The holidays are a time for family, love, laughter, cheer and great food. The last thing any one wants to think about during such a joyous time is disaster striking. While we may have covered tips about how to prevent the cold from leaking in and how to properly maintain your siding so that it stays in peak shape longer, there are a few things you can do to protect the entire structure of your home and ensure the safety of your family. With all of the cooking happening on Thanksgiving, the possibility of a fire can increase. If you are spending the holidays away, your home may seem an appealing target for thieves. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to greatly reduce the risk of these things happening.
Here are a few safety tips to keep your home sound and secure, not just during Thanksgiving, but all year round.
- The leading cause of fires on Thanksgiving was due to unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen when cooking and make sure you monitor the food. When cooking the turkey, check on it often and make sure you are home through the duration of its cook time.
- If you need to step away to attend to guests, set a timer so you can get back to the food when you need to.
- A week before the big day, thoroughly clean your oven, stovetop and exhaust fan so they are free of grease and dust. This not only reduces the risk of a fire but gives you a clean slate to cook from.
- Keep all items that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, towels, wooden utensils, etc. away from heat sources in the cooking area.
- Turn pot handles inward so they do not jut out from the front or side of the stove. This prevents them from being knocked into and spilling scalding food or liquids on anyone or creating a serious disaster.
- Make sure all electrical cords from items such as mixers are not dangling off the edge of counters so they can’t be grabbed by kids or caught on a passing guest. This is less of a fire risk and more of a general safety for guests.
- Have a fire extinguisher on the premises. If you already have one, check the expiration date. Yes, they DO expire so you want to make sure you have a viable one that will work in a pinch.
And the number one thing you should do before guests arrive on Thanksgiving…
- Test your smoke alarms. Press the test buttons on each unit to make sure that they work and that the batteries are still good.
When you are heading elsewhere for the holidays, never make it seem like your home is vacant. This is a green light for thieves to come calling.
- Set some of your lights (lamps) on timers. By having lights going on and off at different times, it gives the appearance that someone is home.
- If you have a home phone, turn the ringer off or down. A loud, ringing phone that is never answered is another green light for thieves that the home might be people-free.
- For those trips when you may be gone for a week or more, consider putting a hold on your mail and newspapers or have a neighbor, family member or friend collect them while you are gone. Mail piling up signals a prime opportunity for thieves to take advantage.
- To alleviate the stress of knowing if your home is secure, install a home security system. There are reasonable options available for both self-monitoring and having an agency on 24 hour watch. With so many options for budget, space, accessibility and cameras/sound, you can find an affordable plan that works for your specific needs.
- Before you head out, always double-check that every door and window is securely locked. Even a random window on the third floor that you would never think could be accessed should be locked up.
- Never broadcast when you are leaving. While you may want to share your great news with family or friends on social media, giving too many details of your trip is dangerous. You are broadcasting to a wide group of people, many of whom you do not know or do not know who THEY know, when you are leaving your home vacant.
- Have a neighbor, friend or family member check up on your home while you are away. They can determine if there are any issues and them coming and going can deter thieves.
Taking the time to implement a few of these tips could make all the difference when a situation occurs. While Cousins Construction can take care of any siding, gutter or window problems you may have, keeping the rest of your home safe is just as important. Most of these only take a few minutes to complete and can give you the peace of mind you deserve. This way you can spend your Thanksgiving enjoying every moment with your family and not worried about your home. No matter where you go this holiday season or who you spend it with, we wish you nothing but glad tidings!