Home Security

All too often we are bombarded by rules and regulations that are deemed to be "for our own safety". Although, some are neccessary to safeguard those who are unaware, from those who are all too aware, of defencies in home security.

Landscaping

Some effective measures that can be taken are occasionally at odds with lifestyle. For instance, tall, dense landscaping provides great cover for prowlers, but if removed, may compromise privacy. So a balance should be struck. Keeping side yards clear of heavy foliage will provide a good line of sight around your property. Sensor equipped flood lights are effective deterrants, but be kind to your neighbours. ensure they are set properly, and not directed towards a street, lane, or someone else's property.

Building materials

Building materials play a big role in home safety. Many homes have been built in many stages, sometimes by not so handy people! At times, it is difficult for the untrained eye to tell exactly what materials were used. Certain hardboards and wall paneling are unrated for fire. Asbestos is a hazardous material used in many older homes. Check out www.isitasbestos.com to indentify potential asbestos in your home. Use type X gypsym board (drywall) anywhere there is increased fire risk or potential exposure, such as ceilings, garages, furnace rooms, etc. This type of drywall has a better fire rating, and the extra cost is not prohibitive. With all the companies jumping on the "Go Green" wagon, there are lots of alternative products out there that reduce or eliminate toxins in the home environment. Paints, carpet and cabinetry have a history of being less than kind to our health.

Windows and Doors

Shatterproof glass is required by code (BCBC) for all glazing in doors, and also in windows that are within 3 feet of a doorlock. This makes sense. Basement windows are exempt from having to consist of shatterproof glazing, but is recommended they do, if children frequent areas outdoors where these windows are located. For security, ensure sliding windows have a secondary locking mechanism. there are plenty of systems out there to choose from. If aesthetics are not an issue, an old stand-by is simply a length of wood material (a discarded hockey stick works great!). Cut it to fit in the bottom sliding track. This method is not meant to replace the BC Code requirement of ensuring that sliding window frames not be removable in the locked position.

Dead bolts are a given, but if the door frame itself is not stable, security can be breached. Pry the casing (trim) off first, removing the strike plates. Check the space between the Jamb (where the strikes are fastened), and the jack stud that runs parallel to it. There should be shims in this space positioned,at the strike plate and hinge locations. If you are unsure how to place the filler pieces, there are books that give detailed how-to instructions, or hire a carpenter.

Virtually all entry doors (residential) open towards the inside. This is to avoid visitors being struck down when you open the door to greet them! A door that opens towards the exterior removes the possibility of it being kicked in. Basement doors and storage/garage doors can make use of this trait. Be sure not to use standard, unmodified hinges, as the pins could be removed, and access gained.

The list of security products and precautions are endless. The above has only touched on some aspects of security. All possible options cannot be discussed in one newsletter. For more information, contact your local fire and police department or community service centre.

Surveilance Cameras

In recent years, technology advancement has allowed for affordable secuirty monitoring of the home. There are many choices out there depending on the level of security you want, and your specific home. Some can even be linked to your Smartphone for monitoring! Be sure you're not wading into the legal mine field by putting a camera in your teenager's bedroom, or catching views of your neighbour's property or a public area. For some examples and reviews, visit http://home-security-systems-review.toptenreviews.com.


*Going Green - Building materials and ideas
*Basements - Is your basement sick?