Spring clean your way to fire safety

Spring is most definitely in the air and with the arrival of the warmer weather, many of us have a blast of motivation to spring clean our home. But it’s not merely an opportunity to spruce up your property, a good clear out can also reduce your risk of household fire.

Spring cleaningWhilst the majority of us will not consider ourselves ‘hoarders’, it’s normal to have accumulated items over the years which we have stuffed into a corner and ignored…  and it’s these forgotten things which could potentially be a huge fire hazard.

Follow our quick spring clean fire safety guide to make sure you’re minimising your chances of a serious incident.

Declutter

A box of items here, an unwanted stack of papers there – it’s things such as this which carry the risk of catching light, especially if you place them near heaters, candles or a fireplace. Time to have a good sort out, and remember those darker hiding spots such as under the bed!

Electrical

Check the inside and outside of your home to make sure you’re not overloading sockets or powerpoints. Keep your eyes open for any exposed, broken or frayed wiring, and make sure your electrical points aren’t surrounded with paper or other highly flammable material. Take a look at our socket overload calculator to get an idea of how much you can plug in at any time.

Safety devices

It’s a great time to check that your smoke detectors are working sufficiently and change any batteries that might need replacing. Remember, your detectors need to be fully replaced after 10 years (7 years for carbon monoxide detectors). Ideally, you should have one smoke detector per floor of your property, placed in the hallway or landing.

Household appliances

Lately the news has been full of horror stories concerning faulty white goods catching fire in the home. Now is the ideal opportunity to do a general appliance check-up and see if any of your items have had a recall due to faults or hazards. Simply enter your items make and model into our online product checker.

It’s also a good time to indulge in some tumble drier maintenance by taking out the filter, removing any lint build-up and giving it a good clean.

Storing chemicals

Whether it’s for use inside or outside, it’s a good idea to check any bottles or tubs containing household chemicals and cleaning fluids are sturdy and in good nick. Wipe items down and remove any drips to ensure that there is nothing which could ignite unexpectedly.

Emergency plan

If you don’t have a planned escape route, should the worst happen, it’s time to get one sorted! Maybe you could nominate someone in your household to be an ‘escape champ’ and take on this important job? Role-playing your way through your intended route will ensure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a house fire or accident. Things to consider include keeping stairways clear, knowing where the door keys are kept at night, and having torches handy to light the way if needs be.

Smart security on the rise new figures show

New figures have revealed that UK homeowners are increasingly turning to smart security using the latest technology to secure their properties.

A recent survey by LaptopsDirect.co.uk of 2,001 British adults showed that 31% are using smart security, with 41% saying that they are me concerned than ever before about their home security.

CCTV topped the list of most popular security technology with 52% having installed this system to the outside of their properties.

Of the people surveyed, 35% had a video doorbell to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, whilst 33% had a smart alarm installed to provide peace of mind. Just 17% had window and door sensors to detect when a potential intruder tries to break-in.

The reason for this uptick in smart technology is due to both crime being on the increase and the price of alarm systems becoming more accessible, as 38% agreed that price had previously been an issue for them.

Investing in a monitored security alarm, such as the Smart Home Protection system, can be an invaluable asset to protect your home and your family. The system is designed to provide protection against virtually any emergency that can occur in the home. It comes with a state-of-the-art intruder alarm, a fire alarm and a panic/medical button, all of which are monitored 24/7 and connect straight through an alarm receiving centre, so help is always at hand.

Three-bed semis most at risk of burglary

With more than 470 break-ins a day across the UK, new research has revealed the homes most at risk of a break-in and burglary, with three-bedroom semi-detached properties topping the list.

Semi detached houses

Semi-detached three-beds carry the highest burglary risk.

 

Accounting for 46% of domestic break-ins, three-bed semis are officially the most desirable targets for thieves, with four-bedroom detached residences featuring in second place.

These figures, from Churchill Home Insurance, also claim that people living in ground floor flats are more likely to be burgled than those who reside on higher floors, with 65% of all flat break-ins taking place on bottom level apartments.

A survey taken among burglars showed that they prefer to target end-of-terrace properties, rather than those in the middle, and that they also favoured homes with quick exit routes, such as those next to an alley.

Source: Which?

Crime increases as clocks go forward

Police forces across the country are urging homeowners to be more vigilant now that the clocks have gone forward and we enter British Summer Time.burglar breaking into shed

The lighter evenings and warmer weather are often seen as perfect conditions for opportunist burglars as lots of people let their guard down when it comes to protecting their homes.

Stuart Grimsey, Chief Inspector of Suffolk Constabulary, said: “Most thefts from homes and vehicles  are carried out by opportunist thieves who look out for lapses in security – such as doors and windows left open or property left on display in vehicles, especially in areas popular with tourists to our county.

“People are advised to make use of simple crime prevention methods which deprive thieves of the opportunity to steal.”

It’s not just our homes that need protecting, burglaries of garages and outbuildings have seen a sharp rise in the last few years. Rural crime, in particular, is rising at an alarming rate, leaving those living the country life in a vulnerable position.

Tips to secure your property

There are several things you can do to ensure that your property is as secure as can be against criminals.

Windows
– Always lock your windows when you leave the house.
– Remove the keys and keep them in a safe place. However, everyone should know where the keys are kept so they can escape in an emergency.

Doors
– Keep your front and back doors locked or in view when you are at home.
– Use or consider fitting a door chain and spy hole – a chain allows you to speak to the caller without opening the door fully and the spy hole also you to see who is at the door.
– Fit five lever mortise locks to all external doors.
– Check your cylinder locks on patio/plastic doors and ensure they are snap and bump resistant – a local Master Locksmith can advise if you are not sure.

Keys
– Never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place such as under the doormat, burglars know all the usual hiding places.
– Never leave your house or car keys in or near a door or window.

To be ultra-secure, why not consider installing a monitored burglar alarm system? Designed to protect you against intruders, fire and also panic or medical emergencies, the Smart Home Protection system connects your property to a central monitoring station, so help is always at hand, no matter what time of day or night.

Burglary awareness campaign launched by Cambs police

Cambridgeshire Police Force is launching a new county-wide campaign to address the rising number of burglaries in the area.

The campaign, called Operation Aware, plans to target offenders and raise awareness for residents and will see extra activities taking place throughout Cambridgeshire on top of normal policing. These activities include warrants carried out to arrest suspects as well as “we’re watching you” visits made to others suspected of being involved in burglaries.

Visits will be made to residents in areas most affected by burglary to encourage homeowners to register and mark property, with officers also working alongside partners to promote awareness of crime reduction tactics and prevent handling of stolen goods.

In Cambridge and surrounding areas, burglary has increased by 34 per cent in the past year, with 2,869 household burglaries taking place compared to 2,142 for the same period the previous year.

Police officer in high-vis

Ian Simmons, Detective Chief Inspector, commented: “Burglary has been a force priority for some time but Operation Aware and the day of action are about ensuring we are doing everything we can to catch those responsible for offences in Cambridgeshire and making it as hard as possible for those at large.

“Burglaries are not just about the things stolen but the devastating impact that someone invading your home can have. It is something that leaves victims feeling very vulnerable over a protracted period of time.

“We are committed to protecting people from this distress and every burglar we can take off the streets reduces the risk of there being further victims.”

DCI Simmons added that detectives also needed the public’s help and urged residents to take “one more step” to make their homes more burglar-proof.

He said: “I would encourage householders to take a look at the crime prevention advice on our force website and just take that one extra step towards protecting their home and property.

“It could be locking doors and windows at all times, particularly as spring approaches, or downloading tracking software on tablets and phones.

“I would also recommend the www.securedbydesign.com website and to consider investing in a monitored alarm system or CCTV to act as a deterrent.”

“If your property has a garage, please store your vehicle securely in it, especially if it is of high value and high performance.

“It is important to remain vigilant, but householders should not be alarmed – the risk of being burgled in Cambridgeshire remains low and with a few sensible precautions residents can do a significant amount to lessen that risk still further.”

Police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “Operation Aware is a great opportunity to remind people of steps they can take to keep their properties safe and I am delighted to support this initiative.

“I understand just how distressing household burglary can be for victims; not just when the crime takes place, but afterwards when long term affects can be felt. I want to reassure people that burglary remains a force priority with everything possible being done to target offenders.”

Criminal gangs blamed for burglary increase

Organised criminal gangs are fuelling the increase in burglary it has been revealed, with offences almost doubling last year in some of the worst hit areas of the UK.

criminal gangs

Police have seen evidence that menacing gangs of thieves are spending weeks ransacking an area, before moving onto a new location.

An analysis of official figures reveals that some of the nation’s wealthiest areas have been hardest hit by the rise in offences.

The lead officer for addressing burglary at the Metropolitan Police, Supt Sean Wilson, said the days of the ‘opportunist’ burglar were disappearing. He said organised gangs were ‘far more sophisticated’ and are even using social media to find victims and mobile phones to co-ordinate their crimes.

A breakdown reveals some of the hardest hit areas include some of the wealthiest towns, suburbs and villages. Among them are Durham, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, South Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire where thousands of extra offences took place. In recent weeks police have also warned of burglary spates in Portsmouth, Newquay, Batley in West Yorkshire, Chester, Winchester and south Wales.

Top ten police force crime increase
Source: Daily Mail