Keeping Your Home Safe While You Travel - February 5th 2018
For British Columbians, Family Day is a stat holiday that brings some needed relief to the start of 2018. It's the first real holiday after Christmas and it's right in the middle of winter. This makes it a great day for families to travel to their favourite ski resort or hot spring for some festivities, for students to travel back to their families for a long weekend, or for anyone to get a long weekend away from the normal day-to-day routine of life here in Kamloops! Wherever you plan to go this Family Day, remember to take some steps to keep your home safe while you're away. Our team of patrol experts at Bighorn Security in Kamloops know a thing or two about keeping your home safe when you're gone, so whether you're reading this as you prepare for Family Day in BC, or if you're just here for some great tips about home safety while you travel, here are a few things for you to consider:
Hire a House Sitter
The absolute best strategy for keeping your home safe while you travel for a few days could hardly be called security at all: simply ask a trusted friend to come live in your house while you're away! If you're lucky enough to have a friend you can trust to live in your home on their own, and who is able to do that for you, then this strategy covers everything else we'll talk about in this article. However, if you don't have a friend who can do that for you, then read on for a few more tips.
Make Your Home Look Lived In
You may not think about it, but when you're away from your house it can be pretty clear to everyone in the neighbourhood. For example, if the house is just sitting quietly with the lights off day and night, with no cars moving around in the driveways, it could be pretty easy for someone to determine that there is no one there. Making your home look lived in takes a bit of planning, so we'll share a few points (including a couple 'gotchas') to help you do that. However, if you're not able to plan all of this because of time or just wanting the peace of mind knowing that a professional is watching you home, contact us about our Home Check services. We'll cover all of these points and more.
Hold Your Mail and Newspaper
A good sign that a home is empty is when there's a full mailbox and a stack of yellowing newspapers at the front door. Holding your mail in Canada is fairly easy – Canada Post can hold your mail for a small fee. If you're able to hold your newspaper, get that held too. If not, ask a friend or neighbour to pick up paper from you doormat each day and recycle it for you!
Have Someone Check for Fliers
Mail and newspaper holds don't catch everything. Even if you've done all you can to make sure they aren't sitting at your door for days, our postboxes often get stuffed with advertisements and fliers. If your home frequently receives flier, door hangers, and other advertisements, ask a friend or neighbour to grab them off your door if they see them.
Install Some Timers For Your Lights
Every day, as it gets darker through the evening and into the night, you would usually be turning your lights on and off. When you're away, your lights stay off. There are a couple of solutions to this. First, you could leave a couple of lights on for the duration of your holiday (which isn't a good use of electricity),Second, you could purchase and install timers for specific lights around your house. We would recommend the second option!
Have a Neighbour Park in Your Driveway
A driveway that is empty or unused for days can be a signal that you're not home. Ask a neighbour to park their car there in the evenings!
Keep Landscaping Trimmed and Driveway Shoveled
If you're going to be gone for more than a few days, have someone come and mow your lawn for you. In winter, ask a someone to shovel your driveway when it snows.
Be Aware of Who You Tell About Your Trip
We like to tell people about the exciting things happening in our lives – it's a fun thing to do! However, before you go and post on Facebook or Twitter about your 2-week long backpacking trip in Chile, consider who is going to be able to see that information. If you must, it might be better to share that info in a smaller, controlled group than to the public. You wouldn't want the whole world to know that your house is empty.
Install an Alarm System
Sometimes all of this planning can be a bit much, so it would just be easier to install a good alarm system. If you have an alarm system, Bighorn Security provides alarm response services. By using us to be your alarm first responder, you avoid the risk of putting your keyholders at risk. Get in touch with us to learn more about this service.
Lock Up and Bring In the Spare Keys
Many of us keep a spare key or two outside for those days when we accidentally lock ourselves out or so we don't have to cut tons of keys for friends and family. If you're going to be away from your home for a while, it's a good idea to bring all your spare keys into the house or to give them to a trusted friend while you're gone. That way you know you're not giving someone access to your home.
Whether you are reading these tips in preparation for your Family Day long weekend or another holiday, we hope you have a great time! For even more tips on home security and our services, contact us at Bighorn Security.