Miriam Keri's Blog
It's a good thing if you feel safe in your neighborhood. It shows that you trust your neighbors and that you have faith in the safety of your family. However, many of us grow so comfortable that we overlook simple security measures that will only improve the safety of your property and your family. Each year in the U.S. there are millions of property crimes carried out. Burglary accounts for a large amount of these crimes. People often say that if a burglar wants to gain entry to your home they'll find a way and determine not to take security measures seriously. If you're of the "it couldn't happen to me" mentality, read no further. But if you want to learn some basic tools and practices that will keep you and your family safer, read on.
Be the burglarNot literally. But pretend to be. Go through the exterior of your house and think like a burglar. Check your windows. Especially the low-hanging ones. Are all of your locks secured? Do you make it a point to lock them nightly? Test your locks. Not all locks are created equal. Doorknob locks are often easily picked or forced open. Deadbolts are harder. However, none of these things matter if the integrity of your door is compromised. French doors, for example, are particularly easy to force open. If you're worried about your locks, consult a locksmith that can help you choose better options. Look inside your home from the sidewalk. Are there valuables within view from the street? Do you have a tendency to leave your garage door open, exposing expensive items like lawnmowers, grills, or even motorcycles? Burglars don't just target homes. Don't end your search with the house. Many items are stolen from sheds, backyards, and even off of porches, which happened to me as a child when a bicycle was taken from our porch in the night.
Tighten up securityThe number of small steps we can take to improve security and mitigate risk of burglary is boundless. Here are some security tips that should be on every checklist for home safety:
- Use a security mailbox and don't leave mail with personal information exposed in front of your home
- Install a fireproof safe in your home. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Keep your important documents in the safe, and better yet, keep them backed up in a secure file on the cloud like Google Drive or Dropbox.
- Use motion light detectors. When calibrated correctly they won't go off for every car or cat that happens by and they're a great theft deterrent.
- Tell your neighbors if you're going out of town, and have someone take in your mail/newspapers for you. Keep a kitchen light on and a car parked in the driveway if possible.
- Don't leave spare keys under the rug or anywhere obvious. Also, keep tabs on all of the keys to your home. Know who has a copy and check up on the spare keys on occasion.
It has been said that owning a dog is like having a two year old that stays two for his entire life. There is some truth in this statement. Dogs--like children--have many needs, and each dog has a unique personality. But, as any dog owner will tell you, there is no greater joy than coming home to your tail-wagging, slobbering best friend. There are several factors you should consider before getting a dog. You'll want to think about how much time you have to spend with the dog, your family's ability to contribute to caring for him or her, and how suitable your home and yard are.
Your dog's new homeIf you've always wanted a large, playful dog, you should think about the size of your home and yard. Big dogs and dogs with high energy need a lot of room to run around in. If you live on a busy road would you consider putting up a fence to keep your dog safe from traffic? If not you might have to tether your dog to a run in the backyard, which is significantly less fun and exercise for the both of you. Inside the home poses another challenge. If you are considering a puppy, know that there is much training involved to keep your dog safe and your house in one piece. One of the many benefits of adopting an older dog is that they tend to already be housebroken, avoiding a lot of clean-ups and chewed furniture.
Raising a dog is a team effortIf you are thinking about getting a puppy or a high energy dog (in other words, a "permanent puppy") it's important to recognize that your whole family will have to be on the same page when it comes to training. Your dog takes cues from your family's behavior. So if one person in your family allows the dog to jump up on them when another doesn't it will give the dog mixed signals. This is also true for rewarding good behavior. Your dog should obey each member of your family because they trust them, not fear them or feel dominant over them. Play-time and treats are a great way to build that trust with every member of your household.
Please consider adoptingWe all have the image in our heads of our children playing with a new puppy. But the same joy and bonding can come from adopting an older dog. When you adopt, you can teach your kids the value of rescuing and caring for animals that have been neglected. What's more, adopting is also a way to show support for shelters rather than puppy mills who often breed puppies in poor conditions.
Guidelines for dogs and your home
- If you have a small home and yard, get a small dog or an older, low-energy dog
- Likewise, take the dog on lots of walk to make up for missed exercise in the yard
- If you have a wooded yard be extra vigilant about ticks and fleas
- Training never ends for you or your dog. Make sure you are constantly working with your dog
It's many homeowners' worst fear to come home to a water disaster in their home. Water damage can cost thousands to repair and will include a lengthy process in order to adhere to safety standards, potentially disrupting your home life for weeks. In this article we'll give you tips on how to avoid water damage and what to do when you discover it.
Water damage vs. flood damageMany people are unaware of the difference between water damage and flood damage. Water damage can occur when you have plumbing issues such as a leaking pipe or overflowing bath tub. Flood damage, on the other hand, is defined by FEMA as an "overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters," or even mudflow. Flood damage tends to be the more costly and the more dangerous of the two, as it puts home inhabitants at serious health risk. Part of the stipulation in differing between the two types of damage is insurance coverage; water damage is often covered by homeowner's insurance whereas flood damage is not.
Avoiding water damageTo avoid costly and time-consuming repairs, follow these steps to prevent water damage from occurring in your home:
- Keep your gutters clean to avoid backups and drainage issues
- divert rain water away from your house with downspouts
- Disconnect hoses and turn off their water supply when temperatures drop to freezing overnight
- Don't leave water using appliances running while you are away from home for extended periods of time
- Keep up with maintenance on your dishwasher, washing machine, toilets, and tubs
- Turn off your water main when you go away on vacations
- Check the water pressure to your home. High water pressure can be nice in the shower, but pressures too high can cause your plumbing to fail
- Check regularly for leaks. Some water damage may go unnoticed for weeks or months, which subjects you to another danger: mold
What to do if you have water damage in your homeIf it's too late for prevention and you've discovered water damage in your home there are several steps you'll need to take to ensure the safety of your home.
- Turn off electronics in the affected area. If possible switch off power to whole the whole section of your home at the circuit breaker. This first step is to ensure your own safety. Once you've turned off power to all potentially dangerous electronics, you can move on to the next step.
- Remove electronics and other perishable items from the area. If you remove the items soon enough you might be able to salvage them by drying them out.
- Soak up the bulk of the water. You can do this the old fashion way by using towels and buckets. Or you can use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck up the water from rugs, carpets, and other surfaces.
- Dry the area completely. To avoid mold, use fans and a dehumidifier to fully dry out the area.
- Disinfect. Spray the area to remove any bacteria that may have accumulated due to moisture.
- Contact the professionals. A contractor will be able to tell you the full extent of the damage and whether any serious repairs will need to me made.
Once you've lived in your home for a while it's easy to become relaxed on security. Maybe it's because you live in a safe neighborhood, or maybe you just have a habit of not locking doors. Regardless of the reason, practicing good security can pay off in a huge way protecting yourself, your family, and your belongings from harm. In this article, we're going to cover some home security basics that you might be forgetting and help you build a habit of taking care of them. Read on to learn some tips for security at home.
Safety hazardsSome of the most common safety hazards to your home are completely preventable. Hazards like fire and carbon monoxide are both easily averted by safe practices when it comes to cooking, electronics, and using open flames of any kind. Follow these tips to protect yourself from fire:
- Install fire and CO detectors throughout your home. Set a reminder in your calendar to check the batteries yearly or however long is recommended on the detector.
- Make sure your family knows basic cooking an electronics safety such as how to properly use ovens, microwaves, and power outlets.
- Teach your family the proper use of fire extinguishers and have a fire safety week at your home where you cover the aforementioned topics, as well as how to evacuate the house in case of a fire.
BurglaryAccording to the FBI, break-ins are the number one most common threat to a home. There is a break-in every 15 seconds in America. Follow these tips to prevent break-ins at your home:
- Don't leave spare keys outside your home or on your porch. Similarly, don't leave spare keys on or in your vehicle.
- Make sure your doors and windows lock properly. Burglars will often move past a home if they cannot easily enter through the front or back doors. Installing a deadbolt will add to the integrity of your doors.
- Don't keep valuable items like laptops, televisions, or expensive sound systems in plain sight from the road.
- Change the locks when you move into a new home and keep track of the number of key copies that are made.
- Keep a fireproof, waterproof, heavy safe in your home with important or dangerous items stored inside. This includes jewelry, important documents, and firearms & ammunition.
- Get to know your neighbors and agree to keep an eye on one another's homes, especially when one of you is away. Install motion sensor lights and find out if your neighbor uses them. Similarly, have them pick up your mail when you're away so it doesn't seem obvious that your house is empty.
The Role of the internet and technologyTechnology can be a useful tool in making your home safer or it can be an easy way to advertise that you are vulnerable to a break-in. Follow these tips when it comes to technology-related security:
- Don't post pictures of valuable items on social media
- Don't advertise to your social media "friends" when you are going away. This could be an invitation to break in.
- Installing a security system or even some dummy cameras and alarms can be a great deterrent.
- Use encrypted cloud storage to keep your data safe. That includes copies of birth certificates, social security cards, family photos, wills, and more.
Kids, since they are naturally curious, require special measures to ensure their safety. Whether this is your first child, or your fifth, everyone can use a refresher course about kid’s safety in the home. By being vigilant and following a few simple rules, you can help ensure that your kids stay safe in their own home. Cover it Up Those seemingly benign electrical outlets might not seem like they are out of the ordinary to you, but to your child, they might as well be magical. They seem to beg to have something, anything, poked into them. In order to protect you child from being shocked, or even electrocuted, invest in a couple packages of outlet covers. It is best to keep a few around since they tend to get misplaced when they are removed. Just be sure to keep loose outlet covers out of the reach of small children who still put things in their mouths. They can be a choking hazard. Gate it Up Baby gates, as they are commonly known, are also called safety gates. Unlike the ones popular in the past, these safety accessories no longer feature triangular shaped openings. Instead, many of them are made of a mesh pattern covering that eliminates the ability of the child to put their head through the opening. While safety gates are often used to block the ability of the child to go up or down a set of stairs, they can be used for much more. You can keep your child in a particular room while you are busy with chores. Conversely, you can also keep your child from accessing a particular room by placing a safety gate at the opening. These days, safety gates come in a variety of different widths, with many of them able to accommodate a range of openings. In addition, there are also many options when it comes to the latches that open the gate. This allows people with limited mobility to choose the gates that enable them to easily open them. Safety Latches Latches will keep your child out of the drawers and cabinets where you store your pots and pans, as well as any hazardous materials. They help to keep your child safe while still allowing accessibility to the tools you need to complete your daily chores. Today, you can find many different tools and resources to keep your kids safe in your home. After all, you want your home to be a source of comfort for them.