Personal Safety Tips
"With the holiday season fast approaching, we are left with many decisions and preparations to make before packing our trailers and making our way to our holiday destinations. Ensuring the security of family and property is a key priority at this time.
"Statistics clearly show that criminal activity increases during the holiday season and it is therefore imperative for homeowners to take the right precautions and not let their guard down," says Richard McGhee, Sales and Marketing Director of ADT Security, one of South Africa's leading security companies.
According to McGhee, there are several handy holiday safety tips to bear in mind which can help alleviate the risk to family and property. "The first and most important step to take is to ensure that your alarm is in working order. People tend to forget that an alarm system, like a car, has parts that age and wear out and therefore should be serviced at least once a year."
Spectacular thunderstorms, which are rampant in the summer months, can also wreak havoc on alarm systems. As a result of this, clients should regularly check their systems in case of lightning damage. Homeowners who have house insurance should also consider that in the event of a burglary, their insurance company will, in all likelihood, check whether they have properly maintained their alarm.
"December is traditionally a busy period for security companies, so you should try and test your alarms at least three weeks before going on holiday. Testing should be done outside of peak hours (between 8am and 4pm or after 8pm) and if a fault is discovered, it should be immediately reported to the security service provider's technical team."
McGhee highlights that, due to increasingly high walls, electric fencing and other desperate measures that homeowners resort to in order to protect their property, the emergency reactions of armed response officers can be hindered. He strongly suggests that homeowners check with their security service provider about alternate access options available such as an EZI pad.
The EZI pad, is an electronic device that is attached to the driveway gate, and allows the security officer access to the property once a secret code is activated.
Another important holiday safety tip is to be discreet when preparing to go away. "People should park their cars behind closed doors, if possible in their garage. Homeowners should also never leave a message on their answering machine stating that they are out of town," advises McGhee.
Additional Personal Safety Tips For the Holidays
- Advise your security company if you are going away and ensure that you supply all the necessary information regarding nearby key holders, in case of an emergency
- Inform your neighbours of your holiday plans so that they can keep an eye on your property
- Stop all newspaper deliveries and ask a friend or neighbour to collect your post. A bulging post box is a dead giveaway that you are not at home
- If hiring a house sitter, ensure that you teach them how to use your alarm correctly
- Double check that you have locked and secured all windows and doors before leaving home
- Ensure that all your outside locks are a minimum of four lever locks or double cylinder security locks
- Never leave a key in the inside of an outer door which has glass panels or glass near the door lock
- Having security gates fitted on outer doors is a highly effective security measure that gives you an extra line of defence
- Sliding doors can be secured simply by placing a piece of timber cut to size in the sliding rail. Make sure that sliding doors cannot be lifted vertically
- Full fencing and sturdy gates are a good deterrent
- Have good exterior lighting, preferably on a timer
- Do not leave tools like ladders or spades outside, as they can be used to break into your house
- Clear signage indicating that you have security also helps to discourage burglars"