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Safeguarding During School Breaks

Below you’ll find a checklist for times when no one will be in your home. This primarily applies during breaks in classes, and can be any length of time from a weekend to a couple of weeks. Even if you do everything to protect your home, accidents can happen. We suggest you look into renter’s insurance.

Safeguarding your home against theft:
  • Make sure you lock all the doors and windows, even on the upper floors.
  • Bring home any valuables. This includes jewelry, laptops, video game consoles, etc. Consider taking anything sentimental you would miss if it were gone. Also consider bringing important documents, like your birth certificate.
  • Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home. Tell them you’re not expecting anyone and to call you if they see someone on your property.
  • If possible, and you’re really worried, leave the radio on or get timed lights to give off the appearance someone is home.
  • Consider storing your outdoor furniture inside, like the garage. However, do not store your grill in your home, because that has fire hazard written all over it.
  • If you have an electronic garage door, disconnect it. It’s easier to break in via those.
Safeguarding against fire/flood:
  • Unplug any large electronics, such as the TV, extension cords, or computers.
  • Don’t leave anything on or lit. You know, candles, wax warmers, incense, or fireplaces.
  • If you are having trouble with your toilets running, or your washer machine, first of all you should tell your landlord. Secondly, ask if you can turn off the water as a safety precaution.
  • If it is winter, turn your heat to around 55 degrees. This way you won’t have to pay to heat the whole home, but your pipes also won’t freeze.
  • Walk around to check if you left any faucets on. Seriously just check. It won’t hurt.
Do "future you" a favor:
  • Stop any delivery services, such as mail or newspapers. This is easy and free, and can usually be found online.
  • Throw away anything perishable that you won’t use, and take out the garbage and recycling.
  • Clean out your fridge. Those strawberries are going to be their own ecosystem by the time you get back.
  • Pay your bills, possibly ahead of time if you need to. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you utilities are.
  • Let your landlord know if you’ll be gone more than two weeks. It can be assumed you’ve vacated unless they’ve gotten any indication otherwise from you in advance.
  • If you generally get prescriptions from a local pharmacy, make sure you communicate with them to ensure your ability to get your medications elsewhere.
  • Consider signing up for SB Guardian. it can be used in the event you get back to campus and something is wrong.
  • Don’t leave any pets unattended in the home under any circumstances. This is animal abuse, as you're neglecting them, and is serious both morally and legally.
Checklist for Coming Back:
  • If anything looks different, such as damage to your home, items missing, lights turned on or any doors or windows open, contact the police immediately. Do not go inside. At that time contact any roommates and ask them if they came back before scheduled.
  • Plug back in any appliances.
  • Tell your neighbor and/or landlord that you are back.
  • Let your sinks run for a little and flush the toilets to check the water lines.
  • Pick up your mail and start back up service.
See www.stonybrook.edu/titleix for more information and/or to report an incident.