They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it should be. The holiday season brings several concepts to mind: family, gifts, food, vacation – but one that too often goes unnoticed is danger. Unfortunately, house fires spike during winter months – particularly around the holidays – and robbery and personal larceny both peak during the month of December. 

Here at Tech, we want your holidays to be both secure and fun, which is why we’ve compiled this list of tips for both your home and business. Have a safe and happy holiday season

1. Protect your Doorstep

Widespread online shopping means package theft is more prevalent than ever, and the holidays are the perfect time for thieves to capitalize. Package theft is the ultimate crime of opportunity, and is almost never planned, so things like motion-activated lights or visible security cameras may be enough to spook would-be thieves. Additionally, consider requesting a signature for particularly expensive gifts, so they will not be left on the porch in the first place.

2. Secure your Network

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be doing a fair bit of shopping for gifts online this season. Nearly everyone does, which is a large part of why cybercrime spikes during the holidays. Don’t let your business be subject to a breach! Make sure your employees are practicing good cybersecurity habits, like avoiding questionable vendors or risky links, and make sure your network is protected and your files are backed up.

3. Be careful with Candles

It may sound like common sense to be cautious whenever fire is involved, but nearly half of all decoration-related house fires begin with a candle. Be sure that when you light one, no flammable materials are dangling nearby. This applies especially to wreaths, decorative plants, and yes, the tree! Additionally, be sure not to leave candles burning unattended.

4. Leave the Light On

If choosing between a house that appears occupied and one that is not, almost any thief would choose the one with nobody home. If you’re setting off for Christmas dinner at a relative’s house, strategically leaving a light or two turned on can provide the appearance that somebody is in the house and deter potential thefts.

5. Mind the Cords

Cord safety is always crucial, but be especially careful when decorating the tree. Make sure you aren’t overloading your outlet or power strip with too many plugs, and never connect more than three strings of lights. Always remember to replace any lights with cords that are becoming worn down or frayed. This applies to the office too; make sure somebody is assigned the job of unplugging decorative displays before leaving. It’s good to get away from the office for a while, but good fire safety habits will help make sure it’s still standing when you come back.

6. Be Smart about Social Media

In recent years, burglars have begun to use social media to target the homes of people who are out of town. If you are traveling to visit family, or going somewhere warm and sunny for vacation, consider waiting to post until you return, or keep your profile private. The “likes” will still be waiting when you get back!