February is the month of love, a great time to think again about how you can look after the safety of your loved ones.
“There are many things you can do to improve the safety of loved ones and belongings. It is easy, and some of it won’t event cost a cent,” says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT.
A good place to start, she says, is to make sure everyone in your household know exactly who to call in case of an emergency.
“People understandably panic when something has gone wrong which makes it difficult to think rationally and clearly. Sit down with your loved ones today, and talk to them about who they should contact. Do they have the correct contact numbers for the police, your neighbourhood watch, your security company, or your closest hospital saved on their phones?”
Another great idea is to look at your property, and see what you can do to make it less attractive to would-be criminals.
“We suggest talking a walk around the garden or yard to look for anything that could help an intruder access and exit the property easily. Are there low-hanging tree branches that can be used to climb over a fence or wall? Inspect the locks on perimeter gates and garage doors – are they in good condition, or can they be broken with some force? Be on the lookout for anything that can be used to force entry. And if you have an electric fence, when last did you test it,” says Hattingh.
Inside the house, she suggests that window and door locks must be checked regularly.
“It’s important that outward-leading doors, and windows, are locked from the inside when no-one is home and overnight. Regardless of the time of day, keep curtains or blinds drawn in a way that makes it difficult to see in from the outside. And, never leave valuables – or keys – anywhere that they can be seen or reached from a window.”
If there is a home security system installed, she advises that it is regularly tested to ensure that it is in proper working condition when it’s needed most.
“Contact your security company to find out how to test the system. If you have other security products in place – such as outdoor beams – ask how these can be tested too.”
Lastly, if there is any reason to believe that there is an intruder on the property, Hattingh’s advice is to never go outside to investigate.
“Make sure that everyone in the household know that they must immediately call the police or your security company. Try to remain on the line with them until officers arrive, and only venture outside once they indicate that it is safe to do so.”