Stay safe while on vacation

The holidays bring out the things that matter most and it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect them. Emergency management and law enforcement experts at the Department of Public Safety share some tips to help you and your family stay safe while on vacation.

Protect yourself against the risk of home fire

Candles can make beautiful decorations, but can present a fire hazard when left unattended. More than half of home decor fires in December are started by candles. Keep lit candles away from flammable objects (at least 12 inches) and never leave a burning candle in another room or when leaving the house. Battery operated flameless candles are a safe alternative for decorations.

Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms on every floor, especially if you are expecting guests. Make sure nothing obstructs exits in an emergency.

Heat your home safely. Keep anything that can burn (including Christmas trees) at least three feet from fireplaces, wood stoves, portable heaters and radiators. When you leave a room or go to bed, turn off the heaters or unplug them.

If you have a Christmas tree, be sure to water it every day. A dry tree can be a fire hazard.

Be careful when preparing your holiday meal

Cooking is the number one cause of home fires every year, so keep these tips in mind when preparing your holiday feast.

  • Stand near your pot – if you leave your kitchen, turn off the burner.
  • Watch what you cook.
  • Turn the pot handles towards the back of the stove to prevent them from being bumped or torn from the stove.
  • Keep a pot lid or baking sheet nearby to put out pot fires.

General home security

Stop deliveries
Stacks of newspapers in the driveway or an overflowing mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home. Stop deliveries and mail while you’re away. It is also a good practice to have a neighbor or trusted friend check your home while you are away. They can pick up anything that can be delivered and walk around your house for a quick security check.

Make your house feel occupied
Use smart home devices to schedule your lights to turn on when you’re away from home. You can also use them to turn on a TV or to listen to music. Noise is a good deterrent for potential burglars to think that you are at home.

Social media security
During holidays or extended periods, limit social media posts during your absence. You may want to avoid “check-ins” or wait until you return before posting photos of your trip.

Plan security checks
Contact your local police department or the sheriff’s office. Many offer a home security screening program for residents who may be away from their homes for extended periods of time.

Keep new purchases out of sight
The holiday season brings new treats to your home. Avoid drawing attention to new purchases by placing them near windows and inviting intruders. Also try to break the boxes to put them in the recycling bins. By hiding the boxes in the trash, no one can see what new purchases you have in your house.

Safe wherever you are

Be careful while shopping
When shopping, ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings and visit our blog for more safety tips when shopping in person and online.

Stay healthy
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), attending outdoor or virtual events poses a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 than events that are
in person and indoors. Due to the highly contagious Omicron variant, consider avoiding large in-person social gatherings with people outside your household. Vaccination and stimulation against COVID-19 remain the most effective ways for people to protect themselves. Travel is not recommended if you are not fully immunized or boosted. Get tested 1 to 2 days before and 3 to 5 days after your trip and be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including boosters and against the flu.

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