Holiday Home Safety Tips

The holidays invite a lot of fun around the house, but they also bring some increased safety issues. This holiday season minimize the safety risks in your home with these holiday home safety tips.

Christmas Lights

Exterior Home Safety

  • Make sure all your exterior lights are working. With visitors coming to visit around the holidays it’s important that they can see where they’re going.
  • Make sure door and window locks are in good working order – break-ins tend to increase around the holidays.
  • Make sure your front walk and driveway are clear of ice and snow – you don’t want guests slipping on their way to the front door.
  • Don’t put exterior decorations anywhere that can impede walking paths. Keep your stairs clear and don’t cover railings with garlands in such a way that people can’t grab on if they need to steady themselves.
  • Avoid putting decorations on the roof. Those big inflatable Santas and reindeer may be fun, but they pose a risk in inclement weather.

Christmas Lights (Interior & Exterior)

  • Before installing and turning lights on check for frayed wires, damaged sockets, and gaps in the insulation. If they’re damaged, toss them.
  • Don’t link more than 3 strands of lights together.
  • It’s generally not a good idea to plug different types of light sets together. Ie – don’t plug one of your old incandescent light strings into a new LED set.
  • Don’t mount lights in any way that could damage the cord’s insulation. Ie – do not mount them using nails, tacks or staples. Instead string them through hooks, use plastic clips, or secure them with insulated tape.
  • Turn off al the decorative lights when you leave the house and before you go to bed.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets.
  • Don’t run extension cords under rugs. Instead try to run them next to the wall so there’s no tripping hazard. And never connect more than one extension cord together.

Christmas Trees

  • Place trees away from high traffic areas like doorways.
  • If you get a real tree make sure it’s fresh in order to reduce the risk of fire hazards. If it’s artificial make sure it’s flame retardant.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity if the lights are faulty, and if someone touches a branch they could be electrocuted.
  • Keep trees away from any heat sources, including fireplaces, candles and heat vents.
  • If you have a real tree be sure to keep the tree stand filled with water because heated rooms can dry trees out quickly, which increases the risk of fire.
  • If you have children or pets don’t add chemicals to the Christmas tree water.
  • Invest in a good Christmas tree stand and make sure the base is steady so the tree won’t tip over.

General Home Safety

  • Make sure your smoke and CO2 detectors are in good working order. Make sure you have them on every level of your home, and definitely near sleeping areas.
  • Have a qualified professional perform a yearly maintenance check of your furnace and venting system before the holidays arrive so that you don’t get any chilly surprises when your guests arrive.
  • If you have a fireplace make sure it’s properly maintained. Both wood-burning and gas fireplaces need proper care to ensure safety.
  • Be responsible with ladders – inside and out. Decorations often call for a climb, whether it’s to hang exterior lights or decorate the tree. Never climb ladders when you’re alone and make sure they’re stable before you take that first step up.
  • If you use candles make sure they’re placed a safe distance from anything that could catch fire and never leave them unattended when lit. Also make sure that they’re in sturdy holders with no risk of falling over.
  • If you need to use a space heater to stay warm do not plug it into an extension cord or power bar. Plug it directly into the wall outlet. And always turn it off when you leave the room.

When it comes to safety around the holidays you can never be too careful. What else would you add to the list?

 

For more information on how to decorate safely during the holidays check out my Holidays Around the House Pinterest board.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Morguefile