Residents are advised to check security systems and make sure everything is in working order, following the recent floods and heavy rains in Gauteng.
“It is often not the emergency itself that causes the most damage but rather the absence of any real plan to deal with it,” says security expert Theunis Kotze.
His advice is for home owners to carry out a thorough check of any potential risks and to ensure adequate measures are in place to deal with these emergencies, as far as is reasonably possible. Testing your alarm system – including any fire alarm or other alert mechanisms – must form part of this process.
“Start with the contact details for your local emergency or disaster management services. Does everyone in your house know who to call for example if your home is flooded, and do they know the best escape route to quickly get to safety if needed,” asks Kotze.
Kotze also warns residents if they have been affected by the recent floods to be cautious when allowing workmen access into their property.
“If you are expecting a delivery or workmen at your home, contact the companies before-hand to find out what time you can expect them, how many of their staff will be coming and who the supervisor is that will accompany them.”
He suggested that when the workmen do arrive, ask for the supervisor and if there is any doubt that they are not who they say they are, contact the employer again.
“If unfamiliar individuals are going to work inside your home, be sure to lock away any valuables that are small enough to fit into a pocket or backpack, or that would not be easily missed if they were to disappear. The same goes for car and house keys.
“If you have guard dogs, don’t lock them away while workmen are on your premises. Have a family member keep them aside when the contractors are moving in and out of your home, but let the workmen be aware that they are there.”
Homeowners are urged to test their alarm systems and other hardware – such as panic buttons and infra-red detectors which may have been affected or damaged.
“This test is of the utmost importance. If the system is not functioning properly it may mean the alarm activation signal may not reach the security company who will not know that there is an emergency and that assistance is needed. It can be done together with your security service provider. If anything out of the ordinary is noted, a technician can be dispatched to address the problem.”
“In the event of a flood or large volumes of water in your home, you should unplug your alarm system immediately in order to avoid a short circuit and also prevent the transformer and power packs from blowing up, or your control panel from being burnt out.”