Stay Safe During the Holidays

Living room area with fireplace decorated with Christmas decor
Wednesday, December 23, 2020 - 10:21am

The year has brought us many changes. One thing that has not changed – protecting our home. Home safety is extremely important especially during the holiday season. Emergency Management and law enforcement experts from the Department of Public Safety came up with these tips to help your family remain safe during the holidays.

Protect against home fire risks

Candles can make for beautiful decorations but can pose a fire risk when not monitored. More than half of home decoration fires in December are started by candles. Keep burning candles away from anything flammable (at least 12 inches) and never leave a candle burning in another room or when you leave home. Battery-operated flameless candles are a safe alternative for decorations.

Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms on every floor, especially if you are expecting guests. Ensure nothing is obstructing exits in case of an emergency.

Heat your home safely. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from fireplaces, wood stoves, portable heaters and radiators. When you leave a room or go to bed, turn heaters off or unplug them.

If you have a Christmas tree, make sure you water it every day. A dry tree can be a fire hazard.

Be safe when preparing your holiday meal

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and gathering restrictions, many of us will be preparing a holiday meal for the first time. Cooking is the main cause of home fires every year, so keep these tips in mind while whipping up your holiday feast. 

  • Stand by your pan – if you leave your kitchen, turn the burner off.
  • Watch what you’re cooking. 
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to prevent them from being bumped or pulled off the stove.
  • Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby to put out pan fires.

General home safety

Stop deliveries
Piles of newspapers in the driveway or an overflowing mailbox is a sure sign no one is home. Stop deliveries and mail while you are away. It’s also a good practice to have a trusted neighbor or friend check on your home while you are out. They can pick up anything that may be delivered and walk around your home for a quick security check.

Make your home look occupied
Utilize smart home devices to schedule your lights to turn on when you are not at home. You can also use them to turn on a TV or to play music. Noise is a good deterrent for potential burglars to think you are at home.

Social Media Safety
While away on vacations or extended periods of time, limit postings on social media of your absence. You may want to avoid “check- ins” or wait until your return before posting photos from your trip.

Schedule security checks
Contact your local police department or sheriff’s office. Many offer a home security check program for residents who may be away from their homes for extended periods of time.

Keep new purchases out of plain view
The holiday season brings new goodies to your home. Don’t bring attention to new purchases by placing them near windows and inviting intruders. Also, try to break boxes down to fit into recycling bins. By hiding the boxes in the bins, no one can see what new purchases you have in your home.

Safe wherever you are

Be safe shopping
While shopping ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings and visit our blog for more tips on staying safe while shopping in-person and online.

Remember the Three Ws
Wear a face covering, wait six feet from other people and wash your hands. If you gather with friends and family, it should be less than 10 people (indoor) and 50 people (outdoor). Avoid physical contact (handshaking or hugs) and self-serve food. Use hand sanitizer frequently and wipe down commonly touched areas. Learn more about protecting yourself and others from COVID-19 during the holidays from NCDHHS.

 

 

Author: 
Dabney Weems
Kirsten Barber
Ed Farmer - State Capitol Police