Home safety is a serious concern for many homeowners. Homes are filled with family treasures, and individuals in need of a safe place to sleep and live. When seeking out security measures, families should take individual safety and the safety of stationary items into account, ranging from child safety to object stability. Because of this, there are several key components to home safety, outlined below.
Break-ins are a common source of pain and fear for many families, and range in severity. In order to prevent break-ins, families should work to eliminate ease of break-ins. This calls for stronger, better-insulated and locked windows, doors, and gates. Thin, flimsy doors are easy to break into. Thin, single-pane windows are similarly easy to outmaneuver, as well as unsupported gates and fences.
Though many people love the appearance of trees flanking their house, large trees and even vines can prove problematic, as they offer thieves and other would-be burglars an easy-to-use source of entry. If trees are close to the home, it may be best to remove all branches overhanging the home. If vines are present, consider removing them where they come into contact with windows or balconies.
If the tips above have been followed and break-ins persist or worries persist, consider installing significant exterior lighting, a wireless camera surveillance system, and a home alarm. Outdoor lighting makes it far more difficult to thieves to hide, while surveillance cameras serve the dual purpose of discouraging poor behavior and recording any behavior already in process. Similarly, home alarm systems are designed to both act as a deterrent for potential thieves, and aid in the capture of thieves already in the home.
Keeping Houses Safe—While on Vacation
Home safety while on vacation is also a concern for many—if only because of the popular Home Alone movie franchise. Although well-planned burglaries designed around vacation times are not too common, it never hurts to create the appearance of being present, yourself, or having someone else home while the house is actually sitting vacant. This may be through clever use of appliances, through scheduled maintenance, or through enlisting a neighbor to perform routine checks on the house.
During the holidays, one way to create the illusion of being at home is to use a timer allowing Christmas lights to turn on and off at designated times. Few thieves will stop to consider the possibility of such a timer. Similarly, scheduling certain times to water the line may create the illusion of occupancy, particularly during a long absence. Finally, enlisting a neighbor to remove trash or buildup, or employing a neighborhood child to mow the lawn or pull any rogue weeds may help create the appearance of being home, as the house will not look overgrown or unkempt.
Preventing Fires and Property Damage
The first step in fire safety is prevention. Because so many household fixtures and appliances are liable to start fires, they should be treated with respect and measures must be taken to ensure their safety. If the home has a fireplace, for instance, all family members should be instructed to avoid leaving flammable items near the fireplace, lest a spark fly from the fireplace and ignite a piece of clothing, book, or toy.
The second step in fire safety is detection. Because many fires happen while homeowners are asleep or away, the installation of fire detectors should be made a top priority. Smoke detectors emit loud pulses or sirens, awakening families or alerting those close by that smoke is in the home and, consequently, something has caught fire or begun to burn. Smoke alarms should be installed in each room of the home, including hallways, in order to be effective. Some fire detectors may simply function off of a battery, while others may even be wired to your phone to alert you to any potential distress.
Fire safety’s third step is remedying whatever situation has arisen. This may be done in a number of ways, with the two most common being fire extinguishers and sprinklers. While sprinklers are generally more common in office buildings and stores, a sprinkler system may also be installed in a home and set to go off after smoke has been detected, eliminating whatever fire has sprung up. This can be both costly and time-consuming, however, so many families opt for a fire extinguisher, instead. These may be purchased from virtually any grocery store, and should be placed in key locations around the home, including the kitchen, laundry room, and hallway, for easy access.
Finally, in order to achieve a fire-safe home, homeowners should always locate and identify multiple exits that may be taken in case of a fire. This may include a window on the first floor, a balcony with a drop-down ladder, or through the garage. Whatever the case, homeowners should always be aware of each exit, and how the family would need to proceed if that were the only exit available.
Childproofing the Home
Childproofing is a vital aspect of ensuring that the house is safe and fit for children. Parents should ensure that all toys for children are age-appropriate and, if toys for older children are not fit for use by infants or toddlers, that these toys are put away properly. Because many children choke on hazardous materials found around the house, parents must take care to ensure all choking hazards are kept safely off of the floor and out of reach.
This same courtesy must be extended to all hazardous materials; chemicals used for cleaning and other similarly poisonous materials should be kept either high up in a cabinet and safely out of reach, or located in a cabinet or room capable of being locked. When in use, such materials should always be watched closely and kept away from little hands.
Because children are often unaware of the dangers facing them, parents must put preventative measures in place to discourage wandering into potentially hazardous areas. Baby gates should be installed at the base and top of stairs to prevent terrible falls. Baby gates should also be used at the doorway of rooms with dangerous objects, such as the garage, laundry room, or kitchen. Finally, gates or securely fastened doors should be enlisted to keep children away from large bodies of water, such as pools, or unattended bathtubs.
Unattended little ones may be monitored closely during the night or during naps through the use of a baby monitor. Baby monitors serve as one-way walkie talkies, transmitting any noises occurring in the child’s room. Parents can be awoken or alerted to a potential disaster by the sound of a child crying, the sound of a crash, or even the sound of crackling flames. Monitors are invaluable tools in making sure children are kept safe during periods of separation from their parents.
Home Safety Wrap-Up
Using these tips and tricks will result in a vastly better-defended home, both from outside and inside harm. Home safety is not simply about warding off intruders, but also about maintaining a conscientious lifestyle, paying attention to potential hazards for young and elderly family members. The following areas should be addressed when prepping a home for safety:
- Imperviousness: Make sure the house is well-secured against potential intruders through secured and strong windows and doors. Also address any flaws that may be present while the family is away for extended periods of time.
- Fire safety and preparation: Though fires cannot always be prevented, they can be stopped quickly and efficiently. Be sure to equip the house with fire safety measures, including smoke detectors and extinguishers.
- Child safety and prevention: Children are notorious for being inquisitive and blind to hazards. Parents must take it upon themselves to ensure that all dangerous materials are kept away from children, and that the house is protected against the innocent, prying hands so easily prone to danger.