Every holiday brings about its own unique security concerns. However, perhaps none of these concerns loom larger than those related to the 4th of July. This year, we have an entire 3-day weekend to celebrate this holiday! In turn, this leads to more traveling and more gatherings than in most years. In this post, we share some Independence Day security tips to help you make this weekend as safe as possible.
We’ll begin our discussion with a look at travel-related security. After all, criminals prefer breaking into empty homes whenever possible. Therefore, you should remain mindful to make your home look as “occupied” as possible. Then, we will see how you can address fire-related dangers in advance of the holiday. Both firework use and large cookouts can raise the chances of a fire-related emergency. Finally, we will take a look at pool-related security. Pool parties can make great memories, but they can also prove dangerous without taking the proper precautions. Now, let’s get started by sharing some travel-related Independence Day security tips.
Utilize Travel Security Precautions
As we mentioned, one of the security threats related to Independence Day revolves around family travel. Since criminals like to avoid confrontation whenever possible, times of the year associated with high travel often see an increase in crime. In this section, we’ll share a couple ways to combat these dangers. First, we’ll discuss some ideas for making your vacant home look less empty. From there, we’ll look at some social media “fouls” that many traveling families commit. Let’s get started by looking at a couple ways you can “hide” your empty home.
“Hiding” an Empty Home
When it comes to security, help from your trusted neighbors goes a long way. We recommend that traveling families let their neighborhood friends know about their plans. Neighbors can watch the house for you, park a car in your driveway, and even stop inside to check on the property if desired. The presence of vehicles and people in your yard and home will help deter thieves scoping out a neighborhood for empty homes to victimize. Moreover, we recommend having the post office hold your mail. A buildup of mail indicates an empty home, so taking this quick step can also go a long way.
We also offer smart home equipment that can provide both the illusion of life inside your home as well as added security. For example, we can install smart lights that turn on and off on a schedule or at random intervals to keep your house looking occupied. Since dark homes often equate to empty homes, the addition of lighting that mimics the patterns of people inside a home over the course of a day can encourage burglars to choose a different target.
Additionally, we recommend that frequent travelers install smart locks. These locks allow you to give house sitters a code, rather than a key, to access your home. Upon returning, you can easily delete the visitor’s code from the lock. Furthermore, smart locks also allow you to lock and unlock your door remotely. This allows you to grant access to your home without providing a key or a code! For more information on these products, check out our 7 Important Security System Additions for Your Smart Home. Next, let’s see how you can thwart social media-related security issues.
Exercising Social Media Best Practices
The role of social media in keeping up with friends and family has increased greatly over the past several years. Additionally, the ability to quickly share photos and memories of vacations has increased as well. However, sharing these memories before returning home often represents a security foul! Remember, the likelihood that people outside of your close circle of trusted friends and family can see these pictures is often quite high. We all fall out of touch with some of our social media peers. Additionally, “friends of friends” may see these photos as your friends comment on them.
We strongly recommend limiting the amount of social media contacts that can view your posted content. Just as importantly, we recommend waiting until your return to share details and photos of your travels. You may struggle to hold off on sharing exciting trip updates or photos of fireworks displays and family gatherings. However, we recommend doing so to avoid advertising the fact that you have an empty home.
Address Fire-Related Dangers
Fire safety should remain a top priority all year round and in any situation. However, Independence Day in particular brings about a unique level of required fire safety and security awareness. After all, two of the holiday’s most beloved traditions — lighting fireworks and grilling — involve fire! In this section, we will share how you can lessen these dangers with some proactive planning. Let’s get started with a look at tackling safety concerns related to fireworks.
Every year, we hear about firework-related incidents and occasionally even tragedies related to Independence Day parties. Preparing a plan to stay safe while lighting fireworks can go a long way towards avoiding these incidents. First and foremost, make sure to remain aware of everyone around you and keep your firework-launching area far enough away from the center of the party to avoid the potential for “wandering” guests to walk in front of a firework. While lighting fireworks, avoid putting any part of your body about the firework itself, and immediately create distance between yourself and a newly-lit fuse. Finally, avoid trying to re-light fireworks that do not function properly the first time around. Allow both malfunctioning and used fireworks to soak in water for several hours after use, and then discard. Now, let’s look at how to address safety concerns brought about by another popular Independence Day party tradition.
Cooking can turn into a safety concern in any setting. However, grilling during parties adds even more potential for an accident to occur. Groups of people around an open cooking surface always creates a situation that deserves extra precaution. Add in the presence of a holiday party with festive decorations floating around, and the danger only increases. We recommend creating a flat space for the grill away from crowds and hanging decorations. Your grill should also remain at least 10 feet from the house at all times. Additionally, keep both water and a fire extinguisher nearby while cooking. Taking these precautions can help avoid any grill-related emergencies. Additionally, it will help you keep any accidents that do happen under control. Next, let’s look at one more potential security hazard that pops up around this time each year, and how you can address it!
Tackle Pool Security in Advance
Independence Day and pool-related fun seem to go hand in hand! However, pools create a safety hazard as well. During a gathering, it can get hard to track everyone’s whereabouts in relation to the pool. If a child approaches a pool unattended after everyone else has wrapped up their swimming, you’ll want to know about it! We suggest taking a few different measures to create this security.
If you have a security system, we offer a simple way to create alerts for pool-related danger. A couple years back, we created a post detailing 5 Unconventional Uses for Contact Sensors. As part of that post, we discussed installing contact sensors on pool houses or gates that surround your pool. Doing so can give you even more precise knowledge of when you may have a pool security issue. If someone opens a pool gate, this will create an alert inside the home. Furthermore, it can also create a phone notification if your alarm is monitored through our preferred cellular dialer powered by Alarm.com. This can allow you to track access to your pool regardless of your whereabouts, even if you’re away from your property.
Additionally, many companies create pool-specific security products to alert homeowners to potential pool security breaches. For example, you can buy many varieties of temporary fencing designed to make it harder for small animals and children from falling into an in-ground pool. Other devices detect changes in the water itself to create alerts if someone jumps or falls into your pool. These sensors can float on the water of your pool or be installed underwater, depending on the model. Finally, using high-quality pool covers and pool nets can help prevent accidents as well. Beefing up your pool security will go a long way towards increasing your overall Independence Day Security this year.
Putting Independence Day Security Measures in Place
We hope that this post has given you some ideas for addressing any Independence Day security issues you may have. Additionally, we encourage you to contact us with any potential questions regarding the material in this post. Around this time of year, we have many customers take advantage of our free site survey program to create a security plan. The summertime, and 4th of July in particular, require careful security planning. Therefore, we offer free site surveys to both new and existing customers alike. Maybe you have some security measures in place but want to get some seasonal updating completed. Or, maybe you have very little security in place and want to build from the ground up. Either way, we will be happy to help. Together, we can come up with a holiday security plan to keep you and your family as safe and secure as possible!
All photos used under the CC0 Creative Commons License.