While the holidays are a beautiful and festive time, they’re also a time of the year when many home accidents happen. In fact, the holiday season alone accounts for nearly 1/3 of all home fires, and they’re often the most severe. However, worry shouldn’t ruin the season for you. By following these safety tips, you can relax and enjoy your time with friends and family.
- Inspect Christmas tree lights for frayed or damaged wiring. Any damage to your light strings can become a huge fire hazard. Any exposed wiring, frayed cords, or cracked light housings could start a blaze. It’s much cheaper to replace lights than to replace your home.
- Make sure tree is mounted on a sturdy base. This will prevent the tree from falling and potentially starting a fire. This can also prevent small children and pets from accidentally knocking or pulling a tree over.
- Make sure holiday displays aren’t blocking any doors or passageways. Not only will this help prevent accidents, but this will also ensure that you have a safe route in case a holiday fire does occur.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can quickly become charged, and even once touch could result in electrocution.
- Make sure outdoor lights are certified for outdoor use. Using indoor lights on the exterior of your home is a huge electrical hazard.
- Keep Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green. A green tree is a tree that is far less likely to burn. Buy the freshest cut tree possible, and then be sure to check the water levels daily. Inspecting your tree is a small hassle with a huge pay off.
- Never place wrapped gifts near or in fireplace. As picturesque as it may look, it only takes one stray spark to ignite your holiday gifts. You should also never burn wrapping paper in your fireplace.
- Always unplug lights before replacing bulbs.
- Look for certification marks on any electrical equipment you buy for holiday decorations. This ensures that the wiring complies with standards for safety and performance. CSA International, UL, and ELT are all organizations that provide these certifications.
- Never connect more than one extension cord together. This could overload the cords, resulting in a potential fire. Instead, invest in a cord that will reach the outlet without being too taught. You should also avoid cords that are too long and present a tripping hazard.
- Test your smoke alarms monthly while you have holiday displays up. In case there are any fires, you want to be alerted as soon as possible. Make sure fire and CO2 alarms are placed throughout your home and functioning perfectly.
- Make sure your chimney is clean. Before burning that Yule log, make sure that your chimney is swept clean and cleared of soot and debris. Hiring a professional chimney sweep service may cost a little extra, but having it professionally inspected can prevent problems later down the road.
- If using a gas fireplace, make sure the glass panel isn’t damaged. Any cracks in the glass can result in gas leaks or stray sparks.
- Keep candles away from any flammable holiday decorations.
- Child-proof your decorations. Breakable glass displays, sharp ornaments, and burning candles are all attractive to children (and pets). If you have children in your home, either keep these items far out of reach or choose not to display them. Older ornaments may have been painted with lead paint, which is also a safety hazard if ingested. Again, either don’t put these items out or take extra precautions to keep them out of reach.
- Don’t leave the kitchen when anything is cooking. Leading cause of home fires. 1 out of every 2 home fires starts in the kitchen. With family dinners and holiday parties, you may be tempted to let the food cook while entertaining your guests. However, make sure someone is always keeping an eye on the kitchen. A stove-top fire can quickly get out of hand – and nothing ruins a party like a fire.’
Want even more tips? Check out our winter weather checklist for your home >>