As we draw closer to the end of the year and frighteningly quickly closer to Christmas, (13 shopping days to go!) many of us are preparing to ‘pack up shop’ for a couple of weeks and head home to spend the festive season with our families at home. 

Expatriate homes can be a target for burglaries and so it is important that you take precautions before leaving your house for a long period of time.   Not only that, but with power outages and with the typical electrical set-up not exactly ideal, houses in Libya can have their fair share of problems, all of which are just as likely to flare up while you’re away.

Here are some tips for keeping your home and possessions safe during the break;

  1. Don't stand on the street with all your suitcases waiting for a taxi as burglaries are often committed by those who are close enough to know your comings and goings.

  2. Ask your cleaner or guard to check inside your house regularly and to keep one light on in the house (alternating with each visit).  Check all external security lights and leave spare bulbs with your guard.  If you don’t have a guard or cleaner, ask a friend or set lamps on timers to give the impression that the home is in use.

  3. Lock individual rooms to slow down the progress of a burglar who enters via a window and leave valuable items in a safe or out of view.

  4. Switch off appliances.

  5. Check the batteries on gas and smoke detectors.

  6. Leave a set of your house keys with a friend/colleague in case of an emergency such as burst pipes, fire or electrical problems.

  7. If you are able to, switch off your water pump or water mains to your house.  Switch off water boilers to save electricity.

  8. As it is not always possible to pay an electricity bill in advance, you may want to leave money with your guard or with a friend to pay this to avoid it being cut off while you are away.

  9. Make arrangements for payment of your cleaner and guard before you go.

  10. Leave rolled up towels against windows or doors that are known to let water in under heavy rain.  This will also reduce the amount of sand that comes into the house.

And finally, a slightly more trivial matter but none the less inconvenient; a tip for discerning whether your fully stocked freezer has defrosted and refrosted while you’ve been away.  Have a glass of frozen water in your freezer with a stone sitting on the top of it.  When you return you will see if the stone has moved to the bottom.  If it has you’ll need to throw everything out.

On a less practical note, while you’re away, dig into the mince pies and candy canes and enjoy this time with friends and family.  It’s true, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.



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By Emma Parker



Sunday 12th December 2010