5 Holiday Safety Tips for the Homeowner
The season is upon us. We’ve invited all the family for the holidays, and now it’s time to go all Clark Griswald on every inch of the home to make it the star of the neighborhood. We drag out the plastic Santa and all the reindeer, the giant Frosty the Snowman while always leaving room for the eleven cars that need to be parked on the lawn. It’s fun, and it’s memorable, but in some homes, it can be dangerous. Unfortunately, the National Fire Protection Association reports that every year, there is significant damage reported resulting from holiday-related fires. Let’s all take a step back for a moment and consider some helpful safety tips for the holidays this year:
Make sure your live tree is Fresh
It is a given that you want your tree to be pretty and fresh. To keep it that way throughout the season, make sure you keep fresh water in the tree stand. A very dry tree with hot decorative lights can be a severe fire hazard; especially if you leave the lights on for a long period of time. If you decide to go the fake tree route, make certain it has the “fire resistant” label on it.
Always check your light strands for Damage
If you’re like most families, you prefer not to buy new lights for the house each year. I mean, how much money does China need during the holidays? Before you begin stapling those beautiful strands of colored bulbs to the roof, check for frayed or damaged wire and make sure the bulbs are not broken. This will help prevent electrical issues and cut fingers when installing your 15-year-old collection of holiday cheer.
Don’t overload your electrical Circuits
During the holidays, most homes have decorations inside and out. We also use every appliance known to man and even some new ones, like that electrical deep fat Turkey Fryer that you purchased while watching an infomercial. An overburdened electrical circuit can lead to a fire that is not only dangerous but will put a severe damper on your holiday gathering. Always turn all your decorations off when you retire for the evening. Sure, they look beautiful late at night while the snow is gently falling, but the only person who’ll notice is the person delivering your paper at 4:30 in the morning. If you’re forgetful as I am, invest in some timers for your electrical decorations.
Clear and clean around the Fireplace
Having a beautiful fire burning in the living room fireplace adds ambiance to a holiday gathering, but not when a spark or two pops out and sets a dozen presents ablaze. Here again, it’s best to put your fire out before going to bed and make sure there are no embers waiting to pop out onto the carpet. Keep anything flammable (like wrapping paper) a good distance from the fireplace, and by all means, keep the screen closed.
If you’re leaving for the holidays, Prepare your Home
If you are leaving for the holidays rather than hosting this family event, your home is still at risk.
- Ask a neighbor you trust to check on your home while you’re away.
- Put some interior lights on timers so it will appear that someone is home.
- Suspend your newspaper and mail delivery.
- Keep a vehicle in the driveway or ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway.
The holidays are a wonderful time of the year to spend time with family and friends. Use some common sense and make your home safe, so you don’t end up as one of the statistics put out by the National Fire Protection Association.