Right now, there are just seven days until the biggest Holiday of the year, which means people are putting the finishing touches on their holiday decorating and purchasing last-minute gifts for family and friends. Many others may be finalizing their travel plans or preparing a feast for 12. If you fall into one or more of these categories, it is important to take several precautionary measures, thus ensuring you and your loved ones can enjoy the holiday season in the safest way possible.
Stay safe this holiday season using the following four tips.
Tip No. 1: Holiday Decorating
Between 2012-2016, U.S. Fire Departments responded to approximately 970 home structure fires that began with holiday decorations, including the holiday tree. Always make sure to choose LED (they generate less heat) light sets that are “UL Listed;” inspect strands for frayed wires, loose connections, or other damage; and only connect a maximum of three sets. Place holiday trees, whether real or artificial, away from all heat sources. If real, water frequently, and properly dispose of it as soon as it dries out. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides a publication with additional safety tips to help you stay safe this holiday season.
Tip No. 2: Preparing Holiday Meals
Each year, U.S. Fire Departments respond to hundreds of kitchen fires caused by unattended cooking, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The leading dates for these fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. That’s why it is so important to remain in the kitchen while cooking; keep flammable items, like oven mitts, wooden utensils and kitchen towels away from the cooking area; make sure kids stay three-feet away from appliances and hot food/liquids; and turn handles away from the edge to prevent pots and pans from being knocked over. Additionally, you should unplug all small appliances, including pressure and slow cookers after each use.
Tip No. 3: Prevent Grinch’s from Taking Your Packages
According to a 2017 survey conducted by Xfinity Home, Comcast’s home security service, 30 percent of Americans report experiencing package theft. Unfortunately, most of these follow the biggest shopping days of the year; Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Thanks to modern technology, you have several options for protecting your packages from holiday Grinch’s, regardless of which delivery service the sender may choose to use.
First, there are security cameras, which stream and record live footage of the area surrounding your front door. These devices have motion sensors that are designed to alert you as soon as even the slightest movement is detected. Most also feature infrared technology for night vision. You can find a wide range of outdoor security cameras online and at local electronic stores.
Another option is to send your packages to a nearby Amazon locker. You are instantly notified once the package has arrived. The notification includes a unique six-digit code that you can use to pick-up your package within the provided 72 hours. This code can also be found by going to “Your Orders” then “Track Package.” If you have multiple orders, one code unlocks all lockers used, one at a time. Follow on-screen prompts.
Tip No. 4: Have the Police Check on Your Home while You’re Away
If you’re traveling during the holidays, arrange to have your city’s Police Department keep an eye on things; several precincts offer vacation watch programs. The cities of Chandler, Gilbert, Peoria, Scottsdale, and Queen Creek can all patrol your home more frequently. You must notify them of your plans at least one week prior to your absence. Each city requires you to complete a “Request Vacation Watch” form.
This form, which can be filled out online, asks for your contact information (e.g., name, address, email, and phone number) as well as your travel schedule. Pertinent information, like whether your house lights are on or on timers, the make/model of any vehicles parked in the driveway, if anyone is watching your home, etc. is also requested. This ensures officers/volunteers know what to expect when watching your home.
Hegarty-Haynes Insurance, Inc. would like to wish you Happy Holidays and a joyous New Year. Also, remember to stay safe this holiday season! As an independent insurance agent, we are committed to providing our clients with superior service and solid insurance solutions, all at competitive rates. Contact us at (480) 820-2297 for a free insurance quote.