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Kimberly Blackford  by Kimberly Blackford

There is something about the holidays that makes us want to feel comfortable and safe in our homes. Maybe that feeling comes from being surrounded by family and friends, or perhaps because of the more frequent smiles from neighbors as well as strangers when we’re out and about in town. Either way, nothing beats that peaceful feeling the holidays bring each year. But, sadly the holiday season poses even more threat to our homes and family than any other time throughout the year.

While you may be feeling more generous, open and friendly to others, this is a not an emotion shared by everyone during the holidays. Often this time of the year finds many individuals more desperate than ever, with many resorting to activities that can endanger your family’s safety as well as your home. And, besides the exterior dangers that threaten your family’s safety, all those beautiful holiday light decorations, space heaters keeping rooms toasty and warm, and crackling fireplaces cause a fair share of fire catastrophes every year. “Having a safe and secure home does not mean protecting it from burglary alone. Maintaining a safe home environment also includes fire safety as well. And, families are just as serious about protecting their pets from fire, as they are themselves. Many of our customers install fire and burglary systems for pet protection alone,” says Curtis Blackford, a Security Specialist from one of the country’s leading home security companies. “Alarm systems are now so easy to use with the current smart phone technology available and the price is so affordable each month, it is an easy decision to make in order to protect your family and your home. And, these systems include fire protection as well making the level of protection for your family even greater.”

Sadly all throughout the holiday season crime rates soar. Whether it's the mall parking lot or a home invasion while away at grandmother’s house, families need to be aware of how to protect themselves from harm in all sorts of situations. Although it may seem like the holidays are one big danger zone, taking some thoughtful steps and preventative measures to keep your family safe throughout the holidays now, will result in peace of mind in the upcoming year.

These basic ways to protect your family and home from a burglary will ease your family’s mind and make your time away from home more enjoyable and stress-free.

living room with curtains closed for safety

  • Like many families who travel to relative’s homes throughout the holiday for an extended period of time, try to create the illusion that someone may still be there. Leave a TV or stereo on in a room that a burglar most likely would break into. Keep the blinds or curtains in this room closed so it will not be obvious someone is not present. It also protects any expensive items in your home from being readily seen.
    motion detector lighting

  • Use exterior lighting and motion detectors to minimize burglar concealment.

    home door lock with key

  • Make sure all exterior doors have proper locking mechanisms. Install 1-inch deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. And, keep garage doors shut at all times. This eliminates the possibility of someone waiting in a dark garage for your to return as well as someone having availability to tools and ladders that could be used to break into your own home.

  • Do not leave extra keys under doormats for people to check on the cat or water the plants. This is the first place a thief will look for them. Dropping the key into a potted plant on the front porch is also a common spot. Instead of hiding them outdoors, leave a spare key with a trustworthy neighbor or nearby family member. And, do not give your key to a workman.

  • Burglar proof your glass patio doors by placing a metal bar or pipe in the bottom track of the door slide. The pipe or bar should always be the same length as the track.

  • Keep all valuables in a safe or safety deposit box.

  • Never tape notes to your exterior doors for service people, neighbors or family members. This is a dead giveaway you aren’t currently at home.

  • It can also be a good idea to lower the volume on your home phone’s telephone ring especially if you have a condo in a building type structure where others can hear the phone not being answered.

  • If you plan to leave your home more than a few days, then have a neighbor or friend collect your mail and newspapers. Never cancel delivery because you do not know who has that information available to them. This trusted friend and neighbor would also be mindful to any strange activity near your home since they are aware of your departure.

  • Arrange for a friend or neighbor to mow the lawn or shovel snow if you will be gone for an extended period of time.

  • Never advertise you will not be home on social media sites like facebook or twitter.
    home alarm keypad

  • Install a security system that offers comprehensive fire and burglary coverage. A quality system can be extremely affordable while offering added peace of mind.

Home Fire Safety

Your holiday home has never looked so beautiful. With all the twinkling lights, soft light from candles lit and a cozy fireplace emitting a warm glow, the place looks fabulous and very inviting. Unfortunately with all that beauty comes danger. There is a reason why it always seems the news is flooded each winter with horrific stores of devastating fires in homes and businesses. Fire is more likely to occur in the winter months when space heaters, fireplaces, candles and other flammable products are more often in use. Be proactive this year and take safety measures for preventing a fire.

Below are some easy ways to maintain a safe home free of fire hazards:

  • When buying, building or renovating a home make sure all roofing materials are fire resistant.

    lit candles

  • Never leave candles or other open flames unattended.

  • Douse cigarette or cigar butts in water before throwing them into the trash.

  • Do not leave hot irons, burning stovetops and outdoor grills unattended when in use. And, always double check to make sure they have been turned off after use.

  • Clear and dispose of dead and dry vegetation throughout your yard.

  • Store firewood and other combustibles away from your home.

  • Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home. For the best fire protection, install both ionization and photoelectric-type smoke alarms. Put alarms inside or near every bedroom. Test them frequently and put in new batteries once a year.

  • Coordinate a fire escape plan with your family. Assign two exits for every room and pick a designated meeting area outside. Remember to hold a family fire drill at least once a year.

  • Make sure your address is visible to firefighters whether it’s located on your home, the street curb or mailbox.

  • Get a carbon monoxide detector for every level of your home. If you have a propane or natural gas stove, range, water heater, dryer or furnace in your home, it is very important to have a way to detect carbon monoxide in the air. This gas is poisonous, tasteless, colorless and odorless making it deadly.
    emergency supplies

  • Even when all precautions are in place accidents can arise, so always be sure to have fire extinguishers available so any minor fire doesn’t become a catastrophe. Place an extinguisher in the kitchen and make sure each family member is comfortable using the device.

Even though an unfamiliar face in the neighborhood or a candle with a particularly high flame left lit in an unattended room don’t at first seem like anything to think twice over, being mindful of your home’s appearance at all times can mean a safer environment for you and your family. Take cues from these important tips above all year round and keep yourself less stressed about protecting everything important in your life.

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