Smart Ways to Make Your Home Safer and More Secure
If you’re like most people, the well-being of your family is probably a top priority. You’ll want to do everything you can to make sure your loved ones are healthy and properly cared for. You might encourage regular exercise, prioritize a healthy diet, and make sure they understand the importance of rest, proper hydration, and self-care.
In many cases, our environment plays a substantial role in our safety. If we work in a hazardous industry, for example, we might be more likely to become injured if precautions aren’t followed. Even outside of our jobs, we can become hurt if we don’t take steps to minimize the risk of potential injuries. Whether those harms are physical or financial, we need to do our part to eliminate those negative outcomes for ourselves and for those we care about.
Often, these protections start at home. By investing in home safety features and making necessary improvements around the house, you can ensure your family and your possessions remain intact and unharmed. Let’s talk about some key areas for improvements and some smart ideas that will instantly improve the safety and security of your home.
Focus on Your Outdoor Space
You may find it helpful to work from the outside in. After all, not all home safety features will be found in the exterior of your home; there are some very important additions that should be included outdoors, as well.
For one thing, you should focus on your landscaping. If you keep your trees well-trimmed, you can ensure that no wayward branches fall on your home (or on any person). Be sure to keep debris and other hazardous objects off of your lawn and other areas, as well. Keep in mind that mowing your lawn, removing rocks and branches, and fixing uneven pathways can prevent injuries for both family members and friends. It can even reduce your risk of having to deal with a lawsuit, as you might need help from a premises liability attorney if a visitor becomes hurt while on your property and you were negligent in its upkeep. In other words, you’ll want to check on your landscaping and remove potential hazards on a regular basis. While you’re at it, install some landscape lighting to minimize trips and falls and to deter criminal activity. A home safety feature that involves outdoor lighting can also improve your curb appeal.
You should also make every effort to secure your property. If you have an open perimeter and want to add both privacy and safety, contact a local fence company. Installing a fence in your front or backyard can keep your pets from running away or keep neighbor children from taking a dip (and potentially drowning) in your swimming pool. In addition to installing a fence, you should make it a point to close your garage whenever it isn’t being accessed. This can reduce the likelihood of a burglary.
Another great way to secure your property is to minimize the effect of Mother Nature. Whether you live in an urban area or are a bit removed from the city center, insects and rodents can still find their way inside your home if you aren’t careful. Be sure to identify and seal off any points of access and make it a habit to not leave food or garbage in open containers. If you’ve had issues with pest control in the past, contact a specialist to prevent an infestation in the future. Since pests can harbor disease and cause major damage to your home, you’ll want to do all you can to keep them out. Mold and mildew can also cause damage and health issues, so be sure to eliminate excess moisture and hire a mold remediation service if you suspect you have established water damage and mold growth.
Conduct Home Maintenance Tasks
While you’re zeroing in on vulnerabilities your home might have, it’s a good idea to cross some major home maintenance tasks off your list.
As we mentioned above, water damage can be immensely problematic. Not only can water damage the structural integrity of your home and your belongings, but excessive water can also be harmful to your family. Be sure to test your sump pump, if you have one, and to clear out your gutters regularly to prevent flooding.
Siding and roof repairs may also be a good idea, particularly if you’ve lived in your home for at least a decade or your home hasn’t had any roofing work done over the past 30 years. The home improvement industry increased by more than 5% in 2018 alone, but some improvements may be more pressing than others. Since roofing work can keep the elements out and help you avoid structural damage, it’s not a job you’ll want to skip. As a bonus, it can add value to your property. Just make sure to hire a professional, as getting up on your roof yourself can be hazardous to your own safety.
While you’re at it, contact a heating contractor to see whether your furnace needs to be replaced. Since carbon monoxide leaks are often associated with older furnaces, you’ll want to hire a professional to avoid this deadly scenario. You can also perform your own radon gas test to assess whether you need to actively reduce radon levels in your home.
You may also want to take this opportunity to prepare your home for natural disasters and other emergencies. We’ve seen a major uptick in floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other weather-related issues within the past couple of years. Even if you don’t live in an area that’s been hit hard by these disasters in the past, it never hurts to prepare for the worst. And because pandemics are also now part of our shared experience, stocking up on essential goods — especially when there isn’t a national panic — can help your family weather the literal or figurative storm. You might also want to take this time to develop disaster procedures for your family or to even establish an area in your home that’s been reinforced or built specifically for disaster preparedness. These home safety features might include reinforced walls, storm shutters, high-impact windows, or hurricane-grade doors.
Add Home Security Features
Of course, natural disasters aren’t the only thing that can impact your home’s security. Criminals can also detect and exploit your property’s vulnerabilities. And unless you’re fine with the idea of having your personal items stolen, you’ll want to take steps to ensure no burglar can find their way inside.
Many new homes come with smart security products, as today’s buyers want these home safety features built right in. But in case you don’t already have these innovations pre-installed, you can still add them to virtually any home. Your home will undoubtedly have smoke detectors installed, but you should also add security alarm systems to your doors and windows. Be sure to install a deadbolt, as well, and add some window sensors that will let you know if these potential entryways are disturbed.
Smart lighting and blinds can also be welcome automations. Not only can they help homeowners save money by eliminating energy waste, but they can also deter criminal activity at night or while you’re out of your home. These home safety features make it easy to maintain privacy, promote energy efficiency, and keep criminals out.
Inventory and Lock Away Valuables
Even if you have a great security system and have installed another home safety feature to alert you in the event of a burglary, you’ll need to do more than that to keep your belongings out of harm’s way.
Security measures will lessen the risk of a break-in, but they might not always prevent one. However, you can mitigate any losses associated with a burglary if you inventory your household items, invest in an insurance policy, and lock up your prized possessions. Instead of stashing your valuables in popular hiding places or even keeping them in plain sight, you can use laptop safes and other kinds of home safes to lock away technology and family heirlooms. Fire safes can also protect personal documents and vital data, ensuring you’re able to access the information you need even after a tragedy takes place. If you have antiques, expensive jewelry, cutting-edge technology, or important papers in your house, these home safety features can provide you with valuable peace of mind.
Use Technology Wisely
Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with digital security measures, as well. Since we rely on the internet and other technological advancements for almost everything now, we need to be diligent about how we use these tools. That’s especially true if you use IoT (or the Internet of Things) to connect your smart home devices. Like it or not, these convenient products can easily be hacked to gain access to your network — so you need to be even smarter than your devices are.
Make sure to secure your wireless network with a password (and one that isn’t easy to guess!). You may even want to use a virtual private network, or VPN, to access the internet or send files. You can even use a VPN on your phone — and you should do so if you ever use a publicly accessible WiFi network, as these networks are much less secure, by nature.
You might think that your passwords will protect your accounts. But if you read or watch the news, you know how common security breaches are. Do your research and make sure to work with companies that can illustrate their dedication to online security. You should also use a password vault to generate and keep track of all the different passwords you use. If you’re still using the same password for virtually every website, you’re asking for your information to be hacked.
While you’re at it, make sure to educate everyone in your household about safe internet practices. If you’re not the most tech-savvy individual in your home, ask your other family members for guidance on these best practices. These could range from social media behaviors to engaging with suspicious emails. As more Americans are now working and pursuing education online, there are more opportunities for potential fraud and other criminal activity. By being proactive about your family’s safety online and making sure private information remains inaccessible, you’ll be able to protect them as best you can.
And if you rely on your devices for work or don’t have the expendable income to replace smartphones at the drop of a hat, there’s another home safety feature you need: a surge protector (or several). These may look like run-of-the-mill power strips, but they actually help to keep your devices from being fried if there’s a sudden surge of electricity. Surges can happen during storms or even when large home appliances need more power, so they’re more common than you think. If your device is plugged in without a surge protector during these instances, you can lose data or your device may be rendered totally useless. So if you rely on technology, you can protect it with this inexpensive product.
It’s not always easy to know which home safety features are worth the financial investment. After all, no one wants to spend a fortune on security measures that don’t actually work. That’s why it’s important to conduct thorough research prior to buying any product or service; the last thing you want is to put your financial security at risk out of fear.
However, there’s really no way to put a monetary value on your family’s protection or the security of your household. By focusing on these property improvements and implementing highly rated home safety features, you can prevent damage, address vulnerabilities, dissuade criminal activity, and keep your loved ones safe in almost any situation.