The holiday season is upon us once again and with it comes plenty of celebrating and joyful cheer for you and your loved ones. Unfortunately there are also perils and hazards that are associated with the holiday season as well. Whether you are staying home or traveling we have a few tips to keep you, your family and your home safe this holiday season.
If you are staying home for the holidays and are hosting the festivities here is some general advice to make sure the celebrations go off without a hitch.
Cooking Safety – With the holidays come lots of eats and treats. When spending time in the kitchen be sure to use care when working around hot surfaces and ovens. Keep all flammable materials safely away from heat sources including loose sleeves and material you may be wearing. Also be sure to warn all the children in your home to stay clear of the hot stove and any sharp knives or other dangers that might be lurking in the kitchen.
Christmas Tree Safety – While Christmas trees rarely catch fire, when they do the results can be catastrophic. Be sure to keep your natural tree completely watered and get rid of it as soon as the needles begin to dry out. You also need to pay special attention to your strands of lights. Thoroughly check for loose bulbs and damaged wires and plugs. More than half of all Christmas tree fires are started by faulty electrical problems. We have a great article outlining all the steps you can take to make sure your tree and decorations are safe.
Snow & Ice Removal – Most of us here in the U.S. have probably already had a shovel in our hands this winter. Be sure to keep you and your holiday guests safe by keeping your driveway and all walkways clear of snow and ice. Use rock salt on the areas that people will need to walk to help ensure that snow that melts does not refreeze on your sidewalks. Also keep an eye on the roof-line of your home and any other overhang where icicles can form and become potential falling daggers.
Keep Your Home Secure – Even though you are staying home you should still keep all of your windows and doors locked and well secured. This includes keeping your curtains and blinds closed as well…especially at night. Criminals are cruising neighborhoods during the holiday season looking for easy opportunities. If they can see valuables through a window they may be tempted to do a quick smash and grab. Another mistake often made is running power cords through the crack of a window to power Christmas lights outside. This leaves an easy entrance for the bad guys to breach your home.
Register Expensive Gifts – If Santa was kind to you be sure to register any expensive jewelry, electronics or other high priced items with the manufacturer or store they were purchased. You can also take video or photographs of the items for insurance purposes should they come up missing. If you want to mark any item without a serial number you can engrave your driver’s license number into it to identify it as your own. Be sure not to use any other sensitive number like your social security number.
Don’t Toss Boxes of Expensive Gifts – After the gift giving is over be sure not to throw boxes from a new flat-screen, laptop or any other expensive item out with the recycling in plain sight. Crooks are cruising the neighborhoods looking for this packaging as an indicator to what lies behind closed doors.
Should you be heading out for the holidays we have some tips to help your home stay safe while you are away. Vacant homes are easy targets during the holidays. We have an article on the top ten things that make your home a target to burglars.
Set Alarm – Don’t forget to set the alarm before you leave your home. With all the packing and excitement of the holidays it can sometimes slip your mind to set the alarm and secure your home. If you do not have an alarm system you might want to make a small investment and get one before leaving your home vulnerable.
Alert a Good Neighbor – If you are lucky you have good neighbors and hopefully some of them are staying home during your time away. Let at least one know that you will be away and to please keep an eye out for any suspicious activity while you are gone.
Don’t Hide Keys – This is really not a good idea any time of the year. Seasoned burglars know that people often hide keys outside and they are very familiar with hiding places. If you are convinced that you can find a good spot, just be sure that it is never hidden near the front or back door. Trust us, criminals will find it. You are better off leaving it with a trustworthy neighbor.
Automatic Timer – When leaving for even just an overnight trip it is a good idea to buy yourself and automatic timer for one or two lights within your home. It gives the impression that someone is active within the home. Do not leave the lights on for 24 hours a day as this is just as obvious that no one is home as a home with no lights on. Leaving a television on is ok as the lights change and flicker and does give the impression someone is home. This function can also be done by a home automation system.
Close the Curtains – Keeping the curtains or blinds closed does not give anyone driving by a clear line of sight into your home. If criminals cannot see all the valuables you have inside they will be less likely to break into your home on a hunch.
No Social Media Posts – Posting that you are leaving for the holidays on social media is really dangerous. It is all too easy to surf the net and look for these posts and then know that your house is empty and vulnerable to attack. Wait until you return to share your trip with friends and family online.
Put Your Mail On Hold – Nothing says “Hey we aren’t home” like an overflowing mailbox or a stack of newspapers piling up in front of your home. Before you leave, be sure to stop your mail service and newspaper delivery. You may want to consider hanging a “No Solicitors” sign out front to deter them from leaving anything on your front stoop.
We hope that you take these tips to heart whether you are staying home or traveling during the holiday season. We wish you, your family and friends a safe and joyous holiday season! If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of your home please call My Alarm Center at 855 334 6562. Our safety specialists will be happy to discuss all of your safety options.