We all like to get away sometimes, even if the opportunities have been few and far between over the last 12 months!
Despite the joy of a holiday, leaving home can also be a source of anxiety for many people. That’s particularly true at popular traveling times, when there’s an expectation that many houses might be left empty.
And while fewer people might be able to travel this Chinese New Year than in the past due to the pandemic and the upcoming Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the CNY celebration, this is still an important area of concern.
The Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0, which originally scheduled to end on 4 February 2021, has been extended to 18 February 2021. As the MCO 2.0 will cover the CNY celebration that falls on 12 February, the government will be preparing a set of SOPs for the matter.
Nevertheless, we all want to trust our properties are safe and protected while we are away. After all, your home is a place that should always offer peace of mind.
Luckily, there are some valuable tips, technologies, and techniques which can help make your home safer while you’re away.
Here are 7 key home safety tips to keep your house safe in CNY and beyond.
1) Appreciate The Value Of Neighbours
One of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure home security is with good neighbourly relationships.
Having someone to keep an eye on your property and check anything suspicious is a really important way to keep your home safe when you’re away. They can also take in unexpected deliveries, prevent the pile up of mail, and water the plants!
Neighbours aren’t just helpful for peering out of a curtain at strange people outside your house (it’s probably just your uncle!), they offer some valuable practical help.
Having a trusted neighbour with a spare house key gives someone a chance to check if there’s a problem, whether that’s a suspicious light at night or a leak in your bathroom dripping down into the neighbour’s flat below!
It’s a simple thing, but it’s your first step to home security.
2) Sound The Alarm
Alarm systems are an effective and often affordable way to provide protection against burglary or vandalism while you’re away.
These alarm systems don’t just sound an alarm to alert people of problems, but actively act as a deterrent that means potential thieves will pass your property by.
There are a range of different alarm systems and types of protection you can consider. The simplest form provides motion sensors in your house triggered by movement when the alarm is active.
If you want to spend more for peace of mind, you can get more sophisticated models, and even alarms linked to rapid response teams that turn up to check your property is secure if an alarm is sounded.
Don’t forget to <strong>give your neighbour a key to the house</strong>, but make sure they are reliable and trustworthy before doing so.
Leaving a spare key with your neighbour will save yourself the pain of returning from CNY holiday to find out your entire neighbourhood hates you because the alarm has been going off for a week.
3) Tune In To CCTV
CCTV is another great way to keep your home safe and deter potential intruders. The good thing is you don’t need some super expensive fancy system, with a growing range of smart and affordable video surveillance systems on the market today.
If you want the most comprehensive protection, then speak to a professional installer who will give you the best advice on when and where to wire up your property.
If you want something a bit more do-it-yourself, then you can buy connected wireless CCTV devices these days that link up via Wi-Fi, allowing you to tap in and watch wherever you are.
One word of warning though - make sure your password and Wi-Fi is secure, because otherwise you’re taking on a security threat, not a security advantage!
Clever hackers could easily access your device if you don’t password lock, secure, and update from standard passwords.
4) Cancel Deliveries If You’re Away
Another simple tip for keeping your home safe is cancelling deliveries if you’re away. Thieves are often opportunists who keep an eye out for signs of a house being empty.
The real risk here isn’t that they’ll steal your shiny new shoes left outside your property (bad), but that they’ll recognise the signs of an empty house, break in, and steal all your expensive stuff at home instead (much more bad).
5) Make Sure Your Social Is Secure
Similar to the idea of cancelling deliveries, you should also be careful who and how you tell people about going away.
If you’ve got social media, don’t post pictures of you leaving on holiday or information about being away if you’re not 100% sure your social media following is trustworthy.
That’s particularly true on ‘open’ platforms like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, where many of the people following you might not be close and personal friends.
6) Do ‘The Check’
Securing doors or windows is an obvious part of home safety, and something we all take for granted.
But leaving for holiday can sometimes be a hectic experience, particularly if you’re juggling family at the same time. That leaves room for error (we know, we’ve all done it!).
Make sure you or a family member is responsible for ‘the check’, and run through a simple checklist of security procedures before you leave.
Check all windows and doors are closed, make sure all taps are off, check the oven is turned off, turn the alarm on if you have one, and be responsible for the final locking of the door.
It’s such a simple thing, but it’s a big potential safety tip for your home.
The good news is, if you’ve followed our advice on neighbours, you should have someone able to pop round and check in case you’re worried.
Do ‘The Check’ Before Going Away On CNY Holiday
Are all windows closed?
Are all taps off?
Is the oven off?
Have you set the alarm?
Is the front door locked?
Have you told a trusted neighbour you’re away?
7) Check The Insurance
A simple thing but so often overlooked. Insurance is financial protection against bad things happening.
The checklist above is an important way to make your home safer while you’re away — but no protection is guaranteed.
So, it’s important to check your insurance is fit-for-purpose so that if something does go wrong, you’re covered.
It may have a clause that limits the time you’re covered while your house is empty, or if you have a friend staying while you’re away, or even if someone is popping by to water your plants.
Hence, check to make sure you understand what cover you have, and when it is valid.
Want to find out more? Explore The Complete Introduction To House Insurance, or The 7 Reasons Why You Should Get Landlord Insurance if you are renting out a property.