HOME security is about more than just safeguarding your loved ones and your property.
It should also include the safety of anyone who works for you, or carries out any work on your property.
Staff are often at your home alone for hours at a time while your family is at work and at school, or they could be the ones looking after your children during the school holidays.
Fidelity ADT national marketing and communications manager Charnel Hattingh urges homeowners to make sure that everyone who works on their property knows the basic principles of personal safety so that they are familiar with how to act in an emergency.
“Domestic employees play an integral part in any home security system and it is critical that they are empowered and equipped to look after their own safety, as well as the safety of anyone else on the property,” she said.
It boils down to asking three easy but simple questions, according to Hattingh.
The answers will determine whether or not your domestic employees or contractors are properly prepared.
• If people do any kind of work on your property, you should ask them — what would they do if someone tried to gain access to the property illegally?
• Do they know where the panic buttons are, and how to call for help?
• If there is any kind of medical emergency, do they know how to respond?
Homeowners should consider enrolling employees working for them for an extended period of time, in local crime-prevention forums which take place in most neighbourhoods every month.
These are often arranged by the SAPS or community members and teach valuable crime-prevention and safety tips. Fidelity ADT regularly hosts training sessions aimed at domestic workers.
THERE ARE FIVE POINTS THAT DOMESTIC EMPLOYEES SHOULD REMEMBER, SAID HATTINGH:
• Be careful of having unguarded conversations about your employer or the property you are working at. You never know who might be listening.
• Be observant and speak up if you see something suspicious anywhere in the suburb.
• Use the camera on your cellphone. If you see something or someone that appears to be out of place, take a photo.
• Never allow anyone onto the property or indoors unless they have an appointment or if they have a legitimate reason to be there, and your employer has confirmed this for you. If you have any doubt about someone trying to gain entry, call your employer or call the police. Don’t fall for impersonators.
• Exchange cellphone numbers with other domestic workers at properties adjacent or opposite so that you can alert each other of suspicious people or vehicles.
“Talk about security and safety issues with your domestic workers, gardeners and anyone else working on your property. Teach them how to arm and disarm the alarm and find out from your security company about giving them their own passwords or alarm codes.
“And lastly, make sure they know the basics of first aid so that they can respond immediately and appropriately in any emergency,” said Hattingh.