‘Tis the season for holiday parties, baking, home decorations, shopping, gift-giving, and travel. The holiday season also brings with it a certain amount of risk, but there are plenty of simple things you can do to keep your home and family safe during this Christmas season.
Lights are beautiful, warm and inviting, both inside your home and outside. But it’s important that you don’t hang a fire hazard. Do not put up any lights, inside your home or outside, without inspecting them carefully first. Make sure all wires are intact and not frayed. Check each light holder to make sure they are not cracked hold each bulb firmly.
Indoor lights should never be left on when you are not at home, especially if you have a live Christmas tree. Make sure the wires are safely tucked away, and secured to prevent tripping. Outdoor lights should be put on a timer that is certified for outdoor use. It may be tempting with the earlier dark hours, but keep outdoor lights off until around 7 pm or so. This will help you to save money on peak-usage hours for electricity consumption. All lights, both inside and out, should be turned off for the night before you go to bed.
If you choose to buy an artificial tree, make sure that it is marked as “fire resistant.” This won’t make the tree fireproof, but it will be harder to accidentally ignite and spread, and any potential fire could be put out more easily.
Live trees need to be as fresh as possible, with green needles that are difficult to break or pull off the tree. The trunk should still be sticky. Live trees should be constantly watered to extend their life. A dry tree with dropping needles is a serious fire hazard and should be removed.
No matter what type of tree you choose, make sure you keep it away from your fireplace and any heating vents or radiators. Use safe, indoor-rated lights on your tree and make sure everything you use to decorate, garlands, ribbons, ornaments… is flame-resistant.
Candles are often a major part of one’s holiday celebration, but according to the National Fire Protection Association, 12 percent of home fires each year occur in December, which is a higher rate than any other month of the year. More candles are lit during the holiday season than any other time of year.
Be sure to keep all candles on stable surfaces so they don’t tip over and start a house fire. Never leave burning candles unattended, and be sure to blow out all candles before leaving a room or going to sleep for the evening. And, of course, don’t leave candles anywhere near your Christmas tree or other decorations. Most house fires during the holidays begin with candles igniting a Christmas tree or garlands.
Make sure all children are supervised around burning candles. You don’t want to ruin your celebration with a trip to the emergency room. If you’re going to have a lot of small children at your celebration, it might be best to use electric candles or glow sticks.
And speaking of child safety…
Never leave small children unattended. Decorations, plants, and overloaded electric chords are hazardous to children who put things in their mouths and run around while playing. Not all homes and venues are child-proofed. Children love to receive toys during the holidays, but sometimes these toys can include small pieces that a child may choke on if left unsupervised. If a particular toy states “adult assembly required,” be sure the child doesn’t use it until it is completely put together.
Food safety is just as important during the winter months as it is during the summer. Keep hot and cold foods separated, make sure meats are fully cooked, and don’t leave foods that should be normally refrigerated out for more than two hours unless you have them on ice.
Clean up immediately after a party. Food and decoration items left unattended can become choking hazards for young children and pets.
If you’re traveling during the holidays, make sure your windows and doors are locked before you leave the house. Stop the mail and newspapers. Don’t announce your trip on social media, and save those holiday pictures to post after you get back home. Double check your home security system, if you have one. If you don’t, make sure you have some of your regular indoor lights on timers so that your home appears occupied. This will deter burglars looking for easy home targets. If at all possible, have a neighbor or friend keep an eye on your property while you’re away.
Survey your home each day to make sure your lights, trees, decorations, and other household items are in good working order. These simple steps will reduce your risk of a fire or household accident.
Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia and with a mid-west office in Louisville, Kentucky, Foundation Insurance Group is an independent full-service insurance agency specializing in auto, home, life, and business insurance. Since our founding in 1994 the mission has been simple: “Our mission is to provide solid solutions backed by superior service at a competitive price.” For years we’ve partnered with a variety of top rated insurance carriers to fulfill this mission and to provide our clients with tailored insurance programs that fit the unique needs of an individual or business.
We, at Foundation Insurance Group wish everyone a very happy holiday season. For more information about homeowners, auto, life, and business insurance, contact us today, or visit our website: www.foundationinsurancegroup.com.