With summer holidays fast approaching, and the country in the grips of a heatwave, homes are often left empty for long periods of time. With the unrelenting heat, windows can inadvertently be left open when people are out, posing an increased security risk, and holidays also mean homes are left vacant for long periods of time.
Don Shulsinger from Blinkforhome, manufacturer of Amazon-owned video home security and monitoring system Blink, gives advice on some simple steps to take to protect your home when you’re not there.
1. Close Windows
This might seem obvious, but in the heat there is a tendency to leave windows open. This makes it easier for a potential burglar to get in, and in the event of a burglary, you might find your home insurance will not cover you.
2. Tell Trusted Neighbours and Friends
If you are away for any length of time, tell your neighbours. Leave them your contact details, a spare set of keys and the code for any alarm so that they can drop by to close curtains, switch lights on and off, water plants and the lawn if needed and make sure there is no post poking out of the letterbox or parcels left on the doorstep.
3. Keep It A Secret From Social Media
Don’t post travel plans or photos while you’re away as this will publicly notify people that you have an empty home. Be sure that your kids also understand that they should wait until after you have returned home safely to share those holiday selfies.
4. Cancel Services
Cancel any regular shopping, newspaper, milk and other deliveries while on holiday. If you forget to do this, these could be left on your driveway or by your front door, making your home an obvious target for a break-in.
5. Wireless Home Security and Video Monitoring System
A home security monitoring system will provide an enhanced level of security and peace of mind while you’re away. An easy to set up wireless option is Blink (although other brands are available) which sends temperature and motion alerts along with recorded or live video clips to a smartphone, anytime and from anywhere. You can be instantly alerted to a break in through the Blink app on your iOS or Android device. You can even find out what the cat is up to while your family is away!
6. Hi-Tech Door Locks
Keyless locks offer amazing security features, like Bluetooth and the ability to see who’s knocking at your front door on your smartphone’s screen. Many of these locks allow you to give access by simply inputting a phone number or sending a text from anywhere in the world.
7. Security Lighting
Thanks to smart switches, you can make it appear as if you’re home when you’re not. Set up some internal and outdoor lights on switches, and be sure to pay special attention to entry points. These lights are generally inexpensive and easy to install, but double-check that they are working properly before you go.
8. Check Insurance and Banking Services
Ensure that your policies are paid up for homeowners, car, and medical insurance. If necessary, advise your bank and credit card companies that you will be away so that they can alert you to any unusual account activity.
9. Contact Your Alarm Company
If you have the more formal home (and expensive) surveillance service instead of a DIY system, be sure that they have the current key holder details in order to prevent any false alarms interrupting your holiday. Has the alarm been serviced? Update the local authorities if you’ve registered your alarm with them.