The lead-up to the festive season is a busy one. People are packing, making holiday plans, doing last-minute shopping and attending endless year-end functions. However, ensuring the security of family and property should be a priority.
“We have all had a long and tough year and it is only natural to want to relax and drop your guard. Unfortunately, this is exactly what opportunistic criminals are depending on. We hope these tips will help you enjoy the holiday with the ease of knowledge that all your security plans are in place,” says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT.
She offers the following tip sheet on valuable dos and don’ts:
- Ensure that your alarm is in working order. December is traditionally a busy period for security companies, so homeowners should test their alarms at least three weeks before going on holiday. Should the system require servicing, this should be arranged as early as possible.
- Ensure there are no gaps in your fence or unintentional points of access to your home that may need additional security.
- Connecting outdoor lights to timers and motion sensors act as an additional deterrent.
- Two weeks before you leave for your holiday, advise your security company of your holiday plans. Should an incident happen while you are away, it is essential that they have the following updated information:
- all key holder information
- details of domestic workers, gardeners or house sitters who may be staying on the property while you are away.
- Inform your neighbours and Neighbourhood Watch of your holiday plans so that they can keep an eye on your property while you are away.
- Stop all newspaper and other deliveries if applicable and arrange that someone collects your post while you are away. A bulging post box is a clear indication that you are not home.
- If you have hired a house sitter, teach them how to use your alarm system correctly.
- Make sure that all bushes or trees close to your doors and garage are trimmed, to avoid the possibility of intruders hiding behind them.
- Be discreet when packing your car. Do so behind closed doors. If possible, in your garage.
- Do a quick once-over before you leave on holiday. Double check that you have locked and secured all windows and doors. Sliding doors can be secured simply by placing a piece of timber cut to size in the sliding rail. Don’t leave ladders, spades or tools outside as these can be excellent break-in tools. Ensure that all valuables and remote controls for automatic gates and garage doors are not left lying around.
“The best way to keep your home safe over the festive season and to ensure peace of mind is to follow these guidelines and to get a preholiday alarm service check-up to ensure the system is in full working order”, explains Hattingh.
“Your security company can even do a full risk assessment and make recommendations as to where you can improve your home security. You may wish to consider outdoor protection beams, smoke detectors, CCTV and even electric fencing.”