The holiday season is supposed to be a happy time for everyone. Yet, visits to the ER tend to rise by 5% to 12% during the holidays. From slipping on wet surfaces to starting a fire, there’s a lot that can go wrong between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
Here are ten holiday safety tips you should be aware of to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy this season.
1. Take Care With a Live Tree
While a real tree in the home during Christmas may smell very nice, it can also be a fire hazard; especially if it’s allowed to dry out. In order to avoid a fire, be sure to set up the tree at least three feet away from heat sources like radiators, heaters, candles, and the fireplace. Keep it well hydrated, checking the water level every other day to ensure it’s getting enough to drink. If you have a dog, make sure your dog’s water bowl is full so he/she doesn’t get any ideas about drinking the tree water!
Make sure your tree is secure and stable in its base so it doesn’t tip over. Better yet, consider opting for a fake Christmas tree that is labeled fire-resistant.
2. Inspect The Condition Of Your Lights
Check the condition of your holiday lights when you pull them out of storage for any signs of damage. Toss any that have frayed cords, cracked sockets, loose connections, and other broken parts. Prevent cord damage by mounting lights with hooks instead of items that can create tears, such as nails.
When hanging lights outdoors, keep the plugs and cords away from any standing water.
Choose lights and lighted decorations that bear the seal from an independent testing lab such as Underwriters Laboratories. These products have been safety tested.
3. Don’t Leave Cooking Food Unattended
Failing to keep an eye on food while it’s cooking is a leading cause of household fires. Stay in or near the kitchen until the food is done and the burners are turned off. Keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach and know how to safely operate it before an emergency forces you to use it.
Take special precautions when using deep fryers. Follow the instructions carefully and use them outside and away from your home, especially when frying large pieces of food such as turkey.
4. Don’t Overload Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets can easily become overloaded and spark, causing a fire. Only plug one high-wattage appliance into an outlet at a time.
When connecting incandescent light sets, consult the package directions for the number of strings that can be plugged into one socket or connected to each other (usually no more than three.) Opt for LED lights which don’t get as hot and are more energy-efficient.
5. Use Battery Operated Candles
Over 8,000 home fires are started each year by candles and December is the peak time of the year for them. To stay safe and prevent a knocked over candle from starting a fire, use only battery-operated ones. This is especially important if you have children or pets in your household.
If you must use a real candle, keep it in a safe place, (out of reach from kids and pets) and make sure it’s secure. Extinguish all candles before going to bed or if you have to leave the room.
6. Keep Walkways and Driveways Clear
Prevent slips and falls by keeping your home’s driveway, walkway, and steps clear of debris and should it occur in the Southern Texas area, snow too. We all know how much it can rain down here so keeping your sidewalk or walkways clean of debris can make it easier to navigate should it be raining or flooding whether it’s day or night. Sometimes when heavy rain is expected, keep towels near the entry so family members can dry off before coming in to help prevent slips or falls with hands full.
7. Turn Off All Lights and Decorations When Going to Bed
Shut off and unplug all indoor and outdoor lighting and decorations when retiring for the evening or leaving the house. You should also not let candles or fireplaces burn unattended or while you are asleep. This includes heating devices – be sure to follow the directions for that unit and keep from potential fire starters.
8. Deter Thieves
Prevent holiday package theft by staying home to receive shipped items or have them shipped to your office or a neighbor’s house. Securely lock all doors and windows at night and before leaving your home unattended. Break down boxes from holiday gifts in a way that won’t give potential thieves any ideas about what expensive items may be in your home.
When leaving your home, keep some of the room lights on so thieves will assume someone is home. Be wary about posting too much information on social media about any fancy gifts you’ve received and if you’re going away for the holidays. Make your home look occupied. Consider investing in a security system.
9. Invest in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Having working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms with fresh batteries will help your home alert you to the presence of either in your living space. Carbon monoxide can build up more easily in the winter when windows are shut and drafts are sealed.
Be sure to review your homeowners insurance policy so you know what is covered in case of a fire around the holidays.
10. Use Ladders Properly
Use ladders properly when putting up the tree or hanging decorations. Ladders should always be placed on a firm, even surface and fully opened before using. Avoid using ladders that are higher than six feet tall.
You should always maintain three points of contact when on the ladder such as both feet and one hand to keep your balance.
Follow These Holiday Safety Tips and Enjoy The Season
Following these holiday safety tips will give you peace of mind to help you enjoy the holiday season.
To ensure your home is always protected year-round, you need to be sure your homeowners insurance is adequate and covers all of your new Christmas gifts. Contact Kicker Insures Me Agency at (281) 487-9686 to learn more about your personal insurance policies and/or to obtain a no-cost, no-obligation quote.