The holiday season is officially here! It’s that time of year when we all deck the halls and gather together to celebrate. It also happens to be that time of year when you’re more vulnerable to burglars – or even house fires. It’s important to be extra-vigilant during the holidays to protect your home and your family. Here’s what you need to know.
Don’t broadcast your travel plans
Are you heading out of town for the holidays? While you may want to share your excitement with your friends and family on social media, you should keep it under wraps. Don’t post where you are going or when you’ll be gone. Potential thieves are always on the lookout for easy targets. Posting your plans on social media lets them know when your home is most likely to be vacant.
Be aware of package thieves
More and more people are doing their holiday shopping online. That means more package deliveries – and more opportunities for thieves to steal them if they’re delivered while you aren’t home. Try to arrange the delivery date to coincide with a time you’re sure to be around. You could also arrange to have the item shipped to a local store where you can pick it up.
We know how festive it looks to have all your beautifully-wrapped gifts displayed under your tree. This can be an open invitation to thieves – especially if your tree is right in front of a window. It’s easy to break a window and quickly take off with those pretty packages. Store gifts and other packages away so they can’t be easily stolen.
Let your neighbors know your plans
One of the benefits of getting to know your neighbors is being able to alert them when you go out of town. You can ask your neighbor to keep an eye on your house and let you and the police know about any suspicious activity. In addition, be sure to have your sidewalks and driveways cleaned and your mail picked up or held while you’re away. Letting things pile up is a dead giveaway that nobody is home.
Be safe with your holiday lights
String lights and other décor can add such wonderful ambiance to any holiday setting. Unfortunately, they can also be a fire hazard. December is the worst month for electrical fires, so you should take steps to keep your home safe. Discard old or damaged lights. Turn off all holiday lights when you leave the house. Avoid overloading electrical outlets, which can overheat and start a fire (know more about what is surge protection here). For wirings, you can invest in heat shrink tubing as this will protect your wires and prolong their life.
Stay warm safely
Finally, this is the season where we turn on our furnaces and fire up our fireplaces. Before the cold weather really descends, have your furnace inspected and serviced. Clean the air ducts and replace filters. You should also have your chimney professionally cleaned before you begin using it for the season. Have fire extinguishers on hand and make sure they are not expired. Check the batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace as needed. They could save your life in an emergency.