Christmas is a wonderful time of the year where families and friends come together and celebrate. Many people spend all year looking forward to Christmas. It’s the season for parties and events, socializing, mountains of delicious food and gift giving. It is easy to see how we can become a little preoccupied and many of us tend to forget the festive hazards and risks that can lurk in our homes.
With the Christmas fast approaching, it is important to be vigilant when it comes to keeping our homes and family safe. Christmas brings the busiest shopping weeks of the year and for many people it leads to our homes being stocked with the latest electronic gadgets, jewelry, and must-have gifts. Unfortunately, thieves see Christmas differently as your hard-earned gifts are also their increased incentive to commit burglaries!
Below we review some practical tips to help keep your home safe this Christmas…
1. Be aware of faulty lights and fire hazards
Fire hazards increase during Christmas and every year people have accidents involving the extra lights and candles being lit around their home.
Check your lights and other electrically powered Christmas decorations properly before putting them up. To prevent an accidental fire, replace any broken lamps, and throw away strands with frayed cords.
LED lights are a good suggestion for Christmas time. LED lights meet higher safety standards - they don’t burn out and are significantly more efficient than standard lights.
Whilst fairy lights are fun, festive, and an important finishing touch to any Christmas tree, they’re also a potential fire risk. Check that any fairy lights (whether they be inside or outside) carry the British Safety Standard kitemark. Make sure not to place them near any flammable materials, and to water your Christmas tree regularly so that it doesn’t turn into kindling.
Here are some other precaution tips to avoid fire and keeping your home to safety:
Keep Christmas decors away from lights, heaters and fires.
Don't overload electrical sockets as this can lead to overheating and electrical fires.
Switch all lights and electrical decorations off at night and when not in use.
Check the lights outside the house if are designed for external use.
Make sure you know how to switch off fires and heaters.
Check batteries on smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Have a professional inspect your furnace. Hire a chimney sweep to make sure the fireplace is safe and ready to go.
2. Securely lock doors and windows
It's worth making sure doors and windows are locked or double-locked, as unlocked doors and windows are the common main entry point for burglars. Install stronger doors, dead bolts, heavy duty locks and new window hinges to keep out unwanted intruders.
Don’t tempt them to enter your humble home by leaving your doors and windows opened and unlocked. Remember to lock every time you leave the house, even when you’re just in the garden. Keep side gates locked too.
3. Leave gifts and valuable items out of sight
Most burglars are opportunists, and their purpose is to get in your house, take your valuable items and then get out as fast as possible. Home owners are warned to not leave any presents under the tree or in any places that they can be easily seen from windows or doors.
Below are some top tips that can help you can reduce the chances of becoming a victim of theft during the festive season:
Keep your valuables - cash, jewelries, passport, etc. in a safe if you have one. One thing to remember is never to keep large amounts of cash at home. It can really be tempting to keep cash around, especially if giving cash gifts to relatives and grandchildren.
Don’t leave spare keys in an exposed place. Hide them away to prevent them being stolen.
As much as possible, make sure valuables are marked. Take pictures and keep a note of any serial numbers.
4. Consider a burglar alarm or CCTV
Don’t hesitate to have a burglar alarm and CCTV cameras installed into your home. They are an obvious deterrent for burglars, and are reliable and provides back-up should you experience a security breach.
Whether you are on a holiday or you aren't, CCTV can be very useful if you want to check who is at your door before opening it or you can see what’s happening inside and outside your house whenever you are away.
5. Lock tools, garden equipment and ladders in a shed or garage
Avoid leaving equipment and tools lying around that could aid break-ins, such as hammers, shovels, gardening tools lying around near the house, and secure sheds and outbuildings.
Keep ladders, dustbins and wheelie-bins locked away and out of sight as these can be used by thieves to climb into windows or used to escape.
6. Don't tell everyone you're on holiday
If you’re heading off for Christmas, it’s a good idea to be careful about what you post on social media. By announcing on Facebook that you’ll be away visiting friends or family over Christmas, this publicises to the world when your home will be empty.
When you’re leaving, you can consider leaving the lights on with the curtains or blinds down, so it looks like someone’s at home. Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbour or family members.