Holiday Safety

The holidays are a joyous time for most people, yet fires and crime are a constant threat. The Town of Wake Forest wants to help ensure that the holidays remain merry for everyone by stressing the following crime prevention and fire safety tips:

Holiday Shopping

  • Don't carry large amounts of cash. Never display the cash you carry.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dark or secluded areas where you could become a crime victim. Park in well-lit areas as close as possible to an entrance.

  • Put your packages in the trunk. Do not place packages on the seat or in the floor of your vehicle in view of prying eyes.

  • Keep your vehicle locked at all times.

  • Keep your purse closed and carry it securely under your arm. Never place your purse on a counter, leave it in your shopping cart or let your children carry it.

Holiday Traveling

  • Ask a neighbor to watch your home while you are away, and to pick up mail and package deliveries. Make sure neighbors have a phone number, so they can reach you in case of an emergency.

  • Set automatic timers to activate your lights and other appliances to give your home an occupied look.

  • Be sure your home is locked and that the shades, blinds and draperies are in their normal position.

Home for the Holidays

  • Do not place gifts or other valuables where they can be seen by someone looking in from outside your home.

  • Keep doors and deadbolts locked at all times – even when someone is home.

  • Never let a stranger inside your home.

  • Do not leave notes outside to indicate that you are away from home.

  • Don't advertise your new microwave, stereo or TV by leaving the empty boxes at the curb. Put discarded gift boxes in trash bags.

  • A key chain whistle or panic alarm, and deadbolt locks make great holiday gifts.

Christmas Tree Safety

  • Always select a fresh Christmas tree.

  • Put the tree in water immediately to help prevent it from drying out too quickly.

  • Use the proper Christmas tree lights. Some lights are designed for outdoor use only.

  • All lights should be approved by an independent testing laboratory.

  • Never use electric lights with a metal tree.


  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, bedding, walls, clothing and other items that can burn.

  • Always use the proper fuel for liquid-fueled heaters. Be sure they are vented properly and refill them only in a well-ventilated area when they are cool.

  • Make sure the type of heater you are using is legal in your area and bears the seal of an independent testing laboratory.

  • Never use extension cords with electric space heaters.


  • Be careful when emptying fireplace ashes. Place them in a nonflammable container away from your residence.

  • Do not burn the wrappings from holiday packages in your fireplace.

  • Have your chimney inspected by a professional at least once a year and have it cleaned if necessary.

  • Always use a fire screen.


  • Never use candles or any type of open flame near Christmas trees, wreaths, curtains, combustible decorations or displays.

  • Don't leave candles burning unattended or within the reach of small children.

  • Keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of small children. Use only child resistant lighters, keep matches in a locked cabinet and teach children to stay away from candles, fireplaces and space heaters.

Safe Holiday Parties

  • Use only flame retardant materials for costumes and decorations.

  • Check your home thoroughly after holiday parties where guests have been smoking. If dropped under furniture or behind upholstery cushions, a cigarette can smolder for hours before catching fire.

  • Use deep, non-tipping ashtrays and keep a close watch on anyone who is drinking alcohol and smoking.

Fire-Safe Gifts

  • When buying children's presents, avoid toys made from highly flammable materials.

  • Make sure all electrical toys bear the label of an independent testing laboratory.

  • Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers make great holiday gifts.