Theft and fire are 2 of the biggest risks that can affect our home safety.
While everyday possessions can easily be replaced, it’s those priceless items close to our heart – like family photos and home videos – that fill us with dread at the thought of losing them forever. While nothing can totally eliminate the chance of a burglary or fire, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of it happening to you by making your home less of a target.
Here are 8 home safety products that can help reduce the risk of theft and fire to keep your possessions – and your loved ones – safe.
A burglar’s aim is to get in & out quick, without being seen. Introduce an alarm – one that is visible from the outside and with security stickers advertising your alarm – and the probability of your house becoming a target is reduced exponentially.
The ideal alarm system would have motion sensors, sensors on windows and doors, internal and external sirens and an external strobe; monitored with back to base response. Barring that, how about one that just makes a LOT of noise when set off? A definite deterrence to would-be thieves!
Make sure you check and replace the batteries and get your alarm serviced regularly (including cleaning movement detection lenses).
Window and Door Locks
Most burglars try to force their way in through doors or windows. Deadlocks and security grills not only help prevent burglars getting in, and also slow them down by making it harder, once they’re in, to get out, especially with big items like TVs. Unfortunately, security measures like these can also impact on your escape from a fire and, in some tragic cases, people have been killed in house fires, unable to release the deadlock amongst the panic and smoke of the emergency.
While keys have been the traditional way to operate deadlocks, new locking devices can be operated using digital keys or a personal identification number (PIN). Otherwise, install locks that can be opened from the inside without keys or make sure that the keys are stored in an easily accessible yet safe spot that all the family is aware of.
Always replace the locks when you move in to a new place and keep a second set of keys off-site with family or trusted friends. No garden pots, hidey rocks or under mats!
If deadlocks simply are not in your budget, don’t discount the old metal rod/broomstick in a sliding door/window track — something is better than nothing!
Window Grills and Security Screens
Windows grills and security screens are great for ventilation while still maintaining security against break-ins but can make it harder to escape a fire. Some newer models allow a simple, keyless, one handed unlocking of the window security screen from the inside. Once unlocked, the security screen then hinges or slides open to allow a path of escape.
Window grills and security screens are best fitted inside your home to minimise the chance of tampering from the outside.
The world’s best deadlock is useless if your door or door jamb can’t hold up to a burglar’s determined efforts to kick it in.
Make sure your doors are solid hardwood or steel reinforced, not hollow, with double barrel locks and hinges on the inside. Forget cheap pine door jambs which splinter with a single kick; solid strong hardwood is ideal.
Fire Extinguisher and Fire Blankets
More than half of all household fires start in the kitchen so a fire blanket and fire extinguisher in the kitchen (though not near any likely source of fire) is imperative.
Make sure you know how to use them if a fire breaks out – that is not the time to be reading instructions!
Everyone knows how important a smoke alarm is but it’s amazing how many still forget that for a smoke alarm to save lives, it needs to be working. NSW Fire Brigade statistics show that in over 70% of fatal house fires, there was either no smoke alarm installed or it had been disabled.
The next time you disable your smoke alarm after burning your morning toast, or because the intermittent beeping it’s making is annoying you (CHANGE THE BATTERY!), make sure you turn it back on because that “annoyance” might just be what saves you and your family from becoming another statistic.
An electrical safety switch automatically cuts off the power when there is a problem with electrical appliances or wiring, alerting you about a potential issue before it can escalate to a fire.
First Aid & Emergency Kits
A well-stocked first-aid kit, stored in an easy-to-retrieve location (yet out of the reach of young children) is a necessity in every home. You can buy one at your local pharmacy or make one of your own. A plastic tackle box is perfect for your DIY kit as it’s roomy, durable, easy to carry, and simple to open. Remember to replace items as you use them or as they pass their best before date.
Prepare an emergency kit to use or take with you in case of any possible disasters or emergency evacuation. Include a battery operated radio (with spare batteries), a torch, candles and waterproof matches, your first aid kit and manual. If you need to evacuate, make sure you can quickly add car and house keys, important documents, basic medications and toiletries, a mobile phone, spare battery and charger, food and water supplies to your kit.
Make a list of emergency numbers and keep it where you can easily see it. A laminated list on the wall beside the phone is ideal; also store the numbers in your mobile phone. Numbers to include:
- emergency medical services: In most places this is 000, but your community may have its own number — check your telephone book if you’re unsure.
- poison control center
- hospital emergency room
- fire department
- police department
- your family doctor
- parents’ work
- parents’ cell phone and/or pager
- neighbours and/or relatives
8 simple products that could make a huge difference in the safety of your family and your possesions.
How many do you have in place?