‘Tis the season for holiday parties, trips, baking, home decorations, shopping, and gift-giving. 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 the Christmas season.
Holiday Light Safety
Do not put up any lights, inside your home or outside, without inspecting them first. Make sure all wires are not frayed and be sure to check each light holder to make sure they are not cracked. Double check to ensure they are holding each bulb firmly.
Indoor lights should never be turned on when you are not at home, especially if you have a live Christmas tree. Make sure the wires are safely tucked away and aren’t tripping hazards throughout your home. Outdoor lights should be put on a timer that is certified for outdoor use. It may be tempting with the earlier dark hours, but try to keep the lights off until around 7pm 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.
Live Tree or Fake Tree
Either is fine, if you use your head when choosing. Artificial trees should be marked as “fire resistant.” This won’t make the tree fireproof, but will be harder to accidentally ignite 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. Dry trees are a fire hazard.
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 is flame-resistant.
Safe Holiday Partying
Make sure the toys your children receive are age-appropriate and working properly. Read all of the instructions and keep advanced toys, or toys with small pieces that could be swallowed, are kept away from children who are too young to use them.
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 kept cold 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. 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.
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.