December 2, 2014 12:41 am
Despite these statistics, there are effective ways to reduce the likelihood of being victim to these holiday hazards. Porch.com recommends these five tips to keep your home and family safe this holiday season.
1. Prevent Christmas tree fires – The U.S. Fire Administration reports that one out of every three Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. Make sure to only use indoor UL-listed lights for decorating your tree and always turn off the tree lights at night and when you leave your home. If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it stays fresh by watering it regularly. Dry trees are more flammable, and at higher risk to catch on fire. When using artificial trees, make sure the tree is labeled as “fire resistant.”
2. Check your smoke detector batteries – Test every smoke and carbon monoxide detector in your house and change out the batteries. This is a simple and inexpensive way to protect your home, and should be done every few months throughout the year.
3. Use your home security system – Security systems will deter criminals from breaking into your home. In fact, cities and neighborhoods that have a higher number of security installs have lower burglary rates.
4. Don’t give burglars reasons to break in – The FBI reports that around 400,000 home burglaries occur during November and December each year. Leaving valuable items out in the open and near doors and windows will make your home an easy target for quick break-ins. Wrapped or unwrapped, if you need to leave valuables and gifts out in the open, simply draw the blinds or cover them so they aren’t easily seen.
5. Make it look like you’re home, even when you’re not – Whether you are gone on an extended holiday or just out for holiday dinner, burglars watch for homes that have no activity. Make sure you have an automatic light timer for your indoor lights, and set the timer to change the turn-on time regularly. (Burglars will notice if your lights come on at 5 p.m. every day, for example.) For your outdoor lights, install motion sensor lighting. Have a friend or family member check on your house periodically while you are gone on vacation. In some cities you can even request the police to do “vacation checks,” where they will drive by your home a few times to make sure there is no suspicious activity.
Published with permission from RISMedia.