Two pillar candles lit inside a pine garland

Holiday Safety Tips

The holiday season brings to the surface the things that matter most, and it is important to take the steps to protect them. Emergency Management and law enforcement experts from the Department of Public Safety share some tips to help you and your family and friends remain safe during the holidays.

Author: Dabney Weems

Protect against home fire risks

Candles can make for beautiful decorations and can be part of our holiday celebrations but also 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 (that includes Christmas trees) 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

Silver pot on a gas stovetop.

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

An overflowing mailbox or packages left for days at the front door are sure signs 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.

Utilize home security technology

Video doorbells and other video security devices have recently become affordable. Try installing them in and around your home. Linked to your smartphone, you can monitor who is at your door or what packages have been delivered. They are a great way to provide security and peace of mind while you are gone. 

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

Male torso dressed in a green and white button-up shirt holding a cell phone with right hand.

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 you 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.

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