TIP: Realtors offer tips for a safe holiday season

Read the full story at: MercuryNews.com

To help keep your family and your home safe and secure during the holiday season, the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors shares the following tips from various sources, including the National Safety Council and the National Fire Protection Association:

  • When putting up decorations make sure you use a sturdy ladder or step stool. Do not stand on a chair or other furniture.
  • Outdoor holiday lights add to the season’s festivities. Use lights that are certified for outdoor use and in good condition.
  • Check outdoor and indoor lights for damaged wires and connections. Do not overload wall outlets and extension cords or run cords under rugs or furniture.
  • Choose an artificial tree that is labeled fire resistant. If you are using a natural Christmas tree, cut two inches off the trunk and mount the tree on a sturdy stand. Keep the tree well-supplied with water and away from candles or a fireplace.
  • Keep candles secure by placing them on a sturdy base so they don’t tip. Never leave a lit candle unattended. Better yet, use battery operated candles.
  • Poinsettias can spruce up your home during the holiday season, but these plants are toxic. Keep them away from children and pets.
  • Turn off lighted decorations when you leave your home and when going to sleep.
  • Make sure all your smoke detectors are working. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, half of home fires occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • When you leave your home, place your inside lights on timers to make your home appear occupied.
  • Follow the 3-10 ft. rule. Keep your shrubs trimmed to about three feet and tree heights to no more than 10 feet to prevent burglars from lurking around your home.
  • Make sure you always lock the front door. Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
  • Do not place gifts under the Christmas tree where burglars can see them. Place a blanket over the presents, so they are not in full view of a window.
  • When shopping at malls, park in a well-lit area. Be aware of your surroundings. Do not leave packages visible in your car.
  • Many people are in a giving mood during the holidays and will donate money to charities. Do not become a victim of holiday charity scams. Never give your personal information to strangers.
  • If you plan on traveling during the holidays, do not post your travel plans online. Stop your mail delivery, or have a friend or trusted neighbor pick up your mail daily and ask them to check on your house, as well.
  • After the holidays, don’t advertise your gifts by leaving the boxes at the curb for garbage collection. Take the big boxes to the recycling center.