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Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

Tips for making your home safer

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Although National Safety Month is still a few weeks away, you can start thinking about ways to make your home more secure.

Not only can a safer house make you and your family feel more at ease, it can also be beneficial for lowering your homeowners insurance premiums. Indeed, the benefits of improved home safety are far reaching, and ensuring your property is not a threat to your family can be as easy as having a thorough house inspection or making a few upgrades.

Here are some tips for making your home safer:

Electrical threats
While electricity is necessary for your property, it can also be dangerous. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, from 2009 to 2011, an estimated 25,900 residential building electrical fires were reported to fire departments across the country, leading to 1,125 injuries, 280 deaths and $1.1 billion in property loss. In fact, the total dollar loss per fire for residential building electrical fires exceeded that of residential building nonelectrical fires.

Be sure that your appliances are not plugged in near bathrooms or sinks and that you're using devices designed for your sockets. For those outlets that are near wet areas, install ground fault circuit interrupters. Ensure that all surge protectors are in good repair and being used appropriately - don't overload these devices. If you have children, make certain that they do not stick objects into the sockets and consider outlet covers.

If you're having electrical issues in your home, contact a professional to address the issue unless you are qualified for electrical system maintenance. When repairing your home's electrical system, don't forget to shut off the power completely to avoid the risk of shock. Also, consider a comprehensive home inspection for an older property, as many have electrical issues that can cause fires.

Fire risks
Many Americans lose their homes and lives to fires. Check your smoke alarms regularly to ensure they are functioning and replace the batteries when needed. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire deaths between 2007 and 2011 resulted from properties lacking functional smoke alarms.

Keep a fire extinguisher in your home in case of a fire caused by burning cooking oil, which cannot be dispelled with water. You can also consider installing a sprinkler system and security system that automatically notifies your local fire department in case of a fire.

Burglary dangers
According to the FBI , 23.8 percent of total property crimes committed in 2010 were accounted for by burglaries. Thankfully, addressing the risk of a home invasion can be as simple as making a few home improvements.

Secure all of your entryway doors with a deadbolt lock that is at least 1 inch thick. Additionally, have adequate lighting above all your entryways. Many homeowners install exterior fixtures that track motion, lowering the chance that a burglar can approach unnoticed and enter the home behind the resident. Security systems are also effective for keeping unwanted visitors at bay. They can alert you when a burglar tries to enter through your doors and windows, include motion and glass-break sensors and notify the police automatically when a break in does occur.

If you're planning to spend some time away from home, make sure your property looks occupied. This can be accomplished by having a family member or friend collect your newspapers and mail as well as handle your yard work, keeping your blinds and curtains closed and using timers and light sensor switches to turn your lights on automatically at night.