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5 Ways to Protect Your Home During the HolidaysGoehring & Morgan•December 21, 2016
Don’t let an unexpected mishap or thieves steal your family’s Christmas or ruin your holiday celebration.
More than 400,000 burglaries happen during the holidays, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In addition, holiday lights can pose a safety hazard that leads to a house fire.
To avoid any potential misfortune, take these five steps to protect yourself, your family and your home this month.
Think Before You Post
We all love posting on social media, whether it’s sharing photos of important celebrations, exotic vacations or designer goods our loved ones have surprised us with for the holidays. But it’s better to resist the temptation to show off all the gifts underneath your holiday tree this year. Also be careful about alerting people when your house will be empty. Burglars scour social media for this kind of information and can cross-reference other data they find online to determine when it’s most opportune to commit their crimes. Not everything needs to be shared on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, so think before you post.
Be Careful About Holiday Lights, Christmas Trees and Candles
December is a peak month for home fires and it’s also the time of year when fires caused by candles increase. Candles add to your holiday decor, but they also pose a safety risk. To keep your home safe, keep candles a safe distance away from flammable objects before you light them. If you have a real Christmas tree, water it every day to keep it from drying out and sparking a fire. Keep the tree at least three feet away from items that produce heat and always turn off the lights on your tree before you go to bed. Also be careful about how you store holiday lights. Don’t store partially damaged lights for next year — just throw them away — and wrap each set of lights in individual plastic bags or around a piece of cardboard to minimize the risk of a fire.
Secure Your Home
Install motion sensors that can detect movement around your home and set off an alarm when someone may be trespassing. Even if you don’t get motion sensors, install a home security system that you can activate when you leave for a holiday vacation. That way if a burglar breaks into a window or unlocks a door, your home security company will be alerted and can call the police to check on your home. Another tip: secure your trash, too. If you’ve gotten a new plasma TV or other expensive electronics, tear up the packaging and place it in a black trash so thieves won’t know what valuables are in your home.
Redirect Your Mail
If you won’t be home over the holidays, it’s critical that you don’t unintentionally alert potential burglars of your absence. If you can’t have a family member or friend pick up your mail, call your local post office and ask them to hold your mail until you return. Also do the same thing with deliveries and subscriptions.
Check Your Insurance Policy
In addition to the physical steps you take to protect your home, there’s also an intangible: your homeowners insurance. Make sure your policy is updated and includes any valuables or expensive items you’ve recently purchased (consider adding a jewelry rider to your policy, too). Most policies cover fire damage, including those caused by holiday hazards, but review your policy to be doubly sure.
During the holidays, nearly 60 percent of Americans don’t follow common safety measures to protect their homes from theft and nearly 50 percent don’t follow safety measures to protect their home from a fire. Don’t be one of them. Take steps to protect your home from a burglar and from a fire — not only during the holidays, but every day of the year.