- Potential burglars don't need to know what type of computer or flat-screen TV is now in your home. When throwing away gift packaging, break down all boxes and place them in a dark colored trash bag or closed container—not an open bin. If you're unable to use one of these containers, consider waiting to put your trash out until the day of pick-up to reduce the time that the boxes are left out in the open.
- Likewise, don't invite burglars to window-shop. Keep valuable items like computers and out of easy sight, away from windows or doors. If you're going out of town, keep the shades drawn.
- Check for identification before opening the door to a stranger, including delivery people; criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
- If you're going to be away from home for a few days, create the illusion of occupancy. Put a couple indoor lights on timers and enlist a friend or neighbor to collect your mail, newspapers and deliveries, and have someone shovel your driveway or walkway.
- Do not use holiday lights that have worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. From 2007 to 2011, electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in 64% of fires involving holiday or decorative lights, according to a November 2013 from the National Fire Protection Association. Only use holiday lights that are certified by an independent testing laboratory and suited for the use you need—whether indoor or outdoor.
- Keep real trees well-watered. have found they are less likely to catch fire. When a tree begins dropping needles, it's time to take it to a drop-off site or the curb. Trees that are not watered and dried out can be extremely flammable and result in a more frequently than other home fires.
- Even artificial trees can be flammable, so make sure yours is by the manufacturer as fire-retardant. Styles with built-in electrical systems also should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.
- Safety should trump holiday decorations when it comes to candles. The top day for residential candle fires is Christmas Day, followed by Christmas Eve and New Year's Day, according to the .
- If you plan to enjoy a toasty fire, ensure your chimney flue is to remove flammable buildup. Keep any flammable items, like wrapped holiday presents and decorations, at least three feet away from the fireplace.
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