Make home safety a priority this holiday


The December holidays is a time to rest and recharge after a busy year. Fidelity ADT, one of South Africa’s largest armed response companies says it is important not to neglect personal safety during this period, especially as it is also a busy time of year for opportunistic criminals.

Charnel Hattingh, Fidelity ADT National Marketing and Communications Manager says that we all deserve the time to relax with our friends and families.

‘If we remember a few basic safety measures, we can make a big difference towards enjoying this time of year in safety,’ she says.

The first and most important step to take, she says, is to regularly test your alarm, to ensure that it is in good working order. It is also a good idea to let your security company know what your holiday plans are, and how best to get in touch with you in the event of an emergency.

Security tips for holiday makers to make sure their residential property is protected and safe:

  • Cut back any bushes or trees that may offer easy access over walls or gates to your property, or provide places for criminals to hide.
  • Inform your neighbours and Neighbourhood Watch of your holiday plans so that they can keep an eye on your property.
  • If hiring a house-sitter, ensure that you teach them how to use your alarm correctly or ask a neighbour or a friend to turn on lights occasionally so that there is a sense that someone is around. If this is not possible, consider putting some of your lights on a timer.
  • Double check that you have locked and secured all windows and doors before leaving home.
  • Be careful and discreet about packing for a long journey and to not give any indication that your home might be unattended for an extended period of time.

Here are a few tips for children staying home while mam and dad have to work:

  • Keep doors locked and don’t let anybody in through the gate without checking with their parents.
  • If there is an alarm system, teach them how to activate and de-activate it and how and when to use panic buttons.
  • Show them where the list of emergency contacts is – including the 10111 number as well as a nearby neighbour – and explain when and how to use it.
  • If your children have access to the internet and social media while alone at home, make sure that they keep privacy settings as high as possible.

Here are tips for staying safe during outings:

  • If they are heading to malls or restaurants, they need to look after their belongings and to look out for each other.
  • They also need to be clear on the transport arrangements and never go anywhere with a stranger. Tell them to find a security guard in the mall if they are scared or unsure of what to do.
  • If you get separated from your parents or guardians in the shops or mall, go to the nearest sales person or uniformed security officer and ask for help.
  • Always walk or play with at least one other person.
  • Always walk along streets you know.
  • Never take shortcuts through bushes or empty areas.