‘A Home Is Where The Heart Is’ a commonly used phrase, re-establishes its profundity in terms of security. A home comprising of loved ones and priceless possessions, gives that intuition of protecting it and keeping it safe. Protecting ones’ home is not a precaution to be taken just before going out or on a vacation.
Be Safe When You Are At Home
Even when you are at home, it is unsafe if a number of precautionary measures have not been taken into consideration. With the increase in broad daylight thefts, robberies happening round the corner, acts of vandalism and terrorism so prevalent, one needs to be cautious and take proper security measures. Since a home always gives that comfortable feeling and a sense of contentment, there is absolutely no loss in doing anything to keep it safe. Apart from installing security alarms, surveillance cameras and other protective devices, pay heed to certain simple and overtly ignored measures.
It is always assumed that entering a home is usually through the main entrance, where as even in our homes most often we do the same. Even while visiting others houses entering from anywhere else would not even cross our minds. However, this does not mean that only the main entrance or the front door has to be well guarded, there are a number of points of entry to any home, and the point of entry given the least importance would be the place, most suitable for thieves to use.
These entry points are easy to enter any home. However, carelessness or ignorance over other things can lead to severe circumstances. The most important and easily lost item is keys. Keys have to be well protected and in case misplaced the entire locking system has to be changed. If every family member has a set of keys, keep a check on the keys from time to time.
- The Basements - the places usually less trodden make it a viable entry point. Glass windows can easily be broken, so there should be proper metal fixtures and bars to prevent breaking in.
- Garages - usually contain the cornucopia of household goods which are used occasionally, however are valuable and need to be kept safe. Therefore the garage doors should always be locked before and after use.
- Windows - are other prospective ways that one can enter from. It should not be easily accessible from outside; at the same time it should serve its purpose. Windows should be equipped with metal bar, meshes or grills to prevent easy entry. Insert blocking devices to prevent it from opening more than what it should. However, if made of glass, it can be fitted with glass break sensors and sound discriminators to sense any breakage. Glass can be replaced with other materials that provide the transparency, but are difficult to break. Storm windows should be well fastened when you are away.
- Doors - basically constructed for entry, should be accessible to the occupants only and not outsiders. First of all, doors are many in number so take measures for the doors that lead outwards. The doors should be constructed of a strong make and should be difficult to tamper with. A steel door would also be suitable for this purpose. As much as you would want to compromise on anything, do not take any chances with the locking system. Be sure to check from the vast range of locking systems, choosing only the best suited one. The patio doors and sliding doors also have to have adequate locking facilities. If you have glass doors, fit glass break sensors.
- Fences - A good fencing gives an impression that it is difficult to enter a house.
- Garden - Sometimes climbing up a tree is an easy entry, and creepers growing alongside the wall make it easier to enter. Take note of where all the plants, shrubs and trees are located. Tall shrubs can make good hiding places and also provide perfect camouflaging for thieves. Plant thorny plants at the easily accessible points like beneath windows.
Hiding keys in flowerpots or under mats is a bad habit and should not be done, as a thief will first check for these easy options. Keep the keys well guarded and take care of not leaving or losing it. The locks and locking systems are of wide range and you can choose from deadbolt lock, key-in-knob bolts and heavy duty, knob in lock, dead latches. The easiest way to keep the house safe is to get burglar and security alarms installed so that you can feel safe and secure even when you are alone or sleeping.
Protect Your Home While On Vacation
- When you are at home, be aware of all that is happening around your house. In case you see any person lingering suspiciously or strange cars parked around, bring it to the attention of the cops.
- Leaving notes for someone will only alert the thief as to how long you are away and when you are expected. It is better to call up the person and inform your whereabouts.
- Do not flaunt your stuff or belongings to others; this will definitely seek unnecessary attention. Even at home ensure that the important things are kept safely than leaving them at places which is easily accessible and can be flicked away easily.
- When working long hours, ask your neighbors to keep a tab over your house.
A vacation usually entails anticipating fun and enjoyment. On your vacation it would be distressing to either hear that the house has been burgled or to come back to see that there has been a robbery. Just as the way you take time off to plan for the vacation till the tiniest detail, protecting your home entails more planning and work.
Fire Safety Tips
- If you are in a good rapport with your neighbors, you can have them check on your house from time to time. If they oblige, give them a spare key so that they can go over and turn on the lights and also give it the feel that someone is there.
- A regular check like picking up mail, watering the plants, mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow and raking the leaves will give an impression that someone is living in the house.
- Inform your neighbors in detail about your itinerary and give them the relevant contact information, at which you can be reached. Keep them abreast about the security system you are using, and other details such as the password, how to turn it on and off.
- It would also be advisable to have a neighbor park their vehicle at your place. It is a good practice to organize neighbor community groups, so that the entire community is ‘security conscious’ and keeps an account of the happenings in and around the neighborhood.
- If responsibilities can be allotted to different people, each one would look forward to working together to protect their neighborhood. This mutual entrustment would make everyone equally safe and secure not just when you are on vacation, but even when you are alone at home.
- Light and sound serve as burglar repellents. Make your house very obviously used, as burglars always seek dark and quiet places. Try to leave some of the lights on, preferably get to fix automatic timers, where lights come on and off at different periods of time. The lights in the bedrooms can be left on, to give the place a used look.
- Make provisions for an automatic devise even for the sound to be turned on and off. However, do not leave the ringer on loud and the answering machine on speaker, as this is an obvious indication for thieves. Get all your calls forwarded, so that you are aware of all your callers.
- Be sure to lock all the doors and windows securely, however leave the blinds down so that it gives a look that someone is in the house.
- Make prior arrangements for the newspaper and mail or get someone to pick them up for you. If they are lying around for few days it clearly gives an indication that you are away.
- Do not even arrange for any major shipments or parcels to be scheduled to arrive during your vacation.
- Any sort of repair work, like getting replacements or electric appliances fitted just before leaving should be avoided. The lawn should be mowed, or if you are away for a long time get someone to do it for you.
- Do not make a big publicity of when and where you are off to. Such things are to be kept only to yourselves and try to avoid publicizing it.
- Try to install security alarms, security cameras and a full fledged surveillance system to ensure security and securely close every entry port. Security cameras can record all that it is happening and can be viewed at the same time, wherever you are.
- Notify the alarm company and the police.
- Take care to shift all the important valuables, documents and registration papers to safe and secure places.
- Take care to turn off all the electrical appliances and other gadgets that are not in use. You should ensure that there should be no fire break out or any sort of leakage, which would need someone to enter and check on it or repair it.
Fires are always sudden and occur at the most unexpected places. They are always harmful and dangerous, and usually cause irreparable damage. It would be distressing to see all your priced possessions and important stuff going up in flames, and the whole house being burnt up. Something burnt up is always lost forever and therefore utmost care should be taken to keep things safe. More than the safety of belongings, it is vital to keep ourselves safe, especially, when we are sleeping. Statistics shows that four out of five deaths usually take place in a home and therefore it would be ideal to get those fire safety devices installed rather than crying over ashes.
Fires can be triggered from anything such as a spark, a cigarette stub, some lose electric wiring or by some children playing around. Once a fire is started anything can serve as a devise for fuel and of course it spreads like wild fire.
Some easy measures that can be taken into consideration are as follows:
As part of all festivities, fireworks are the major and the most fun part. However, only if you are sure of taking proper preventive measures, can you indulge in all these celebrations, else you will be in great danger.
- Get all the electrical wiring, cooking ranges and other gas related devices checked from time to time, to curb fire break outs to some extent.
- Preserve inflammable things very carefully and doubly check them before leaving home or for a vacation.
- Take precautions even in day to day household activities viz. while cooking, a fuel related activity, using a lighter, lighting up something, interior decorative items and the vicinity of garages, storehouses and basements.
- Do not keep piling up and accumulating papers and other garbage as they are easily prone to catching fire.
- In case you are preserving firewood, gasoline or kerosene or any sort of fuel take proper measures to keep them fire free.
- Avoid piling raked leaves or hay in any corner.
- Try to be in the kitchen while cooking and keep any sort of inflammable stuff away from the range.
- Be careful while smoking and be sure to get rid of all the stubs and other sparks. Douse the fire as soon as you are done.
- Matches and lighters should be always kept safe in closed cabinets.
- Candles are good as decorative items, but at the same time ensure that they do not catch fire.
- Always keep a first aid for burns ready, and keep in a handy place.
- Warn children about the ill effects of fire from time to time and keep emphasizing on what has to be done in case there is any fire.
- Do not use too many electric gadgets at one time, as the overload can trigger a break out.
Apart from these basic measures, a variety of fire alarms can be installed to keep your house away from fire. Smoke detectors, fire alarms, fire extinguishers and others.
Fire Alarms - Nothing can give you more satisfaction than having a fire alarm fixed in your home. Its warning will be considerably enough to keep you safe and sound.
Smoke Detectors - Having smoke detectors is a relief to some extent, but keep checking them from time to time. Get them installed from some reputed agency and have them to come and check it from time to time.
Fire Extinguishers - Though it maybe a simple measure it is still one of the most effective method for putting out small fires. Since there are so many types, choose the right one depending on the size of the room.
Sprinklers - Most of the other devices and fire preventives only warn us about a fire but do not take any measure against them. Sprinklers curb the spread of fire, which makes it a worthy investment.
Child Safety Tips
Something equally or even more difficult in keeping your house safe and secure is trying to explain and convey to your children how to keep themselves safe. Children in all their innocence will go about doing all that they want with much perseverance and will power. Most thefts, fire break outs and robberies are usually due to the negligence of children and even teens. Since our houses are as precious as our children all we need to do is to warn them and teach them how to protect themselves, their siblings and the house right at a young age.
So much has been talked about keeping our houses safe at all times and even on vacations, on fire safety tips and safety tips for children. Children usually know everything, learn things fast and keep updating themselves from time to time. However when it comes to putting things into practice they usually go wrong. As a parent, it is your responsibility to keep testing them on all that you teach them. It would also be useful if you give them some practical real life experiences to enhance their spontaneity.
- All kinds of instruction should start at an early age, and when you are trying to take any security measure, make it obvious and keep repeating it to the child so that they over a period of time will master it. For example, while leaving home say loudly to the child, “I’m locking the doors, so that the house will be kept safe”, till the child learns it. After few days you can test them by asking “what should I do before leaving?” This will help children in learning and eventually start putting into practice all that they learn.
- As they grow bigger start giving them responsibilities like giving them a spare set of keys and see to it that they keep it safe. Also make them turn of lights and other electric devices they are familiar with, when not in use. Habits formed when young will remain for a lifetime.
- Teach them the names of those who frequent your home often, and also explain the meaning and difference between strangers and visitors, whom they should talk to and whom to avoid.
- Show them some simple audio visuals of keeping themselves safe and you can also encourage them to see movies where they learn how to take care of themselves.
- Take proper measures of all the door locks and the security systems and children usually tamper with it.
- Introduce them to the law and teach them how to follow it. Talk them into approaching the police, higher authorities or known elders whenever in a crisis.
- Always entrust your children to some caretaker or neighbors when away.
- Be clear and specific on what they should use and what they are not allowed to touch. At the same time, take precautions and what they should not handle should not be in their vicinity, else they get tempted to touch it and play with it.
- At a very young age teach them about the ill effects of fire and what has to be done in case there is one. Ensure that there are no inflammable, sharp products within their reach, and stop them from using matches, lighters and other things that may catch fire. After a certain age, it should be an obligation to teach them how to use it.
- Do not keep any wires or cords lying around the house and guard all plug points etc
- Keep the phone directory or a record of the important phone numbers such as the police, ambulance, doctors, and fire engines near the phone, as usually during emergencies you tend to get worried and forget even simple things. This will help you avoid wasting anytime.
Security Tips For Parents
Security Tips For School Administrators
- Depending on their age, use relevant teaching aids such as activity books which have exercises to work on, interesting websites and online games, create role play situations and make them enact it out and also use the latest technology and media.
- Give them responsibilities like locking their doors and other simple activities, and reward them suitably if they do it right.
- Make them memorize important details such as their name, parents’ name, their home address, the home phone and mobile phone and other details so that in cases of emergency they can always get someone to help them with these details.
- They should understand who and what the services of police, 911, fire departments and ambulances are and should be able to call those numbers and fend for themselves in a crisis.
- Things like fire drills are not just for the school to teach but teach them at home as well and give them some solutions in case there is a fire break out in their room while sleeping.
Avoid False Alarms
- A school, a place where subjects are taught, values inculcated and education rendered, should also take upon itself the responsibility to teach children how to take care of themselves in terms of safety and also keep their surroundings safe.
- At the same time, the school administrators must check that they follow certain rules and regulations as a school is an abode of thousands of children, most of them who are unaware of what safety entails.
- Earlier, it was always thought that, schools are the safest places to be in and parents had no reservations about sending their kids to schools and universities. With the recent shoot outs and tragic instances where children were held as hostages, school administrators are required to take these extra precautions.
- Firstly, the school should have a very strict security system within the school so that no one can enter without prior permission or a genuine reason. Frisking or metal detectors can solve this problem.
- The movement of the visitors and parents should be restricted and they should not be allowed to enter beyond a certain place. Make the security do a thorough checking of the entire school premises and report if there is anything unusual.
- Also make students cautious and aware, and develop the habit of making them report if they spot anything unusual or if they see anyone lingering around. However, it is ideal to install surveillance and CCTV cameras at strategic places and places where things may most likely happen. This will also give the students and teachers a sense of protection.
- For kindergarten and elementary students introduce more safety measures as it is difficult to make them understand how to keep them safe, however it is not difficult to teach them about fire drills and what to do if they see strangers.
- For older students have periodic counseling sessions and awareness programs, so that they are able to deal with these issues. For students who are in their pre-teens, teens and late teens, keep checking from time to time whether any of them can actually be a threat or bully to the others.
- All the equipment, such as library books, sports paraphernalia and other important material should be under careful scrutiny and should be under the protection of detectors or tags wherein stealing is dissuaded.
- All educational institutions’ should have stricter security as the total number of people present are always in huge numbers
- All the entry points to the school must be carefully guarded, and should have security cameras.
- Awareness programs and other security measures should be taught and ingrained so that the students should be aware of what has to be done.
- The fire alarms, smoke detectors and burglar alarms must be checked periodically.
- Fire drills should be taught and practiced so that it is put to practice during emergencies.
- Every person in a school should be made responsible of not only protecting themselves but also others.
‘False Alarms’ is a term we use colloquially and relate it to so many other aspects. But a false alarm in reality is actually scary and if we get a chance to encounter it we usually end up panicking. What exactly is a ‘false alarm’? A false alarm is termed as the alarm that mistakenly or accidentally goes off, enabling a notification in the concerned place. Statistics shows that most of the false alarms are caused due to
False alarms are usually caused by the owners, children or even pets. The false alarm however is your responsibility, and sometimes if there are too many false alarms you would have to pay a fine, or undergo some training courses.
- Entering the wrong cod
- Not entering the code at all
- An improper door function
- Mistaking that the system is in the ready mode
- The motion detector wrongly detecting a movement
To avoid all these unnecessary predicaments, learn the correct way to operate and use it. Sometimes some moving objects like leaves or ivy can trigger a false alarm to sound. The ideal thing would be to get a complete check over all the anticipated possibilities so that a frequent false alarm experience can be curbed.
The first and foremost thing to do is that during installation, ask the security alarm companies to clearly explain all the details, so that you do not happen to trigger a false alarm yourself. Once you get to know all the details, make sure that your kith and kin know how to use it. The password should be known to all and everyone should be able to cancel it in case of a false encounter. Familiarize yourself with all that has to be done through reading the guidebook and checking with the company’s customer service.
Avoid Alarm Scams
- Take measures as to see that nothing hampers the system such as curtains, any protruding objects or other things as the purpose of having an alarm will be lost.
- It is ideal to keep the phone number of the company at hand so that in case of emergency you can seek their help through phone.
- Get the company to do a routine checkup often, so that, you can be ensured that it is in a working condition.
- In case there is any repair or handy work to be done in and around the house, inform the alarm company.
- Everyone abiding in the house should understand its benefits, and should be proficient about how its works, the codes, passwords and other details. You can even make everyone practice using it and also should be able to cancel it.
- Sometimes a low battery can cause a false alarm, therefore check the alarm from time to time.
- Even if a false alarm sounds, immediately de-activate it and inform the alarm company, that it was a false alarm.
Most often in our over-eager anticipation of getting a security alarm fixed for the price we are willing to pay, we don’t even bother to see whether it is from a reliable and Insured company and whether the salesperson is a trustworthy person.
Cheating is very common, and you cannot afford to take any chances as it deals with the security of your lives as well as your homes. Many a time, people are cheated on this very issue and have lost a great deal of money. An ideal way is to first check with known people the kind of alarms they are using and assess the pros and cons of it. Then depending on what suits your taste and likes go ahead and finalize on the one best suited for you.
- Do not trust any salesperson that comes your way with an alarm. Be sure to check all the details, and if the address is in a place nearby, go and check its credibility and experience.
- Do not compromise on the money you spend for it, it is better to settle for something that is costly and reliable than something that is cheap and doesn’t last for long.
- Do not be impressed by companies which come with certain offers, most of them are sales gimmicks and have to be verified carefully before investing.
- Inquire with others before installing, and do the needful.
- Ensure that the salesperson that comes to install it is sent from the company and is genuine in his work.
- Plan properly, save wisely and invest in something that can last for long.
- Take references for companies and give recommendations of the good companies to others.