You can almost taste the excitement in the air!
As the family members begin gathering together, preparing large meals, and dragging out those holiday decorations from the attic - Christmas is nearly upon us!
Holiday safety tips and security concerns might be the last thing on your mind this Christmas, but that would be a mistake. The bottom line is that the holidays are not quite so peaceful for emergency rooms and police stations.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 14,700-holiday decorating-related ER-treated injuries occur each year between November and December!
And the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that crime can spike as much as 20% during the holiday season.
While it’s the season to be jolly, can we all agree that it’s vital to have a safe Christmas.
Rather than just winging it, here are our top Christmas safety tips for the festive season.
#1 - Christmas Tree Fire Safety
Nothing will scar a childhood memory quite like seeing the beloved tree engulfed in flames, along with all the Christmas presents.
Each year, the US Fire Administrationreports that holiday fires claim 400 American lives, injure more than 1,600, and cause in the region of $990 million in damages.
With all those festive lights on your christmas tree, it can easily overload your electrical circuits and cause fires.
But that being said, just follow a few simple safety tips and this won’t be an issue.
If you’re going to erect a natural Christmas tree, make sure that its branches aren’t dried out. Also, make sure it is well watered and far away from heat sources like fireplaces or furnaces.
When setting up festive lights, make sure that none are broken or have frayed wires. Don’t hang lights in fake trees with a metallic finish as it can cause an instant fire. Use outside-specific lights, and when you go to bed at night turn all the lights off, inside and outside. Also, never leave a hot stove unattended. It can be tempting to catch up on family gossip in the lounge, but someone should always have their eye on the cooking.
While candles do create a great ambiance, make sure that they are securely placed in a candle holder, and like the Christmas lights, put out when you’re asleep - or not in the room.
Finally, it’s always a good Christmas safety tip to double check that all the smoke alarms are working, as it’s impossible to be everywhere at once! Remember to change the batteries at least once a year. Also, take this time to make sure that you have working fire extinguishers in your home.
#2 - Beware the Dangers of Christmas Shopping
It’s the season for giving, which means you’ll be shopping!
In busy malls across the land, there will be millions of people in your shoes, which means there may be thieves wanting to take advantage of consumers overloaded with gifts!
Rather than becoming a victim, make sure that if you’re shopping at night always have a friend accompany you. A lonely shopper is an easy target.
Try to carry the least amount of cash on your person, and remember not to leave items on the back seat of the car if you're unloading to get more presents, rather put gifts in the trunk.
Remember this holiday safety tip rhyme: stash it, don't flash it.
Also, don’t wear flashy jewelry, as thieves can be very similar to Magpies, they’re attracted to shiny objects.
Then secondly don’t walk around glued to your phone when going about your shopping routine, criminals thrive on opportunities and a distracted individual is an easy target.
So, don't let them catch you unawares!
When returning to your car in the parking lot make sure the first thing you do is lock the doors as soon as you’ve climbed into the vehicle. A simple tactic for carjackers is to simply wait for a distracted driver to fumble with their keys, and if you’re busy they simply open a back door and climb straight into the backseat. Let’s just say they’re bound to be a terrible backseat driver. And remember that during the Christmas break the roads are incredibly busy. Alarmingly a Value Penguin study predicts that over the break there will be an estimated 231 fatalities.
Once again let’s say this with feeling: no drinking and driving over the holidays (although that’s a given any time of the year).
#3 - Hide Your Stash
As you return from the shopping center, we’re sure that you’re chomping at the bit to place the gifts under the tree. But before you do, make sure that your presents aren’t visible from outside the house.
It’s a hard reality, but the truth is Christmas Safety Tip Number One is to make it difficult for potential robbers to see what’s on offer for them to take.
This insight also extends to what you share on social media, as burglars have been known to utilize those channels to get a sneak peek, and yes, it’s pretty easy when you geo-tag your posts…
Then it’s worth knowing that according to a SecureAlert report, the typical burglar lives within 2 miles of the victim, and in fact may know them. Because these potential robbers know the layout of your home all year round, at Christmas time they’ll be looking for that extra vulnerable spot.
Example of vulnerability: leaving a power cable through an open window. This small gap will allow burglars the opportunity to pry open windows and gain access to the home.
#4 Make Sure It Looks Like You Are At Home
Criminals are opportunists. They know that people travel during the holidays, which makes for easy targets. If they think you’re not at home, they are much more likely to take a chance at breaking in. After all, Christmas is the time when everything is boxed up and easy to take away.
Installing motion sensor lights, putting the lights on a timer (in and outside), or leaving the television on while out will help create the illusion that there are people still at home.
If you’re away on a longer trip, stop your mail at the post office or ask one of your neighbors to pick up your mail. Nothing advertises you’re not home like a wad of letters stuffed in a mailbox.
Most burglaries take place during the day and according to a recent study that asked convicted burglars about their criminal habits - most weren’t fazed by lights on in the house, but the sound of a TV or radio was a massive deterrent.
One criminal even suggested that the best and cheapest security hack is, when away, always leave your TV on the loudest setting. The neighbors might start to hate you, but at least your home will sound lived in.
#5 Christmas Home Security
In our modern world with flying drones and wireless camera connections, the best solution to your Christmas security concerns is still a physical barrier. AKA: a strong ass door. After all, nearly 85% of all burglars break in through a door.
This might be surprising, but it only takes about 10 seconds for a stiff kick or a crowbar to open a door. During the holidays, thieves have been known to pose as fundraisers, going door-to-door, and then kicking it in when no one answers.
Reinforcing your exterior doors this Christmas will ensure your home is safe, both for this holiday and for the rest of your life. While it may seem like windows are an easier target, breaking a window actually makes more noise than kicking in a door and it’s hard to take your new 85-inch flat screen out through a window...
One solution that you might want to consider is Armor Concepts Max Plus Comb Set on your front door. This kit comes with reinforcement for the door, locks and an anti-prying solution.
Also, make sure that all of your doors have deadbolts installed. For doors with glass, make sure to install a two-way deadbolt (one that must be opened with a key from both the inside and outside).
Installing a Door Armor unit takes roughly half an hour and it has been shown to stand up to a battering ram in independent tests.
There is no feeling worse than coming home from a great Christmas vacation or evening out to find that your home has been robbed. So use these home security tips to keep the bad guys out and keep the Christmas joy inside.
#6 Maybe It’s Time to Adopt a Security Solution
Installing an alarm system might deter criminals from breaking into your home this Christmas, but a big, bad dog might be one of the best deterrents to keep burglars at bay.
When asked in a questionnaire what they were more afraid of, most burglars said that a sizeable, loud dog was often a no-go for them. Smaller yappy hounds didn’t seem to bother most - so size does matter.
The same questionnaire also indicated that alarms weren’t considered a significant threat because experienced thieves understand that it often takes police more than 20 minutes to respond to an alarm and they know that they will be in and out in under 5 minutes. During the holidays, the loot is right out in the open, which makes their job that much easier.
So, if you’re looking for a security solution that the entire family will love, get a sizeable and loveable dog. Make it a Christmas gift for your kids and you can get home security, a loving pet and a happy family all in one!
Just remember that dogs do need to be trained and cared for and that the puppy will probably go with you or will go to the kennel if you go away so don’t forget about the tips above.
You’re All Set For a Safe and Secure Christmas
Now that you’ve followed our Christmas holiday safety tips, your home should be as safe as it is jolly.
All that’s left for us to do is wish you all the best for the season ahead, and if you’re looking to secure your home feel free to browse through our selection of amazingly security solutions here.
Use the coupon code SAFEXMAS at checkout for 15% off all orders between now and the end of the year.
Merry Christmas to one and all!