Your home is your castle! Home safety and security devices are top priority!
Keeping it safe and secure is imperative for homeowners.
Whether you own your home or rent one, home is home, and you expect you and your family to be safe there.
In this blog, we’re going to take a bird’s eye view at how best to make your home a safer place.
First, you need a home safety audit
Remember, your home is a place in which you might spend quite a few years, even a lifetime. So, it’s really your responsibility to check your home to assure it’s at the highest level of safety. Preparing home safety lists and performing a home safety audit can help you keep track of safety issues and keep you and your family safe and secure.
Start by looking at the basics. Are there any repairs that need to be done? Are there any bunches of items that can be tripped over? Do hallways have enough space for older adults to pass by? And what about the kids – what dangers are present for them in the home?
Here are some suggestions for a more comprehensive safety audit.
Break the evaluation into specific topics or needs
With so many safety concerns to mull over, you might want to break up your home safety audit based on a certain topic, like fire safety or home security. This way, you can tackle related tasks all at once and avoid feeling swamped.
You might also break up the audit by room or based on specific needs. For example, you could evaluate your house or apartment’s safety before a new mom and baby arrive home from the hospital, or maybe you’re getting ready for an older relative moving in with you.
Set your sights on checking everything
At the end of the day, the goal of an all-inclusive home safety audit is to examine everything, from the sidewalk up to your front door to the lock on the back door. Don’t overlook anything; even the most routine things, like chimney cleanliness or wall sockets, should be assessed.
Your Safety Audit Findings
During your home safety audit, you will no doubt find things that need repair or replacement. We advise you rank these into three categories: general safety at home, home security, and emergency planning.
- Safety at Home: Most accidents and injuries occur in the home. No doubt because we spend so much of our lives there, plus it’s quite easy to overlook any number of “small” things—a loose step that could cause a fall, that annoying drip that just might be a warning of a pipe about to burst, the lint behind the dryer that might be a potential fire hazard, etc., etc. Fixing these should go right to the top of the honey-do list.
- Home Security: Your safety audit should focus on what you need to do in order to proactively keep your home safe from intruders—from shoring up your door locks to installing motion-sensor lighting. An all-inclusive home security system will not only guard against burglars, but can also incorporate alarms for smoke, fire, and flooding. More about this a bit later.
- Emergency Plans: The final step is crafting a family emergency plan for any emergency-related questions that might surface: what to do if an intruder is in your home, how to escape if there’s a fire, how to handle the aftermath of a flood, etc.
Note: If you’re looking for a safety checklist, simply “google” home safety checklist and you’ll find a host of such lists from both government agencies and safety specialists.
If, however, you’re looking to have a professional safety audit performed, simply contact the professionals at J&A Park for assistance.
Next, we’re going to preview a variety of safety devices, from the simple to the more complex, that can go a long way to achieving a truly safe home for you and your family.
Smoke detectors catch fires early
Fire detection is key to making sure everyone gets out of a burning house safely. They can detect smoke before you can smell it, giving you and your family the time needed to escape from a fire.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one-third of home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke detectors.
Place smoke detectors in or near every sleeping area, near the kitchen and in other living spaces. There should be at least one on every floor, including the basement/garage. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper installation.
Fact: Approximately 30% of smoke detectors in households will fail to function during an actual fire danger, primarily due to the detector malfunctioning because of age, battery removals and dead batteries.
Say what? You might think no one could sleep through the shrill alarm of a smoke detector, but the American Academy of Pediatricians found that just 58 percent of children awoke to the sound of a smoke alarm within five minutes, BUT half woke within 20 seconds of hearing their parents’ voice. Now there is a new option when it comes to fire safety: a smoke detector that wakes children up with a message recorded by their parents.
Having a fire extinguisher readily available can also save your home and your life. The National Fire Protection Association recommends having an extinguisher for each floor of your home. They are best placed in areas where fires are more likely to occur, and in areas where they’re easily accessible (kitchen, utility closet, cabinet or garage).
Carbon monoxide detectors are the only way to know if this deadly odorless gas is being emitted in your home. The CDC reports that more than 400 people die in the U.S. each year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. These detectors are especially important during the winter.
Here’s a two-for-one. If you’re into high-tech, you might want to consider a smart detector that’s on the lookout for both CO and smoke. It might also emit an alarm, specific to whether it’s reacting to smoke or carbon dioxide and locate the threat. You can even install one that sends text messages when it detects an anomaly.
Have you heard about home security systems?
The sky is really the limit these days in terms of the level of defense you might install to protect your home and family. If you’re even the least bit into high-tech, you can install a surveillance system that only a few years ago would put a dent in your wallet (or purse).
Today, throw up a few webcams from place to place outside your house, and you could catch burglars in the act just by turning on your cell phone—even if you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away. By the same token, you might thwart a thief with a low-tech $10 door alarm.
So, what do YOU need to keep your home and family safe? A complete professionally-installed state-of-the-art home alarm system? A wireless doorbell equipped with a hidden camera? A convenient door stop alarm? Perhaps a mandatory iris scanner for all visitors? (Just kidding). Obviously, it depends on your specific situation and your budget.
Consider a total home security system. There are a variety of features with any home security system, and some rather important ones, such as outdoor motion detection sensors at exterior doors, at windows and doors attached to the garage, plus an outdoor alarm and security cameras. Most often, there’s an app or website login option for remote check-in.
Generally, firms that sell and install total home security systems offer 24/7 remote monitoring, taking the added responsibility of protecting your home and family off your shoulders. When shopping for a complete home system, it’s important to review the features of the various systems available to ensure that you find one that is best suited to your safety needs, the size and style of your home and your ideal price point.
Lastly, be sure to go with a well-known reputable company.
Okay, these home security systems help create peace of mind by protecting the things that matter most. But if you’re not quite ready to install a total system, there are many alternative devices you can place in your home to help protect it.
These items may be especially appealing to renters who can’t install their own security systems or need devices that are readily transportable to another apartment.
Here are some do-it-yourself options to consider:
- Motion detector lights. Vandals, burglars and other criminals don’t like the spotlight. Keep bad folks away with motion detector lights. Not only will you make intruders skittish, you’ll also cut down your risk of a stumble on your way up the front steps. Most are reasonably priced and battery-operated, though most motion detectors usually nowadays work on wireless technology. Settings allow you to change how long the light stays on for.
- Door stop alarm. Affordable and convenient door stop alarms are placed under a closed door and sound an alarm if the door is opened. Many such devices also feature a rubber bottom to resist forcible entry.
- Smart cameras. You can’t always keep an eye on what’s happening at home, but today’s smart cameras are more affordable and much more manageable. One of the more important features is some cameras will alert you via phone if there is some movement at home when you’re not there.
- Video doorbell. A wi-fi enabled video doorbell will send your smartphone or tablet an alert if someone rings your doorbell, or if it detects motion outside your front door. You can then choose to see or speak to visitors from your device literally from anywhere in the world.
- Smart door locks. Gone are the days when you need to keep a separate spare key under the mat or flowerpot. A smart lock connects to your phone via wi-fi and detects when you are outside and unlocks the door. You can even share “electronic keys” with family or friends that allow them access at times you control. Only one problem – don’t misplace your phone!
- Garage door openers. Don’t forget the garage. According to a recent survey, around 70 per cent of homeowners rely on their garage door as the main access point to their home. Today’s devices go beyond the old-school push buttons and allow you to check on your garage, remotely open or close it via an app, or get alerts when someone else activates it.
Windows are where burglars most often enter your home
Windows in your house do not just serve as a source of ventilation and natural light, nor are they simply the space for you to adorn with beautiful curtain designs. Windows are where burglars generally gain entry to your home. If you have youngsters, they can also be a source of danger. So, it’s important to consider proper window security is in place.
First, consider a secondary locking system or protective bars to provide double protection, making your windows practically burglar proof. Also, make sure they function properly during an emergency. Have them checked from time to time.
There are also specially designed window guards that cut down on the risk of children falling out of windows. Look for guards that feature a quick release inside the window, to help you open it quickly during an emergency.
Tip: Reinforce sliding glass doors. Intruders love sliding doors, so make sure yours are protected. You can go old-school and install a window bar or dowel in the track. Or, go high-tech by adding a door sensor or glass break sensor that will alert you if the door is tampered with, and it should scare off would-be intruders.