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Tips for maintaining a safe home -- including buying a safe

By Lou Manfredini August 31, 2011

As summer is winding down, it’s time to start preparing for the fall and winter. One aspect you should focus on is how safe your home is. Small steps can pay big dividends. Here are some suggestions.

Have the right detectors in your home: We all know we should have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in our homes. What you may not know is that those units should be cleaned with a vacuum every month and replaced every 6-7 years. You should have one unit on every floor of living space in your home. And you should install an explosive-gas detector in the space where your mechanical systems live.

Door locks: Seems simple, but these can be easily opened using a trick called bumping where a special key and a well-placed bump can unlock a door. Look for door locks that have “anti-bump pins” to take away this threat. Consider upgrading to electronic keypad locks to remove the need for keys all together. It’s a great addition if you have children who must come home on their own and are prone to losing their keys. (Oh, wait, those are our kids.)

Security system and security cameras: If you have a security system, start using it. There is a statistic that says less than 50 percent of homes with systems get use those systems on a regular basis. Make sure doors have contacts and that windows are either contacted or there are motion sensors that can see movement. As far as cameras, go you can purchase Internet cameras that work off of your wireless network and allow you to see who is coming and going from your computer or even your smartphone. Those systems start at around $300.

Finally, a safe: You do not need to own the Pink Panther diamond to be in need of a safe in your home. A fire-proof and water-proof safe is a wise investment to hold important documents, passports, extra cash and, yes, jewelry. Just make sure it’s heavy enough and you have it bolted to the floor.