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15+ Tips for Protecting Your Home during the Holidays
By: Joseph Small  -  10/9/2013

We have over 15 tips, resources, tools, and Ideas to keep your dwelling safe so you can enjoy time with family and friends.

Take a look at the data and statistics on the infographic, over 400,000 homes are burglarized in November and December!

With the holidays approaching many are traveling away to see family and friends. In order to truly enjoy your stay, you must have peace of mind that your home and belongings are safe.
Preventative measures can ease the burden of fearful thoughts like: theft, fire, and natural disasters. Make sure that you spend just as much time and thought on protecting your home as you do with gift shopping and packing.
It takes intruders a few minutes to break into your home, don't make it easy for them to invade your home or peace of mind. Making it difficult and drawing attention to them will keep your home and family safe.
Here are 15+ tips and resources that can help you enjoy a safe and happy home.
Windows- many burglars use devices to break your window such as baseball bats or body parts. Using pre-laminated windows or adding laminated film treatments to your existing windows prevents the intruder from coming in by making it difficult and drawing attention. Watch this video for an illustration.
Doors-strike plates, a door brace & deadbolts prevent your doors from being compromised by intruders who attempt to kick your door in. Door barricades are great when you have a house sitter or if you are leaving any family members behind. Watch this video for an illustration of a door barricade.
Garage-lock your garage and unplug your automatic garage door opener so that intruders aren't able to use your keypad or garage door devices (created or stolen) to enter your home.
Mail & Newspapers- stop your mail and newspaper subscriptions; having both pile up will bring attention to your absence.
Gas & Electricity- make sure your gas and electricity settings are controlled to prevent gas leaks, water tank flooding, or fires. Contact your utility company to obtain information related to the systems set up in your home.
Fire- scan your home for any potential fire hazards. Unplug appliances and remove clutter away from vents, heaters, power strips, and outlets. Take care of any obvious electrical issues and make sure you have fire alarms and extinguishers for house sitters. Watch this video about preventing fire issues in your home.
Neighbors- if you have trusted neighbors tell them to keep an eye out while you are gone. If you don't trust your neighbors make sure they are unaware of your coming and going. Be as inconspicuous during your departure.
Pets- board your pets , get a trusted sitter, or take them with you. Pets can easily be distracted with food and treats, sedated, or killed by an intruder. If your pets are your extended family make plans for their care before you leave.
Family- ask local family or family friends to drop by your home if you are leaving for long extended vacations. Leave a check list of things they should do during their visit to keep your home safe and protected.
Lights-use a timer so your lights come on at different times of the day or night to give the illusion that someone is in the home. By using a smart phone application you can differentiate the times manually or automatically, so that it is not a consistent schedule or pattern intruders can figure out.
Add exterior motion detector lights in strategic areas of your home so that neighbors or house sitters can see if someone is approaching your home. Watch this video for ideas to protect your home while you are away.
Social Media-never post your itinerary or your whereabouts online. Intruders can take the opportunity to enter your home while you are gone or follow you to your destination. Skilled intruders study your posts even if you have privacy settings.
Some of your "friends" or followers might be decoys! Many social media sites lack security and your friends or followers can have hacked profiles. Share your holiday trip after you return home. Be sure to share this information with your family, friends, children, and teens. There is nothing worse than having a friend or family member post on social media, "Are you leaving on Saturday for your week long vacation?"
Home Security System-if available add smart phone applications to monitor your system from your cellphone. Read your user manual or call your security company to ensure that you have properly set your security system before you leave. If you have access to it through your smart phone make sure you practice using it before you leave.
House sitter- if you want additional peace of mind, have a family member or trusted friend house sit while you are gone. Make sure you inform neighbors of your guest so that won't mistake them as suspicious or intruders. Cover all the information and tips with them so that they remain safe and your property is properly cared for while you are away.
Insurance-contact your insurance provider to see if they have any tips, services, or products connected to your policy to protect your home while you are away. There may be specific information related to the type of property, location, or policy you have that is important to protecting your property while you are away.
Heating/Cooling Systems-some heating systems have smart phone applications that can allow you to monitor and adjust your heating while you are away. Just like your home security, prior to leaving make sure that you have adjusted your thermostat.

Do you have an established safety plan that you implement when traveling?

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