Keeping Your Family Safe During the Holidays 

Keeping Your Family Safe During the Holidays 

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 20:58

‘Tis the season for lights, gifts, traveling, eating, and, hopefully, enjoying the magic of the holidays. Before you head off to another party or head to the store for more eggnog, take a few moments to remind yourself of some essential tips to keep your family safe during this time of year. 

Think About Security 

Thieves and burglars do not take a holiday vacation; in fact, there is an uptick in thefts and incidents this time of year. People may be traveling, expensive gifts may be under the tree… it can make your home and family a target. To prevent this:

  • Do not leave the boxes for expensive gifts out on the curb. Whether you bought your child a pricey new game system or gifted your partner with an expensive flatscreen, leaving the boxes out for trash or recycling is just advertising what you have inside. 
  • Keep gifts out of sight. A brightly lit tree with beautifully wrapped gifts underneath makes for a perfect picture-postcard scene - and it is awfully tempting to burglars. All they have to do is smash through the window and grab that game system or TV. Keep items out of sight.
  • Prepare for deliveries. If you are expecting packages and cannot be home, leave instructions with the delivery company. Maybe they can drop them off at a trusted neighbor’s, for example. You can also rent a package locker; if you have Amazon Prime, you can access one for free. 
  • Keep your travel plans offline. If you’re planning a vacation, do not mention it on social media. This shines a digital spotlight on your home, announcing when it will be empty. 

Also, if you are traveling be sure to stop newspaper and package deliveries, set lights on a smart timer, and notify a trusted neighbor so they can be on the watch for suspicious activities. 

Be Smart About Fire Prevention 

There is also a general increase in the number of house fires during the holiday season and winter: because we’re heating our homes and using lights and other decorations, it can increase our risk. To keep your family and home safe:

  • Check the batteries in your smoke/CO2 detectors. It is also a good idea to have a fire alarm that connects directly to a security call center so if there is a problem (especially when you are away from home), dispatchers can get help on the way immediately.
  • Make sure that you have your furnace and/or chimney cleaned and serviced ASAP.
  • Be cautious if you use space heaters. Do not leave them on when you are away from home, and use models with an automatic shutoff.
  • Be careful about candles or use flameless options that are just as pretty! 
  • Inspect every strand of lights to ensure there are no cracked bulbs or frayed wires.
  • Turn off interior and exterior lights when you go to bed. You can also use a smart timer. 
  • Be sure to water your tree. If you have a Christmas tree with lights, be sure to fill the basin with water. If you don’t, the needles can get dry and become excellent kindling. A problem with lights, for example, can ignite a fire. Keep the tree away from heat sources. 
  • Make sure you know how to use your fire extinguisher. 

Give Safely - And Eat Safely! 

Gifts and feasts… what would the holidays be without them! Keep safety in mind:

  • If you’re giving gifts to young children, be sure they are age-appropriate to avoid choking risks. Avoid toys with small batteries, magnets, or that require an outlet until children are older. 
  • If you’re giving a lucky kid a bike, scooter, or other gear, make sure to get them the right safety equipment as well (e.g. helmets).
  • Be aware of allergies or dietary requirements when giving food treats.
  • When preparing food, make sure to wash your hands frequently, especially if you are handling items like chicken and eggs. 
  • Keep raw meat away from your produce and use separate utensils to avoid cross-contamination. 
  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure your turkey, ham, roast, etc., are cooked at a safe temperature.
  • Refrigerate food within two hours of when you serve it. 

Don’t Forget About Your Pets! 

To keep your furry friends safe and happy: 

  • Avoid giving your pets too many scraps; this can upset their bellies - and many human foods are not safe for them. 
  • Put plants like poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe out of reach.
  • If your pet likes to play with the ornaments, use shatterproof decorations and place them higher on the tree. 
  • If you can, make sure pets have a quiet place to retreat to when guests come over. It can be overwhelming - or they may be much too successful in their attempts to beg for food!

The Integrity Security team wishes you a happy and safe holiday season! If we can make it even more secure, please contact us today.