Here are 20 important tips for a safe and happy holiday season.

December 18, 2023
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The holiday season is synonymous with joy, family, and warmth. However, amidst the festive cheer, it’s crucial not to overlook one significant aspect – home safety. More activities at home can lead to more accidents and security concerns. This blog post will guide you through 20 essential tips to ensure that your holiday season remains as safe as it is merry. Let’s make our homes safe and cozy for the holidays.

Day 1: Understand Your Security System

The first day of our holiday safety journey starts with your home’s first line of defense – the security system. Make sure your security system is armed, whether you’re out shopping for gifts or in bed dreaming of sugarplums. For those with Guardian Protection services, remember to set your system to “Away” mode when you’re out. If you forget to activate your system, an Arming Reminder Notification can help you remember to do it.

Day 2: Fire Risks and Smoke Detectors

The statistics from the Red Cross are a sobering reminder of the increased fire risks during the holidays. Your smoke and heat detectors are silent guardians, alerting you to the first sign of trouble. Test each detector to make sure they work properly, because they are very important for detecting fires early.

Day 3: Unplug your Christmas tree to protect it.

Holiday decorations, particularly Christmas trees, are a quintessential part of the festive season. However, they also pose a potential fire risk. Unplugging your tree lights when they’re not in use is a simple yet effective way to reduce this risk. For those with smart homes, using a smart plug to control your tree lights can add convenience and an extra layer of safety.

Day 4: Thwarting Package Thieves

In the age of online shopping, porch pirates have become a real concern, especially during the holiday season. Getting Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals is great until your packages are delivered to the wrong address. This is where technology, specifically Guardian’s Video Doorbell Pro, steps in as a game-changer. The doorbell camera isn’t just a passive observer; it’s a proactive protector of your holiday goodies.

This smart doorbell has special features like a wide view, night vision, and two-way audio. These features are not just convenient, but important for your home security. Imagine being able to talk directly to a porch pirate through your phone, no matter where you are. Additionally, smart mobile alerts keep you informed in real-time, ensuring that you’re always one step ahead.

Beyond technology, there are practical steps you can take. Consider scheduling deliveries when you’re home or opting for in-store pickups. You can ask your neighbors to collect packages for you. It’s important to be cautious and use smart technology to keep your valuable items safe, especially with increased online shopping.

Day 5: Heating Equipment and Home Comfort

As the December chill sets in, the warmth of our homes becomes more inviting. Often, this means relying on heating equipment like space heaters, which, while effective, come with their risks. Heating equipment is a major cause of fire deaths in the U.S., especially in winter. This statistic isn’t meant to scare but to prepare.

Firstly, the placement of your heating equipment is crucial. Keep it away from anything flammable – curtains, furniture, and holiday decorations. This might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked in the hustle of holiday preparations. Also, always turn off your heating equipment when it’s not being monitored. Unattended heaters are accidents waiting to happen.

Your smart home can also play a vital role here. Using smart plugs with timers can automate turning off heaters, adding an extra layer of safety. Imagine the peace of mind knowing that even if you forget, your smart home hasn’t. This simple integration of smart technology can be a significant step in preventing those all-too-common winter fires.

Day 6: Christmas Tree Fire Hazards.

Christmas trees can be a fire hazard if not handled properly, despite being a symbol of joy and festivity during the season. The NFPA’s statistics reveal a startling truth: when Christmas tree fires do occur, they are more likely to be serious. This information isn’t to dampen the holiday spirit but to encourage a more mindful celebration.

For those who love the authentic experience of a real tree, maintenance is key. Regularly watering your tree keeps it from drying out and becoming a fire risk. Also, positioning is important. Keep your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, and even heating vents. This might require some rearranging, but safety should always take precedence.

Search for artificial trees that are labelled as “fire-resistant.” These trees are not fire-proof, but they are less likely to catch fire, which can help prevent holiday tragedies. Always remember to turn off tree lights and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed. A simple habit like this can be the difference between a holiday to remember and one you’d rather forget.

Day 7: Protecting Your Home and Gifts from Burglars

The holiday season often sees an uptick in home burglaries, with homes filled with new and often expensive gifts. It’s essential to keep your home and valuables safe from prying eyes. A good strategy is to keep your gifts out of sight from windows or other easily visible places. A decorated tree with gifts underneath can be appealing, but it can also attract unwanted attention. Additionally, be mindful of how you dispose of packaging. Boxes of expensive electronics or luxury items left out by the curb can be a beacon for burglars. Break down boxes and dispose of them discreetly. This small step can significantly reduce the risk of your home being targeted.

Guardian’s monitoring centers play a crucial role in burglary detection, offering round-the-clock surveillance. Knowing that your home is being monitored 24/7, even when you’re not there, can provide a great deal of peace of mind during what should be a joyful time of the year.

Day 8: Pet Safety During the Holidays

Our furry friends are often mesmerized by the allure of a Christmas tree. The twinkling lights, dangling ornaments, and the scent of pine can be irresistible to curious pets. However, Christmas trees and pets aren’t always the best combination. To keep both safe, a few precautions are necessary.

Creating a physical barrier, like a baby gate, can prevent pets from getting too close to the tree. If you can’t use an artificial tree, use citrus or vinegar sprays around the base of a real tree to keep pets away. Also, regularly cleaning up fallen pine needles is important as they can be harmful if ingested.

Stabilizing the tree is another critical step. Make sure the base of your tree is strong and secure it to prevent it from falling if a pet tries to climb or play on it. You can monitor your pets with an indoor camera. Link these devices to your Guardian security system to keep an eye on and protect your pets when you’re not at home.

Day 9: Outlet Overload Prevention

During the holidays, more lights and decorations are used, which means more electrical outlets are needed. However, overloading these outlets can be a significant fire hazard. To distribute your electrical needs evenly, avoid relying on a single outlet or extension cord for multiple high-wattage items. If you find yourself short on outlets, it’s better to reassess your decoration plans than to overload. Use power strips with built-in circuit breakers for added safety. This might mean scaling back on some of your holiday lights, but safety should always come first.

Also, inspect all cords and lights before use. Frayed wires or damaged cords can lead to electrical fires. Replacing old or damaged lights may seem unnecessary, but it’s much cheaper than dealing with a fire. Continuing with this structure and attention to detail for each tip, the blog would progress through all 20 days. Sections will provide practical advice, safety tips, and insights to help readers have a safe and joyful holiday season.

Day 10: Fireplace Safety – Beyond Firewood

The cozy warmth of a fireplace is a hallmark of the holiday season. However, it’s important to use your fireplace responsibly. Burn only suitable materials such as firewood. Don’t throw wrapping paper or evergreen decorations in the fireplace. Chimney fires can be caused by them. Furthermore, the inks in colored gift wrap can release toxic fumes.

Always use a fireplace screen to stop sparks from getting out and make sure the fire is fully out before leaving the room or going to bed. Regular chimney inspections and cleanings are also crucial to prevent buildup that can lead to fires. A little precaution and routine maintenance can ensure your fireplace adds warmth and ambiance safely.

Day 11: Decorate with Care

Every year, holiday decorations add to the risk of home fires. When decorating your home, make safety a top priority. Inspect every string of lights for frayed cords or loose bulb fittings. Invest a small amount in replacing any sets that have been damaged. It’s a simple step to ensure safety. Choose decorations that are labeled as flame resistant, and be mindful of where you place them. Keep decorations away from heat sources and ensure they don’t block exits.

When using candles, keep them away from decorations and other flammable materials. Never leave candles unattended, and consider using battery-operated flameless candles as a safer alternative. These simple precautions can make a significant difference in preventing holiday decoration-related fires.

Day 12: Simplify Your Holidays with Mobile Control

During the busy holidays, it’s easy to forget small, but important things like turning off lights or adjusting the thermostat. Use Guardian Hawk’s mobile app to control your home security and automation from your smartphone.

Forging to close the garage door or turn off your smart lights is no longer a concern. You can use your phone to keep your home safe and energy-efficient, even during busy holidays. This convenience not only simplifies your life but also enhances your home’s security.

Day 13: Secure Windows and Doors

Your windows and doors are the primary entry points for burglars. Ensure they are always locked, especially when you’re away or asleep. Consider adding window sensors, which can alert you if a window is opened unexpectedly. These sensors can be integrated into your Guardian security system for comprehensive monitoring.

For sliding doors, use a security bar or a dowel in the track to prevent them from being forced open. Assess your door locks and think about upgrading to smart locks for added convenience and security.

Day 14: Light Up Your Home

A well-lit home is a deterrent to burglars. Use timers or smart lights to ensure your home is illuminated, particularly when you’re not there. Strategically placed outdoor lighting can eliminate dark spots where intruders could hide. Motion sensor lighting is especially effective as it can startle and deter potential intruders while alerting you to activity.

Indoor lighting is just as important. Setting timers for lights to mimic your regular routines can make it seem like someone is at home, even if you’re not there. This is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to discourage break-ins.

Day 15: Keep Travel Plans Private

In today’s connected world, sharing travel plans on social media can be tempting, but it’s also a security risk. Announcing your absence publicly can make your home a target for burglars. It’s best to share your holiday adventures after you return.

If you’re going away, make sure your home appears lived in. Ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail or use a mail-holding service to prevent too much mail at your home. Timed lights and smart home devices can simulate activity in the house, further deterring potential intruders.

Day 16: Mail and Package Pickup Strategies

If you have a lot of mail or packages outside your house, it means you’re not there and thieves might be interested. Arrange for a neighbor, friend, or family member to collect your mail and packages regularly if you’re away.

Alternatively, consider using a parcel locker service for package deliveries. These services keep your packages safe until you can pick them up, so they won’t be stolen from your doorstep.

Day 17: Install Motion Sensor Lighting

Motion sensor lighting is an effective way to enhance your home security. These lights activate when they detect movement, illuminating dark areas of your property and potentially startling intruders.

Install motion sensor lights around entry points, including front and back doors, garage doors, and ground-level windows. Sudden light scares intruders and warns you and your neighbors of any strange activity near your house.

Day 18: Maintain a Holiday Inventory

Keeping an inventory of your valuable items, especially new gifts, can be invaluable in case of theft or damage. Record the serial numbers and take photos of expensive items. This information can assist in recovery efforts and is often required for insurance claims.

Store this inventory in a secure location, such as a safe or a secure cloud service. This precaution might seem tedious, but it’s an important step in protecting your valuables and ensuring peace of mind.

Day 19: Check Your Insurance Policies

The holiday season is an excellent time to review your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies. Ensure that they provide adequate coverage for holiday-related incidents, such as theft, fire, or accidents.

Keeping your policy up-to-date and understanding it can help you avoid stress and save money when unexpected incidents occur. If you have questions about your coverage, don’t hesitate to contact your insurance agent for clarification.

Day 20: Practice Kitchen Safety

The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. However, it’s also a common site for accidents, including fires. Stay attentive while cooking and never leave your kitchen unattended when the stove or oven is on.

Keep flammable items like dish towels and paper products away from the stove. Also, have a fire extinguisher readily accessible in the kitchen. These simple practices can prevent kitchen mishaps and ensure that your holiday cooking is both safe and enjoyable.

In conclusion, while the holidays are a time for joy and celebration, it’s important to be mindful of safety. By following these 20 essential tips, you can protect your home, family, and pets from common holiday hazards. Remember, a little precaution goes a long way in ensuring a happy and safe holiday season. Happy holidays from all of us at Guardian Protection!