With the holiday season upon us, our focus shifts to decorating, shopping, festivities, baking, and possibly travel. To help keep the holidays cheerful and safe, we bring you some essential tips and recommend some easy-to-follow steps to protect your homes and businesses around holidays.
Keeping in mind everyone’s situation may is different, more Canadians are fiscally prudent this year as a result of rising inflation and other ripple effects of the post-pandemic reality. However, all can benefit from staying alert and keeping ourselves, our families, pets, homes, and businesses safe.
Both Waterloo Regional Police and Kitchener Fire Department offer information on protecting a home or business during the holiday season.
According to the Waterloo Region Police Service, a security audit is the best way to identify weak points in your physical security. They recommend to evaluate your home or business not from an aesthetic point of view, but from that of a criminal. Completing a security audit will force you to think of the ways you and your family are vulnerable. Kitchener Fire Department also offers a comprehensive checklist to fireproof your home and identify common household fire risks.
As we are focusing primarily on the safety around holidays, we bring you Holiday Fire Safety recommendations from the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM):
• Water fresh-cut Christmas trees daily. Always keep the base of the trunk in water and away from heat sources such as fireplaces, heaters or candles.
• Check all lights before decorating and replace any worn or damaged cords or loose bulb connections. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for indoor or outdoor use.
• Make sure there is a working smoke alarm on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas.
• Only carbon monoxide alarms can alert you to the presence of this deadly gas. Install carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas.
• Having a home fire escape plan is one of the best ways to ensure you and your loved ones can get out safely. Everyone in your home should know two ways out of all areas.
• Use extension cords wisely and only as a temporary connection. Never run cords under rugs which can damage the cord and cause a fire. Avoid overloading a circuit with “octopus outlets” (lots of extension cords in one electrical outlet).
• Portable space heaters and other heating sources are sometimes used to keep the chill out. Keep anything that can burn such as holiday decorations, curtains and upholstery, at least one metre away from heat sources.
• Keep open flames away from anything that may be combustible. If you can, use an enclosed candle holder or sturdy, burn-resistant container that won’t tip.
• Matches and lighters can be deadly in the hands of children. Keep all fire-starting materials out of the sight and reach of children.
• Never leave a stove unattended. If you need to step away for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
• Encourage smokers to smoke outside and use large, deep ashtrays that cannot be knocked over easily. Always keep ashes away from anything that can burn. Empty cooled ashes into a metal container and store outside.
• While celebrating this festive time of year, be sure to keep a watchful eye on anyone cooking or smoking while under the influence.
The WRPS also offers a comprehensive list on how to quickly and efficiently make homes and local businesses “unappealing” to the potential theft:
Some of the valuable information for our local business owners on protecting their business during the holiday closures are the following steps:
• Ensure that you have a good video surveillance system that is prominently displayed both inside and outside of the premises. Employers should ensure that cameras are checked regularly and are in good working order, capable of capturing quality, unobscured images
• Increase business visibility from the street
• Increase parking visibility from your business
• Direct the approach of visitors to observable areas using see-through fencing, gating or landscaping that doesn’t affect views
• Decrease “weapons of opportunity.” (ie. Remove rocks or chain items down)
• Ensure all entering customers are visible by either a receptionist or employee. (Restrict unmonitored movement in your office area.)
• Evaluate lighting in the evening hours for areas of shadow and contrast, particularly in relation to entry points. Consider wire-screened, motion activated lights for dark areas
Aside from all the safety tips above, please always remember to keep safe and dial 911 if you or someone else is in an imminent danger.
Please remember that your broker is always a call or visit away if you wish for us to review your insurance policy, look into coverage you may need but don’t currently have or coverages you wish to increase. We are always happy to address your insurance-related questions and will be there should you experience a loss.