Home safety and security

Keep your home safe for those who live in it and keep out those who you do not want!

If there are small children around, you must ensure that medicines and cleaning materials are locked away. Alcohol can also be very damaging to young children.

Be careful of heat. Obviously, open fires and gas fires should have fire guards, but children can also burn themselves on oven doors and hot radiators.

Kitchens can be particularly hazardous. Shorten flexes on appliances so that they can’t dangle. Do not allow pan handles to protrude – turn them around so that you cannot knock them accidentally and children cannot reach them. Stairs can be dangerous to anyone - make sure stair carpets are fixed securely and remove worn carpet before it becomes a hazard.

Turn off appropriate appliances before going to bed.

If you smoke, use ashtrays, extinguish cigarettes properly and make sure there are no hot embers left before you empty the ashtray.

Windows

Pay attention to windows. You do not want them to open too easily for a thief or for a child. But if there were a fire, you may need to use a window as your escape route. If there are keys to window locks, lock them – but make sure the keys are close enough to be easily found in an emergency, without being too convenient to a potential thief. You also need to be aware of the danger of someone falling out of a window.

Locks and doors

Make sure doors have suitable locks and hinges. Make it hard to get into your property and ensure that main entry points are well lit. Lock garages and sheds – don’t make it easy for potential burglars to find tools on the property.

Make sure that you can get out easily without a key in an emergency. Chains should only be put on when you are opening a door to check the identity of a caller.

Labelling

If you do have the misfortune to be burgled, you can increase your chances of recovering goods if you keep a note of serial numbers. You can also get pens that invisibly mark your possessions - a good tip is to put your post code on them.

Personal information

Be careful what you throw away. Bank statements, credit card statements, receipts and invoices all contain a great deal of information – including recent purchases. Consider buying a shredder.

Burglar alarms

These are a real deterrent to burglars. However, in order to ensure that you are really protecting yourself and your home, use a reputable installer. You don’t want to give an open invitation to anyone to find out what you’ve got. The BSIA (British Security Industry Association) can advise you about members.

Further advice

The Crime Protection officers in Sussex Police will be happy to advise you on security. You might also like to contact your home insurance company.

Never use the emergency numbers if you want advice.

For information about crime prevention visit the Sussex Police  website or call them on 01273 470101.

For help with fire safety visit the  East Sussex Fire & Rescue  website or call them on 0303 999 1000.

For general home safety advice visit the ROSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) webpages.