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Ensure a part-time presence doesn't compromise safety; If you have a holiday home make sure it stays as secure as your main residence when you are not there, says Dr Steffan George of The Master Locksmiths Association.

Unfortunately we can't be relaxing at our holiday homes all the time.

When you buy your getaway, it is important to ensure that the correct security precautions have been taken, and that the right hardware has been installed.

Undertake a security assessment inspecting the exterior of your property for any damage to doors or windows, and checking that all locks and any fitted security alarms are working properly.

A professional MLA locksmith can help if required.

Consider fitting additional security, for example fitting top and bottom bolts to French doors, as well as adding sash jammers to UPVC doors.

When frequent trips are not possible in the off-peak season extra security features might be needed.

Dusk till dawn security lights outside the property could deter thieves from targeting your home and alert neighbours to unwelcome activity.

Indoor light timers can also give the impression that someone is inside (always use one upstairs).

Alternatively, window shutters can be mounted and locked to hide valuables from view and protect windows against breakage.

CCTV systems and monitored alarms are also worth installing in case a break-in does occur, or the property is damaged.

Some systems can even be monitored remotely using a laptop or smart phone.

Leave a key with a trusted neighbour, who will can keep you updated with any maintenance issues regarding the property.

Various property management services can also be asked to keep a key and check on the property regularly.

If friends and family often visit the property, or if it is rented out to guests, it is vital they are aware of how to keep the property secure, and they follow the procedures put in place.

Leave clear instructions for locking up and setting alarms along with any other maintenance instructions.

As visitors and property management or other staff will all have access to keys, have a professional locksmith fit a patented lock system, whereby keys may only be copied with proof of ownership.

You could ask an MLA locksmith to install an approved safe or a secure storage room.

If renting, it is also wise to repeat a security assessment of the property on an annual basis, or when the holiday season has come to an end.

There may be specific insurance requirements when it comes to the security of your holiday home, so ask the local locksmith to check the policy details and ensure the security meets the requirements, or get it upgraded to meet them should they not do so.

Also ensure that guests have details of a locksmith to hand, so that in the event of a security problem or guests locking themselves out, they do not damage the property to gain access.

CAPTION(S):

Dr Steffan George, development director of The Master Locksmiths Association

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 13, 2014
Words:461
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