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Play it Safe

Tips to keep your home secure while on vacation

Summer is a great time to plan a getaway, whether it’s a quick weekend respite or a longer extended vacation. Either way, you’ll want to make sure your home is safe while you’re away.

Safety ArticlePhoto by Valentina Locatelli on Unsplash

Here are a few ways to have peace of mind while you’re enjoying some downtime.

Outside your home

  • Rainstorms during the summer can cause problems for clogged gutters and storm drains, so be sure any debris is cleared away before you leave to help prevent flooding or other problems.
  • Don’t advertise to potential thieves that no one is home—have someone cut your lawn, and continue with any regularly scheduled pool or exterior maintenance.
  • Have the post office hold your mail until you return. The service is simple, free, and can be requested online. Remember to stop newspapers and other automatic deliveries or shipments as well.

Lock up

  • If you have a monitored alarm system, let your security company know you’ll be away so that any alerts from your address can be handled immediately.
  • Don’t leave spare keys outdoors. Instead, leave one with a family member or neighbor and ask them to check in on your home while you’re away.
  • Some garage doors can be opened by a universal remote. Lock your garage door and/or unplug the main unit. If you’re leaving a car outside, don’t leave a garage door opener visible inside it. Park the car in front of the garage to block easy access.

Other safety measures

  • As tempting as it is to share vacation photos on social media, it’s better to wait until you return home. And if you do share about your getaway, make sure only your friends can see your posts.
  • Download a home inventory app to record your belongings and—where applicable—their serial numbers. In the event something is stolen, this information will help not only the police, but your insurance company as well.
  • Before you leave home, put any valuables—such as tablets, game consoles, jewelry, etc.—out of sight or in a safe. Keep blinds or curtains closed so that potential burglars can’t see inside.
  • Be sure to check all points of entry—windows, garage doors to ensure they’re locked before you leave home. If you have sliding doors, lay a dowel rod in the track so that they can’t be forced open.
  • Place timers on lamps so that it appears someone is home after dark. Use surge protectors for your television, stereo, computer, and other electronics. If you’re not using a surge protector for those items, unplug them before you leave.