It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is this week. With people planning to hit the roads in massive numbers and head home for the holidays, memories are waiting to be made. Thanksgiving doesn't come without a bit of safety risk, however, and there are some simple things to remember to make your holiday as special as can be.
Thanksgiving means travel for a lot of people, and that also means empty houses. A home security system might not be a bad idea, with the ability to not only work against break-ins, but also against fire. For those who don't want to—or even can't—step up to a full home security system, there are other options.
Consider the use of smart technology. Timers are a time-tested idea that works well, though for extended trips potentially not so much. If we have learned nothing else from Home Alone, it's that lights mechanically engaged at the same time every night are a dead giveaway for timers. Today's smart home technology, however, allows users to turn lights on and off as desired. Not just lights, either; with some smart home systems, what's plugged into an outlet can be remotely controlled. Users can turn on lamps, televisions, radios or anything else to complete the illusion of an occupied home.
It may also be a good idea to keep travel plans quiet until after the fact, particularly on social media. Sure, the temptation to let a slate of friends and family know about a big trip home is huge. That advance notice, however, is schedule fodder for thieves. Also, wait until returning home before posting all those pictures taken on the trip.
A few other judicious tricks can also make it look like the home's occupant never left. The use of smart home technology can be a big plus here; certain machine-to-machine (M2M) systems can identify fire in progress in a home and send an alert to the user, who can in turn relay that alert to local authorities. It's almost as good as being there, even when being there isn't an option.
Of course, you can always go with a less-smart alternative; consider talking to the neighbors. While technology has a lot of great potential for making a person seem home when not actually there, having a willing neighbor, or even a chapter of the neighborhood watch, know about an absence can help address some of the issues that come up with an extended absence.
So in the end, best wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving 2015. Wishes alone won't make it so, though, so be sure to look into a little of that technological edge to make your Thanksgiving as happy and worry-free as it can be.