With Christmas just around the corner, as you decorate, cook, and celebrate, here are some essential tips to keep your home safe during the Christmas festivities.
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Many families are preparing to decorate their homes, host gatherings, and exchange gifts. However, in the midst of all the merriment, it’s important not to forget about the safety of your home.
- Secure Your Home: Start by ensuring all entry points to your home are secure. Check that doors and windows are properly locked, including any sliding glass doors. This may seem like an obvious step, but in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to forget to secure these areas.
- Use Timers for Lights: When decorating your home with festive lights, consider using timers to control when they are on and off. Timers can give the appearance that someone is home, even if you’re out at a holiday party or visiting friends and family. This can be an effective deterrent for potential burglars. Consider getting a ring doorbell camera* that you can use to see guests arriving or people knocking at your door, parcel deliveries or unwanted visitors. This also can act as a deterant to anyone who thinks they may be on camera near your home, from breaking in or coming into your property.
- Avoid Overloading Electrical Circuits: Holiday decorations often involve a multitude of lights, inflatables, and other electric ornaments. Be cautious not to overload electrical circuits, which can lead to fires. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and never daisy-chain too many extensions cords together.
- Keep Your Tree Watered: If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure to keep it well-watered. Dry trees can become a fire hazard, especially when surrounded by hot lights and electrical decorations. Check the water level regularly to keep your tree hydrated.
- Place Candles Safely: Candles are a lovely addition to holiday decor, but they pose a significant fire risk. Ensure candles are placed in sturdy, non-flammable holders, and keep them away from flammable materials. Always extinguish candles before leaving a room or going to bed. Or you could look at flameless candles* as an alternative that are much safer, particularly if you have children and pets.
- Inspect and Maintain Heating Systems: The holiday season often falls during the coldest months of the year. Ensure that your heating systems, whether it’s a furnace, fireplace, or space heaters, are in good working order. Clean chimneys and replace furnace filters if needed.
- Practice Safe Cooking: Cooking is a significant part of the holiday season, but it can also be a source of accidents. Never leave cooking unattended, especially when using stovetops or deep fryers. Keep flammable items away from the stove, and have a fire extinguisher readily accessible.
- Be Mindful of Decorations: When decorating, consider the placement of ornaments and decorations. Avoid blocking exits and pathways, which can hinder evacuation in case of an emergency. Additionally, ensure that decorations are not placed near open flames or heaters.
- Keep an Eye on Children and Pets: The holidays are exciting for both children and pets. Keep an eye on them, especially around decorations, cords, and choking hazards. Toxic plants like poinsettias and mistletoe should be kept out of their reach.
- Travel Safely: If you plan to travel during the holiday season, take steps to make it look like someone is home. Ask a neighbor or friend to collect mail, newspapers, and packages, and use timers for indoor and outdoor lights to create the illusion of activity.
- Be Wary of Online Shopping Scams: Online shopping is a common activity during the holidays. Be cautious of online scams and only purchase from reputable websites. Avoid sharing personal and financial information over insecure networks.
- Protect Your Identity: With the increase in online shopping and financial transactions, it’s crucial to protect your personal and financial information. Use strong, unique passwords for online accounts, and consider using two-factor authentication where available.
- Prevent Package Theft: Porch pirates are active during the holiday season. If possible, arrange for packages to be delivered to a secure location or use delivery lockers. You can also request signature confirmation for deliveries to ensure they don’t get left unattended.
- Monitor Home Security: If you have a home security system, ensure it is in good working order. You can also install security cameras and motion-activated lights to deter potential intruders.
- Plan for Emergencies: Finally, have a plan in case of emergencies. Ensure all family members know how to exit the home safely, where to meet outside, and have a designated person to call in case of a fire or other emergencies.
Think about how to keep your home safe during the Christmas festivities may seem a bit boring and health and safety orientated but it’s worth taking those few precuations and planning for accidents or emergencies to keep everyone celebrating happily and safely and ending the year and starting a new one all in one piece and happy and healthy. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared and safe.