Home security is about more than safeguarding your family and your property; it includes the safety of your domestic staff who are often home alone for hours at a time while the family is at work and at school.
A local private security company has urged homeowners to make sure anyone who works on their property know the basic principles of personal safety, so that they are familiar with how to act in an emergency.
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Domestic workers, says Fidelity ADT’s District Manager for KwaZulu-Natal, Ivan Govender play an integral part in any home security system and it’s critical that they are empowered and equipped to look after their own safety, as well as the safety of anyone else on the property such as children they may be looking after.
“Everyone wants and deserves to be safe, no matter who they are and where they work. In the same way that you should share safety tips with your friends and loved ones, you should also share it with anyone that works on your property,” said Govender.
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He urged domestic workers to ask themselves: what would you do if someone tried to break into the house that you are working at? Do you know where the panic buttons are, and how to call for help? If not, discuss it with your employer as soon as possible.
Govender says homeowners should consider enrolling any employees who may be 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.
Govender believes there are six points to remember:
- 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 cell-phone. If you see something or someone that appears to be out of place, take a photo
- Don’t let you phone be a distraction. Pay attention to your surroundings
- 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 confirmed it 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 cell phone 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 worker and/or gardener. Teach your domestic worker how to arm and disarm the alarm; ideally they should have their own password and code
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