Whether or not you were ever a Boy Scout you probably understand the value of being prepared. When it comes to homeownership, it’s a good idea to think ahead in terms of home security and emergency preparedness. This article in our helpful homeowners series covers top strategies for securing your home and preparing for possible emergencies.
Being well informed about home security can help you create a safer living environment. You’ll want to start out by evaluating your home to identify any potential vulnerabilities. This is your moment to think like a bad guy. The most common possible weak points are your entry points like doors and windows. You could also hire a security consultant to come in and audit your home and point our specific risks for your house and area.
With the overall layout of your home in mind, you’ll want to review what you have in place as far as safety lighting and physical security. Ensure that you have solid doors (steel reinforced is best) and quality, heavy duty locks. Generally, you want a Grade 1 or Grade 2 deadbolt with a solid 1-in. long throw bolt. If you only have a doorknob with a lock on it, that exterior door isn’t secure enough. Someone can break in using a screwdriver or small pry bar to bow the doorjamb enough to release the latching mechanism. Smart locks that provide keyless entry are another option to help you control access and monitor activity.
Make sure you are keeping your windows locked. Adding security film can also help to deter break-ins. For instance, 3M has a film that promises to “make glass harder to penetrate and hold shattered pieces in place.”
Stand at the curb and behind your house to take a fresh look at your landscaping as well. You may need to trim shrubs and trees back to eliminate potential hiding places. You also want to ensure clear visibility from the street so that your neighbors can support your efforts by keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.
Installing motion-activated lights and ensuring your outdoor lighting eliminates any hiding spots can help discourage trespassers as well.
You might also invest in a security system. You can install your own unmonitored alarms and security cameras, or work with a company that will also provide monitoring services. Today it is easy to find surveillance camera solutions that you can configure yourself and integrate with your smart home technology to enable remote monitoring.
Also avoid posting on social media information about your vacation plans. This tells anyone who might have bad intentions when your home will be vacant.
It’s also important to keep your homeowners insurance current and regularly confirm it adequately covers your property and possessions.
Installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors is par for the course. If you’ve had small children who have been in school for a fire department presentation, you probably also have a family escape plan. Revisit your plan if that homework was a decade or even a year ago. Practice the plan regularly.
No matter where you live, an emergency kit is a good idea too. A comprehensive kit will have water, non-perishable foods, first aid supplies, flashlight and batteries, and any important documents, Customize your kit to your family’s needs. If you have an infant, you’ll want diapers and formula. Someone else in the family may need medications.
Also identify a safe space in your home to shelter in the case of a tornado or other severe storm. Typically you want to be in a basement or interior room (away from windows).
Living in the Carolinas can also require preparedness for severe weather events. If you’re living on the coast, you could benefit from an evacuation plan. Know the local hurricane routes and have a plan in place to secure outdoor furniture and any other items that might fall or fly in high winds. Hurricane shutters can protect your windows or have plywood on hand.
If flooding is an issue for your property considering your elevation, purchase flood insurance for added protection. This is not a typical coverage in most homeowners’ insurance. You might also want to consider elevating electrical appliances and reconsidering what you store in basements or crawl spaces.
For any type of severe weather, you’ll want to know how to get the latest from your local news and weather apps. A hand-crank radio can help you feel connected in a power outage.
Building strong relationships with your neighbors can help your preparedness and connect you with support. When you go away for a few days or an emergency strikes, you’ll have people to call as resources to help and enhance your ability to respond effectively.
Look to your Saussy Burbank neighbors for a sense of community that provides peace of mind. Find out about our new homes available in the Charlotte, NC, area as well as around Charleston and Myrtle Beach, SC.