In Florida, the start of spring means warm days and cool nights, making it one of the most pleasant seasons to be in the Sunshine State. Our friends above the Mason-Dixon Line may have to deal with snow removal to avoid unwanted water in their basements. The winters here, however, don’t typically melt into springs.
Still, with warmer weather come spring breakers, allergies, and increased crime. Here are some ways to keep your people and property safe this spring:
Avoid Tourist Attractions
If you live here, you already know what makes Jacksonville great: stunning beaches, a thriving art scene, museums, and a robust park system. When you’re a local, however, there are times when you may want to avoid these popular attractions.
When you think of spring break, you likely picture beaches crowded with young adults, drinking and dancing in their swimsuits. Florida is one of the most popular destinations for spring break. This is especially true for people in colder climates who have barely seen the sun for months! College students (among others) from across the country flock to the Florida coast to blow off some steam and recover from their midterm exams.
They also notoriously make unwise or dangerous choices and leave the beaches covered in bottles and red plastic cups. Littering isn’t unsafe so much as it’s inconsiderate. But the constant drinking and hooking up, not to mention the ocean’s powerful waves, can be a dangerous, if not lethal, combination. People who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs also put themselves and other drivers at risk. For these reasons, you’ll likely want to steer clear of the areas where spring breakers are partying.
That being said, if you or your young adult decide to partake in spring break festivities, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Stay with a friend or group of friends
- Keep your cell phone charged
- Drink plenty of water
- Stick to drinks you bring yourself or watch someone pour
2. Keep An Eye On Your Pets
New growth and gorgeous flowers are sure signs of spring, but they also may present a problem for the family dog. The pollen, dust, and plant life that arrive each spring can trigger your dog’s allergies the same way they do yours. If your pet is having an allergic reaction, you may notice scratching, sniffling, and sneezing. Many common plants and springtime flowers, like azaleas, are also toxic if ingested.
Do be aware that other allergic reactions, such as a reaction to an insect bite or sting, can cause anaphylactic shock. This allergic reaction can be fatal, so if you suspect a seasonal allergy in your dog, talk to their vet as soon as you can.
Speaking of bugs, spring is also a time we’ll be seeing (and feeling) more of them. Keeping up-to-date with your dog’s heartworm, flea, and tick treatments can help you avoid a major health setback down the line. There’s no denying the benefits of more time spent outdoors, and the more good weather we get, the more appealing it can be. But the increased recreation means increased contact with plant life and other dogs, which puts your pets at a higher risk.
For your dog’s safety and the safety of others, it’s important to keep your dog on a leash — unless you’re in a fenced in yard! In that case, be on the lookout for any new nests of baby animals your dog might sniff out. The use of a leash becomes even more important when you’re at a park or using a public trail. As these outdoor spaces become more popular, they will become more crowded with people and dogs that may be upsetting to your own canine companion. Always using a leash is an easy way to prevent a dog from getting scared and running off. It also protects bicyclists, walkers, and runners from potentially dangerous collisions or attacks.
3. Do a Spring Security Check
It’s always good to do a little upkeep. Consider it spring cleaning for your home’s safety and security, as higher temperatures typically correspond with higher rates of crime. If you already have a security system, you may not need to actually increase your home’s security. Instead, you’ll want to ensure that all of your security equipment is functioning properly. Here are some things you’ll want to check to make sure you’re getting the most out of your system:
Take Care of Your Cameras
You’ve probably heard that the presence of cameras alone is enough to discourage a burglar from targeting your home. This is typically true, as the risks seem to outweigh the rewards, and a prowler is likely to move to the next property.
That being said, you should check on your cameras, both indoor and outdoor, to ensure they are working effectively. First, see that the lenses are clear of smudges and debris. You can gently remove any dirt and dust with a microfiber cloth; for stubborn substances like tree sap, it’s okay to add a little dish soap and water. Once all of your security camera lenses have been cleaned, you can make sure the cameras are properly realigned.
This job is certainly easiest with someone physically dealing with cameras and someone else monitoring the angles from a phone or tablet. However, if you’re the only one available, it can still be done! If you’re already a SafeTouch Security member, you can view your camera feeds on the mySafeTouch app.
Stage a Break-In
We don’t recommend testing your glass break sensor by smashing a window, but you can still see how your other sensors and equipment function.
On a regular night, pretend you are a burglar and check the perimeter of your house for entry points. Are your doors locked? Is there a window cracked open? Are your motion-detecting lights and cameras triggered by the activity, or were you able to evade them? Check your app or have someone monitor from inside, then make the appropriate adjustments.
If you don’t already have one, consider having a home security system installed in time for spring. SafeTouch offers a variety of membership options with customizable equipment and free professional installation. We’re sure to find the right fit and cost for you.