Five Fall Home Safety Tips

Fall is officially here, and with its arrival comes a reminder to click refresh on your home safety checklist and to make any necessary updates. SF SAFE has some tips for keeping your loved ones and home safe as daylight hours shorten and everyone’s pumpkins hit their doorsteps.


Batteries: The change of season is a recurring reminder to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of every five home fire related deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom and in

the common areas on each floor of the home, while carbon monoxide detectors should be set up in a central location outside each bedroom and on every level of the home.

Lights: As our sunlit days get shorter, consider installing exterior lights and keep them on during all hours of darkness. Aim to have constant nighttime lighting supplemented by motion-sensitive lighting. You can also create “signs of life” in off hours by setting timers on your indoor lights. If you already have lights, the change of season is a good time to check that they’re working properly.

Cameras: The great thing about security cameras is that they not only can document a crime, but also can help deter it from happening in the first place. If you don’t have them already, consider installing security cameras facing all points of your home’s entry, including vulnerable windows. SF SAFE recommends having at least one security

camera at the front of your house pointing toward the street—and also registering it with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Garage: In San Francisco, the garage is a frequent entry point for burglars. One preventative measure is to reinforce the glass on the garage door by adding vinyl adhesive to the windows. Many burglars gain entry to the home by breaking a window and finding a way to pull the emergency release cord. Avoid this by tying your emergency release cord into a small ball. Also consider installing an interior manual garage door lock. Finally, be sure the door leading from your garage to your house has a deadbolt and stays locked to deter entry into your home.

Family Emergency Plan: Every San Francisco resident should have an emergency plan ready in case of a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. The change of season is a good time to review this plan with the fam. According to the National Safety Council, have both home and car emergency kits, which per FEMA guidelines, should include one gallon of water per day per person, a three-day supply of food, a flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, filter mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape and medicines. Other

must-haves include: A communications plan to outline how family members will contact one another and where to meet if it's safe to go outside; a shelter-in-place plan if the outside air is contaminated (FEMA recommends sealing windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting); an evacuation plan including various routes and destinations in different directions. It’s also key to make sure your household’s first aid kit is updated.

If you need an assist getting your fall home safety plan in place, have no fear—SF SAFE is here. From helping your block establish a Neighborhood Watch Group, to providing you with a free home security assessment and so much more, SF SAFE is here for community members every step of the way with a whole host of safety-centric resources. Get started by checking out our website today!

-Kathy Chouteau