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For many, the holidays are the only time of year they can travel for more than a long weekend. That means most homes are vacant for weeks at a time. There’s also the issue of huge, expensive gifts sitting under Christmas trees or filling up garages. These things combined make the holidays a high time for burglary. Aside from arming your alarm systems, there are other things you can do to protect your property during the holidays, and they start in the palm of your hand (meaning your iPad or Smart Phone!) Here are the 12 hazards of holiday social media. Seeking Sitters If you need a pet sitter, house sitter or even babysitter while you’re traveling during the holidays, do not post about this on social media. Writing a status like, “Seeking a sitter for the following dates” might be a good way to notify a lot of the right people about your trip, but it’s also a way to notify the wrong people. Reach out to friends and acquaintances privately asking for recommendations for sitters. Posting on social… Read more

It’s holiday party season. Houses have their Christmas trees up, their fireplaces blazing and they want to show off the video from their kid’s middle school holiday play. It’s a great time of year to have guests, but holiday parties come with a particular set of hazards. Here are some you can avoid. Too many cars in the driveway/street If you’re having a large party, even after the guests who came in cabs, you’ll still have plenty of guests who brought their own cars. If you have a long driveway, you may allow for tandem parking, and if there are no restrictions on your street, your guests may line the block. And while having lots of parking spaces available is convenient, it’s not exactly safe. Lots of cars parked in front of your home signal to onlookers that you’re having a party, and that tells potential burglars that you’re not as alert as you normally are. There is also the issue that each of those cars in your driveway is at risk of a break-in. Party cars usually stay parked… Read more

Filling your home up with guests is one of the joys of the holidays. If you’re fortunate enough to have several bedrooms, then your friends and family can all stay under one roof. But the more people you have come in and out of your home, the higher risk you are at for a break in. Here is how to keep your home safe when you have guests for the holidays. Unlock doors remotely If you make a spare key for every one of your guests, you run the risk of them forgetting the key in a public place, or even dropping it on the street. Putting a key under a rock or in a hiding place outside is always a risk because burglars can simply keep an eye on your house to determine where you put the key. So how do you allow your guests, who are coming and going throughout the day while you’re at work, to get in the house without you? Using your home automated system, you can lock and unlock doors from your Smart Phone.… Read more

Every neighborhood has one: the house that goes too far with decorations. But you don’t need to be the house that set up a full Santa’s workshop, with an assembly line and elves, to have decorations that cause a hazard. Because the holidays are time people fill their homes with expensive gifts, the holidays are also a time when burglars are extremely active. You need to take all the precautions you can, and those extend to your holiday decorations. So, are your holiday decorations attracting burglars? Christmas trees hazards If you do keep a Christmas tree, you may want to put it in front of the large, main window in the front room of your home, for neighbors to see. However, blocking that window with a tree also block’s any burglars in front of it from your site. Do not put your tree in front of a window that is also your main avenue for looking into your front yard. Put your tree against a wall, or at least a smaller window, so you can always see out in front… Read more

Thanksgiving is such a warm time: friends and family gather together, eating food made with love and drinking hot toddies. But Thanksgiving is also literally a warm time for your kitchen. Between the toaster oven toasting appetizers, the oven roasting vegetables, and the fryer frying your turkey, your kitchen is filled with fire hazards. Here are some forgotten Thanksgiving fire hazards that you need to remember. Conventional stovetops Many people love the energy-saving benefits of conventional flame stovetops, but anytime you have an open flame going, you have a fire hazard. Take your oven mitts off when stirring things on the stovetop, as the sleeves of them can catch flame. Do not leave any food packaging materials like plastic bags or turkey strings on the stovetop. A small breeze can blow them toward a flame, and they can catch fire. If you can, stir with metal spoons and spatulas. If you must stir with wooden spoons, keep them away from the stovetop when you’re not using them. Turkey fryer If you’re a fan of the fried turkey, keep a very… Read more