You may love your new condominium, but you’ll feel safer living in it when you complete a few home security measures. Before you totally settle in, take time to examine a checklist of condo safety best practices. Here are the top picks for achieving peace of mind in your condominium:
1. Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 400 people die in the U.S. every year as a result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. This odorless and colorless gas is a byproduct of an incomplete combustion equation. Your fireplace, stove and furnace may produce the chemical.
Unfortunately, many families experience carbon monoxide poisoning without realizing it, as the symptoms are very similar to those experienced during other illnesses. If you’ve been exposed to the gas in your condo, you may feel dizzy, weak or nauseous, and experience a headache, vomiting, confusion or chest pains. The moment you notice any symptoms, open the windows. Better yet, prevent poisoning by installing a carbon monoxide detector in your condominium. This device will alert you to the presence of the chemical so you and your family can leave immediately and call firefighters.
2. Test Your Smoke Alarms Regularly
Many condos come with smoke detectors already installed. If yours does not have the device, be sure to purchase a few. You should have a smoke detector outside of sleeping areas and in living spaces. Homes must have them on each floor. Create a schedule of checking the batteries on the device and stick to it! For example, you may find that testing the detector when you change your clocks for daylight savings is a good way to remember.
3. Install a Home Security System
It may be called “home security,” but this system will work just as well in your condo. The alarm system lets you install cameras, motion sensors and glass-break sensors throughout the area that detect any unexpected movement. Should a burglar try to break in, the alarm will sound. Even if your condo is on a higher floor, you should still consider home security – burglars can enter through second-story windows.
4. Change Your Locks
When you move into your new condo, call a locksmith and have them change your locks. While the previous owners may have handed you a set of keys, they could still have a backup set. You want to be the only one with keys to your condo. Though the old owners probably won’t try to break in, you can never be too careful – they may even lose their set of keys, which a burglar might then use!
5. Light the Exterior
Burglars are less likely to target well-lit areas, so good outdoor lighting is crucial to condo security. If you live in a building with multiple units, the landlord should have installed lighting near the building’s front door. If not, pester them until they take care of it. The hallways of your high-rise condo building should also be well lit. You want to be able to see clearly when you pull out your keys or peek out of the peep hole.
6. Know Your Neighbors
Even if your building has security guards, knowing your neighbors could be a great safety measure. Knock on a few doors and introduce yourself, then consider starting a condo watch program (like a neighborhood watch). Get to know everyone’s names and schedules so you can look out for their condo while they’re gone.
7. Prepare for Disasters
Natural disasters can strike at any time, and you might be in more danger living in a condo. For instance, what would you do in the event of a tornado if you live on the fifth floor? Plan your escape routes and emergency preparedness options with your family before disaster strikes.
Flickr creative commons Photo credit: Keoni Caral