Back to House and Home

The first 90 days: safety first

As part of our First 90 Days series, we are now going to focus on safety.

This refers to ensuring anything that’s at risk or vulnerable is kept out of harm’s way, whether it’s you, your family, or the house itself. This list details the vulnerabilities that you can and should address as quickly as possible after you move in.

Locksmith

The keys you have for your house were passed on to you by the previous owner. Much like what you are likely to do, they will have had keys duplicated and handed out to those they wanted. This means there are potentially several keys to your house that are not on your person. It isn’t something to panic about, of course, since the odds of anyone using their spare key to break into your house are very small, but as long as the possibility exists, it means that you might not feel entirely comfortable. Feeling safe in your own home is crucial for a happy household, so it’s worth having the locks changed, just in case.

Fire safety

It only takes one minute before it’s too late to escape a fire in your home. That’s a scary thought, so make sure you have as many smoke alarms around the properly as you need. The early warning offered by these life-savers give you the time you need to escape. Having a smoke alarm in your house means you are twice as likely to survive a fire.

There are several types of alarm available. These include:

  • Ionisation – sensitive to small particles of smoke produced by flaming fires like paper or wood. Less sensitive to smouldering fire.
  • Optical – slightly less sensitive to small particles of smoke – which means they can be used closer to (but not within) kitchens without burnt toast setting them off – but more sensitive to large particle smoke. This means they are excellent at detecting smouldering fires.
  • Heat alarms – rather than detecting smoke, these alarms detect increases in temperature. This makes them perfect for kitchens, however, they only cover the immediate vicinity, so you may need several if you live on a large property.

The alarm you choose depends on the room: kitchens and garages are best suited to heat alarms; bedrooms, living rooms, and hallways are best suited to optical smoke alarms; and landings are best suited to ionisation alarms. It’s also possible to get alarms that combine optical and heat alarms, or alarms that include a light to point in the direction of the nearest escape.

 

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

As a colourless, tasteless, and odourless gas, carbon monoxide (CO) is a dangerous poison. Without an alarm to detect carbon monoxide, you could be at risk. It is particularly dangerous while you sleep because, due to the difficulty in detecting it, you are unlikely to wake up until it’s too late. It’s strongly recommended that you have a carbon monoxide detector installed in the house and that you check it regularly so that you know it’s loud enough to wake you up.

You might not realise there is carbon monoxide leaking into your property. The symptoms are often confused with other ailments, such as food poisoning or even tiredness. They include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Collapse
  • Tiredness
  • Pains in chest
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Erratic behaviour
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Stomach pains
  • Visual problems

If you feel some of these symptoms, contact a doctor or GP immediately and ask for a blood or breath test to determine if there is indeed CO in your system. You must do this immediately because CO leaves your bloodstream quickly, within four hours.

There are also alarms available that detect both smoke and carbon monoxide, which can offer increased safety at better value.

 

Babyproofing

Babies are at particular risk because they are yet to learn elements of common sense and basic safety. Any plug sockets should have covers and you need to take special care to ensure there is nothing sharp or any low corners that could cause injury. You also need to make sure that there is nothing to grab onto or climb up that could fall over or spill its contents over the child, such as a bookshelf. If your home is more than one floor, what measurements have you put in place to ensure your baby can’t fall down the stairs?

Young children can also be at risk when around water, even if there is a small amount. Make sure there are no buckets or coolers of water that you’ve forgotten about, and keep toilet seats down. If you have a pool, take extra care that it is fenced off and have a locked pool cover. Ponds are a popular garden ornament in Britian, too, but they are also dangerous when young children are around. If you can, build a fence around it or cover it with a wire mesh. Otherwise, you might need to think about getting rid of it. Remember: safety first!

We wrote a much more thorough babyproofing article on our House and Home blog already, with many more great tips to keep your children safe. Take a look at the article by clicking on this link.

 

Meet the neighbours

Communities are stronger when they are looking out for each other, and neighbours can be a handy first line of defence. Introduce yourself and share contact information so you can all look out for each others’ property while one of it you is away. If everyone knows who you are and when you are out of the house, then they will be able to identify unwelcome visitors more easily. If they spot something suspicious, they can give you a call or contact the police.

You could even invite a neighbour to attempt a mock robbery by letting them try to find an insecure point of ingress, identify any valuables on display, or if it’s easy to see into your home. Just remember that if they are doing this for you, you have to do it for them too!

 

Insurance

Protect yourself, your home, and your loved ones with insurance. It’s peace of mind that will make a real difference. No one knows what could happen in the future and it’s wise to be prepared so you and your family are covered for every eventuality. Coreco offers several types of insurance:

  • Home insurance – also known as ‘buildings insurance’, this covers damage to the actual structure of your home, including the roof, walls, floors, ceilings, and foundations. You can claim the cost of repairing your home if it is damaged or the cost of rebuilding it if it is destroyed.
  • Protection – this refers to personal protection and the protection of your loved ones by giving payouts when you really need it. These payouts are usually tax-free. The different types of protection include:
    • Income Protection – providing regular income in the event of injury or sickness.
    • Critical illness cover – in the event of critical illness – such as cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Paralysis, or HIV/AIDS as a result of a blood transfusion – this cover pays out a lump sum that can be used to pay off your mortgage, debts, or medical assistance. Alternatively, you can use it for something special for you! How you use the payout is entirely up to you.
    • Life insurance – if a person dies during the term of their policy, a payout is given – usually to the dependents – to help with mortgage bills or provide an income.

If you’d like to know more about the protection Coreco can offer, go to our Insurance Page to find out more.

 

Those are the essential safety measures we recommend you take right away. It’s peace of mind that you shouldn’t wait too long to sort out. If you want more tips for the first 90 days in a new property, check out our House and Home blog section to find out more!