Each summer, millions of Americans pack their bags, lock their doors and leave for vacation.
To help deter burglaries while the house is unoccupied, the Sentry Group, manufacturer of fire-resistant security chests, files and safes, has these suggestions:
* Lock all doors and windows. If you have an alarm system, check it for proper operation and remember to turn it on.
* Suspend mail and newspaper deliveries. A stuffed mailbox is a sign to burglars that no one is home.
* Set a timer to turn on lights when someone would normally be home, and have a radio or television on during certain hours.
* Alert police or give your dates of departure and return to trusted neighbors so they can keep an eye on the house.
* For fire safety, unplug appliances such as air conditioners, irons and toasters, and make sure cleaning fluids are properly stored.
* Make a list of your personal belongings for insurance purposes, photograph or videotape any expensive items, such as furniture, electronic equipment, jewelry and artwork, and store them with their receipts or appraisals. Store these items in a fire-resistant container, not a metal box. In the event of fire, those boxes simply act as incinerators, quickly reducing their contents to ashes.