From buying gifts to hanging lights, there’s a lot to keep track of this holiday season — but safety and security should be your top concerns. Check out these holiday home safety tips to protect yourself against fire hazards, break-ins, and package thefts.
1. Protect Your Packages
Online sales dominate the holiday shopping market, which can pose security risks if you leave your deliveries unattended. Packages left on your porch are susceptible to theft, especially without proper security precautions.
If you have a surveillance setup, make sure at least one camera captures your front entryway. Simply having a security camera above your doorbell or porch may steer thieves away. Next, consider setting up a secure location for packages. Many people use parcel boxes, chests, and designated hiding spots behind porch furniture to keep their deliveries out of sight.
2. Install Outdoor Lighting
December marks the longest nights of the year, which can leave your property unprotected in the morning and evening. Outdoor lighting gives you better security and safety, letting surveillance cameras pick up more details and giving you better visibility when walking.
Most security lighting can easily mix with your decorative setup. Consider investing in brighter holiday lights that illuminate your front and back yard. Some high-quality string lights may be able to replace your security lights during the holiday season. Even if they can’t, bright LED Christmas decorations can still complement your outdoor security setup.
3. Don’t Overload Outlets
Holiday lights, animatronics, and electric decorations can quickly pile up your power outlets, particularly near your tree. Overloading outlets can blow your house’s fuse and create fire hazards, especially if any cords are loose. Stretch electric decorations across different outlets, be aware of where you plug lights into, and consider investing in surge protectors for extra security.
4. Water Your Tree
If you have a real tree this holiday season, remember to water it frequently. A well-watered tree lasts longer and looks nicer. Most importantly, trees that aren’t watered regularly are more likely to dry out and can become serious fire hazards — especially near heat sources.
Keep your Christmas tree away from fireplaces, heaters, and fire exits while setting it up. Make sure you have enough room to water it comfortably. Then, consider setting a refill reminder on your phone or calendar.
5. Time Your Indoor Lights
Making your house look like someone is home can ward off intruders and break-ins while you travel. Fortunately, you don’t need a Michael Jordan cutout or an innovative trap from “Home Alone” to pull this off. Many people simply put their house lights on a timer.
Lights connected to your home security system can be programmed to automatically shut on or off as needed. This gives the illusion of activity in your home, even if you’re away for weeks. Plus, pets may appreciate having extra light after the sun sets early.
6. Check Your Smoke Detectors
Holiday lights, trees, wrapping paper, and extra food in the oven can pose more fire hazards than your home is used to. You should always double-check your smoke detectors, alarm systems, and fire safety equipment during the holidays, even if you recently replaced the batteries.
A small flame can become a serious issue in under a minute, so every second counts. Updated smoke detectors certify that no warning signs are missed and give you as much time to respond as possible.
Checking and replacing your fire alarms is also important for peace of mind. Oversensitive or defective smoke detectors may go off as soon as you put anything in the oven, ruining your holiday vibe. False alarms also impair your sense of safety.
7. Use Candles Sparingly
Candles provide a beautiful, lively aesthetic and may even be part of your holiday traditions. However, they can also create fire hazards, so you should be careful and intentional when using them.
Keep candles away from your tree, decorations, and other flammable materials. Extinguish them when people are moving around, such as when wrapping and opening presents, and never leave them unattended — especially if you have pets. Consider investing in LED candles and lights for a safer ambience.
8. Dispose of Packaging Discretely
Expensive gifts with large boxes may make you a target for theft if you don’t cover them up. For example, a large, rectangular TV box next to your dumpster will tell everyone you just bought a TV. So, break down boxes before recycling them, and consider putting anything with visible logos in trash bags.
9. Avoid Sharing Your Travel Plans Online
Posting about your exciting holiday is a great way to share your joy with friends, family members, and others in your online network. However, you should be careful about what you publish on social media. Some details, such as vacations and photos of expensive gifts, may pose security risks.
Avoid posting specific holiday plans, especially any dates when you’ll be on vacation or visiting family. While on the trip, avoid posting public stories that you’re away, as it may alert intruders that your home is empty. Instead, consider saving some of your best photos and memories until you return home.
10. Secure Your Entry Points
Robbery, personal larceny, and other crimes increase by about 20% during December, making the holiday season the most important time to secure your home. Make sure all doors and first-floor windows are secured with cameras, glass break sensors, automatic door locks, and other security devices. Then, consider pairing your existing surveillance setup with remote monitoring to catch all unusual activity, even when you’re away.
Learn More Holiday Home Safety Tips
Our holiday safety tips should help you prepare your family and property for the season’s festivities. However, every home is different, so you may need to take a few extra security precautions.
Alarm Detection Systems will help identify your property’s biggest concerns to keep your family safe all winter. Request a quote today to find out more.
About Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Alarm Detection Systems is one of the largest alarm firms in the country. Family-owned since 1968, we provide business alarms, fire alarms, card access, security cameras, and home security systems. Proudly servicing Chicagoland, Northern Illinois, Northwest Indiana, and Southern Wisconsin in the Midwest. Call us at 630.844.6300 for more information.