Traveling during the holiday season always reminds me of the movie, Home Alone. A home filled with loved ones, everyone with their preferences, everyone rushing to meet the deadline, and at the end making it in time. Fortunately, we don’t leave a kid behind, never! Travel preparation during the holiday season can be a little too much. Managing work, bookings, gifts, and then sufficient rest.
Completing preparations is just the first step. Travelling is supposed to be the second but going away means leaving your house unattended. This is a concern. No matter how safe your neighborhood is, precautions are always good. Keeping your home safe is not just about keeping burglars out. It calls for complete management and a combination of things. While you prepare for your holidays this season, you will not have to worry about keeping your home safe. Why? Here’s a list of things you can do to keep your home safe during the holiday season.
1- The Basics
Let’s start with some basic precautions. It will include obvious things. Most of it you know already but a list is always good. No list of suggestions is good without the inclusion of something new. Read on to find a few things you may be overlooking that may just end up compromising your security.
Keep your plans offline
It is hard keeping away from social media. The reasons may vary which is why no one is asking you to banish it altogether. All you have to do is avoid posting your travel plans on social media. Details like your destination, departure/arrival times, and stay duration are sensitive information flows and can prove troublesome in the wrong hands. Even with the best security measures in place, leaving the house empty with someone knowing it is an open invitation.
Tell a neighbor
Have you heard that humans are social animals? I am sure you have. Being social also means knowing people around your living space. In this case, those are your neighbors. It is times like these when you realize how important it is to know your neighbors. Why? All precautions on one side and human supervision on the other. Notify a trusted neighbor before you leave. Ask them to keep an eye out and report any suspicious activity.
Lock your vehicle
With all the snow and cold out there, you may want to park the car inside the garage. How many of us actually do that? Let’s just skip that part and head right to it. You’re flying and the car is back at home, lock it! It’s obvious but the last minute hustle made you forget. Double check the car locks and be sure. A locked car is a safe car!
2- Fire Safety
This one is keeping the house safe from any accidents. Precautions from burglary come later. This one is to ensure that no accidents happen while you’re away. A little precaution goes a long way.
Furnace and Chimney
What makes winters fun? Warm clothes, hot beverages, and of course heating equipment. Despite their utility, they can also be hazardous when appropriate measures are not taken. U.S. Fire Administration department reports that around 2650 people were killed in 2008 due to house fires. Fires not only burn but also produces smoke which contains carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. These hazardous gasses can cause breathing troubles, migraine, and deaths in severe cases. This season when you’re looking after everything, it is a good time to renew batteries in your fire alarm, fire detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Clean up those chimneys and let the smoke leave the house. Stay away from fire and smoke. Stay safe!
Festive winters bring along happiness and joy. Celebrations, food, and gatherings. It is a good idea to check your lights for frayed wires or cracked bulbs. Why? December, according to US Fire Administration, is the deadliest month for electrical fires. These cracks and frays causes short circuits, which can lead to electrical fires. It is also better to turn off the decorative lights before you head out for the evening and before going to bed. You also need to check electrical sockets to ensure you are as far away from accidents as possible.
3- Deter Intruders
Going away for vacations means leaving the house empty. You have informed the neighbors and they will be vigilant. However, they are not a security company that will look out for your 24/7. They surely have their engagements and they will sleep at night. This leaves your house vulnerable and a break in can occur. There are a bunch of things that you can do about it.
Install a security system
There was a time when security systems were only for the rich and well off. That is not the case anymore. They have become affordable and conveniently easy to install. Most of these systems now require a nominal monthly subscription for monitoring. Let’s say that the alarm is triggered, then what? The company will call to ask if it went off by mistake. Once you tell them that it was not you, they then proceed to call the police. Putting up a security sign should also be enough to keep the burglars away but only a signboard will be bluffing. In short, a security system is the first amongst the tips to keep your home safe from burglars this holiday season.
Make it look like you’re home
Keeping out intruders is not as simple as it seems. You’re away and have no clue what is happening behind your back. Installing a security system is a solution but not the only one to ensure the desired outcome. Add some simple measures to the mix and you can be almost certain of a safe holiday. Rarely will a burglar try to break in if they know that the house is not empty. Use these simple tricks to keep them out!
The simplest of the task would be keeping the lights on at night. This will keep the burglars thinking that you are at home. Keeping them on during the day is not what you want. Since you’re not home, who will then turn them on in the evening? Smart lights is the answer. Get yourselves programmable lights. Of course, you will not have to punch in computer programming codes but merely set timers for the switches to turn. You can even get light bulbs that can be controlled through a smartphone app.
The next step with these smart lights would be to connect them with motion sensors. Leaving all the lights on during the evening is impractical. A motion sensor attached to the lights will sense movement and then turn on lights that you desire. Simply sync the motion sensor with the desired light and you have a mechanism that will fool the burglar.
Hold your mail
Many of you may know this already but this needs be on the list. Hold your mail before you leave for your holidays. Forgot to do that? USPS has made it easier for you. Go their website and put your mail on hold. If you are expecting an important package or something that may not fit in your mailbox, have a friend or neighbor collect it for you. An overcrowded mailbox is another invitation for intruders.
Arrange for snow removal
A driveway covered with snow is a testament to the fact that no one’s home. This serves as an invitation to burglars. That snow has to go. Either hire someone or find a helpful neighbor to shovel it for you. Shoveling a day keeps the burglars away!
Keep gifts out of sight
What a sight it is. A decorated Christmas tree visible from a frosted window. Gifts scattered beneath it. Sounds festive to me. This sight is also an invitation for a burglar to break in. It is almost as if these gifts were for them. Ensure that the tree and the gifts are not visible from outside. “Out of sight out of mind” is what they say!
4- One last thing
These are some tips that have kept me safe during the holiday season. They are simple, easy, and economical to follow. They proved to be useful over the years and I have not yet seen a broken window. Make a list of the things that you need to do to ensure that your home is safe. You are also welcomed to suggest some of your own tips. Happy Holidays!