The only difference between a secure home and one that’s been robbed is about 60 seconds; the length of time it takes the average burglar to get in.
With almost one in ten American homes broken into each year, it’s well worth your while to take these important steps to secure your home.
Every exterior door (including the one in your garage) needs to have a sturdy, properly installed entry and deadbolt lock. It’s also a good idea to install peep-holes so you can see who’s outside without having to open your door.
The most common way to force a door open is to kick it. Upgrade to four-screw, heavy-duty high security strike plates with three-inch screws to secure them deep into the doorframe. To make a forced-door entry nearly impossible, use three-inch screws in hinges as well.
sliding glass doors
Use a length of sturdy wood in the door channel to prevent it from opening. To stop the door from being lifted off its track, drill a hole through the sliding door into the frame and insert a pin or screw.
The most important thing to remember about securing windows is the simplest: lock them. Ground-floor windows are obviously the most vulnerable. It’s wise to invest in blocking devices for high-risk locations. Much like sliding glass doors, a simple wooden dowel or a charley bar-type unit can be installed. Another inexpensive option is a window/door alarm that audibly warns you if a window or door has been opened.
Put a few lights (both interior and exterior) on timers. Lights left on overnight clearly signal that no one is around to turn them off! It’s also important to keep your garden under control. Big bushes and overhanging branches close to your home can provide both hiding spots and easy access to upper stories.
Your best line of defense is ultimately the people who live around you. Once you get to know them, it’s easy to spot things that appear out of character. Keeping an eye out for one another works both ways and helps make your neighborhood a safe place for everyone.
fire safety at home
A fire extinguisher can save the lives of your loved ones and protect your home, too. Choosing the right extinguisher can be tricky, so remember to look for one that is multi-hazard with an ABC-rating. When extinguishing a fire remember to stand at least six to seven feet away and follow the PASS principle: Pull pin, Aim low, Squeeze handle, and Sweep side to side.
Smoke alarms will give your family valuable time to escape. Every home needs at least one smoke alarm on each floor and in stairways leading to the bedrooms and the basement. You may want to consider replacing your existing hard-wire alarms with combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as well.
A step-by-step plan of escape that’s mapped out and rehearsed ahead of time will ease confusion in a panic-stricken situation. The easiest way to start is to draw a floor plan of your home with all the possible exits highlighted. For second story windows, an escape ladder will increase your options for a safe exit. Have a designated meeting area outside the home where all will gather.
Once everyone is safely out of the house, go to the nearest neighbor’s phone and call 9-1-1! Do not re-enter the dwelling for any reason until the fire department has determined it is safe to do so.