Yes, some home safety and security tips are pretty obvious, but the not-so-obvious ones can also be among the best things you can do to protect your house. There are 21 here, in no particular order. See how many you’ve been applying to your home.
- Keep all of your doors locked — a no-brainer, right? But this means also when you’re home! It takes two seconds to unlock a door if you suddenly must go outside. Daytime home invasions are not uncommon.
- And as for those locks, use a solid deadbolt system.
- When your doorbell rings and you’re not expecting anyone, do you usually jump to answer it? Slow down. Think first. See who it is through the peephole (you have one of those, right?). If you don’t recognize the visitor, you are under no obligation to answer. So don’t. Home invaders have been known to ring the bell first.
- Does your house have an abandoned look? Even if you never travel, don’t allow your house and yard to look like you’re away a lot. Keep the grass mowed, shrubs manicured, etc. Don’t let mail or newspapers accumulate.
- How easy are your house’s address numbers visible to paramedics should you need emergency help? Make sure they’re big and noticeable. But consider not having your name on your mailbox. Maybe put it on a sticker inside the mailbox. This way a criminal can’t just drive-by and 411 your phone number to see if you are home or not.
- Consider a keyless entry. Otherwise, don’t hide spare keys; burglars know all the places to check. Have a trusted person hold onto spare keys.
- Don’t just rely on a deadbolt. Door jams can be kicked through more easily than you think, so reinforce the door jam. Google “door reinforcement” and check out “Door Devil.”
- It’s best to use a deadbolt that does not require a key to open from the inside, should you need to quickly escape from the house.
- Sometimes the home intruder is non-human: a fire. Make sure no dried up brush piles up on your property. Never smoke in bed. Always rinse cigarette butts before tossing out. Or just stop already.
- In line with the previous point, hide matches and lighters from kids. This is easier than many people think. Simply lock them up in a small safe. If you rely on them to smoke, then commit to unlocking and locking them up every time you indulge in your vice; I’m fed up with reading about deadly house fires being started by kids “playing with” these devices.
- Keep all outdoor flammable items away from the house.
- Have smoke detectors throughout the house. Upgrade them to combo smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.
- Have fire evacuation drills with the entire family so that if a fire really occurs, nobody will panic and become inefficient.
- When you leave the house for errands, work, etc., make a habit of putting your phone’s ringer on mute so that a prowler just outside won’t hear it going unanswered.
- Even when windows are locked (place a “Charlie bar” in the sliding track).
- Always keep the garage door closed when not in use.
- Never venture outside, even for a few moments, while the fireplace or a candle is burning.
- Never leave notes on doors saying things like “be back shortly.”
- Keep curtains and blinds down unless you absolutely need the light in the room such as for plants, and certainly, cover all windows come dusk.
- Don’t leave a baby on the bed unattended; babies have been known to roll over and get their head trapped between the bed and wall — suffocating to death.
- Consider a home security system that also automates lights, thermostats, and detects water leaks.
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