Holiday Safety Tips and Checklist
When thinking about holiday home protection, what usually comes to mind is the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year season. However, there are other holidays and they all bring different activities and or items into your home. You want to make sure you are able to feel protected no matter what time of the year it is.
The main holidays on the American calendar are New Years, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. They can be separated into the following distinct groups:
The Summer Holidays
These holidays which usually include time off from work are Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. What makes them unique is that they occur in the summer season. This is when it is warmer, the house may be open more often, the children are home from school and outdoor cooking is popular.
Summer holiday home protection tips include:
- If using a grill for cooking, make sure it is placed away from eaves, low hanging branches and the house.
- Check the propane tank (if using a gas barbecue grill) for leaks before firing it up.
- Refrain from squirting lighter fluid on charcoal that has been ignited in a grill.
- Make sure any pool activities include proper supervision of young children.
The Holiday Season
This festive season encompasses Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. It is a time when many items are brought into the home.
- Keep the Christmas tree away from heating vents, fireplaces, furnaces and space heaters.
- Use non-flammable Christmas decorations.
- String no more than three strands of lights together and use only UL approved lighting and decorations.
- Refrain from putting large decorations and statues on the roof.
- Properly secure any outdoor decorations to protect them from the wind, rain and snow.
With the winter season comes potential indoor and outdoor hazards to homeowners. It’s important to take proper precautions beforehand to ensure your safety:
- Install smoke alarms throughout the house; make sure they work and that everyone knows what they sound like.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home to alert you of the build up of carbon monoxide levels.
- Keep your walkways and driveways cleared of snow.
Consider installing a burglar alarm to help ward off any intruders. With over two million burglaries occurring in 2010 in the US (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/property-crime/burglarymain), a solid system which includes door and window motion sensors and alarms, a remote keypad panel and a central alarm unit is a must.
When you are away, lock all doors and windows (These are the most common point of intruder entry.). Make sure your house has a lived-in look by not allowing mail or papers to accumulate, having lights turn on and off and leaving a parked car in the driveway (if possible).
Get to know your neighbors. They can help you by watching the activity around your home when you are away and you can do the same for them.