The Holidays are a time filled with cheer and joy, family and friends, good food and celebration. With bright decorations, beautifully wrapped gifts and a home that smells of sweets and treats, it’s a wonderful time of year.
But with all the decorations, shopping, and fun, it's easy to forget some very basic things that can help you keep your home, your family and your belongings safe this holiday season.
Be careful with your Christmas tree
December is the deadliest month for electrical fires. Before you string lights on your tree or your house, inspect the cords for frayed areas. If you haven’t gotten new lights in many years, you may want to consider getting new lights with cords that have been tested by an independent laboratory, like the Underwriters Laboratory. Also, be sure to turn the holiday lights off when you go out for the evening or when you go to bed. You might want to incorporate an outdoor timer to switch lights on and off.
And while you’re at it, if you have a live tree, be sure to water it daily! Be diligent and avoid fires in your home!
Watch where you put your wrapped gifts
If you generally leave your window treatments open so everyone can see the beautiful lights from the street at night, be careful where you put wrapped gifts. Putting beautifully wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree looks nice, but it’s also makes it easy for thieves to break a window and grab the gifts without much effort.
Don’t announce your plans to the world
If you are planning to travel during the holiday season, don’t post it all over social media networks. Posting where you’re going, when you are leaving and when you’ll be back is akin to leaving your door unlocked because you’re letting everyone know when your home will be empty!
Tell a neighbor
If you are planning to go out of town during the holiday season, notify a trusted neighbor. Ask him to keep an eye on your house and report any suspicious activity. If this holiday season includes a lot of snow, you’ll want to be request that he or she clears your sidewalk and driveway, picks up your newspaper and your mail. Try to make your house look as though you’re at home.
Take out the trash – carefully
Setting out the empty box that your new 50” tv came in tells burglars where to go for the latest in electronics. While it’s sad to think we have to be so careful this time of year, cutting that box down into smaller pieces that can be placed in the trash can is time well spent.
Inspect the furnace and the chimney
Heating-equipment, like furnaces, space heaters & fireplaces can cause many fires this time of year. Take the time to have a professional inspect your furnace and have your chimney cleaned. Check all electrical cords on heaters to make sure that you have no frayed cords that could cause a fire and be sure to turn them off when you leave the room or the home.
The holidays indeed are the most wonderful time of the year, as long as you take the precautions you need to keep you and your family safe from harm.