The year is at a close, and it’s time for those crazy good luck foods we always hear about! Every family seems to have a different tradition when it comes to bringing good luck in the New Year: black eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, sauerkraut (best consumed in a delicious Reuben sandwich), turnips, lentils, and even pickled herring. Our dear founding father Thomas Jefferson was a great believer in luck, although he noticed that “the harder [he] worked, the more [he] have of it.” If you’re looking for luck and good fortune to befall you and your family this year, consider a few ideas for improving your luck by making your home a safer place in which to live.
10 New Year’s Resolutions that Will Make Your Home Safer in 2015:
Check Smoke Detectors
When batteries get low, smoke detectors beep incessantly for days on end until the batteries are changed; however, if you’re out of town when the warning starts, it could be over by the time you return, leaving you known the wiser. It’s a very god practice to check your smoke detectors at least one time a year, and the 1st of the year is a great time to get it done.
Inspect Your Systems
Once a year, you should schedule an electrician to inspect your electrical systems, a plumber to inspect your plumbing system, a chimney professional to inspect your chimney if you burn fires, an HVAC specialist to inspect your furnace and heating/cooling system, and a security expert to inspect your security system. Fires can come from burst pipes, problems with the furnace, cracks in your fireplace or from old wiring, so it is important to have these systems inspected at least once a year, especially if you live an older home.
If you don’t have a fireproof safe yet, make it a priority to get one this year. Once you have a safe, it’s important to make sure the safe is bolted to a floor or something that can’t be carried off by a burglar. The most commonly passed over rooms during a burglary are children’s rooms. Find an inconspicuous place in the like a crawl space or a closet in a child’s bathroom and bolt the safe down somewhere that is out of sight. If possible, disguise it. A neat trick is to cut out the bottom of a Tupperware container and fill the top with towels or bed sheets.
Make a Home Movie of Valuables
Making a home movie of valuables for your Insurance Company is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy. Tour your entire house and record valuables, jewelry, silver, heirlooms, furniture, clothing, guns, electronics, portraits, appliances or any other important keepsakes. Keep a copy somewhere safe away from your home, and keep one copy in your fireproof safe. If you’re faced with a burglary or fire, it’s almost impossible to remember everything you’ve lost, and coming up with proof of these things can be nearly impossible. Having a video will help you document your valuables and provide important details that could help police recover stolen items.
Engrave Your Valuables
This is a great little trick that can be done with an Exact-O Knife or even the pointed end of a paper clip. Carve your drivers’ license number into the back of valuable appliances or electronics, just don’t use your social security number. Having this can help prove the item belongs to you if there’s ever any question, and police are trained to look for identifying marks like these if your goods are recovered.
Make Friends with Your Neighbors
There is something comforting about knowing people have your back. Getting to know neighbors and building relationships is a great way to stamp out crime in your neighborhood. It’s the little things that count, like a text message warning a neighbor about a car light left on at night, or offering to pick up mail and newspapers while they’re away on vacation that can help build trusting relationships and build safer neighborhoods.
Lock Windows and Protect Sliding Glass Doors
Keeping all your windows locked is a no-brainer, but did you know that sliding glass doors are a highly sought-after treat for burglars? These doors can easily be secured with a bar that connects to the wall, but without this added barrier, the basic design of these doors makes them very vulnerable. Most burglars can pop open a sliding glass door with a crowbar in seconds and without even breaking the glass.
Get New Locks for Your Doors
If you’re new to your home or have never changed the locks, make it a priority to change your locks this year. With videos all over You-tube teaching people lock-bumping techniques, it’s definitely worth upgrading to more sophisticated locks for your home. Also, there’s no telling who might have ended up with a copy of your house key over the years.
Shed Some Light on the Situation
If you do nothing else on this list, upgrade your home lighting to include outdoor motion sensor lights, internal timers and a timed light for your front porch. Motion sensor lights make it so burglars can’t work in the cover of darkness and can potentially alert you to the presence of danger. Interior timed lights are a great way to fool burglars into thinking someone is home and awake, a scenario in which almost no burglar will walk into knowingly. Finally, a timed light on the front porch ensures loved ones will never be in the extremely vulnerable position of fumbling at the door trying to find a key hole in the dark.
Install a Monitored Home Security System with Smartphone Capabilities
Having a home security system makes you three times less likely to be targeted by burglars, and four out of five burglars claim to avoid homes with security systems altogether if they are aware a system is present prior to the break-in. Monitored systems contact authorities when you’re in danger of burglary, fire or carbon monoxide, and systems with smartphone capabilities allow users to arm/disarm the security system, lock and unlock doors, control lights, appliances and the thermostat, check in on a live video feed or receive alerts and video clips. Home automation systems are the future of home security and safety and are singlehandedly revolutionizing the way people interact with their homes.
Whatever unique traditions your family has for bringing in the New Year, remember don’t leave the safety and wellbeing of your family entirely to chance. Take some precautions and actionable steps to making your home a safer place to live in this year. Everyone at Butler Durrell wishes you a Happy New Year and hopes you and your family have a safe 2015. For more safety tips and security advice, follow us on Facebook.