How to Make Your Home Safer & More Secure 

 April 14, 2021

By Scott Teesdale  

minutes read time

A home isn’t just four walls where you reside or come to sleep at the end of a long and tiring workday. It’s a place where you feel most comfortable, relaxed, and at peace. This isn’t possible when you always have to worry about something or don’t have the adequate sense of safety or security to call your home your safe haven. Now, many factors can contribute to this anxiety-inducing problem, such as a fire breaking out or the threat of a robbery. Not to worry, though, as all of these issues can be rectified with simple solutions that sometimes serve to solve multiple problems at once. 

It’s important to note here that home safety and security are two very different things. While safety refers to safeguarding your house against natural threats like a tornado or accidents like a fire breaking out, security measures are put into place to protect against more malicious and deliberate incidents like a break-in. We’re here to walk you through the requirements for each that would turn your home into a well-protected sanctuary.

Basic home safety

You’ve probably heard ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Well, this idiom doesn’t just apply to your physical health; it’s also a great guideline to follow when planning for your home. Of course, you can always get insurance for many of the damages caused by natural incidents. However, some items cannot be recovered once lost, and sometimes a loss is entirely avoidable or preventable. So it’s best to be prepared for anything rather than have to deal with the consequences later. Some must-have things to keep your home safe are as follows:

Preparing for natural disasters 

Due to climate change, recent years have seen an increase in the occurrence of natural disasters, particularly tornadoes. This begs the need for a place in your home that can provide you safety in case of such a crisis. This place, likely a room, should have no windows and should be stocked with emergency supplies like a first aid kit and food to last a few days. If someone in the house requires essential, regular medication, the room should ideally have that too.  

Smoke detectors or heat sensors

These are a must-have for anyone who cooks frequently or multi-tasks while cooking. They help recognize the signs of a fire before it escalates and causes irreparable large-scale damage. Not only this, depending on the type of heat sensors you have, they can initiate a chain of actions like activating water sprinklers or notifying the fire department, etc. They’re both necessary since they perform unique tasks. Some sensors sound an alarm early on to alert the residents, whereas heat sensors are only activated when there is an unusually rapid change in the temperature.    

Carbon monoxide detectors 

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is very hard to identify. It does, however, make you dizzy, but by the time you become aware of it, it might be too late. It is therefore termed as the ‘silent killer’ and has its own particular CO detectors, which, as the name suggests, check the level of carbon monoxide in a room and notify in case of an abnormal level detected.   

Radon gas check 

According to the US EPA, a radon level of 4 picocuries per liter is the maximum radon limit in a home. Anything beyond this poses a severe threat to the health of the residents. It is therefore advisable to get a radon test kit or have regular tests conducted to check the level of radon. 

Freeze or flood sensors

Flood or ‘water leak’ sensors are usually installed in basements to detect the presence of large amounts of water that might cause harm. Freeze detectors or ‘temperature sensors’ check the ambient temperature and send a message or signal if pipes are at risk of freezing, therefore bursting. They help catch any issues before they get out of hand.

Add a fire-proof safe 

Despite your best efforts, it is entirely possible that you might find yourself in a situation in which you have to evacuate, taking only the essentials. For such cases, get a safe that is fire and waterproof to store valuables without having to worry whether or not they’ll be secure or intact later.

Keep your wireless network protected 

In the age of the internet and with everything being converted online, keeping your Wi-fi vulnerable and unprotected can make it easy prey for hackers, thereby making you an easy cyber-crime victim. They might access personal or confidential work-related files, delete them, corrupt them, or make changes to them. To keep your network safe from outside attacks, choose a unique password for everything, set up back-up questions, disable remote access, and make use of guest networks. 

Cover all outlets 

In homes with children or even pets, it is essential to make sure all outlets and switches are secured when not in use. They are a known cause of fire breakouts and can be harmful when left switched on, and nothing plugged in. 

Other than this, some other minor safety tips are mats in bathrooms in areas where the floor tends to get slippery, railings to hold on to for support in both bathrooms and staircases, and a fire extinguisher for emergencies.   

Home security 

This is the part that many people skip because they fall victim to the illusion that something like a robbery or burglary won’t happen to them. Therefore, they chalk down anything beyond a primary surveillance camera to paranoia and being ‘too cautious.’ I mean, what are the chances? Well, 1 burglary occurs every 13 seconds, and burglaries account for 16.1% of all property-related crimes. Keeping in consideration all this, having a few security measures in place can’t hurt, right? They not only notify you as soon as something is amiss, but they also help to ward off potential thieves. 

Motion sensors 

These are electronic devices that detect movement in a specific place. They create an invisible zone in the area where they are installed – sounding an alarm the second there is any sort of motion in that region. They’re usually installed in rooms containing valuables or near entry points of the home like doors and windows. 

Security cameras

They can help deter burglars or help identify or catch them in case something happens. They’re usually placed in porches, near main or back entrances from where there is a greater chance of someone breaking in. Consider getting a wide-view camera to cover as much area as possible or rotating, 360-degree fish-eye camera to cover the entire site using a single camera.   

Loud alarms 

High decibel alarms not only alert the residents of the house, but they’re also loud enough to notify the neighbors. This is so that they’re aware that something is wrong and not only inform the concerned authorities on time but also come check-up in case of a delay in the arrival of the police etc. These alarms can be programmed to set off if any of the sensors pick up anything or on command when the user directs them to.

Door and window sensors 

These usually come in 2 parts, one of which is installed on the door or window, while the other is on the door frame or the window sill. When the door or window is closed, these two parts are connected to form a complete circuit and make a secured zone. The moment someone opens the door, breaks, or opens the window, the circuit is disconnected, and this information is communicated to the central system, i.e., the zone has been breached. The central system then takes further action like sounding an alarm or sending a warning to the security company.

Control Panel  

This is the main computer or the brain of the entire security system. It relays information between the different electronic components like the sensors, alarm systems, sprinklers, etc., and is also responsible for sending any alerts to your security company. You can use it to remotely synchronize all your security devices through your phone or keep track of who goes in or out by monitoring the different security cameras spread throughout the property. It is also used to arm or disarm the security system.

Yard signs or stickers

Many people tend to think that these are pointless or serve no real purpose, when in fact, quite the opposite is true. Stickers on the windows and signs in the yard can help ward off people lurking about looking for an easy target since they make them aware of the fact that any attempts of a break-in will be immediately dealt with and recorded, putting them at risk. So most people would steer clear of such houses. 

Some famous, reasonably priced, and tried security service provider companies include Vivint, ADT, Frontpoint Security, etc. Depending on the provider of your choice, you can have the equipment professionally installed or set it up yourself. Most of these come with a monthly cost, offer different packages, and are well worth the expenditure.

Look out for updates

With the rapid advancement in technology, something new is being pushed out every day. More efficient, cost-effective, and user-friendly mechanisms and systems are being developed at a fast pace. It’s good practice to keep in touch with your security company and get regular updates on your preferred security systems. Then try to assimilate them with what you already have. At this point, you’ve done all that you could and successfully made your home into a safe retreat where you can ease up and have at least some of your worries alleviated.

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I use data and technology to help Millennials navigate the ins-and-outs of buying or selling a home in today's market. From appraisals to mortgages to zoning, I cover it all with the goal to teach others. Connect with me on social via the icons above.