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5 New Home Safety Upgrades that Could Save Your Life

A utility provider checking on outdoor cameras to ensure home safety.
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Whether you’re in the midst of moving or have just settled into a new home, you’re probably too busy swimming in unpacked boxes and paint color swatches to focus on what really matters. You probably haven’t had a chance to think about home safety.

Trust us, we’re not judging. We’re ready to help you find peace of mind. Here are five tips to help mark you and your home as safe:

1. It’s not Smoke and Mirrors — It’s Safety

First things first: Ensure your smoke alarm is working. Don’t assume it’s automatically on duty because somebody was just living in your home.

Smoke alarms can save lives. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Keyword: working.

Contrarily, they report that three in every five home fire deaths result from fires in homes with either no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Takeaway: A dead smoke alarm is as good as no smoke alarm. To ensure your alarm is properly working, check its batteries once a month.

Alarm reaching the 10-year mark? It’s time for a new one. To assess the age of your smoke alarm, locate the date it was manufactured on the inside. This is the date to note — not the date the alarm was purchased or installed.

If you’re moving into a newer home, chances are your smoke alarms are interconnected: Ff one goes off, all go off, and you’ll hear it wherever you are at home. Moving into an older home? Upgrade the alarms to interconnect. While you’re at it, put your fire extinguisher in a prominent place.

2. No Cause for Alarm — Unless you Forget This One

Less on most people’s radar is the carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. This detector alerts homeowners if unsafe levels of CO are present. Because CO is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, it’s commonly referred to as the “silent killer.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports approximately 50,000 people visit the ER each year due to accidental CO poisoning, and of those, at least 430 die from it.

A CO alarm installation will do the trick, requiring a replacement every five to seven years. Many smoke alarms include CO detectors, so if you’re in the market, opt for a two-in-one.

In the name of all things CO-related, also keep this in mind: Don’t sit for too long in your car while it’s running in the garage (especially with the garage door closed). Though it’s easy to get sidetracked while parked and on the phone, this is another way that CO can creep up on you.

3. Feeling Exposed? These’ll Have you Covered

Whether you have a fence or not, creating a plant barrier can up your privacy factor and add lushness.

However, you’ll want to garden strategically so you’re deterring intruders instead of inviting them to hide within your home’s perimeter. The best plants for discouraging break-ins? Hardy (tough to infiltrate), sharp (risking cuts that leave behind DNA), and noisy (igniting fear of witnesses).

There’s a safety cut-off when it comes to height: Hedges and bushes should be three feet or less. They’ll give you privacy without decreasing visibility so much that it creates a prowler launch pad.

4. Surprise Those Going Through the Motions

Another way to frighten trespassers is with outdoor motion lighting. This type of lighting is triggered by motion, so you’ll have tabs on movement outside your home.

Though there are several types of motion detection, the most common residential sensor is passive infrared. It triggers lighting when it detects infrared (heat) waves from warm moving objects. Line your driveway, front/back doors, and other necessary areas with motion sensors so that you’ll not only prevent intruders but have well-lit paths when you arrive home at night.

5. Activate an Additional Security Blanket

Even with the other items at play, a security system is a fail-safe in the event something does happen. You can find a system to match your budget and there are four different options you can choose from to fit your home’s needs: monitored, unmonitored, wireless, and electric. There are pros and cons to each, but what they have in common is clear: You’re better off with a security system than without one.

Want more tips on how to up security at your new home? Read MYMOVE’s home security guide.

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