The holidays are a time for family, fun, and festivities. Unfortunately, they are also a common time for accidents, fires, and other safety risks.
Whether you’ll be enjoying a holiday away or at home surrounded by friends and family, there are some holiday home safety tips you need to know.
Keep reading to learn 10 tips to keep your home safe this winter.
- Opt for Flameless Candles or Other Options
Candles are a big part of many holiday traditions, including Christmas and Hanukah. But when you’ve got children playing and Christmas trees and other decorations about, they can become a major danger.
Candles may get knocked over, ignite decor hung too close, or be left unattended in the rush of the holidays.
While they may look pretty, they aren’t worth the risk.
If you’re solely using candles for looks, consider flameless options. Many flameless candles mimic the flickering flame of a real candle, but with none of the danger.
If you’re using candles to freshen your home and give it a festive scent, consider electric warmers that melt wax or oils to release scents.
- Ask a Neighbor to Watch Your House
If you’ll be traveling for the holidays, let a trusted neighbor know.
Christmas is a popular time for home invasions because criminals know that homes are likely to be packed with expensive gifts.
Having your neighbors there to keep an eye on things might just help you avoid a home invasion. If you don’t have your lights on a timer they could turn lights on for you at various times or even park their car in your driveway so it appears like there’s someone home.
- Keep an Eye on Your Kitchen
Cooking fires are the number one cause of house fires in the United States.
Maybe you enjoy baking endless batches of cookies. Or your Christmas Eve or Day meal features a roasted turkey or ham.
If you’re also putting up decorations, wrapping gifts, or entertaining guests while you cook, you may wander frequently from the kitchen. With your mind on other things, its easy to not notice an accident about to happen.
Don’t let a kitchen fire derail your holidays. Make sure that someone is always in the kitchen while cooking.
- Heat Carefully
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas and enjoying outdoor activities like building a snowman.
You may come in to warm up around the space heater with a cup of hot chocolate.
But space heaters are another big fire risk.
Loose curtains, rugs, and misplaced Christmas decorations may get too close to the space heater. Never leave wet mitts, hats and scarfs on the heater to dry. Given enough time and heat, they’ll ignite.
If you have to use space heaters, place them carefully and never leave them running while you’re away from home. You can also get smart and bundle up to save heating costs while at home.
- Water Your Christmas Tree or Choose Artificial
The centerpiece of your Christmas decorations could very well be one of the greatest dangers in your home. While preventing kitchen, heater, and candle fires are more obvious necessities, this is one holiday safety tip that is often overlooked until it’s too late.
On average, between 2011 and 2015, Christmas tree fires caused 6 American deaths each year.
Placing the trunk in water will help keep it looking great all season long. But neglect to replace the water or skip it entirely, and your tree will begin to dry out.
Even if your tree looks lush and green, without water, the needles become brittle. Add in strings of lights that heat those needles and you have a fire risk.
- Inspect Your Chimney Before Lighting It
While loose curtains and rugs won’t pose the same fire risk when using a fireplace instead of a space heater, you still need to use a bit of planning. Ensure you use a fireplace guard to protect flammable items from rogue sparks.
Having your chimney inspected regularly will help ensure that birds’ nests and other debris didn’t settle in during warmer months.
Lighting a fire in your fireplace without checking to see if the chimney is clear could cause a fire.
- Replace Old Strings of Lights
Even your twinkling Christmas lights could start a fire, and not just when they come in contact with a dry tree.
Older strings of lights or those that have been damaged may begin to fray or overheat. When they are left on too long against real or fake trees and other decorations, they can cause a spark.
If it seems as though many of the home safety tips on this list are about preventing fires, it’s because house fires are a serious problem around the holidays.
While taking measures to prevent these fires is important, so is being prepared in case a fire does start.
Before the holidays are underway, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are good to go. Read more here about protecting your family from holiday fires with the right smoke detector.
- Schedule Deliveries or Install Security
If you’ve done any online shopping for the holidays, you’re probably not surprised to hear that package thefts increase this time of year.
After spending your hard-earned money on presents, the last thing you want is for someone to grab your delivery right off your porch.
If you can’t schedule deliveries to occur while you’re home, consider adding a home security system to deter thefts and help you catch a crook if one does occur.
- Only Use a Single Extension
When you want to plug in lots of decorations, you might reach for a stack of extension cords.
But before you start stringing them end to end, think twice. Too many extension cords or those used improperly can pose a risk of fire or electrocution. Keep it to a minimum and make sure to check regularly to see if any decorations could be overheating.
It’s a smart idea to use a surge protector if you’re plugging in several extension cords seperately.
- Turn Off Decorations at Night
Many of the tips on this list are designed to keep decorations from overheating. Even if you follow every other tip, overheating could still occur.
To keep it from happening, and help you save on your electricity bill, turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed each night.
Putting These Holiday Home Safety Tips to Use
Putting these holiday home safety tips to use can help ensure your Christmas is happy, healthy, and accident free.
Now that your home is ready to go, it’s time to cross off the other tasks on your holiday to-do list.
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