How to Prevent Christmas Tree and Holiday Decoration Fires

It’s the time of the year again. We love to have holiday lights, candles burning bright and the warm glow around the house. It’s that special time of the year when our homes are bursting with the holiday spirit. 

What’s not so lovely is when Christmas glee is turned into horror as the tree bursts into flames or christmas decors catch fire. Christmas trees and other decorations are an annual tradition for many, but misuse and neglect can lead to tragedy. 

Fire departments across the country respond to hundreds of fires during the holiday season each year.  One in every 31 Christmas tree fires is deadly, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The association says electrical failures and malfunctions caused 30 percent of Christmas tree fires.

What can we do to prevent the creation of a fire hazard? Here are a few tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles.

  • Place it at least 3 feet away from a heat source.

  • Position it so it’s not blocking any exits.

  • Water fresh trees DAILY to prevent them from drying out.

  • Turn any lights off at bedtime or before leaving your home.

When using artificial trees, be sure they are flame-resistant and watch out for electric lights on metal versions. Electrocution can occur if the metal on the tree becomes charged. 

Christmas trees aren’t the only item you’ll need to be careful with. Holiday décor can create unseen problems, too.  Make sure to decorate with fire-safe ornaments and lights. Don’t crowd your outlets with too many plugs or use more than one extension cord for your outlet. Keep light strands to a max of three per cord to avoid a burnout. 

Check your lights. Faulty lights can cause a fire, especially the ones around your tree, which is why It’s essential to check the lights you used to decorate your house.

Another thing you’ll need to be mindful of is candles. D.C. Police said two out of every five home decoration fires are started by candles. The four most common days for candle fires are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, police said. 

With these little extra precautions, you can have a joyful and worry-free holiday.

How to Prevent Car Break-ins

Motor vehicle theft is up 3.1% nationally, says the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Data report. While thieves may admire glamorous sports cars and luxury sedans, that’s not what they’re generally stealing. In terms of new cars, the Nissan Altima, Chrysler 200, and Toyota Camry were the most often stolen cars in 2016, reports Forbes. The Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Ford F-150, and Chevrolet Silverado topped the list of most stolen among used cars. Overall, used cars tend to be stolen more often than newer models, simply because they have less sophisticated anti-theft technology. In other words, car thieves want your car, but they don’t want to put in too much work.

Here are some car break-in prevention techniques.

1. Lock your doors

A majority of car break-ins and thefts are from unlocked cars. Even if you are parked in front of your house, in your driveway or inside your garage, lock your doors. Criminals like to walk down the street and see if a car is unlocked, if it is, they open the door and take whatever is visible and move on to the next target. However, if the door is locked, they are more likely to move on.

2. Don’t leave your car running

It can be tempting to leave your car running when you’re just popping in and out of the store, but this also makes it pretty easy for a thief to hop in and drive away. Also, it’s illegal to leave your car running and unattended in 30 states plus the District of Columbia. Laws vary based on the circumstance and state, but they all have the same goal in mind: to help prevent your car from getting stolen!

3. Park in well-lit areas

If you’re parking your car somewhere after the sun has gone down, try to find a spot underneath a streetlight that’s well lit and well trafficked. Thieves may be less likely to rummage through a car with a spotlight on them and a potential audience just around the corner.

4. Keep your vehicle tidy

Thieves like to window shop! Avoid leaving anything visible in the car. Almost any item that’s visible from the outside – even if you think it is worthless – could be seen as valuable to a thief. Your spare change, sunglasses, even an empty bag (a thief may think there is something inside the bag) could be valuable in the mind of a thief.

5. Invest in an anti-theft system

Whether it’s a steering wheel lock, a window alarm, or an ignition cut-off system, anything that makes a thief work harder could also make your car safer. If it will slow them down or potentially get them caught, they’ll probably pass.

6. Report Break-Ins

If you see a break-in in progress, call 911 immediately! Provide the 911 dispatcher with as much information as possible, such as:

  • Location – Provide an address, block number, or specific location in a parking lot.

  • Description of the suspect – Provide as much information as you can, i.e. sex, race, age, height, weight, hair color and length, color and length of facial hair, colors and style of clothing, and identifying marks such as tattoos and piercings.

  • Direction – If the suspect flees, give the direction of travel. If they flee on a bicycle or in a vehicle, describe the color, make, model, and license plate number, if it is safe to do so!

How to Prevent Fire at Home

Losing your home to a fire can be a scary thought, but there are a lot of preventive measures you can do to prevent home fire or fire accidents. 


Most people know the basics of fire safety at home such as not leaving burning candles or cooking unattended, and keeping a fire extinguisher on hand. But there are more things you can do to prevent home fire or home accidents. Here are some of important home fire safety tips.


1. Check electrical cords throughout the house

Faulty wiring and outlets are some of the top causes of house fires. Check the electrical cords throughout your home for signs of fraying, and replace all frayed wires. 


Be aware of the capacity of your home’s electrical system. Do not overload your circuits. If you have questions about your home’s electrical system, you may want to consult a licensed electrician.

2. Check dryer

If you have a gas-powered clothes dryer, have it inspected once a year to make sure all connections are secure. No matter what type of dryer you have, always clean out the lint filter after a load is finished. Regularly check behind and around the dryer for pockets of lint or items of laundry that have fallen under or behind. Use a shop vacuum or hire a professional to thoroughly remove all lint and debris from the lint trap area and all external dryer vents at least once a year. 


3. Inspect heating sources

Regardless of what kind of primary heating you have in your home, an annual inspection will reduce your risk of fire.

Change furnace filters regularly to avoid a buildup of dust and lint that can easily catch fire. If you use space heaters, carefully inspect them before and after each use, and place them at least three feet away from anything combustible, such as fabric or paper. Check water heaters as well, especially those that run off gas and have a pilot light. Make sure nothing is close to the heating element.


4. Keep firewood, piles of leaves and garbage away from the home

If a grass fire starts nearby, these items next to your home could easily become kindling. Never dump hot ashes inside or near your home; keep them in a metal container well away from your house and garage.


5. Know your shutoffs


Know the locations of your power shutoffs for all utilities, including gas lines, circuit breakers, appliances, and fuses. Post clear shutoff directions next to each one. Keep a non-sparking tool handy for turning off gas.


6. Install fire alarm system

Many people do not have fire alarm systems installed in their homes. Many assume that they are able to smell smoke when they are asleep and wake up in time to escape in case of a fire emergency. Well, this is not true at all. Studies have been conducted and it has been proven that people’s sleep are disrupted when there is sound or noise, but it is NOT the case with smell. Our sense of smell is lost when we are asleep, and we will not wake up no matter how strong the smell of smoke is.


The only thing that can alert you and your family 24/7 from a fire is the sound of a well installed and maintained fire alarm system. Fire alarms are important because they can give you an early signal to something that could be tragic – basically saving your lives.

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First-time Home Buyers Security Tips

Buying a house involves a long-term planning. Most people dream of buying a house for years or even decades before the actual process begins. Some of the things usually considered are the number of bedrooms, what the neighborhood is like, and how big the garden is, among others. But one important aspect that’s sometimes overlooked is security. 

New homeowners are especially vulnerable to security risks, as they are just beginning to learn about their new home and neighbourhood. You can have peace of mind by optimizing your home’s security. Here are some of the best home security tips to consider when buying your first home:

1. Check out the location before making the decision to buy

Before you make that buying decision, you need to consider the safety of the neighbourhood.

Buyers should keep an eye out for key indicators of a good neighbourhood, such as an active neighbourhood watch group, regular security patrol of the area, well-lit streets and pathways, as well as little to no signs of vandalism.

No neighbourhood will ever be completely crime free, but you certainly do not want to buy a home in an area that has a high crime rate.

For this reason, it is essential to conduct sufficient research into the neighbourhood’s crime statistics and overall safety.

This can be done by liaising with local authorities like the local police station, who will be able to provide you with the latest crime statistics for the area.

Enlisting the help of a knowledgeable local agent can also provide you with information on the safety in the area.

2. Meet the neighbors

There are many other forms of security measures worth considering, once you’ve found your ideal neighbourhood and have settled into your new home.

One of them is getting out and introducing yourself to your neighbors. They don’t have to become your new best friends, but neighbors who are familiar with one another tend to look out for each other, notice when things are “off” or suspicious at the neighbor’s home, and report it to authorities. 

A neighbour who you have built a good relationship with is more likely to keep watch over your home than a neighbour you have barely had any interaction with.

3. Perform an audit of your home’s security

Once you’ve moved into your new home, inspecting each of the home’s entry points is crucial, as online statistics reveal that criminals generally look to target homes with multiple entry and exit points, as well as homes that have easy access to main roads.

For this reason, it is essential to conduct a walkthrough of your house to identify any security flaws and areas that need special attention. 

Test the functioning of the windows and doors around your house in order to assess how easy or difficult it may be for an intruder to gain access into your home.

4. Install a security system

Trying to pick up the pieces after a house break in is a lot more traumatic than preventing one in the first place.

It is essential to focus on prevention and consider the options for securing your home.

The installation of a security system is a popular option among many homeowners, as it is considered an effective way to secure a home.

An active security system can help to notify you immediately if an intruder has gained entry to your property and is especially helpful in the event of you being out of town.

Most home security systems, once triggered, provides an instant notification by transmitting a signal to the relevant 24-hour monitoring centre. By doing so, security dispatchers can immediately inform you of the alarm and head out to your home to inspect the property, as well as alert the local emergency or police services.

Contact for more information on home security.

5. Get a dog

Despite all the advances in technology, dogs still make excellent security systems. Dogs are great at drawing attention to unusual activities and will warn you when someone unfamiliar is too close to the house or if they hear unusual noises outside. A pet can add a sense of security to any home, too. The simple idea of having another living, breathing thing in your house has a way of doing that