect your belongings, thwart would-be thieves and increase your feeling of security while home and away.
Prevention begins outside your home from the minute it comes into view. Take a walk around your property with a critical eye to see what changes it needs.
Consider these tips to help keep you and your family, and your possessions, safe and secure:
Landscape with safety in mind. As you walk around your property, look for areas that could be potential hiding spots for thieves, who prize the privacy they provide. Try and clear away any overgrown areas.
Talk with your local police department. It can offer insight on past break-in trends in your area.
Get to know your neighbors. Take the time to meet and engage with people on your street and encourage them to watch out for any suspicious activity when you’re not home.
Lighting matters. Lighting can set the right ambiance inside your home, but outdoor lighting can be the difference between your home being targeted – or not – by thieves. Motion-sensitive fixtures can help add security and provide light when needed.Also consider using automatic timers or smart lightbulbs that can be controlled remotely to turn lights on and off in various parts of the house to help make it seem like you are home.
Avoid advertising that shopping spree. Thieves look for and steal newly delivered boxes on your front porch, a method called porch pirating, so consider having them delivered elsewhere or requiring a signature for delivery. Thieves may also look at clues provided by your trash or recycling, which may indicate the new computer or flat-screen television inside.
Set a safety routine. Make sure you establish a routine where you regularly lock all doors, shut windows and turn on your alarm system every time you leave your home. Avoid leaving spare keys outside, under a planter or under a welcome mat, as thieves know most of the potential hiding places.
Manage visibility. Make sure you can see who is at your front door without opening it. Avoid placing valuables where they will be visible from the street, and do not place your home alarm panel in a place where people can see you arming it from the outside.
Protect your outdoor valuables. Burglars also target sheds, garages and other outdoor buildings. Secure your grill, lawn mower, bicycles and other outdoor gear.
Create a plan for when you are away. Hold your mail, stop your papers and ask a friend or neighbor to remove flyers from your property. Arrange for snow removal and lawn mowing so you do not advertise when you are away from home.
Install a home alarm system: While an alarm may not keep burglars from getting inside your home, it will deter some and bring the police to your home quickly, limiting what a thief is able to take. Home security systems will only work if you always remember to engage the alarm. You should have your alarm engaged while you are away or while you are at home as many thieves will attempt to break into one part of your home while you are busy in another. Also, some insurance companies may lower your home insurance premiums for having a home alarm system installed.
Take precautions to protect windows: If you are purchasing new windows for your home, it might be worth the upgrade to buy shatterproof glass. This would prevent anyone from breaking a window to gain access to your home. If new windows aren’t in the budget, consider adding a security film to windows. This will prevent the glass from shattering upon breaking and may deter thieves from continuing their attempt to break in.
Secure sliding glass doors: Sliding glass doors have incredibly flimsy locks. A thief can easily pop them in an instant, giving quick access to your home. Installing a security bar for sliding doors would make gaining access to your home more difficult. This measure of protection is a must-have for all sliding doors and windows.
Change the locks as necessary: If you’ve just purchased a home from someone, your first order of business should be to meet the locksmith at your new home. You have no idea who is out there with a key just waiting for the moment to use it. In addition, if you’ve had a breakup recently, it is time to change the locks. The person may give you the key back, but you have no idea how many copies are out there. Having the locks changed is good for the peace of mind.
Keeping your family, your belongings and your home safe and secure does not involve a lot of money. A few simple changes such as the home security tips mentioned above can protect everyone and everything for years to come.
Without getting into too many of the statistics, it is a known fact that California is Earthquake country. The state is home to two-thirds of the nations earthquake risk with over 500+ active faults. Scientist predict based on seismic activity both past and current that a 6.7+M Earthquake is 99% likely within the next 30-years. While the numbers are not meant to cause an uproar of concern, as a Californian, your duty is to be prepared.
Read below for important information on staying prepared before, during and after an Earthquake. Additional government information can be found at the links listed at the bottom of this article.
If an earthquake happens, protect yourself right away. Drop, Cover, then Hold On!
If in a vehicle, pull over and stop.
If in bed, stay there.
If outdoors, stay outdoors.
Do not get in a doorway.
Do not run outside.
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN AN EARTHQUAKE THREATENS
Secure items, such as televisions, and objects that hang on walls. Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves.
Practice Drop, Cover, then Hold On with family and coworkers. Drop to your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Crawl only as far as needed to reach cover from falling materials. Hold on to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops.
Create a family emergency communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated.
Make a supply kit that includes enough food and water for at least three days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, and a whistle. Consider each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
Consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover earthquake damage.
Consider a retrofit of your building to correct structural issues that make it vulnerable to collapse during an earthquake.
Drop, Cover, then Hold On like you practiced. Drop to your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Hold on to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops. Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris.
If in bed, stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow.
If inside, stay there until the shaking stops. DO NOT run outside.
If in a vehicle, stop in a clear area that is away from buildings, trees, overpasses, underpasses, or utility wires.
If you are in a high-rise building, expect fire alarms and sprinklers to go off. Do not use elevators.
If near slopes, cliffs, or mountains, be alert for falling rocks and landslides.
Be Safe AFTER
Expect aftershocks to follow the largest shock of an earthquake.
Check yourself for injury and provide assistance to others if you have training.
If in a damaged building, go outside and quickly move away from the building.
Do not enter damaged buildings.
If you are trapped, cover your mouth. Send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting so that rescuers can locate you.
If you are in an area that may experience tsunamis, go inland or to higher ground immediately after the shaking stops.
Save phone calls for emergencies.
Once safe, monitor local news reports via battery operated radio, TV, social media, and cell phone text alerts for emergency information and instructions.
Use extreme caution during post-disaster clean-up of buildings and around debris. Do not attempt to remove heavy debris by yourself. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, and sturdy, thick-soled shoes during clean-up.