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.