Home Safety Tips for When You are Away

5 ways to protect your home while you're gone

If you are heading out on the road for a long weekend, use these home safety tips to help protect your home.

1. Spread the word, but not on social media: Tell your friends and neighbors you will be away. Tell them who should or should not be at your home during that time. Ask them to check in occasionally. However, it's best not to advertise your whereabouts on social media, as you never know who will see your status update. Wait to share good times and photos after you return.

2. Lock up: Be sure to lock what can be locked while you're away, including both doors and windows. If there's a door to your house inside an attached garage, don't for get to lock that one, too! Reinforce sliding doors with metal rods, and remove spare keys that may be hidden outside. Instead, provide one spare key to a trusted neighbor. As an additional measure of safety, consider investing in an alarm system if you don't already have one.

3. Put it on hold: Have your mail and newspapers held while you are gone, or ask a reliable neighbor or friend to collect those items daily.

4. Turn them on: An outdoor lighting system is a good way to keep the periphery of your house lit – a feature that may keep would-be burglars away. Or, save money on installation and electricity by installing motion-sensor lights near entrances. Televisions, lights or radios triggered by a timer may also give the illusion there's someone at home.

5. Safeguard your valuables: Don't leave money, important documents or family valuables out in the open. Put them away. Or, better yet, lock them in a safe while you're gone. And, take photos of your possessions before you leave so you have an accurate inventory.

Taking a few steps before you travel may help safeguard your home from the unexpected.