How to keep your home safe whilst you’re awayedit
Now that COVID restrictions have finally been lifted, it’s natural that many people will be itching to get away for a long-awaited holiday. However, before you get caught up with the packing and planning of your much-needed break, remember to follow a few simple tricks and tips to give you peace of mind that your home will be safe whilst you’re away.
Check your alarm system
With most of us staying at home over the last 18 months, home burglar alarm systems probably haven’t had as much use as they would if we were out and about more. Therefore, before you go away, make sure your alarm system is still fully functioning and in good working order. If you don’t have a security alarm, now’s a good time to get one fitted, as having a security alarm is one of the most effective ways to put off prowling burglars.
It’s also a wise idea to consider installing security lights or sensor motion lights around your property and to check that your existing lights work effectively, so your home isn’t cast in darkness if someone enters your premises.
There’s nothing more telling that you’ve gone away than newspapers and post piling up on the doormat, or milk deliveries left outside the house. Make sure to cancel all regular deliveries before you jet off, and either ask a kindly neighbour to collect your mail off the doormat for you, or sign up for the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service, so that post won’t get delivered until you’re back.
Leave your curtains open when you go away, otherwise, it’s sending a clear message that your house is unoccupied. However, make sure that any valuables you have aren’t visible if someone looks through the windows. Hide valuables in different areas throughout the house, rather than all together, and avoid obvious places such as the sock drawer. Cars are often one of the most sought-after items to steal, so if you intend to leave your vehicle on the drive, don’t leave the keys in the house; give them to a trusted neighbour, friend or family member to look after during your absence.
Lock windows and doors
While it might sound obvious to make sure your windows and doors are properly locked, this may be easily overlooked in the stampede to get away. However, leaving even a small crack open in a window makes your home vulnerable to a break-in. Don’t just close your windows, use the key they come with to lock them, as well. Additionally, don’t forget to secure your garage and shed, and avoid leaving any tools or equipment lying around, including ladders.
There are lots of different tech options you can buy that can let you monitor your home whilst away, such as keeping an eye on who knocks at your door. You can also get smart devices and equipment that allow you to switch lights on and off remotely so that it looks like your house is occupied. Many of these operate from a smartphone and internet access and are pretty easy to use, giving you peace of mind, your property is being safeguarded.
Avoid social media
While it might be tempting to let all and sundry know on social media that you’re about to jet away on holiday, this could serve as an open invitation to any would-be criminal to scout your property out. Avoid posting holiday news online until you get back.
Turn switches off
Keeping your home safe whilst you’re away is more than just preventing any potential break-ins; it’s also about making sure your property is safe from any hazards so that you don’t come back to any stressful or costly issues, such as leaks, or worse, a fire. Make sure that gadgets and appliances are switched off and unplugged, turn the water off at the mains and switch your boiler off if you’re going away over the summer. You might want to leave it on low during a winter holiday, to prevent pipes from freezing and, potentially, bursting.
A watchful eye
Ask a trusted friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property for you during your time away, so that if they spot anything suspicious, they can inform the police and get them to investigate. If there’s a local neighbourhood watch scheme operating in your area, it would be a good idea to join, too.
Check your insurance policy
It’s recommended to give your insurance policy a good read prior to going away, to make sure that you remain covered. Check that there aren’t any exclusions or conditions that could affect your policy, such as the length of time you’re away, or if someone comes into your home to feed pets, for instance.
By following these simple tips, you can relax on holiday with the knowledge that your property is safe from intruders.