For years my wife and I have talked about moving out of the “city” and into a more rural setting. We both have previously enjoyed rural life and really like the privacy that can be found in country living. We enjoy allowing our kids to run, play and adventure with freedom without the prospects that our neighbors may be watching their exploits from their kitchen window. Another benefit of country living is not having the neighborhood kids repeatedly knocking on our door asking if our kids can play. I know, this sounds bad, but we really enjoy and like to prioritize our time with our kids after our long workday and their long day at school.
While it was easy for us to list all the pros of moving to the country, we needed to perform some research and try to remain unbiased in the findings. One such topic would be to not only learn of the potential negatives, but to specifically assess potential security risks of living in the country. Without nearby neighbors, you lose the potential for another pair of eyes who could be keeping a look-out on your kids, as well as keeping an eye on your home when you may be away on vacation.
So, with a bit of research, here is a list of safety tips for anyone contemplating a move to the country who might have a bit of nervousness about the unknowns of country life.
One of the best home defense strategies for any homeowner is to invest in a home security system that can record the activities in and outside of your home. Should a burglar break into your home, steal a package from the front door, or cause damage to your house or property, it can be captured on your home security system.
There are several home security systems and services on the market, and they range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. My wife and I bought our home security system from amazon. We have used it to keep an eye on the kids in the yard while we are working inside the house, and as a visible deterrent to would-be intruders. Just knowing that we have a visual of our kids playing in the yard provides some peace of mind when it is difficult to be right there with them. And, while our security system has never filmed an attempted home invasion, it has captured a bit of vandalism by some high-spirited kids passing through the area.
Placement of your security system cameras in extremely important. You need to get enough cameras to cover all areas of your home (windows and doors). Additionally, I had one camera pointed to my shed/shop area where I have several expensive tools and equipment stored.
For me and my wife, a home security system is an important safety feature that we believe in and put some trust in to provide some protection to home and family. We also realize that it is only one element in a comprehensive home safety program.
Pet – Guard Dog
As I talked with friends and family members who live in the country, they all recommended a “Guard Dog” as another protective measure that could be taken to help beef up the safety of living in the country. And by a guard dog, I mean a dog that is alert to happenings around the house and can signal a barking alarm as well as offer some aggressive protection should a threat be determined.
However, it may take some training to teach them how to be alert and how to best respond to different types of threat. You need to realize that a young pup will not be the protector you are hoping to have as it will take time to train him/her on the alert and response responsibilities before proper execution is achieved. You may even find your dog overly friendly to approaching strangers at first, but with time and training improvement with lead to the desired outcome.
Do your research on what would be the best type of dog for you and your family needs, as well as its ability to be trained to protect you and your loved ones.
Motion Light Outside
If a home security system is too expensive and for some reason, you can’t have or don’t want a dog, consider investing in some high-quality motion lights. When it is 3 am and an intruder tries to walk around the house looking for an unlocked door or window, the flick of the light will get their adrenaline rushing and serve as a great deterrent from entering your home.
Like the security cameras, the motion lights should be placed in a way that they can be triggered regardless of the door or window they try to enter in. There are different qualities of motion detector lights and low-quality motion lights can be triggered simply by a cat passing through your yard.
TIP: For homeowners with larger properties, you may want to invest in a motion light that is powered by solar panels and can be placed on a fence or post out in the field which will deter anyone from trying to sneak through your property.
Have a Fence
Criminals who are looking for a home to burglarize tend to target homes with the least amount of invasion resistance. If they can quickly and easily walk around the home looking for unlocked doors or windows without obstacles of any kind, they are more likely to view the home as a potential target.
TIP: If a fence is not feasible or you simply don’t want a fence, consider letting the kids leave their toys all over the yard for them to trip on. Okay, not a real recommendation but the idea is the more obstacles to entry, the less likely an attempt will be made.
Know Your Property Well
This is for homeowners with a large number of acres. If you have 10 acres of trees but fail to regularly inspect the property, it is possible that someone may be using a small section of your property to do illegal activities. Unfortunately, we have read about this in the news and to somewhat disbelief the landowners had to fight a legal battle to persuade authorities that they had nothing to do with the illegal and unbeknownst to them activity that was taking place on their property.
Make it a point to know your property well, regularly inspect it for anything out of the norm, and if you ever suspect someone is doing illegal activities on your properties, call the authorities immediately.
Team up with Your Neighbors
While you may not have immediate neighbors, you should get to know the neighbors that you do have so that you can help watch each other’s house while either one of you is out of town on vacation or business.
Some neighborhoods have a “watch program” where those who are living in the same area work together with each other and local law officials to reduce crime and ensure the safety of all those living in the area.
Plenty of Fire Extinguishers
The response time for those living in the rural countryside is obviously longer than it is for those living in the city. As such, there is the possibility of more damage being done to your home from fire than other homes should the flames get out of control and can only be effectively fought with the fire trucks and trained personnel.
Because of this response time difference, it is essential that your home is equipped with adequate fire extinguishers. Preferably one fire extinguisher should be placed on each level of the home, certainly in the kitchen, and in your shop if you have one. Some homeowners with larger structures prefer to invest in a wheeled fire extinguisher that can combat larger fires.
Long Screws for Door Lock
When you install doorknobs or deadbolts, they come with short screws which are easily broken with enough repeated kicks or hits on the door. To avoid this, it is a good idea to swap out the short screws with longer 2.5 to 3-inch screws that are much more durable and can withstand a greater amount of force. Do this for each external door of your home.
Yearly Inspections of your Windows and Doors
At least once a year, you should inspect the locks on your doors and windows to ensure that they are still in good working condition. Once you notice a window lock that is not functioning correctly, get it fixed or replaced as soon as you can. Until your window lock is repaired, consider placing a board in the window slider panel to prevent it from being opened from the outside. This is not a long-time solution as this could be a fire hazard if it were to prevent you from escaping promptly.
Invest in a Generator
When the power goes out, and it will, you’ll be glad you invested in a generator. Generators can be a life-saving device in the winter if heating is lost. By having a generator and some gas set aside you’ll be able to wait out the storm until the lineman can turn the power back on.
Here are some great generators that you can purchase on Amazon:
Just like the generator, you’ll be happy to have a food supply that can last you at least 2 weeks. Be sure to stock on foods that are long-lasting and that the whole family will eat. There are several reasons why you will want to have a food supply stored away. For example:
Natural Disasters: During the hours and days of an approaching people will flock to the stores and buy up all the goods they feel they will need for an extended period of time. This can lead to shortages leaving some, if not many, without the supplies they will need during the emergency. Fortunately, if you are prepared ahead of time with good storage of the most important supplies (like food, water, gasoline, etc.) you can focus your attention on preparing your home and family for enduring well the events that may transpire when the hurricane of another natural disaster hits.
A good strategy is to buy a little extra of these important supplies when you do your weekly shopping, so you always have them on hand for a rainy day.
Safety Plan (Fire or Break-in)
While last on the list, it certainly is one of the more important safety tips I learned while doing my research. Having an action plan with the whole family on what to do in the event of an emergency (Fire or Break-in).
Everyone should know what to do, where to go, and who to contact. Not having a plan will likely result in some confusion and ineffective efforts. So, if you don’t have a plan now, take time to make one with your family so that when the unthinkable happens, you are more prepared.