Security Tips for the Holiday Season

The last thing you want to worry about when going away on vacation this holiday season is whether or not your home is safe and secure while you are gone. While home safety should be your top priority, ensuring security BEFORE you leave will help you relax and enjoy your holiday as best as possible. The main things to look out for during your departure as well as while you are away are as follows:

Prevent Burglary and Home Invasion

Living in South Africa means that your security measures inside and out of your house are most likely already in place. However, as the holidays come around, the threat of burglary and invasion becomes even greater. There is an 8% average increase in home break-ins and robbery during December alone. Areas where the majority of people tend to go away, quickly become holiday hot spots for crime. Those “sleepy” neighbourhoods are at the greatest risk, especially in cities such as Johannesburg where most people escape the busy city to the coastline or bushveld.

Keep your alarm system in check

With this in mind, it is vital to inspect and checks of all your current security measures. If you have an alarm system installed in your household, insure that it is in full working order. Testing your system for faults can save you the risk of ineffective robbery prevention. You should also advertise or put on display the fact that the house contains an alarm system, as this is often enough to deter criminals. If you do not have an alarm system, it may be time to invest in one. This instillation even boosts the overall value of your home making it more attractive for potential buyers in the future.

Keep your friends close but your neighbours closer

The neighbourhood crime watch can be very useful to protect your home while you are gone. Being involved in this effort can help you to keep extra eyes open in your favour. If your neighbourhood does not have a crime watch organisation running, get to know the neighbours closest to you. This way you can let them know when you are planning to leave, and they can help you watch over your home. You can also arrange to do the same for them when they decide to leave their home, making both parties happy in your arrangement.

CCTV: The Ultimate Security Relief

If you want complete piece of mind, having CCTV Technology watching over your home may be the best choice. This way you can actually see and monitor your home instantly from your Smartphone or similar device. If you are thinking, why would I want to monitor my house while attempting to break away and relax on vacation, then you might want to invest in a company such as Myertal, who provide smart security technology, 24/7 monitoring and surveillance all in one. This way, your home is monitored 24/7 by trained professionals and smart technology devices. This will reassure you that if any threat does occur while you are away, the entire process will be handled by an outside source. You can now enjoy your holiday completely stress free!

Other Safety Tips for the Home

  • Check that all doors and windows are locked. Any and all obstacles to the home will serve as deterrents for potential burglars.
  • Don’t store items outside of your house. Building materials, wood, etc. can all serve as a type of ladder or means to jump the wall of your property.
  • Keep blinds/curtains closed. Don’t let possible intruders see what’s available and valuable inside your home.
  • Don’t announce your trip on social media. Letting everyone know that you will be away is asking for trouble. Rather wait till you are back to tell everyone the great holiday stories and share the photos.
  • Never leave extra keys in expected places. Hiding emergency access keys around your home is not a good idea. Rather leave keys with a trusted neighbour or friend.
  • Ask a neighbour to collect your mail. Lots of mail filling up your mailbox is a key sign that you are not currently at home.
  • Store precious items in unexpected places or a safe. Ensure that your most important or expensive items are not accessible to others.

Home Fire Safety

Burglars are not the only thing to be considered about when leaving your home for the holidays. Fire can cause significant damage to your home, and is not a pretty sight to return to after your perfect getaway. Here are some home fire safety tips to note before you leave.

  • Install a smoke detector in your home. The earlier you and others can be notified of a fire, the better.
  • Keep wires and cables away from appliances or the stove. Anything that can interfere with cabled electricity can pose a threat.
  • Keep electrical items away from water at all times. Appliances should be moved far away from points of water or liquids.
  • Make sure festive lighting is in working order. Lights around the Christmas tree can be a potential fire hazard if faulty.

The Weather Factor

In South Africa, summertime holiday season also marks the season for lightening, storms and sometimes intense weather. There are certain precautions you must take before heading out on those all important holiday trips. Here are some weather related concerns to look out for.

  • Install a lightening pole with thatched roves. If your house has a thatched roof, you probably already know the important of a lightening pole to prevent damage and fire. This is especially relevant in the holiday season when these storms are most common in South Africa.
  • Unplug TV’s, Computers, or any other device that can get hit during lightening strikes. This could damage more than just your appliances, but can affect the entire electrical system within your house.
  • Insure outside furniture is secure. The intense wind and rain during the holiday season could take your outside furniture away with it, so securing these items is essential.

Right before you leave

You feel confident that your home is now secure enough for your time away. Don’t leave just yet, as there are a few more things to check just before you leave. Firstly, give keys or other access to a trusted family member, friend or neighbour. You will want to insure that in emergencies, someone can be there when you can’t. If you are driving to your destination, pack your car right before you leave, instead of the night before.

A fully packed holiday car left in front of the house is a green light for those opportunistic criminals. It is also a good idea to put some exterior lights on to make it appear like someone is home. If you are concerned about electricity usage, install a timer on those outside light features to save power during the day time.

Finally, enjoy and make the most of your trip! You can now have a fun and relaxing holiday, knowing that your home is safe and secure from all threats.

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