How to Keep Your Home Safe for the Holidays

The holiday season is an exciting time for young and old, with family gatherings, decorations, and gift giving. With a strong focus on family, it’s important to keep your home and loved ones safe this season. The first step is understanding potential risks and knowing how to prevent any future problems.

Fires

When people think of holiday hazards, Christmas tree fires are the most common. While it isn’t too common for a tree to catch fire, it’s important to take precautions to ensure that it doesn’t pose a potential danger.

  • If it’s a real tree, keep it watered and away from the fireplace or heater.
  • Avoid leaving the lights on 24/7, and especially turn them off if you plan on being gone for a long period of time.
  • Don’t use any real candles or flames as decoration, on or off the tree.
Real candles on a tree can cause dangerous, fast spreading fires.
Real candles on a tree can cause dangerous, fast-spreading fires.

The lights around a tree or outside a home can also be a potential fire hazard.

  • Using older strings of lights or attaching too many strings to a single outlet can cause an electrical fire.
  • Cracked bulbs may have exposed wires, inspect lights before using them, especially if they’re older strings.
  • Refrain from plugging too many strings into a single outlet.
  • Replace your lights regularly.
  • LED bulbs produce less heat than other bulbs, and can also be a more energy efficient option, reducing potential fire hazards.
Refrain from plugging multiple strings of lights into a single outlet
Refrain from plugging multiple strings of lights into a single outlet

Although it’s not exclusive to the holiday season, cooking can also be a cause for fires.

  • When cooking for the holidays in large quantities, be mindful of the stovetop and ovens.
  • Keep oven mitts and dish towels away from open flame.
  • If cooking multiple items at once keep tabs on timers to ensure pots don’t boil over and food doesn’t burn.

As children get excited for the arrival of Santa, parents should be mindful of the chimney.

  • Have a professional clean the flue and keep it maintained, even if it isn’t used too regularly.
  • After having a fire properly dispose of any ashes.
  • When having a fire in the fireplace, move any flammable items away from the flames (inlcuding stockings hung by the chimney with care).

Falls

Falls are the most common injury seen in emergency rooms around the holidays. While no injuries are completely preventable, taking the correct precautions can help avoid a holiday mishap.

Hanging holiday lights can be an exciting, but precarious, task.

  • When hanging lights, make sure the ladder is secure on a flat surface.
  • Keep the base one foot away from the wall for every 4 feet you climb.
  • Don’t attempt to stand on the top of the ladder.
  • It’s best to have a spotter on the ground to make sure everything is sturdy.
  • Avoid leaning across the edge of the ladder, as this can unevenly distribute the weight and cause the ladder to topple.

laddersafety

Yourself or your family can also be injured from a falling Christmas tree, while this may not cause too much harm, broken ornaments and stray branches can cut and bruise, and it’s frustrating to clean up.

  • Keep your tree secure by opting for a solid stand, preferably made of metal.
  • Tighten the screws at the base and use rocks or bricks for added support.
  • If you use a fake tree, make sure it’s set up properly and sits level.

Other Hazards

Break-ins and robberies are more common around the holidays.

  • Criminals know that many homeowners are purchasing gifts, often times leaving them in cars, garages, or other easily accessible locations.
  • After bringing gifts home bring them inside the house for safe keeping.
  • If gifts must be kept in a car or garage keep the doors locked and the items covered.
  • Have yourself and neighbors keep on the lookout for any suspicious persons or vehicles who may be canvassing the area.
Have yourself and your neighbors be on the lookout for anyone suspicious in the area.
Have yourself and your neighbors be on the lookout for anyone suspicious in the area.

Accidental injuries are a common occurrence after the gifts are given, many kids (and adults) want to test out their new toys, if they aren’t used properly it can lead to injuries and home damage.

  • Gifts that can be ridden (bikes, ATVs, and motorcycles) should only be used outside and a good distance from the house or other obstacles.
  • Guns, knives, and other weapons should be used outside the home and only after receiving the proper safety training.
Without taking the proper safety precautions you may end up like Ralphie and "shoot your eye out!"
Without taking the proper safety precautions you may end up like Ralphie and “shoot your eye out!”

By following these simple steps, your family and home can stay safe this holiday season!

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