The 12 Days of Christmas (Safety)
December brings with it the great party season, complete with Buck’s Fizz, tinsel and many, many mince pies. Here are 12 tips to keep your home and belongings safe this Christmas…
1. Be boxing clever
Ordering gifts online is extremely popular; however, having parcels delivered while nobody is home could put your property at risk. Seeing your door unanswered or a package left in a ‘safe’ place while you’re out will be a clear signal to burglars that the property is empty. If you’re going to be out, see if a neighbour can receive your parcels for you, or alter your delivery date and time.
2. Beware the online Grinch
If you are shopping online for Christmas presents take care that you don’t get scammed. Only shop from reputable retailers and only transfer money if you’re sure the website is legitimate and secure. Also, keep track of your orders and deliveries. Increasingly fraudsters will email or text people pretending to be from a delivery company, then when you click on the tracking link they download malware onto your device or take you to a scam website.
3. Keep an eye on fairy lights
While you’re decorating the tree and filling your home with twinkly lights, avoid overloading extension leads. Also, remember to always switch fairy lights off before you go to bed. It’s unlikely to happen, but unattended lights do on occasion lead to electrical fires and cause fuses to blow.
4. Stay safe outdoors
Outdoor Christmas lights have become ever-more popular and give your home a warm, festive glow. To avoid damaging wires and causing a potential hazard, always use hooks, clips or insulated holders to string up your lights, rather than nails or tacks. Also, keep lights away from phone wires and electric cables. Stringing them up near power sources could trigger an electric shock and start a fire.
5. Prepare for excitable children
Overly zealous game-playing by excited children can end up with toys crashing into TV sets and other fragile belongings, so be wary of where play takes place (and remember to put away the glassware first!).
6. Be party season sensible
We all like to let loose over the festive season, so it’s worth making sure you are fully covered for accidental damage. This will safeguard your belongings against mishaps such as drinks spilt over TVs and speakers, as well as red wine over the carpet. If you are already a UIA policyholder and wish to add accidental damage to your cover, please call us on 01438 761 776 (8.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday).
7. Lock it up
If you plan on going away for a few days over Christmas, make sure windows and doors are always securely shut and locked.
8. Beware starry, starry nights
The shorter days in December mean that burglars have a larger window of opportunity in which to commit their crime and escape unseen in the darkness. Install good quality motion-sensor lighting in entrances, alleyways and gardens to deter them.
9. Dealing with snow business
While many of us dream of a white Christmas, snow and ice can cause havoc on the pathways, driveways and roads near our homes. To prepare, purchase a good shovel and sacks of salt – available in garden centres. When clearing snow and ice, wear appropriate footwear with a deep tread and don’t be tempted to use hot water. This will melt the snow, but may well replace it with black ice, increasing the risk of injury.
10. Have a power cut plan
In the event that there is a heavy storm over the festive period, it pays to be prepared. With many shops closed over Christmas Day and Boxing Day it’s smart to stock up on batteries for torches, plus candles and matches, in case of a power cut. Store them somewhere safe and within easy reach.
11. Avoid being a festive fire starter
Open fires and candles create a beautiful Christmas ambience. To enjoy these festive features safely, don’t forget to ensure your fireplace is guarded and furniture is a safe distance from it to avoid house fires or damage to sofas due to spitting embers. Also, keep burning candles away from walls and furniture, don’t leave them unattended and remember to blow them out before going to bed.
12. Remember all the trimmings
Christmas is all about the turkey dinner with all the trimmings. But let’s not forget about the other important trimmings that ought to occur over the winter period. Keeping trees and bushes cut back so that they don’t obscure doors and windows will make it more difficult for burglars to sneak unseen into your property.