Vacation Tips: Protect Your Home

The holidays are a popular time for families to go on vacation, especially during Thanksgiving and Winter break. So you’re packed and ready for your trip, but before you go, take a few moments to make sure that your home is secure. The last thing you want to do while on vacation is to worry about your home security.

Inside the House

We’re going to start with the most obvious, protecting the interior of your home. It makes sense, right? You want to make sure that the actual space where you reside if the most safe. Here are some tips to secure your home interior:

  1. Set timers on interior lights. If a burglar is casing out your home or neighborhood, they’re going to notice when your lights are turned off for an uncharacteristically long time. This is a clear indicator that nobody is home, thus making your home a prime target for burglary. Install timers for your lights, interior and exterior, to make it appear like there’s someone home.
  2. Power surges. Before you go, disconnect all electronic devices including TVs, stereos, computers, appliances, etc. Or if you prefer, plug them into a good quality surge protector to prevent shortages. Power surges don’t just happen during a thunder storm, they can happen for a variety of reasons including a blown transformer or a nearby lightning strike. A home in Tottenville, New York nearly burned to ground due to a suspected power surge. Luckily, fire fighters were able to arrive on scene and put out the fire before the home was completely lost.
  3. Don’t publicize your absence on social media. Avoid broadcasting your location for all to see on social media, especially if you are going to be away from home for any extended period of time. You may as well wave a banner to would-be criminals that your home is vacant and open to burglaries. A Fontana, CA family’s home was burglarized after one of the family members posted that they’ve landed in Las Vegas.
  4. Alert your alarm company of your absence. This should be one of the top items on your to-do list before leaving. Call your alarm representative and notify them that you’re going to be away from your home for a period of time. Make sure the alarm is set when you’re gone.
  5. Secure valuables. Comb your home for any valuables and secure them is a safe location. Close your drapes or curtains so that criminals can’t peer through your home for easy targets. If you have any jewelry or other expensive items such as watches, small electronics, or valuable keepsakes, store them in a secure safe. The Security Nerd wrote an excellent article detailing different safes and which are the best safes to keep in your home.

Outside the House

Surprisingly, security outside of the home is almost as important as security inside the home.

  1. Arrange for lawn care. Don’t forget to maintain landscaping. Trim branches and remove any foliage that may pose a fire hazard to your property.
  2. Stop newspapers and mail. An overflowing mailbox may signify to others that no one is home. If this isn’t possible ask a trust friend or neighbor to retrieve your mail and hold it until you return.
  3. Install exterior lighting. Having a good lighting system around your home is one of the most cost effective security solutions. Plan your lighting to minimize dark areas which could serve as a hiding spots for burglars. Some lighting are activated by motion sensors while others can be set to timers.
  4. Don’t leave spare keys outside the home. As inconspicuous as it may seem, leaving a set of keys outside of your home is like leaving the front door wide open. Before leaving, bring all keys indoors or leave them with an entrusted friend or family.
  5. Lock the garage. Don’t forget to lock side gates and other points of entry before heading out for vacation.

Follow these steps to help secure your home when you and your family are out of town. Notify trusted friends and family before heading out to ask them to keep watch over your home and belongings.

Fire Watch Services

What is Fire Watch?

Fire Watch is a service where a trained professional patrols buildings and properties to identify fire hazards. They inspect and prevent fires by performing regular rounds and patrols. A fire watch professional can provide guidance to businesses who may have issues with their current fire systems. Fire watch professionals are trained to alert the fire department and building occupants in the event of fire. Their objective is to prevent a fire from starting and to extinguish small fires if it is safe to do so.

What are fire watch duties?

  • The fire watch professional should be familiar with the building or property and its procedures for sounding an alarm to occupants of a fire. They will also alert the fire service in the event of a fire.
  • The person must regularly tour the entire building. They are to check exit doors, access doors, and corridors periodically for proper operation and obstructions. Additionally, they must immediately log each patrol into their fire watch log.
  • A fire watch professional will have readily available fire extinguishing equipment and be trained in its use
  • If fire or smoke conditions are discovered, they will alert all building occupants by sounding an alarm
  • Once a fire breaks out, the fire watch professional will notify fire authorities in the event of a fire
  • The fire watch professional will await emergency response once the building or property is evacuated. They’re trained to not allow anyone to re-enter the building until it is deemed safe to do so.
  • When the fire protection system is restored, the fire watch professional must call the monitoring station and advise them to put the system back online.