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Tips to Keep Your Family Safe at Home

Saturday, May 15th

Tips to Keep Your Family Safe at Home

Our homes are important to us. Home is where we eat, sleep and live with our families. Above all, we want our families and our children to be safe and to feel safe, especially at home.

Following are some tips you can use to keep your family safe at home:

  • Change exterior door locks. When purchasing a new home, be sure to change out the exterior door locks as soon as you take possession. Also, be sure to reprogram the exterior garage door opener if there is one. Whether it's a new home or a previously owned home, chances are that there are people you don't know who have copies of your house key and who may know codes to exterior door locks or openers. Once you change out the locks, don't spoil the effort by leaving a spare key outside under a planter or rock. Instead, give a spare key to a neighbor you trust or to a family member who lives nearby.
  • Improve your home's exterior lighting. Statistics show that homes that are well-lit are less likely to be burglarized. Install floodlights around the exterior of your home, especially around entries. Consider installing an automatic timer so the exterior lights are always on in the evening, even when you forget to turn them on. Also, when you're not home, turn on lights on the inside of your home especially those near entryways and stairs.
  • Install a security system. Today's security systems have options that go beyond just alerting the homeowner of a break-in. With a home security system, you can be alerted to a variety of emergencies including fire, flood, high levels of carbon monoxide and low temperatures which may cause water pipes to freeze, just to name a few.
  • Develop an emergency plan. Be sure to discuss with your family an emergency plan in case of a fire or break-in. Make sure everyone knows how to get out of the house and where everyone is to meet afterwards. Make time to actually practice your emergency plan so that in case of emergency, you and your family are prepared.

While these suggestions will help keep your home and family safe all year round, when you're going out of town take extra precautions. Be sure not to announce your travel plans or other plans to be away from your house on social media sites and monitor your children's activities on the same sites to ensure that they aren't posting family information. Also, ask a neighbor or friend to pick up newspapers, mail, packages and door hangers so they don't pile up while you're gone, announcing your absence.

With a few precautions, you can keep yourself, your family and your home safe and secure.

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Home Security System FAQ

There are more than 2 million break-ins every year in the United States alone. Home security systems are the most logical way to give yourself the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you, your loved ones and your property are being watched over.
The most important feature is 24/7 monitoring, which most services offer as part of your monthly fees. At a minimum, you'll want to have sensors for all of the exterior doors in your residence.
There are many add-ons that can offer additional security and protection. Your home security system could have smoke and CO2 detectors, flooding sensors, motion detectors, night vision cameras, and much more.
You'll find plans both with and without required service contracts. The tradeoff is usually in the price of the equipment vs. the monthly service fees. (See the next question for more on that.)
That depends. You should expect two costs: equipment and monthly service charges. Some providers of home security systems give you the equipment "for free", as long as you sign a contract (usually 2-5 years). Others have you pay for the equipment upfront as a one-time charge, but their monthly fees tend to be lower. And, with most services, you'll pay more for monthly monitoring if your system has all of the bells and whistles.
One of the most customer-friendly aspects of today's home security systems is DIY installation. While there are still a handful of companies that require you to sit down with a sales rep and then wait for a professional to come and set up your system, the vast majority are designed to be easy and fast for you to install yourself. You'll have ample support via phone or online chat if you need extra guidance during the process.
Yes, most of the time. You'll typically have a 30-day window to use your home security system and decide if it provides the protection and service you need. Terms vary, however: you may get a full refund for all fees paid, or you may only be allowed to break your contract without getting any money back. Be sure to understand the details of any plan you select, before you sign up.
Usually, yes. Because of the do-it-yourself nature of most of today's systems, you can uninstall and move your equipment just as easily as you set it up the first time. You'll just need to update the company with your current address, so that emergency responders have the right location in the event of an alarm.
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