7 Holiday Safety Tips Everyone Should Know


Is Your Home Security At Risk This Season?

The holiday season is a time when decorations go up, people gather around the fireplace, and everyone is just a little more neighborly. Unfortunately, it is also a time when guards are lowered, winter fires blaze, and an average of nearly 400,000 burglaries occur. As important as it is to spread holiday joy and spend time with your loved ones, it’s just as important to uphold safety precautions. After all, one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your family is a safe and stress-free holiday. So, here are a few ways to make sure your home security is up to par this season. SEE ALSO: A Guide To Winter Home Maintenance

1. Be Wary Of Strangers

It’s great that the holidays tend to bring out a friendlier, more sociable quality in most people, but it’s important to stay cautious. You shouldn’t trust just anybody, even those who come bearing gifts. Criminals sometimes pose as deliverymen or repairmen, staking out your goods when you open the door, or sometimes even forcing their way inside. So, be wary of who comes knocking at your door. There are also those who try to take advantage of others’ generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door and asking for charitable donations that end up lining their own pockets. Before you generously hand over any money, ask for identification and find out how the funds will be used. If you’re suspicious about what they’re saying, don’t give them anything. Instead, donate to an organization or charity you like and trust.

2. Secure The Fort

Burglars don’t take the holidays off, so your home security shouldn’t either. Make sure your doors and windows are always closed and locked, no matter how long you plan to be away—even if you’re merely stepping out to deliver some holiday cookies to the lovely old couple down the street. All outside doors should be reinforced or have deadbolts, and lower level windows should be latched tight. Break-ins are usually crimes of opportunity, so taking these easy steps is a good way to prevent thieves from making your home their next target.

3. Keep The Flames Under Control

Not much can beat the pleasure of sharing a night in with your loved ones, sipping hot chocolate by the fireplace. While the scene can be a source of warmth and happiness to all, without proper safety measures, it could quickly turn into a disaster. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an average of 905 people die from winter home fires each year, since cooking, heating, and open flame all increase during the winter holidays. Here are a few fire safety precautions you should practice to make your home safer:
  • Keep a properly working fire extinguisher in your home/kitchen
  • Always keep an eye on what you’re cooking
  • Turn off the burn if you need to leave the kitchen
  • Keep flammable objects away from any type of heating source (i.e. fireplace, heaters, lights, candles)
  • Have heating systems and chimneys cleaned and inspected on a yearly basis
  • Test smoke alarms regularly
  • Never leave an open flame unattended

4. Don’t Be A Show Off

Giving or receiving the perfect present is always wonderful, and the urge to flaunt what you’ve got could be tempting. But, before you display that awesome leg lamp in your front window for all the neighbors to admire, think twice. Keeping presents where they can be easily seen from the outside can make your home a target for those looking to profit from your belongings. Also, the empty boxes of all your new goods sitting on your curb is like an open call for burglars. Break down cardboard boxes before throwing them into the trash or recycling bin. And, although garbage collection schedules can sometimes vary during the holiday season, try to take out the trash right before pick up to prevent it from sitting in front of your house for too long.

5. Keep An Eye On Your Ride

Interestingly, according to data released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, some car thieves seem to take the holidays off. With Thanksgiving and Christmas having the lowest number of daily car thefts in the year, it appears some thieves would rather enjoy their holiday turkey instead of breaking into your car. Nevertheless, protecting your vehicle should take a top priority any time of year. Don’t leave your car unattended while warming it up, even for just a few moments. You never know who could be watching. And, if you make it a daily habit, a thief can use that three minute window you’re away, all bundled up in your house, to drive off with your car. Also, make sure that your car’s windows are closed and your doors are locked whenever the car isn’t in use. Or, better yet, set up an alarm or anti-theft device. While you're doing your holiday shopping, don’t leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car or where they’re easily visible to anyone passing by, either. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or hide it under a seat and away from sight.

6. Act Like You’re At Home

Making your home look occupied when you’re away is crucial to deterring unwanted guests. This is even more important during the holidays when burglars are expecting homes to be left unguarded for the sake of holiday travel. Creating some type of illusion of the home being “lived-in” can keep thieves from eyeing your place. Here are some things you can do:
  • Don’t advertise your traveling plans on social media
  • When packing your car, don’t leave your suitcases sitting out front for a long period of time
  • Set some lights and appliances to turn on at different times each night
  • If you’re only gone for the night, leave a television or radio on
  • Avoid mail and packages building up by putting your mail on hold
  • Have someone clear snow or debris from your driveways and walkways
  • Install motion sensor lights
  • Make sure all entry points are well-lit
SEE ALSO: Why You’re A Target For A Facebook Robbery

7. Consider A Security System

Whether you’re at home opening presents or out on the slopes getting in one last run, a home security and monitoring system is a good way to keep your home safe. There are all kinds of monitoring options available that would be ideal for the holiday season, including: video surveillance, automated lighting and door locks, and smoke and fire monitoring. Plus, with the convenience of controlling everything from your smartphone or computer, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your property anywhere, from the next room or the top of a mountain. Keeping yourself and your loved ones safe is a great way to celebrate the holidays, and being aware of these safety issues is the first step in making this special time of year a time to remember. So, make this holiday memorable for the happy times, and not for an avoidable disaster that could have easily been prevented.
Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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