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The Four Home Security Must Haves

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The homes we live in are incredibly valuable. Aside from the shelter and comfort they provide, they also give joy and memories to the families they house. Wouldn’t you do all that you can to protect that comfort and security, as well as the safety and well-being of your family? Unfortunately, home security is something that all too many people overlook as unnecessary until it’s too late and an emergency occurs. Don’t wait until the security of your home is compromised! Take the steps necessary to ensure that your home is well guarded and your family is protected. There are four basic security defenses that you should have in your home: burglar protection, fire protection, Carbon Monoxide detection, and flood protection.

Burglar Protection

The first thing everyone thinks of when they hear the phrase “home security” is burglar protection. A home invasion is definitely one of the top fears of homeowners, even though the actual possibility of being a victim is far less. Whatever the case, the best way to be prepared and have peace of mind is to take the proper measures to burglar-proof your home.

If you are looking for top-of-the-line security, you may want to invest in a professional home security system. These are often fully equipped with alarms on all the doors and windows, and if you choose, they can include security cameras as well. Many of these professional systems provide easy, coded access for homeowners to all cameras and settings, often from a smart phone or other electronic device, giving you full control of your home security. Most of these systems will also automatically contact a security hotline or 911 whenever an alarm is triggered. A professional home security system is definitely the best choice for optimum burglar protection.

If you think you can do without a high-tech system or simply don’t yet have the funds to provide for one, there are still many simple safety measures you can take. First, be sure to evaluate all of your doors and windows, ensuring that sturdy, appropriate locks are placed on all of them. Studies have shown that two out of three burglars will enter by door, and only a third by window. One of the best ways to prevent home entry by door is to install mortise locks on the top and bottom of each door. These bolts are fairly inexpensive, but are an extremely effective burglar deterrent. Deadbolts or chain locks should also be installed in each door.

Installing daylight-sensitive lights in the front of your home will also eliminate hiding places that burglars could otherwise use while searching for entry to your home. It will also provide added security and peace of mind to have an automatic light on for those nights you may return home after dark. Another simple way to deter burglars is to opt for gravel or loose stone paths instead of concrete. This can not only be attractive hardscape, but will always alert you early on to visitors approaching your home.

Fire Protection

Usually the second thought of home security, fire protection is certainly a security measure not to be overlooked. The most important thing in fire prevention is to install appropriate smoke alarms in each bedroom and on each floor of the house. When searching for smoke alarms, look for alarms that meet the standards for Underwriters Laboratories Standard 217 and that were manufactured recently. Also, studies have shown that smoke alarms are most effective when they aren’t combined with other alarms such as Carbon Monoxide alarms. It’s best to have your smoke alarms be specific to fire hazards.

Don’t forget to test your smoke detectors monthly and change their batteries at the same time you change your clocks for daylight savings. It’s also best to have at least one fire extinguisher in the house, out of reach of children. Once you’ve taken that big step toward fire protection, it’s important to remember fire prevention. It’s common knowledge that the majority of fires begin in the kitchen, so when you’re cooking, remember to never leave your cooking unattended, set alarms to remind you to turn off the oven or burner, and keep your hair back and sleeves up when cooking over a stove. Some other basic fire prevention tips are to keep matches and lighters out of reach of children, always wet ash trays before throwing them out, keep candles away from children and flammable objects, and have a fire escape plan in place for your family.

Carbon Monoxide Detection

Unfortunately, Carbon Monoxide is a deadly threat that is overlooked by too many homeowners. Did you know that Carbon Monoxide accounts for 500 deaths each year? Part of what makes it so deadly is that it is both colorless and odorless, meaning that unless you have a CO detector, you have no way of knowing if it is a threat in your home. Carbon Monoxide detectors should be installed in your home near each smoke detector meaning one outside each sleeping area and on each level of the home. Make sure your CO detector has been tested by a recognized laboratory and be sure to check and change batteries at the same time you do your smoke alarms. If your alarm begins to sound, immediately relocate yourself and anyone else in the house to a fresh air location before calling the fire department. To prevent possible CO hazards, never run a vehicle in an enclosed area or garage, keep all ventilation shafts clear of build-up – particularly those that lead outside the home – and only use grills outdoors.

Flood Protection

Flooding can be a dangerous and expensive problem, threatening your family, possessions, and even the integrity of your home. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding or frequent precipitation, especially if you have a basement, you should take proper measures to prevent and prepare for flooding. Some of the most basic things you can do are clean out your gutters regularly and at each turn of the season, and make sure that your downspouts are fully intact. It’s also best to extend your downspouts so that they direct the water further away from your home. One of the best defenses you can have against flooding is to install a sump pump in the lowest level of your home. This will literally pump the water out and away from your home. You can add a hose or extension to your sump pump to increase its effectiveness, and always have a backup hooked up just in case the original isn’t functioning properly. Flood insurance is also a great way to prevent losses if a flood occurs in your home.

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