December 7, 2017
John Vomhof Jr.Staff Writer
The holiday season is one of our favorite times of the year, but unfortunately, it’s also a time when home thefts and accidents tend to rise.
On Thursday, Maureen Vogel from the National Safety Council and Pedro Melendez, a Best Buy smart home security expert, talked to media outlets around the country to educate consumers about common holiday safety hazards and how to prevent them.
Let’s start with thefts. What’s the best way to keep those online gift purchases from getting stolen?
Pedro: Unfortunately, more than 20 million Americans say they’ve had a package stolen off their doorsteps. But with products like Arlo security cameras and the Ring video doorbell you can see when that package arrives and have a neighbor or family friend swing over to pick it up. Then, you can use the August smart lock to remotely unlock the front door from your smartphone, so they can put that package inside. That guarantees it’s going to be there when you get home.
Home fires are a real hazard this time of year. How can people prevent them?
Maureen: This is the season of decorating and entertaining, and that’s one of the reasons why the risk of fire goes up. We tell people to mind the three C’s: candles, cooking and Christmas trees.
- Twelve percent of candle fires happen in December as we get caught up in the festive season. Be sure to keep your candles away from Christmas trees, boughs, curtains and drapes. And don’t leave a room without putting them out.
- In the kitchen, make sure you keep pots and pans on the back burners, with the handles turned in, so little ones can’t pull them off the stove. And set timers, so you don’t burn your food or start a kitchen fire.
- Don’t put more than three strands on a single outlet, and remember to use a surge protector. Also, if you have a real Christmas tree, be sure to keep it watered so it doesn’t dry out. Dry branches can catch fire from the heads of brightly burning light bulbs.
Can smart home products help with those things?
Pedro: Absolutely. I’m guilty of overcooking food from time to time, but some smart security cameras can detect smoke and alert me — or the local authorities — if something were to happen. The same technology we have outside the home, we can have inside, too. And, of course, make sure you have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Any other safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season?
Maureen: Keep stairways clean, inside and out, to prevent falls. And, finally, be aware of “button batteries.” A lot of the toys your children receive this holiday, may include those small batteries. If they’re swallowed, it can be fatal, so make sure to keep them up and away from children.
Visit NSC.org to find more tips for keep your family safe this holiday season and all year long. And for more information about smart home products, visit your local Best Buy store or go to BestBuy.com.