Protecting yourself and your property is a concern for all homeowners. However, when you are in an HOA managed residence there are certain factors that make your situation unique in terms of safety. There are not only individual units, but generally, a common area that needs to be included in safety discussions. Here are home security tips for HOA residents.
Fire is a fear of all homeowners and can be especially worrisome with a homeowner’s association. Studies show that nearly 2/3 of all fires start on a range or cook-top. Tips for fire prevention include:
- Do not leave food unattended while heating. If you step away from the kitchen, turn off the heat source.
- Keep all food packaging, spoons, dishtowels and other fabrics away from cooking surfaces.
- If your food on the stove does catch fire, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the stove. Do not try to extinguish a kitchen fire with water. If the fire is unmanageable, call 9-1-1.
- Grease and other food particles collect in range hoods and stove vents can also be a fire hazard. It is recommended that kitchen vents be inspected and cleaned twice a year.
- Shared vent ducts should be inspected twice a year.
- Encourage all homeowners to have a fire-extinguishing device in their kitchens.
- Outside grills should not be operated near the side of a home, under an eave or near a fence.
For more fire safety information, your HOA can invite a local fire department to present at an annual HOA meeting.
There are a number of measures the neighborhood can take to deter criminal activity. One of these tactics is through landscaping. Since criminals like to plan out attacks and take victims by surprise, they tend to do this where there are ample hiding spots. Dense hedges, bushes and trees with low hanging branches may look nice, but they provide cover for criminals. Here are ways to improve the safety of your neighborhood through landscaping:
- Trim shrubs. Trim shrubs and trees to a size that would be difficult to hide behind.
- Plant thorny shrub barriers. Install thorny shrub barriers around the entrances and exits to your home or neighborhood.
- Keep an eye on tree canopies. Trees with low or overgrown branches can be a perfect hiding spot. Work with your landscaping company to make sure trees are safely trimmed. Also, make sure that trees aren’t blocking light. Proper lighting is important for safety.
If safety is a major issue for your neighborhood, some associations will form a Safety and Security Committee. The committee serves as an advisory board to the HOA Board of Directors and can be a helpful resource for residents. Invite members to join the committee who have a security or law enforcement background. Many Security Committees meet regularly with law enforcement for up to date information.
Communicate safety tips and issues, should one arise. If a crime does happen, please make sure to share it with all members of your HOA. Communication could come in the form of a short notice in your newsletter, an article on your HOA website or simply a post on your neighborhood Facebook page. Alerting other homeowners and reminding them to be a bit more vigilant is a great way of averting more crime.
Follow these home safety tips to protect yourself, your home and your community.