A starter’s guide to securing your home

Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or have been living in your current one for a while, home safety and security is something that you need to know about. You want to know that you’re keeping your property and belongings safe, and for those who have children, you want to be able to keep your family safe too.

You might feel that you’ve been hearing an increased number of news stories on home invasions and robberies, and depending on where you live, you might think it’s time to take steps to secure your home. The good news is there are a number of home security products available, and they don’t have to cost a fortune.

Home alarm systems

This is made up of the control panel, a siren and the detection sensors. The control panel is the device that allows the homeowner to turn off and on the alarm when entering or leaving the property, or when locking up the house before going to bed.

The control panel is the heart of the system, where you can turn on or off the alarm. Many alarm systems can be zoned so only certain zones are activated while you are sleeping, or if everyone is downstairs, the alarm can be turned on for upstairs only.

The alarm system can also be set to alert a third party monitoring station, so if the alarm is triggered, they will be notified, and in turn will contact you or those on your contact list. They can also send someone out to check on the house if you are unable to. Conversely, you could have the alarm call you directly should the alarm be triggered; this will avoid having to pay third party monitoring costs.

There are even glass break detection devices, which are triggered by the sound of glass breaking, and door/window contacts, which will activate if a door or window is opened.

Wireless alarm systems

A type of security system that is very popular due to its low cost, and which is ideal for those who move around quite a lot, is the wireless alarm system. A complete wireless alarm kit (recommended if you’re starting from scratch) can be bought from stores or ordered online, and are relatively easy to install yourself. Here’s what a comprehensive wireless alarm kit might contain:

  • Control panel
  • Pet immune wireless motion sensors
  • Wireless keypad
  • Wireless door/window contact
  • Wireless siren strobe
  • Wireless remote controls
  • RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Devices) tags

Some wireless alarm kits even allow you to activate and deactivate the alarm from your smartphone, speak to whoever may be home at the time, and have alerts as to who has turned off the alarm with their pre-programmed entry tags.

Some wireless alarm systems may also require you to pay monthly fees or set up costs. However, there are some that are completely free to use; you simply need to pay for the system and any additional accessories you may require!

CCTV systems

A CCTV security system is one option that many homeowners consider, and again, the detection sensors will trigger a camera that will record individuals approaching the property. However, care should be taken not to infringe on the privacy rights of others, such as close neighbours, for instance.

CCTV systems can be viewed remotely on your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to view footage live, take snapshots, and play back. They vary in price depending on the quality of the cameras, which can range from 650TVL to 1080P HD quality, and it also depends on how many cameras you can attach to the system. Of course you will need an electrician to help install the cameras as well, which means additional labour costs.

Wi-Fi IP cameras

Wi-Fi IP cameras are a great and easy way to set up security within your home by yourself – all you need is a Wi-Fi connection within your home and a smartphone. Wi-Fi IP cameras allow you to view the camera footage live on your smartphone or tablet wherever in the world you may be.

You will also be able to receive notifications through a smartphone app on any movement that is detected, talk to people through the camera, and record via SD card or through Dropbox. Plus there are temperature notifications so if the temperature gets too hot, you will be notified as well – a great fire safety bonus!

More home safety tips

In addition, there are some simple home safety habits and tips that you can adopt to further secure your home, including:

  • Check that all locks on your windows, doors, security screens and garage are working. Keep them locked, especially when you are not in the house.
  • Use timers on your lights so that a light comes on every day regardless of whether you are home or not. Close blinds and curtains when you are out of the house so that people can’t peer in.
  • Ensure that your exterior entrances are well lit. Avoid having hedges and plants that block the view of your entrances – not only will they prevent others from spotting an intruder, but they could also act as a hiding place for robbers and thieves. If you want to have plants, grow thorny shrubs such as rosebushes!
  • Keep keys, wallets and handbags away from the windows and out of sight, and keep only a minimum amount of cash at home.
  • Lock away garden tools such as shovels and ladders that thieves could use to break into your home.
  • Don’t open the door immediately when you hear a knock. Talk through a locked safety screen or through an audio or video intercom system to establish whom the person is before unlocking the door.
  • Put up a sign that states that your home is protected by an alarm system. It may be a deterrent to potential thieves.
  • Get to know your neighbours and look out for one another. If you see strangers lurking around or acting suspiciously, alert the police.

When it comes to home safety and security, the saying “better safe than sorry” comes to mind. This is something homeowners simply cannot afford to ignore because the material, physical and emotional cost of a home invasion just isn’t worth it. In the same way that every home should have a fire alarm for fire safety, so you should also consider getting a home security system. It’s for your peace of mind, after all.

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