The holidays bring joy and peace, but they can also bring package thieves, fire hazards, and the inevitable injury from trying to get the last decoration on top of the tree. From tried-and-true security methods to basic safety best practices, taking the appropriate precautionary measures will help keep your home and your loved ones safe this holiday season.
Home Security During the Holidays
Upgrade Your Locks
A poorly installed deadbolt can make it easy for an intruder to break in. Start by making sure that your door frames are in good condition and then look into getting a higher quality deadbolt. You’ll find everything from classic models with keys to digital options that require passcodes or a fingerprint.
It’s also a good idea to check all the locks on your windows. Older window locks can be easy to jimmy open with a little wiggling. For ground floor windows, you may want to consider installing double locks for added security.
Exterior and Interior Home Lighting
Having your exterior lights on timers or motion sensors is a good way to deter nighttime lurkers. Add sensor lights at your home’s key entry points including the front door, back door, and/or basement. If you have an unused side yard, consider lighting that area as well. Keeping your home well-lit makes unwanted visitors weary of being seen.
Traveling during the holidays is common. If you plan to be gone from your home for an extended period, consider using timed lighting options in your home to make it appear someone is around. You can select timers for bedrooms or living areas. Also, you can program a radio or smart home sound system to turn on and off.
You have many alarms to choose from, varying from motion detection kits you can install DIY to full-service home security systems. If you choose to do-it-yourself, you’ll want to prioritize installing motion detectors on doors and windows—especially those that can be easily accessed on the ground floor. In most cases, these kits also offer a 24-hour call service for an extra fee.
Full-service security systems can include everything from an alarm system and panic buttons to an integration with your smoke detectors/fire prevention system. These services are expensive up front but usually have a reasonable monthly rate. And keep in mind: having a home security system installed can also reduce your insurance rates.
Security cameras are widely available for home installation; install them in high-visibility areas to deter burglars. You can either install DIY or purchase a professional system, many of which come with support services. Nowadays, it’s common for these products to sync with your smartphone, making it easy to monitor your home while you’re away.
Build Your Community
Online community pages, Facebook groups, and programs like Neighborhood Watch can help you build close-knit relationships with your neighbors and help a community feel safe at home knowing its members are all looking out for each other.
Home Safety During the Holidays
Candle Safety Tips
Candles create the perfect ambience at home during the holidays but having more open flames in the house means you’ll want to take a few additional precautions. Test your smoke detectors and replace their batteries. Make sure you have a functioning fire extinguisher nearby, preferably in the living room or kitchen where you can access it at a moment’s notice. For more ways to prepare in case of a fire, read How to Prepare for a Fire at Home.
Lights Safety Best Practices
Before you string up your holiday lights, check all cords and outlets for signs of damage and make replacements as needed. Turn your lights off when leaving the house and before you go to bed—it’s safer and more energy efficient. You can either meter your light usage manually or with a smart home lighting device.
Safe Storage Tactics
It seems that a holiday season rarely passes without a decorating-related injury. Broken ornaments can be hazardous, especially if you have young children. Prevent accidents by securely storing your holiday decorations in easily accessible areas. Investing in high-quality containers will also extend the shelf-life of your décor.
Your holiday decorating will inevitably lead you to the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of your home, both indoors and outdoors. Ladder safety is paramount, especially if your local winters come with freezing temperatures and icy conditions. If that old rickety ladder in the garage is on its last leg, consider investing in a newer model. When decorating trim, ceilings, and the roof, it’s best to have another person stabilizing the ladder below you.
To learn more about home safety and security best practices, smart home technology, and more, read our Home Safety and Security blog post.
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