Approximately one in ten Americans live alone by choice or by circumstance. Living alone can be empowering, and it gives you the freedom to keep your own schedule and use your space how you want to.
But living alone, especially as a woman, also means you need to be extra mindful about staying safe.
Whether you’re living alone for the first time or often find that you have the place to yourself, here are some of our top safety tips for women that want to up their home security.
List Your Emergency Numbers
If you find yourself facing any kind of emergency, one of the first things you should do is call for help. But in the panic of the moment, it’s all too easy to forget important phone numbers—especially if you’ve lost your cell phone.
Keep a printed list of emergency numbers with you in your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, car, and purse. This list should include numbers like:
- Your phone number
- Poison Control
- Emergency contacts (family and friends)
- Local emergency and non-emergency numbers
- Local tow and car repair companies
- Your insurance companies
- Your doctor and dentist
- Local hospitals and urgent care centers
- Your landlord
- Pertinent work numbers
- Gas, water, and electric companies
Make sure that the list is easily accessible in an emergency situation. If you have people visiting, babysitting, or housesitting while you’re away, let them know about the lists.
Install an Emergency Alarm App
Safety alarm apps on your phone are great for staying safe while traveling or commuting alone, but they’re also helpful for living by yourself. They’re quicker than making a call and can alert either your emergency contacts or your local police that you’re in danger, without you giving away your location by speaking loudly enough to be heard over the phone.
There are tons of free or inexpensive apps to choose from for both Android and iOS phones, like Companion, Silent Beacon, and Kitestring.
Upgrade and Repair Your Locks and Keys
One of the very first things you should do after moving to a new home is change out the door locks. This is important whether you live alone or not because even if the previous resident turned in their set of keys, there could be any number of spares floating around with their friends or family.
If you’re renting, do a thorough inspection of all your door and window locks to make sure they’re secure, and put in a maintenance request to have your landlord change the locks and repair any broken ones. If you own your home, consider upgrading old locks with deadbolts and keyless entry systems for added safety. You can also put a removable bar in the track of any sliding doors or windows to make them impossible to open from the outside.
Keep an Emergency Weapon By Your Bed
If an intruder breaks into your home at night, you won’t necessarily have time to go find something to defend yourself with. Consider keeping a small self-defense weapon by your bed to protect yourself with at a moment’s notice.
Practical choices include a baseball bat, pepper spray, wasp spray, or a stun gun. Or, do double-duty on safety by keeping a small fire extinguisher nearby—its spray is effective against both fire and wannabe burglars.
But remember: any weapon you don’t know how to use is a weapon against yourself. So if you choose a stun gun or fire extinguisher, be sure to practice using them ahead of time.
Turning off lights when you leave a room is a great way to save electricity. But when you live alone, leaving some extra lights on with the blinds or curtains closed can create the illusion of there being multiple people in the house, especially at night.
If you live on the ground floor or in a rural area, consider installing motion-activated spotlights around the points of entry in your home. While the only prowlers you’re likely to get are raccoons and other nocturnal wildlife, spotlights also make it much more difficult for someone to break into your home undetected.
Install Security Cameras
Security cameras are a fantastic way to monitor your home whether you’re inside or away. Hide some near points of entry in places that would give you a clear view of an intruders face. If your cameras don’t have a night vision mode, it’s a great idea to position them near motion-sensor spotlights.
Take a look at this selection of inexpensive hidden cameras to get started. And if your camera system comes with a yard sign or window sticker, display it in a visible area as an added break-in deterrent.
Prepare for Natural Disasters
Burglars and home invaders aren’t the only types of emergencies you should be prepared for when living on your own. Make sure you know how to be safe in case of fires, floods, storms, and medical emergencies as well.
While you don’t have to go full “prepper” mode, its vital to have a plan for dealing with natural disasters that are common to your area—especially if you’re unfamiliar with them. For example, if you move from the Midwest to the West Coast, research what to do in case of earthquakes or forest fires. Or, if you’re moving from the southwestern states to the East Coast, read up on hurricane and ocean safety ahead of time.
It’s a good idea to keep a “bug out bag” packed with a change of clothes, some ready-to-eat food like granola bars, water bottles, a spare phone charger, your emergency contact list, and a first aid kit with a few days worth of any medications you’re on. That way, if you ever have to leave your home in an emergency, you can grab that bag on the way out the door without taking the time to pack. If you have kids at home, keep a bag packed for each of them as well.
Following Our Safety Tips for Women Can Help Keep You Protected
Even the most independent ladies need to keep their security in mind when living alone. But if you use your common sense and follow these safety tips for women, you’ll be able to make the most of your living situation and enjoy some precious peace of mind.
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