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Securing Your Home

Well, I feel like the groundhog lied and Spring is here. That, on top of covid restrictions lifting, spring break, kids sports, I think we are all getting excited to get out travel more and enjoy life again.

Now would be an ideal time for Spring cleaning and fixing things around your home. I'm not just talking about planting flowers and wheeling out the patio furniture. Right now is always the best time to assess your home, both inside and out and step into a new season with a secure home and peace of mind.

1. Gates/fences

What is around them that could be used as a step stool: garbage cans, benches, retaining walls? Check for weak spots and check gate locks.

2. Windows

Check ground level windows, is there anything blocking them that could be used for cover to break into your home? Are they laminated; will they shatter easily if broken?

3. Alarms/cameras

One of the biggest deterrents, truly, is home security signs. Are signs new and visible? Homes are 3 times less likely to be targets with alarm system. Make sure system is installed and configured correctly. If possible, let a trusted person outside the home have access to check/set alarms and cameras. This is helpful while on vacations, but also if you have elderly persons or kids in the home. If there is an emergency, they can act accordingly.

4. Doors

Even today, most home invasions still occur through the front door, roughly 56%. Check if your home alarm has settings to "ding" when doors are opened while the alarm is off. This is also a good idea with small kids in the home. You can also install IR alarms (similar to buzzer at 7-11 entrances). Install secondary locks on sliders and side doors and consider charlie bars/security bar on side garage door and big garage door. Change out screws/hinges and install longer screws (keep hinges inside if possible), use door stops and chain locks.

5. Landscape

A well-maintained yard does more than look good. Well-manicured shrubs, trees and grass keeps bad guys at bay with less to hide behind. Make sure any decorations and landscaping are not blocking security cameras or too much of your porches, windows and doors. Make sure you have appropriate defensible space and the adults in the home know where the water and gas shut off valves are located. Do not hide keys under door mats, get creative.

6. Stage Defense Tools

Look around you right now, what is within reach that you could defend yourself with? This could be a great habit to exercise and include the kids. I am not suggesting leaving dangerous items out inside your home, especially with little bears running around. Safely and thoughtfully plant self-defense tools around the home: maybe it's a safe built into a shelf or table, maybe it's reconsidering everyday items as self-defense tools. Stage old cell phones (Old phones, even disconnected, will still dial out to 911), stage backup magazines, and backup firearms. Sometimes the best hiding spots are in plain sight. Train to access these spots effectively. You need to consider your home life, kids, pets, etc. when staging these items and use your best judgment with what will work with your situation.

7. Include the kids

Everyone in the home should be included when planning home security. Give your kids a job, see if they can break into your home. Ask them to draw a map of how to escape if there's an emergency, have them practice what to say to 911 and calling (not for real of course). Have them walk around the home and see what they can think of for self-defense tools. Practice using window escapes and ladders. Teach your kids "safe words". Safe words are used in case of emergencies, they can be numbers, dates or words but be cautious using anything like pet names or sports teams that could be easily figured out. Your kids can ask for the safe word if they are sheltered in place in your home. If the answer is correct, then that person is safe.

8. Communication

Communication can be good and bad. Be cautious posting when you are away on vacation. Be mindful of what is in the backgrounds of the photos you post and share; displaying inside and outside of your home. Know your neighbors, communicate when you'll be away for an extended period of time and if anyone is or is not supposed to be at your home. Also, have them get mail and packages from porches and mailboxes.

Finally, in a home defense situation, you will be your own first responder. Consider making this the year you get CPR/first aid training. These are just a few ideas that can get you started in securing your home better. What else can you think of to better prepare you and your family and your home? Remember the idea is to be prepared, not paranoid. Get your spring cleaning going and get your home secure!

Train hard, stay safe, till next time,

Michelle, Mama Bear Defense - Solano

IG: mama_bear_defense

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