It’s hard to keep up with technology that aims to improve your home-life, and with the recent Amazon Echo release, more people are welcoming multi-functional devices into their shared homes to make life a little easier.
Technological advancements are creating ‘active’ products – triggered by touch, voice or programmed timer. From dimming the lights to playing your favourite artist on Spotify, or switching the heating on to boiling the kettle, our whims have never been so catered for.
Active devices do require power though – plugged into the mains, battery operated or rechargeable through USB – and without power, we flashback 30 years to candles and board-games for entertainment.
Have you ever thought about what happens behind the scenes of a home you may be renting or sharing? Should there be a power-cut whilst you’re at work or on holiday, what’s keeping your possessions safe?
Locks are great deterrents to intruders, and most front-doors have two locks on them – but how many people use both? The problem with traditional night latches is that throughout the year, as wooden doors swell and contract to environmental and seasonal elements, the latch can often not fully catch. How many times have you flicked the latch, closed the door, pushed it open again and had to slam it harder for it to properly lock? A tip – your neighbours and passers-by will also hear this and know that the front door stands an outside chance of being accidentally left unlocked.
Gone are the days when you could leave keys under a mat or flowerpot, too. Should you be going away for a period and the house would be empty, leave a key with a neighbour or family member, who can come and turn on the lights, open and close the curtains, and even put the TV on – so that it randomises activity.
It is also possible, if you leave a laptop connected to a speaker system, to remotely play music through it on Spotify.
Fire extinguishers, fire blankets and sprinkler systems are known as active fire protection – in that they require manual operation, routine checks and if you’re not there to operate them, in the event of a fire they can be useless.
A little-known fire-fighter is passive fire protection, which lays dormant until triggered. Fire retardant and intumescent paints, on walls, floors, ceilings and doors, or on a building’s steel and timber frame are all PFPs. When triggered by heat, they can swell or emit a gas that supresses and protects the substrate from the fire – offering fire resistance.
Fire doors also offer passive fire protection – in that they contain and compartmentalise the fire, for safer escape passages from a property.
When it’s a security device!
Intruders will often ring a doorbell first to see if anybody is home, and if you’re not you can now use a battery-operated device that creates a barking dog alarm. For example – imagine how much of a deterrent a barking German shepherd dog would be, barking every time the doorbell rings.
This device would work even in a power-cut, as most doorbells are battery operated – just leave a sign on the door to ring the bell.
House alarms generally have reserve battery, and in the event of a power-cut, having a solar powered outdoor motion sensing light installed and integrated within your home security system would protect hidden access points – such as entrance from the back or side door.
Just having a light that comes on in shadowy access areas means that many intruders won’t try their luck in gaining access to your property.
Have you considered an indoor motion sensor, which when triggered would turn on a lamp, or the TV? This would act as an excellent deterrent for a nervous intruder.
Are there any other safety devices you would recommend? Perhaps a newly available app that connects with a webcam? It’s amazing what you can learn when sharing a house with people who stay on top of technical advancements, and who know ‘a thing-or-two’ about fire regulations and precautionary measures! Share the knowledge and stay safe, together, in 2017.