Fall is a fantastic time for enjoying local autumn festivals and preparing for the colder months ahead. Get a jump start on securing your home for winter, making it safer for your family and protecting it from thieves – who may take advantage of your busier schedule and darkness that comes sooner these days.
Increase your home’s security around the exterior of your home with these easy home improvement or maintenance tasks, which also help keep your family and friends safe:
With the end of Daylight Savings Time fast approaching, you’ll want to consider your lighting options. Automate your interior and exterior lights so that it’s well lit when you come home and appears occupied when you are not there. Bonus: Home automation solutions can help you save energy too, by controlling when you use power for lighting, heating or cooling.
It’s also a good idea to install motion lights especially in vulnerable or isolated areas near exterior entrances.
Consider installing a video doorbell camera so you can see and talk to anyone who comes to your door via your mobile security app.
Prune shrubs, trees or bushes that might provide a hiding place for thieves.
Plant thorny bushes around windows at ground level and trim limbs near second-story windows. Both steps can prevent easy entry into your home.
Put away all gardening tools that could cause injury to children playing in your yard or friends who are visiting. Store ladders, buckets, trash cans, shovels, etc. that could be used by thieves to access your home.
Door-to-door salespeople are still making their rounds, with some attempting to scam you or gain access to your home.
Take stock of your winter weather equipment now, such as snow shovels, snow blowers, ice scrapers, ice removal pellets, etc. so that you’re ready.
To make it easier for emergency personnel to locate your home in an emergency, install easy-to-read and illuminated address numbers in a visible place on the front of your house.
Once you’ve tackled these outside chores, it’s time to go inside with your safety and security checklist. Prepare for the darker, colder months ahead and create a safe, cozy home environment for your family inside – while also deterring thieves – with these tips:
Be sure to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Now is also a great time to replace the batteries in these devices. An even better alternative is installing monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, which alert your alarm monitoring center and emergency authorities when help is needed whether or not you are home or can’t get to a phone.
Schedule routine upkeep, such as a chimney sweep and furnace maintenance before everyone else does, so you’re ready no matter what Mother Nature has planned. Have stove pipes inspected and check chimneys for a build-up of creosote, a flammable by-product of burning wood. Also check for flue blockages, such as bird nests.
Check your emergency preparedness kit in advance of winter storms and restock your emergency supplies if needed. We share tips for being prepared and suggestions for items to include in your emergency kit here.
While you’re taking inventory of your safety equipment, make sure you have several working fire extinguishers. Place them strategically around your home so one is always close in the event of a fire – to help put out a small fire or to aid in escaping. Ideal places include your kitchen, laundry room, bedrooms, utility rooms, garage and near a grill.
Review your family’s fire escape plan, ensuring everyone knows two exits out of each room and where your safe meeting place is away from the house.
Do a little “autumn” cleaning and rid your home of old newspapers, boxes, and other fire hazards. Ensure flammable materials are stored in approved, clearly labeled containers or properly dispose of them.
Finally, check in on elderly family or neighbors who might need a hand preparing their homes too.
With the holiday season fast approaching and events to attend now is the ideal time to increase your home and business security and create a comfortable, safe haven for your family.