“Avoid the holiday rush – test your alarm system today”

This is a busy time of year, as people get ready for the much-needed end of year holidays. It is important to also make sure your home security system is tested long before the start of the Festive Season, so that there is still enough time to repair any problems.

“The last thing anyone wants is realizing your home alarm system is malfunctioning, just as you are about to hit the road. There is lots of time still available to do any repairs now so that you can enjoy the holidays knowing your home is safe,” says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT.

She has handy dos and don’ts for these last few weeks of the year, to help prepare your home security system for the Festive Season:

  1. Ensure that your alarm is in working order. December is traditionally a busy period for security companies, so homeowners should test their alarms at least three weeks before going on holiday. Should the system require servicing, this should be arranged as early as possible.
  2. Ensure there are no gaps in your fence or unintentional points of access to your home that may need additional security.
  3. Connecting outdoor lights to timers and motion sensors act as an additional deterrent.
  4. Two weeks before you leave for your holiday, advise your security company of your holiday plans. Should an incident happen while you are away, it is essential that they have the following updated information:
  5. all key holder information;
  6. details of domestic workers, gardeners or house sitters who may be staying on the property while you are away.
  7. Inform your neighbours and Neighbourhood Watch of your holiday plans so that they can keep an eye on your property while you are away.
  8. Stop all newspaper and other deliveries if applicable and arrange that someone collects your post while you are away. A bulging post box is a clear indication that you are not home.
  9. If you have hired a house sitter, teach them how to use your alarm system correctly.
  10. Make sure that all bushes or trees close to your doors and garage are trimmed, to avoid the possibility of intruders hiding behind them.
  11. Be discreet when packing your car. Do so behind closed doors.
  12. Do a quick once-over before you leave on holiday, and double check that you have locked and secured all windows and doors. Sliding doors can be secured simply by placing a piece of timber cut to size in the sliding rail. Don’t leave ladders, spades or tools outside as these can be excellent break-in tools. Ensure that cell phones, valuables and remote controls for automatic gates and garage doors are not left lying around.

“The best way to keep your home safe over the festive season and to ensure peace of mind is to follow the above guidelines and to get a preholiday alarm service check-up to ensure the system is in full working order. Your security company can even do a full risk assessment and make recommendations as to where you can improve your home security. You may wish to consider outdoor protection beams, smoke detectors, CCTV and even electric fencing,” says Hattingh.

“The festive season should be a time of relaxation and giving, so don’t let security be a concern. If you get organised early, you can head off with peace of mind.”

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