Being safe and secure in and around your home is a lifestyle.

 

Everyone makes choices-sometimes several- that significantly affect the safety and security of their families and their homes. Some of the decisions that don't seem like choices at the time are actually negative choices- choosing not to lock the door or close the windows when you go to the store, for example, or not buying a fire extinguisher. You can fail to perform such actions many times with no serious repercussions. It's the one time something happens to you, a family member, or a close friend that can make you regret your choice. You have to make conscious decisions to keep accidents or theft from affecting you directly.

A safe and secure lifestyle doesn't require overwhelming changes. It is, for the most part, a matter of awareness and common sense. Besides, it's easy to incorporate many of the changes into your daily routine. It may take you a while to review everything, but the old saying "better safe than sorry," is a reminder that it's time well spent.

Children in a single-parent and two-income families are often home alone in the hours after school. Protect your children by teaching them these safety and security ABC's.

  • Make sure they know their full names, address (including city and state), and phone numbers (with area code).
  • Be sure they know how to call 911 in emergencies.
  • Explain how to give directions to your home in an emergency.
  • Tell them never to accept rides or gifts from someone they and you don't know well. Children should stay at least 8 feet away form a stranger in a car who stops to ask for directions or anything else.
  • Teach older kids how to use your home's door and window locks- and the alarm system if you have one.
  • If no one will be home when your children get there, have them check in with you or a neighbor as soon as they arrive home. Post numbers by each telephone.
  • Provide them with a house key that they can put in a safe place, such as inside a pocket or sock. Don't leave a key under the mat or hang it in plain view.
  • Insist that they never let anyone into your home, including other kids, without your permission.
  • Tell them to never let a caller at the door or on the phone know that they're alone. Tell them to say "Mom can't come to the phone (or door) right now."
  • Set a good example with your own actions-lock the doors and windows and find out who's at the door before opening it.
  • Make sure they know how to escape incase of a fire or another emergency.
  • Explain that they should not go in the house or apartment without you if things don't look right- if the door is open or a screen is ripped.
  • Listen carefully to your children's fears, and their feelings about people or places that scare them or make them feel uneasy. Tell them to trust their instincts.