Attention to safety and security usually gets relegated to specific times and situations. Think Fire Safety month in October or reminders to watch out for Christmas tree lights in December. But keeping your home and family safe and secure is a year-round job. Here are some tips for protecting yourself, your valuables and those who matter most to you throughout each month of the year.
January: Resolve To Be Safe
Plenty of people have security systems but don’t bother arming them. This usually happens because people are worried about the inconvenience – and sometimes cost – of false alarms. But a security system can’t protect you unless it’s armed, so if you’re in that group of people who has a system that sits unused, make this the year you resolve to use it.
False alarms can be avoided, and with security technology, you no longer have to worry about the dog walker forgetting the code or the delivery person leaving an expensive package on the front porch again. It’s easy to let people in and out remotely and on your terms, without ever handing out your alarm code.
February: Get Monitored
Statistically speaking, February is one of the top three months for home fires and fire related deaths in the United States. You may have smoke detectors but if they’re not monitored, at best they’ll raise an alarm so you can take action or at worst they’ll go unnoticed as your belongings go up in flames.
The solution is central station monitoring. Don’t rely on your ability to act, or on the neighbor’s generosity if you’re not home. With central station monitoring someone is looking out for your home 24/7, and when an alarm goes off the appropriate authorities will be dispatched to your aid.
March: Change Those Batteries
Smoke detector batteries don’t last forever. In fact, you might be surprised by how many people we see who don’t bother putting batteries in at all. If smoke detectors don’t work, they can’t protect you, so use this month to visit every single one and swap out old batteries for new.
You probably hear this advice in the fall, but how about switching it to spring? Fall is a busy time of the year and most people are running around managing back-to-school activities, holidays and end-of-year tasks. But if you add “change batteries” to your spring cleaning list and time it with Daylight Savings Time, you’ll always know your smoke detectors are ready to go.
April: Lock Your Car Doors
Every year we hear the same stories: there’s suddenly a rash of break-ins across upscale towns and cars are stolen right off their owners’ driveways. The worst part is that these thefts were totally avoidable and only happened because the owners left the keys in their cars.
If you’re in the habit of leaving keys in the car, under a doormat or anywhere else that’s accessible to someone else, it’s time to break that habit now. Lock your car doors and bring the keys into the house. Even if it takes you an extra five minutes to find them in the morning, it’s better than having to find the car.
May: Save The Family Jewels
Mother’s Day is a popular day for gifting jewelry, and we’re not talking about the kind you can pick up in a department store for a few bucks. Mom deserves every one of those jewels, so if you’ve spent money on expensive earrings, a necklace or bracelet, how about protecting those assets?
Chances are that when you armed your home you omitted the second floor. People infrequently think to alarm the second floor since it’s hard to get to, but that’s typically where the master bedroom is – with drawers full of expensive jewelry. That makes it a hot target for thieves, so reconsider arming your second story with glass break detectors, motion sensors or other security features.
June: Give Dad A Break From DIY Projects
He probably has a toolshed full of equipment and he may even enjoy doing household projects, but this year, give dad a day off from DIY and instead of buying him consumer-level cameras so he can see what the dog is up to while he’s at work, how about having them installed professionally?
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to installing cameras, from the angle of viewing to the amount of light, and it helps to have a professional eye. Plus, with professional cameras you can easily have them monitored so in the event of a real security breach, the authorities will not only be alerted but have video clips as well.
July: Secure Your Home While You’re On Vacation
Summer is peak time for home burglaries, increasing up to 15% over other months. Before you pack your suitcase, give some thought to protecting your stuff while you’re away. There’s plenty you can do from small things like having a neighbor collect the mail, to higher tech things like installing smart home systems that afford you access to lights, door locks and video cameras from wherever your travels take you.
You can use your smart system to randomly turn lights on while you’re away so it gives the illusion that someone is home, even turn on the TV for a realistic “lived-in” effect. As long as you’ve got an internet connection, you’ve got 24/7 access to your home’s security and eyes on cameras any time.
August: Prepare Your Summer Home
As the summer starts to wind down, it’s time to consider how you’ll protect your vacation home for the winter. If you leave it unoccupied for much of the year, you probably already have some sort of security and fire protection. This year take it a step further and add leak protection.
One of the common misfortunes when it comes to summer homes, especially if they’re in a spot that gets cold during the winter, is that pipes freeze, burst and then flood the house. Even smaller leaks, like a valve under the kitchen sink or a loose humidifier tube can wreak havoc if they’re not caught. With leak detection, you’ll be alerted to these threats so you can take action quickly.
September: Get Ready For School
When the kids go back to school your house may turn into Activity Central. Friends come and go, stopping by for everything from homework to snacks and games. If you’re at work, you may wonder who’s visiting and what’s going on in the meantime.
Installing a video camera at your door in combination with smart technology can give you peace of mind knowing who is entering your home at any given point. You can set alerts to let you know whenever your system is disarmed, so you know exactly when the kids are home, and you can observe who’s with them with the cameras. You can even have two-way conversations with them right on the doorstep.
October: Practice Fire Safety
The amount of attention given to fire safety during October makes it a great time to take advantage of all those resources and practice safety skills with the family. Being prepared is half the battle, so take this time to create an emergency plan for your family. That includes an exit plan in the event of a fire, and a safe place to regroup if you lose track of each other.
Make sure everyone knows where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it. And if you don’t have one, it would be a great time to place one in key locations, namely in or near the kitchen and laundry room. Having a plan and practicing it can get everyone – especially kids – comfortable with the idea of dealing with an emergency before it happens.
November: Clean Out The Dryer Vent
Did you know that nearly 3,000 fires start each year due to lint buildup in dryer vents? It’s easy to avoid this type of fire so schedule a vent cleaning every year. Fall is a great time to do it because squirrels love to hoard nuts in vents and that can result in obstructions that mean disaster for you. Birds like to nest there, too, so be sure your vent is properly protected from wildlife.
While you’re at it, use this time to install a heat sensor in your laundry room. The lint makes smoke detectors ineffective, but heat sensors can warn you when something poses a threat.
December: Mind The Fireplace
Few things are as cozy as a fireplace during the holidays, but don’t let yours go up in smoke with careless behavior. Use this time to ensure that your flue is clean and the fireplace itself is in good shape before you light that match.
You already know that you should not leave a fire unattended, but be mindful of other common mistakes, like burning wrapping paper or cards, which can emit toxic chemicals when burned. And as tempting as it is, don’t burn the Christmas tree branches when the tree comes down. As dry as it may seem, the tree is still filled with sap that can spark and snap, causing the fire to explode and quickly get out of control.
That’s 12 months of fire and security tips for you to keep your family, yourself, and your stuff safe. If you have any questions or want to know more about smart technology, security, leak detection or fire safety, let us know. Contact us online for a free in-home consultation and estimate.