Winter safety and security tips

Peo­ple often regard the win­ter sea­son as the time when more things will go wrong in and around their homes. Insur­ance sta­tis­tics tell us that your home is at much greater risk of a mishap or prob­lem over the win­ter months. There are many con­tribut­ing fac­tors, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to Extreme weath­er, which strains your home­’s sys­tems. Extend­ed peri­ods where your home is unoc­cu­pied. Much less day­light for an extend­ed peri­od. And less foot traf­fic in neigh­bour­hoods.
There are things we can do to increase our defences against secu­ri­ty and safe­ty issues. Here are a few tips that may help keep your home and its occu­pants safer.

1. Enhance your out­door light­ing. New LED flood lights use much less ener­gy and make it more afford­able to keep your home­’s entrances and dri­ve­way lit through­out the night. Illu­mi­nat­ing the dri­ve­way when you park your car out­side reduces the chances of auto theft or B & E.

2. Avoid extend­ed “warm-ups” of your vehi­cle when unat­tend­ed. Most cars no longer require much warm-up, even when locked… an idling car is a great temp­ta­tion to a car thief. Nev­er let your car idle in your garage; the car­bon monox­ide emit­ted could be dead­ly.

environmental damage3. Con­sid­er upgrad­ing your alarm sys­tem to include envi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing. Adding devices that mon­i­tor for falling tem­per­a­tures and leak­ing water can pre­vent tens of thou­sands of $‘s in dam­age to your home. Being frozen, a bro­ken pipe is the num­ber one cause of water dam­age. Add ‘Smart mon­i­tor­ing” and be able to check your home­’s tem­per­a­ture from your smart­phone at will.

4. With your fur­nace work­ing over­time dur­ing cold spells and win­dows and doors sealed to keep the cold out, your home is more sus­cep­ti­ble to high­er lev­els of Car­bon Monox­ide. CO is a high­ly poi­so­nous gas pro­duced by burn­ing nat­ur­al gas, oil, or car exhaust. Have your fur­nace ser­viced annu­al­ly, includ­ing inspect­ing your chim­ney for cracks. It’s now also the law to have a work­ing Car­bon Monox­ide detec­tor in your home; it could save your life. You should replace the sen­sors every eight years.

5. Fire is anoth­er seri­ous con­cern for the win­ter months. Win­ter increas­es the chances of fire sig­nif­i­cant­ly. But a few sim­ple changes and pre­cau­tions will go a long way to reduc­ing the risk of a home fire. Be care­ful with elec­tric portable space heaters; nev­er use exten­sion cords to pow­er them, and use them for the short term only. You should nev­er use bar­be­cues and propane tanks indoors or in a garage. If you use a wood stove or fire­place, only use sea­soned hard­wood.

Any flam­ma­ble objects should be at least a meter from a heat source. You should clean fire­places and wood stove chim­neys at least once a year to pre­vent chim­ney fires. For fire detec­tion, ensure you have smoke detec­tors on every lev­el of your home; it makes sense and is also the law. You can also upgrade your smoke detec­tors to be mon­i­tored. It also scans for high heat in fur­nace rooms etc.smoke detector
These five tips will go a long way to reduc­ing the risks to your home. Now how about the home occu­pants? If the worst-case sce­nario hap­pens and you’re snowed in, or there is a black­out, you need to have an Emer­gency kit that you can depend on to keep you safe for a few days. It should include some cash for emer­gency pur­chas­es, food and water to last a few days, a flash­light, extra bat­ter­ies, a shov­el, an alter­na­tive heat source like an emer­gency kerosene space heater, blan­kets and oth­er essen­tial sur­vival gear, depend­ing on where you live.

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Allan Baum
Security Industry veteran with over 30+ years in the industry. Founded family owned and operated Protection Plus in 1994 with his wife and has overseen its growth since. In addition to working with his wife and son, Allan has assigned the role of Chief Canine Officer to his trusted dog Waub, who joins him at the office every day.