Holiday Home Safety and Security Tips
The Holidays are filled with family tradition, delicious meals, giving thanks and spending time with family or traveling. Whatever your Holiday traditions might be, don’t let all the celebrations distract you from keeping your home and family safe. We have some simple holiday home safety tips to follow to keep your home safe & secure this season. In this article we cover the following topics:
- Home decorating
- Christmas trees
- Online shopping and deliveries
- House guests
- Home security
Decorating for the holidays is a great way to set the mood! Garland, lights and candles make any room feel festive. However, they can also lead to a fire hazard if not properly placed or monitored.
Candles – Do not place candles near flammable objects and keep them out of reach of children and pets.
Lights – Use the right lights for the right purpose. Try upgrading your lights to LED so they use less energy and create less heat. Ready the instructions and be sure not to connect too many strands of lights together or overload outlets and extension cords. Inspect your lights to make sure they are free from defects like frayed wires.
Stockings – Hang your stockings with care. If you plan to have a real fire, you might want to consider hanging your stockings somewhere other than the fireplace. Try a shelf or door instead.
Never leave lights on or candles lit when you aren’t home! Try using a timer or a smart outlet so you never have to worry about forgetting to turn off your lights. With a smart outlet you can turn off the power even if you aren’t home.
We all love decorating Christmas trees to bring seasonal cheer into the home, but they come with an added fire risk. Statistics show that even though a fire caused by a tree is rare, it is more deadly than other home structure fires. The top causes of Christmas tree fires are electrical and having the tree too close to a heat source.
Choosing the right tree – When picking out your tree, make sure the needles are fresh and green. The needles shouldn’t fall off when you touch the branches. Dry trees become an increased fire danger in the home. Also make sure you choose a sturdy tree with a sturdy tree stand so it doesn’t tip over. Look for a tree with a straight trunk and make sure your tree stand is the right size based on the height of your tree.
Placement – Avoid placing your Christmas tree near a fireplace or any other heat sources such as baseboards, radiators or heat vents. Make sure you have a 3-foot clearance between your tree and any of these heat sources. Not only can a tree catch on fire by these sources, the heat can also dry out your tree thus shortening the lifespan. Avoiding heat sources altogether will ensure your home is safe from fires and you can enjoy your tree all season long.
Water your tree – To help prevent the tree from drying out, be sure to water it daily. Trees usually last about 4 weeks, even when watered daily.
Lighting your tree– Use indoor lights that are in good condition. Don’t use old lights with signs of wear and tear such as broken bulbs or frayed wires. New LED light strands are a great option, produce less heat and use less energy.
Turn off the lights – Always turn off the lights on your Christmas tree before going to sleep or leaving your home. Just like other decorations, this is a great opportunity to use a timer or smart outlet so you’ll never have to worry about turning them off. You can even program your Christmas tree lights to turn off automatically when you arm your security system.
One of the best parts of the Holidays is the food! We all enjoy our traditional family meals, especially all the baked goods! Baking cookies is a great way to spread holiday joy! No matter your favorite kind; chocolate chip, sugar cookies, snickerdoodles or kiffles, make sure you keep your kitchen, home and family safe.
Get to know your oven – If you are a first-time baker you should begin by getting to know your oven. Some ovens bake at a higher temperature or have hot spots. Consider having your oven calibrated if you are experiencing any problems with temperature.
Set the timer – Don’t forget to set the timer! We get it, during this busy time of year you can easily get distracted by a phone call or the kids so it’s easy to forget a batch of cookies or roast in the oven. Setting the timer on your oven or phone is a great way to ensure you don’t burn your food. If you own a smartphone device, you can simply tell your virtual assistant to set the timer for you.
Keep a fire extinguisher nearby – The kitchen is a great place to keep a fire extinguisher, and not just during the Holidays. Just in case an accident happens you will be prepared to handle the situation and avoid a tragedy.
Many people enjoy gift-giving during the Holidays. So, with the rise of shopping activity during this season, criminals have plenty of incentive to steal your personal credit card information or packages off your porch. Some easy ways to prevent package theft altogether would be to have your packages delivered to your local post office to be picked up or requiring signatures for all deliveries so someone is home to accept the delivery. Although this may be less convenient, it’s the best option to avoid theft altogether.
If your packages are being left on your front porch, be sure to track them so you know when they arrive by setting up text notifications. You can also add security cameras or video doorbells to your front porch and advertise your security system. Burglars are less likely to steak from or break into a home with security stickers and lawn signs.
Whether you are traveling to visit family or avoiding family, we have a few travel safety tips to share:
- Have a trusted neighbor or friend check in on your home while you are away.
- Hire someone or ask a neighbor to shovel or plow snow from your sidewalks and driveway – snow covered walkways can lead burglars to believe that no one is home
- Avoid posting your travel plans on social media, wait until after your trip to share photo