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Home Safety

Whether you own or rent, it's important to do everything you can to protect your home from fire and theft. Take a few minutes to make an Emergency Information List (see below) and post it by the kitchen phone. Note that your family name, address, and phone number should be on the checklist (e.g., for house sitters or babysitters).

Emergency Information List for the ___________________ Family

Fire, Crime in Progress, Police, Ambulance: 911
This Address:
This Phone:
Poison Control Center:
Alarm Service:
Family Physician:
Pediatrician:
Veterinarian:
Close Relative:
Neighbor:

Preventing Theft

Determined thieves can break into just about any home, but you can take steps to make entry a lot more difficult for them. Following are some tips to help your protect your home from theft.

  • Invest in a quality door. Doors with glass panes may present a security problem.
  • Install dead bolts on all exterior doors and the door that connects the garage to your house.
  • Secure windows and sliding glass doors with locks made for this purpose.
  • Light the outside of your house to reduce your risk of burglary. Do not open doors to strangers. Always ask for identification.
  • Install peepholes in all solid doors. Don't rely on chain locks to see who is at the door. They can easily be forced once a door is ajar.
  • Keep your garage door locked and basement windows secure.
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed. Overgrown vegetation gives a burglar more privacy.
  • Stop deliveries or have neighbors collect your mail and newspapers while you're away.
  • Familiarize babysitters and other regular visitors with your alarm system, evacuation plan and safety procedures.
  • Post a list of emergency numbers by the phone

Participate in a neighborhood watch program. If you don't have one, check with local police for information about starting one.

Alarm systems come in many shapes and sizes and many levels of sophistication, at prices that range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Many installers also charge monthly monitoring fees. Local police are a good source of information and recommendations regarding security systems, since they work with the security services in your area. They can also tell you what types of break-ins are most common in your community.

A Home Safety Checklist is below. It will get you started on improving the safety and security of your home, but only if you use it to make improvements-stay safe!

Home Safety Checklist

Smoke Alarms

[  ] One on each floor of the home
[  ] One near each sleeping area or outside of each bedroom
[  ] Operation check monthly (battery and hard-wired)
[  ] Battery check twice a year

Fire Extinguishers

[  ] In kitchen and basement/garage
[  ] Easily accessible (e.g., visible)
[  ] Fully charged
[  ] Within expiration date

Locks

[  ] Deadbolts on exterior doors
[  ] On all windows and sliding doors

Plumbing, Hoses, and Connections

[  ] Check periodically to see if they are secure and leak-free
[  ] Dishwasher
[  ] Washing machine
[  ] Icemaker

Electrical

[  ] Proper use of extension cords (i.e., not under rugs or furniture; not overloaded)
[  ] Wiring up to code
[  ] Surge protectors on air conditioners, entertainment equipment, computers

Heating System

[  ] Furnace cleaned and checked annually
[  ] Filters changed on regular schedule

Frozen Pipe Prevention

[  ] Heat home even when away
[  ] Disconnect garden hose and shut off outside water faucets when the temperature drops to freezing

Chimney/Fireplace

[  ] Cleaned and checked annually
[  ] Damper functioning properly
[  ] Fireplace screen/doors properly installed

Miscellaneous

[  ] Steps/sidewalks level and intact
[  ] Combustible/flammable material properly stored (e.g., paint and solvents away from furnace, heat sources)
[  ] Trees healthy, not overhanging or touching house, limbs intact
[  ] Swimming pool fenced and secured; locks on all access doors/gates to swimming pool
[  ] Matches and lighters stored out of children's reach
[  ] Cabinets child-proof, if appropriate (e.g., cleaning products, medication, sharp objects out of reach)
[  ] Condition of outdoor deck, railings, and stairs checked annually, and repaired/replaced as necessary

Make Sure You're Covered

Educate yourself about home or renters insurance. Learn the meaning of important terms (e.g., replacement cost) so that you can talk knowledgeably with your insurance agent and make sound decisions. When you shop for insurance, compare specific coverage as well as the cost. And remember, some companies provide a discount if you have more than one type of coverage with them (e.g., auto and home). Review all of your insurance policies annually, and be sure to notify your agent if things change (e.g., you move, buy a new car or boat). Store a copy of your policies in a safe location outside of the house.

An inventory of your personal property will help you determine the approximate value of your possessions and, consequently, how much insurance you need to cover your personal property. Make your inventory as thorough as possible (e.g., receipts, serial numbers of expensive equipment or appliances). Photograph or videotape each room in detail, if possible, and keep this visual record with your written inventory.

Keep the completed inventory in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe-deposit box. Update it annually or when you make a major purchase. This record can help you prove the value of damaged or destroyed possessions, and may help you claim a tax deduction if you suffer a loss.
 


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John Thompson, REALTOR Associate - Samson Realty
14526 Lee Rd., Suite 100  -  Chantilly, VA 20151
Mobile: 703.606.0475  - Fax: 703.896.5037

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