Hustle and Bustle and Fire and Burglary - Keep Your Home Safe This Holiday Season

Nov 28, 2012

By Staff Writer

From working, shopping, traveling, and spending time with friends and family, the holiday season can be a very busy and stressful time for many Americans. Even with these additional stressors, itís important to use common sense safety precautions during the holidays and throughout the year.

A new survey from Nextdoor, the free and private social network for neighborhoods, showed that a majority of people are not taking proper precautions to protect their homes from fire and burglary. According to the survey, conducted by Harris Interactive in Nov. 2012 among 1,910 U.S. adults aged 23 and over, nearly 60 percent of Americans did not follow common sense safety care to protect their homes from burglary, such as:

  • 38 percent do not tell a neighbor they're going out of town
  • 19 percent leave their house key in a nearby hiding place while they're away
  • 12 percent let mail and newspapers pile up
  • 10 percent broadcast that they are out of town on Twitter and Facebook
  • 8 percent even leave a door or window unlocked

According to the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI), nearly 400,000 burglaries occurred in the U.S. last November and December alone. Year round, a house, apartment, or condominium in the U.S. is burglarized once every 15 seconds. Believe it or not, itís often the simplest and most obvious precautions that homeowners tend to forgetóand which burglars tend to exploit. Here are some common sense safety tips to make sure your home doesnít become a statistic:

  • Whatever the situation, you should always lock your doors and windows when you go out.
  • Keep close track of any spare keys that exist.
  • Be wary about posting your vacation plans and updates on social media websites
  • Use automatic timers on lights when away
  • Always park your cars in the garage with the garage door shut
  • If possible, have your telephone calls forwarded when you are away from home
  • Have a trusted neighbor pick up the mail and newspaper, take out your garbage and have your grass mowed / snow shoveled.

The same survey found that nearly 50 percent of Americans aged 23 and over increased their chances of a home fire because of decorating for the holidays:

  • 34 percent connect multiple extension cords together
  • 16 percent put up holiday lights without inspecting them for frayed cords
  • 9 percent let their tree dry out after it is decorated in the home
  • 9 percent have lit a fire without an annual chimney inspection
  • 5 percent have left a burning candle unattended

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), approximately 390 home fires and 21 deaths are caused by either a Christmas tree, holiday lights, or other decorative lighting occur each year. Click here to view several helpful, holiday decoration fire safety tips.

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