The beginning of the year is a time of looking over what we did the year before and making plans for the coming year. Many people make resolutions, soon to be forgotten. I don’t bother with making those resolutions, as I’m just as bad as everyone else in keeping them. But what I do try to do every year, is to start the year out with a good understanding of what I’ve accomplished in the last year and what I need to do in the one starting out. Part of that process is taking stock of where I am in a variety of areas; such as emergency preparedness. One of those areas is my home’s security.
A lot of people look at home security as a one-time thing; do it once and forget about it. But the truth is that like anything else, the things we do to secure our home can wear our or break. When that happens, our home’s security level is reduced… and it can happen without us even knowing. That’s why it is so important to perform a security review periodically. I do it at the beginning of the year, just because that’s an easy time to remember, as I’m already checking and inventorying a number of other things too.
That doesn’t mean that I check everything at one time, as doing so is a good way to miss things. Rather, I just do a number of different checks during January, including checking my food stockpile, emptying and repacking my bug out bag and checking my home’s security.
So what’s included in this review?
Locks – Check that all the locks not only work, but work smoothly. A lock that doesn’t work smoothly is likely to be inadvertently left open sometime; therefore it should be replaced. Also check the door jams that the lock goes into, as well as the striker plates. Striker plates can come loose or even come off, leaving the door bolt without anything to set into.
Windows – In addition to checking that the locks are working and are locked, it’s a good idea to make sure that all windows will still open fairly easily. Windows that aren’t opened regularly can get stuck. As they are the main fire escape for most homes, you want them working. Make a note of broken windows as well, as they are easier for criminals to break in through.
Alarms – If you have burglar, fire, or carbon monoxide alarms in your home, they are supposed to be checked regularly. This is a good time for that check, as your mind is already on checking your home’s security. Always keep spare batteries on hand, so that when you find a bad one, you can replace it right then, rather than forgetting to buy batteries for two months.
Fences – Check to make sure that your fence is still solid and not about to fall down. Even if you don’t lock your gate, your fence is still part of your security, helping to keep people out of your yard.
Garage Door and Opener – Garage doors are not all that hard to break through, especially if they have a garage door opener attached to them. Have you taken the necessary steps to make sure that the emergency latch for your garage door opener can’t be tripped from outside? If not, this is the year to do so.
Landscaping – Criminals looking to break into a home like to find shrubbery growing up near the home and especially near the windows, which they can use to hide behind while breaking into the home. How is your shrubbery? Has it grown up to the point where it can provide a hiding place? If so, it might just be time for a bit of trimming.
Lights – Exterior lights are one of the best deterrents against break-in. Yet those lights can go out, either from the bulb burning out or the proximity detector going bad, without us even realizing it. While they should probably be checked more often than once per year, that annual checkup is at least a start.
Cameras – If you have security cameras installed, are they functional? Many of us monitor those cameras constantly when they are first put in, then gradually get to the point where we are ignoring them, just counting on them to record criminal activity. But do you know your cameras are working? Could the lens need cleaning? Better check them.
Alarm System – Finally, if you have an alarm system, then it needs to be checked. Be sure to contact the company before checking it, as well as the police department, if your system is wired into theirs.
It’s a good idea to make yourself a checklist of these items, not only so that you can check them off as you verify that they are in good shape, but also so that you can make note of any repairs that you need to do. There’s a good chance that those repairs will become forgotten, if they aren’t written down; so make your list and put it somewhere where you will see it regularly, like maybe your workshop.
Keeping your home secure is important and might even make it so that you don’t need to use a gun to defend yourself. While I believe in keeping my powder dry and my gun at hand, just like my survival gear, I’d really rather not have to use it.