Valentine’s Month is a chance to focus on love and on the people we love. It is a chance to think again on what we can do to keep them safe, from crime and from anything that might put them in harm’s way.
“There is a lot to worry about in 2021, but at the same time there is a lot that you and I can do to keep our loved ones as safe as we possibly can,” says Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications at Fidelity ADT.
A good place to start is to make sure everyone in your household knows exactly what to do in case of an emergency.
“It is completely understandable to panic when there is an emergency and this makes it difficult to think rationally and clearly. Sit down with your loved ones today, and talk to them about who they should contact when something goes wrong. Make sure they have the correct contact numbers for the police, your neighbourhood watch, your security company, or your closest hospital saved on their phones,” says Hattingh.
Assessing your property and doing a thorough check to rule out any vulnerable areas should also be on the to-do list.
“Take a walk around the property to look for anything that could help an intruder to access or exit the property. Are there low-hanging tree branches that can be used to climb over a fence or wall? Inspect the locks on perimeter gates and garage doors – are they in good condition, or can they be broken with some force? Be on the lookout for anything that can be used to force entry. And if you have an electric fence, when last did you test it,” says Hattingh.
Inside the house, she suggests that window and door locks must be checked regularly. “It is important that outward-leading doors and windows, are locked from the inside when no-one is home and overnight. The same kind of caution should apply to doors that lead from a garage into the main part of the house. Regardless of the time of day, keep curtains or blinds drawn in a way that makes it difficult to see in from the outside. And, never leave valuables – or keys – anywhere that they can be seen or reached from a window.”
If there is a home security or fire detection system installed, she advises that it is regularly tested to ensure that it is in proper working condition when it’s needed most. “Test your alarms and beams at least once a month out of peak times. If you are unsure of how to do this, contact your security company.”
Lastly, if there is any reason to believe that there is an intruder on the property, Hattingh’s advice is to never go outside to investigate.
“Make sure that everyone in the household knows that they must immediately call the police or your security company. Try to remain on the line with them until officers arrive, and only venture outside once they indicate that it is safe to do so.”