The holidays are almost here! You’re probably looking forward to spending time with family and friends, enjoying delicious meals, and giving and receiving gifts. Maybe you’re even going to travel to spend a holiday with far off loved ones.
As you prepare to travel or host festivities for family or friends, Lakewood Financial would like to remind you to take a few simple precautions so you can have a safe and crime-free holiday season.
Safe at home
Hosting meals and decorating the house for holiday cheer doesn’t seem risky, but it is! Falls and fires are two of the most common holiday hazards to watch out for. In fact, home fires are the most frequent disaster in the US, according to the American Red Cross, and many of them take place during the holiday season. Cooking fires peak on Thanksgiving Day, with Christmas Day not far behind. Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking, and be sure no decorations are near the stove where they could catch fire.
Christmas trees, candles, and holiday lights can be the cause of a fire, so take precautions. Keep real trees well watered, and all decorations at least three feet from heat sources. And don’t forget fireplace safety. Make sure the flue is open before lighting a fire, and keep all decorations and Christmas stockings well away from it. Also, don’t burn wrapping paper—it can flare up dangerously. Store matches and lighters up high in a locked cupboard to keep them out of children’s hands.
Click here for holiday decoration safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Click here for more holiday fire safety tips.
In addition to fires, injuries from falls are another holiday hazard to watch out for. If you need to climb a ladder to hang lights or other decorations, make sure you position it properly and keep three points of contact on it at all times (two feet and one hand, for example). Also keep doorways and walkways clear of extension cords, decorations, bags, toys, and gifts—anything that could cause someone to trip and fall.
Don’t be a crime victim
Criminals often take advantage of the extra shopping (both in person and online) and packages being delivered. Reduce the chances of being victimized with these tips from the Florida Sheriff’s Association:
- Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
- Park in a well-lighted area and be sure to lock your car doors.
- Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.
- Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
- Avoid carrying cash if at all possible. Use credit cards instead.
- Double check that you have your credit cards and wallet after you pay for your items.
- Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases.
- If you are shopping with your children, talk to them ahead of time about what to do if they get lost in the crowd.
- When shopping online use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
- Beware of online “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
At home, don’t advertise your gifts by leaving them in plain sight, or by putting the boxes they came in out for garbage collection. Break down the boxes and put them in your recycling bin or inside a trash bag.
Don’t let your home become a target of thieves. Package thefts and home break-ins spike between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. If you plan to travel this holiday season, don’t announce your plans on social media. Make your home look “lived in” while you’re gone. Set some lights on a timer (including outdoor lights), and perhaps ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway. Have mail and newspapers held, or ask friend or neighbor to pick them up for you. Make sure all doors and windows are locked, and trim back any landscaping around your home so thieves have nowhere to hide. Leave a key and a contact number with a friend or neighbor, but don’t hide one outside. Thieves are familiar with all the best hiding spots.
Protect your valuables
Taking precautions to avoid holiday hazards such as fires, falls, and crime can help you have a much happier and safer holiday season. Another way to protect your valuables is to carry insurance tailor-made for your situation. If you need an auto policy, homeowners insurance, or umbrella policy to cover some of those new Christmas gifts, please consider giving Lakewood Financial a call. We represent dozens of financially stable insurance companies for all your personal and business insurance needs. Please call 941-747-4600, or click here to contact us online—and have a very happy (and safe) holiday season!