2017-04-21 / Viewpoint

Vacation tips for summer safety and security

PERSPECTIVE
BY FORT GORDON DIRECTORATE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES

As the weather warms up, most Americans enjoy time away from their homes. Unfortunately, that time away is the preferred time for criminals to target your home for theft. The Directorate of Emergency Services would like to assist our Fort Gordon community in keeping your household and your property secure by providing the following tips during the summer travel season.

Hold your mail

A huge pile of mail on the front doorstep or envelopes pouring out your mail slot is an instant tip-off that no one is home. If you’ll be gone for more than a few days, go to the post office to place a hold on your mail. Put a hold on your daily paper, too. If you don’t have the time or inclination, ask a trusted neighbor to collect those items daily.

Create the illusion of someone being home

Beyond setting your lights on a timer, you can also set the television and radio on a timer to create the typical noise and flickering lights of an average family home at night. But wait, that’s not all! Leave a car in the driveway. Arrange for someone to mow at least once a week (an unruly lawn is as bad as a pile of mail). If you normally leave toys outside, or keep a hose unrolled, or do anything that shows signs of a home being lived in, don’t tidy up too much before you leave.

Mum’s the word

Don’t ever announce your departure or vacation dates on social networks. Sharing settings are not foolproof and with new security updates it’s always hard to tell what’s public and what’s private. Stay on the safe side and don’t mention your trip – until you’re back, with tales to tell and photos to upload.

Trust a friend

Give your vacation contact info and a spare key to at least one friend or neighbor. That way, they’ll know how to contact you in case of an emergency.

Advertise your security

It can be a great idea to advertise your security measures especially when you’re away. If you’re worried that alarm company signs will clue thieves in to how to break in, buy signs from a different company. Install fake security cameras that look authentic. Do whatever it takes to get across the message, “This is not the home that is easy to rob.”

Unplug electronic devices

Unplug all unnecessary appliances (except those on timers, of course) to protect your home from an electrical fire or power surge. This goes for the big stuff, like TVs, but also for your toaster, your coffee maker, and other small appliances.

Hide the hide-a-key

It’s impossible to forget your keys if you’re not even home, so go ahead and take any hidden spare keys out of commission. Just don’t forget to re-hide them when you return!

Keep your cool

Saving energy doesn’t always requite not using electricity. Most windows in homes have either blinds or curtains. Usually, they are used to let light in or keep light out, but when on vacation, they can be a useful way to conserve energy.

Lower the blinds and close the curtains when leaving for vacation. This simple act will keep heat from coming in during the hot summer months. Additionally, turn down or up the thermostat to save on electricity while you’re gone. Set your air-conditioning to 85 degrees.

Safe-keep your valuables

Lock up jewelry, the deed to your home, wills, and any other valuables or sensitive documents in a fire-proof safe.

Alert local law enforcement

Come to the Fort Gordon Law Enforcement Center and request military police conduct a security check of your on-post quarters while you are gone. Make sure you inform the law enforcement center of who will be checking your quarters or who you have authorized to enter and exit you’re your quarters while you are on vacation.

These tips can mean the difference in a secure home. By all means, enjoy your trip, be careful and prepare before you do.

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