The holidays are a joyous time of year to celebrate family, friends and traditions, but it's also important to stay safe. What can you do to keep your family, yourself and your home safe?
- Don't leave valuables or packages on the seat of your car. Lock them in your trunk or somewhere out of sight.
- Don't sit in your car while it's idling. Always lock your car doors and keep your windows rolled up.
- Be aware of your surroundings while shopping and don't carry large amounts of cash.
- Turn off holiday lights when you leave the house or go to bed. Don't forget to inspect your lights for frayed cords or cracked light bulbs before hanging.
- Extinguish candles and fireplaces before going to bed or before leaving the house.
- Clean your chimney annually.
- Sweep up any broken glass from ornaments or decor and dropped pine needles immediately.
Traveling this holiday season? Here's some tips to keep you and your home safe.
- Avoid posting on social media about travel plans.
- Ask a friend or neighbor to watch your house and pick up your mail. You can also hold your mail and your newspaper deliveries.
- Install timers on your lights to give the illusion that you are home.
- Always lock your doors and windows when you leave (even if you only leave for a few minutes).
- If you have a security system, make sure it's working properly.
- Ask a neighbor or a friend to shovel your driveway and sidewalk if it snows to give the appearance that you're home. You can also ask a neighbor to set out your trash cans.
- Driving somewhere? Have your car serviced or inspected before leaving and keep an emergency kit in your car. Don't forget your cell phone charger!
Purchasing items online? Here's some tips to protect yourself.
- Making a big purchase? Check out Consumer Reports for reviews.
- Don't shop online using public WiFi.
- Create strong passwords and don't use the same passwords or easy to guess passwords (like "WebsiteName1234").
- Make sure the website has a small lock icon in the corner of the URL field. That means the website has privacy protection installed!
- Consider paying with a credit card for liability protection. Some credit cards offer price protection too.
- Check your credit card statements for fraudulent charges and report them immediately.
- Don't leave delivered packages unattended on your porch. Porch pirates often strike when you're at work. Ask a neighbor to pick up your package, or ask your employer if personal packages can be delivered at work. Or see if you can have a signature required for your delivery or if you can include specific delivery information to the shipper, such as dropping packages behind a side wall or a big flower pot.
Have pets? Keep those fur babies safe too!
- Don't feed your pets "people food" or table scraps.
- Keep your pets away from Christmas trees. Pets may try to drink the water, climb the Christmas tree or nibble on cords.
- Mistletoe, pine, cedar, balsam, holly, amaryllis and poinsettias can be dangerous and even toxic to dogs and cats.
- Hosting a party or two? Pets may become excitable and nervous around visitors. Have a quiet, safe place for your pets to retreat to if needed.