Even though many homeowners won’t be traveling this holiday season, protecting their loved ones, homes, and properties remain top priorities.
Theft, intrusions, flooding, electrical and fire hazards, and other potential dangers can still occur without adequate supervision.
When drafting your holiday safety checklist, consider pairing appropriate items with accompanying smart technologies—all of which can be easily automated from any mobile device through the Alarm.com app.
Below we’ll outline our top 10 tips for safeguarding your home, family, and property this holiday season.
1. Christmas Trees & Lights
Both artificial and fresh-cut Christmas trees require safety precautions. According to fire information and knowledge resource base The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): “Between 2013-2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year.”
Ensure safe placement away from heat sources such as gas fireplaces, vents, or electric heaters. For live trees, schedule reminders for regular watering to prevent falling needles and dryness.
If displaying a live Christmas tree, make sure you regularly check water levels to avoid dryness and possible fires, as depicted in this live tree burn video conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Video Credit: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Lights should comply with the highest safety standards designated by testing and certification facility Underwriters Laboratories (UL). This verifies the product has successfully passed the lab’s requirements for fire, electric shock, and other dangers.
Note the following, additional guidance:
- Avoid Lights With Frayed & Exposed Wires
- Consult the Manufacturer’s Instruction Guide for Safe Assembly
- Avoid Overloading Electrical Outlets
- Don’t Use Indoor Lights Outside & Vice-Versa
Set up smart outlets to automatically turn lights on and off for added safety and energy efficiency.
2. Electrical Cords
If your light display requires extension cords, consult the following best practices:
- Avoid Connecting Two Extension Cords Together
- Ensure Indoor Cords Aren’t Used Outside & Vice-Versa
- Don’t Run Cords Through Ceilings & Walls
- Never Plug a Two-Prong Cord into a Three-Prong Outlet
Attach your cords via a UL-approved smart power strip to avoid overheating.
When drafting your holiday safety checklist, consider pairing appropriate items with accompanying smart technologies.
3. Gas Fireplaces
These and other gas-fueled sources such as appliances, grills, motor vehicles, and wood stoves can potentially cause carbon monoxide poisoning if not inspected regularly.
It’s also prudent to have your chimney checked and swept to remove blockages, soot, and other potential dangers.
Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms offer added protection should this dangerous gas present itself within your home. When purchased through a services provider such as General Security, homeowners can add Central Station Monitoring to directly alert local authorities and first responders.
Set up mobile device alerts for immediate carbon monoxide and smoke detection, and low or missing battery notifications.
4. Front Door & Porch Protection
Add front door cameras to deter porch pirates and other uninvited guests from break-ins, trespassing, and package thefts.
Wired or wireless doorbell cameras provide additional protection. They are equipped with two-way audio, so homeowners can initiate conversations should someone approach the front door unannounced.
Some models can also remotely answer and unlock your door when you’re not home to provide entry for expected guests, such as family members and friends, childcare providers, and home health aides.
5. Health & Wellness
Just as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has increased virtual business meetings and events via video, many are utilizing this technology for virtual gatherings and check-ins with elderly family members, children, and even pets.
Both also easily integrate with Alarm.com Personal Emergency Response wristbands for immediate connection with Central Station Monitoring.
Remote monitoring and video surveillance provide mobile check-ins, for added peace of mind.
Safeguarding hot stoves, ovens, and grills is your best defense against potential cooking accidents.
Ensure all appliances are in working order, and never leave children or pets unattended when the kitchen becomes a hot zone.
Install smart stove and grill guards for automatic appliance shutoff.
7. Leaks & Flooding
Flood and temperature sensors can safeguard your home from possible moisture and water damage.
Installed in areas that should normally be dry, these alert interior and exterior issues, such as leaking pipes, sinks, toilets, and faulty appliances.
Place sensors in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements for real-time detection.
8. Windows & Doors
When properly placed above doors and windows, contact sensors provide intrusion and break-in detection upon separation.
As an important component of your home’s alarm system, these can also be added to garages and outdoor gates, and on medicine cabinets and drawers, for wellness monitoring and alerts.
More than just intrusion detection, contact sensors can be programmed to trigger interior changes, such as in lighting, temperature, and motion.
9. Locks & Keys
When hiding spare keys, avoid obvious spots such as welcome mats, flower pots, and door jambs. Choose more inconspicuous locations such as sheds, garages and outdoor lockboxes, or enlist a trusted neighbor.
When programmed with a unique user code, smart locks can secure and unlock doors whether you’re home or away.
10. Make a List & Check it Twice
Set a family meeting to discuss your home safety checklist and emergency preparedness plan.
While you hopefully won’t ever have to utilize these, The Red Cross advises homeowners to practice home emergency safety plans biannually.
Download this free Home Safety Checklist from General Security to get started.
Safe & Happy Holidays
When developing your home security plan, it’s best to work with a reputable services provider, such as General Security, for help and guidance.