With an estimated 136 million Americans going on at least one vacation this summer, safety and security precautions are a must. Proactive measures can help consumers keep their home safe from fire, carbon monoxide and the threat of burglary while they are away.
The Better Business Bureau and home security pioneer ADT offer these safety tips for homeowners during the summer season:
• Be careful about the vacation details you share via social media. Burglars can use posts on Twitter or Facebook to determine when you’ll be away. More than one third (35 percent) of Americans polled in ADT’s Safety Data Index survey said they believed their home is too ordinary and would not interest a burglar. However, a vacant home could be enough to attract unwanted attention, so be careful about broadcasting your travel plans.
• Lock your doors even when you’re gone for a brief amount of time. Two thirds (67 percent) of Americans surveyed for the Safety Data Index agree they do more to protect their homes when they are going away for a night than when they are just leaving for a few hours. But, according to the FBI, more than half (53 percent) of home burglaries happen during the day, so homeowners should secure doors and windows every time they leave their home.
• Keep an inventory. Go through your house and make a detailed inventory of your belongings. Your inventory could be a paper list, pictures, video or a combination but be sure to notate the serial numbers or any blemishes that would make your property easily identifiable. For electronics, such as televisions, DVD players and game consoles, use a black marker to write your name, address and phone number on the back or bottom of the unit. This writing won’t be noticed by a thief trying to get out of your home quickly but it will be noticed by the pawn shop during their inspection or the police once the criminal is caught.
• Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every month. Summer marks the beginning of hurricane season, and if a generator needs to be used in a power outage, a quick test of your monitored life safety devices can help keep your family safe from potentially dangerous fumes.
• Keep hedges and bushes around your home trimmed, so burglars don’t have places to hide; and ask neighbors to pick up your paper and remove the trashcan from the road.
If you want to relax on vacation, make sure your vacation planning includes securing your home. If you choose to contract with a security company, find trustworthy companies and check out their BBB Business Review at bbb.org.