Christmas holidays can either be fabulous or fraught, so here are 12 ways to keep your belongings safe and yourself stress-free.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..
Twelve BBQ dinners
Keep looking when you're cooking – a frying pan of oil, even on the BBQ, can ignite in under 60 seconds. Also remember to keep your barbie away from buildings, hedges or anything flammable - it would pay to keep a fire extinguisher handy too. When finished, check you’ve turned off the gas or thoroughly doused the ashes.
Eleven wrapped presents
Gifts under the tree are tempting for thieves so make sure they, and other valuables, can’t be seen from the outside your home. Also be careful when disposing of any tell-tale packaging.
Ten dollar bills
Keep your wits about you when taking cash out of an ATM, or putting it in your bag or wallet. It’s best to keep all valuables, including cash, out of sight so zip up your pack or bag so no one can see inside. Don’t go counting money in the open either, as you could be advertising to thieves.
Nine car park collisions
Unless you’re really organised, it can take a few trips to get all your Christmas shopping done. Car parks can be hazardous however, so take care when driving – be courteous, patient, and take it slow. Look out for reversing drivers, runaway trolleys, and distracted children, and if you ding someone else’s parked car, but can’t find the owner, do the right thing and leave a note with your details.
Eight momentary lapses
Don’t leave your belongings unattended, even if it’s just for a matter of seconds while you get cutlery at a café or a can of beans at the supermarket. Thieves are often opportunistic and may take advantage of your inattention.
Seven shopping bags
If you need to leave items in your car so you can purchase that last gift, or you forgot the cream for the trifle, then keep your shopping in the boot where it can’t be seen. Don’t have it on display to tempt thieves.
Six security options
Protect your home while you’re away with alarms, security lights, and deadlocks on doors and windows – remember they’ll only work if you use them. Also put away items that could help burglars get into your home like wheelie bins and ladders, ask your neighbours to keep an eye on the place and clear mail, and avoid posting your location on social media.
Five smoke alarms
Depending on the size of your home you may need more or less than five but, no matter the number, the Fire Service recommends long-life photoelectric type smoke alarms. Install them in your holiday accommodation as well as your home and remember to test them regularly to ensure they operate effectively.
Four days at the beach
Unless you designate someone to sit with your belongings while you swim, it’s best not taking valuables with you or leaving them unattended while at the beach. Keep your jewellery and other valuables at home, or if you’re unable to, then put them in the boot or out of sight in a locked car. To keep your car key safe, you can buy a ‘bracelet’ or waterproof container to wear around your wrist or ankle like surfers often do.
Three road trips
You’re heading away on the first of many road trips. Make sure you’re rested, checked your vehicle over, and you don’t have anything to distract you – your phone is on hands-free, the music is sorted, and you’ve packed some activities to keep the kids occupied. Your attention should be on the road, not on other things around you.
Two visits to rellies
You’re taking the kids and the dog to go visit grandma, then the rest of the whanau before heading to the beach. Before you set off, remove all the things you don’t need to leave in the car while you’re parked outside, and remember to take your valuables, like your phone, bag and electronic gear, with you. Sports gear and clothing is also popular with thieves but if you don’t want to take it with you then leave it in the boot and out of view.
….and an up-to-date insurance po-li-cy!
If you’ve added new items to your house, holiday home, or caravan, or done some renovations over the holidays, check you have enough insurance cover for your home and contents. An online calculator can help you work this out. Do the same if you’ve updated your car or made any modifications.