EDITOR’S NOTE: The North Lincoln Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) works to help the community be prepared for disasters and various emergencies. One concern often heard is how overwhelming it seems to take all the steps needed to be prepared for a disaster. To address that issue North Lincoln CERT has embarked on a 52-Week Personal Preparedness Challenge.
When we teach our basic CERT class we emphasize a couple of basic tenets: The first is Safety; personal safety is always the first priority because we are no good to anyone if we become victims ourselves. The second is our Mission: To do the greatest good for the greatest number, which begins with the third tenet, Start at Home. We teach our team members to start with their own care and safety and that of their household; only after they are taken care of do we move to our neighbors and ultimately our community.
This week’s personal preparedness challenge, therefore, is about basic home security and how to take steps to make your home safe for everyone in it.
When thinking of home defense, think in multiple security layers. Security layers are relatively simple preventive measures to protect your home, family, and belongings that communicate to potential intruders that your home should probably be avoided. The more layers you have, the less likely a criminal is to choose your home.
Layer One is the outside of your home, the perimeter, including landscaping, lighting, doors, gates, and visible security features. Walk around your home and look for vulnerable areas. Are their places that are hidden from view, dark corners or access points where an intruder could either hide or gain access out of view? Are there planters or heavy deck or lawn furniture that could be used to break windows? Is there a ladder leaning up against the house that could potentially give access to an unlocked upstairs window or patio? Take a look at your landscaping; are their bushes or tall shrubs near doors and windows where someone could hide? Walk around at night as well and notice shadows and inadequate lighting.
Install motion sensor lighting around entry ways and areas that are generally out of view. Trimming shrubbery near doors and windows, improving lighting, and planting thorn bearing plants and bushes around vulnerable areas will immediately improve the first layer of security.
Layer Two is inside your home. Know the security strengths and weaknesses of your home and take small preventive measures. Make sure you have steel or solid core wood exterior doors and sturdy dead bolts. Screw the strike plates into the framing with long screws, not just the short ones that screw into the jam. This will make kicking in a door much more difficult. Cut lengths of dowel and slide them into the tracks of sliding glass doors and windows. Consider an alarm system if you don’t currently have one; there are some on the market that are wireless and require no costly installation or monitoring. You can also use webcams or even an electronic device with the camera directed toward entry points.
Consider ways to make entry more difficult and, should an intruder come in, how you can keep as much distance and as many obstacles as possible between you and them. Teach your family what a home invasion is and what to do: Is there a secure room to run to? How can they get out of the house quickly and safely?
The third layer of security is personal safety, which we will cover next week.
If you would like to know more about Community Emergency Response Teams or have a representative come talk to your neighborhood group, church or business, please contact North Lincoln County CERT Public Information Officer JoDana Bright at 541-994-2700 or email@example.com.