It is the season of happy gatherings, with lights, trees, decorations and more. While all of these things make for a fun holiday season, there are dangers related to some of them. Here are some tips to keep your loved ones and home safe through the holidays.
- Holiday Lights. All of the fun combinations of lights are something to be seen and enjoyed during the holidays, but those lights can also start fires if the proper precautions are not taken. Be careful to select strands of lights that are flame-resistant. Inspect older lights to see if any need to be replaced due to frayed wires, cracked sockets or cords that are completely knotted up. Do not overload extension cords and keep decorations and other flammable materials away from candles that are lit. Never use electrical lights with a tree that is metallic and keep children and pets away from strings of lights or any decorations that are electrical. Always turn your lights off when you are leaving the home or are going to bed.
- Be mindful of your home security. While you are busy enjoying holiday events, criminals are busy watching your home, so be extra careful about locking doors and windows when you leave your home. You should also leave a radio or TV on so it sounds like someone is home, keep indoor lights on a timer, keeps gifts away from view through windows, ask someone to pick up your mail or newspaper if you plan to be gone for a period of time, and do not hide spare keys in easy to guess outdoor places around your home.
- Tree safety. If you are planning to buy an artificial tree, look for a “fire-resistant” label. When selecting a live tree, look for fresh green needles that do not break easily when they are bent. Set your tree up away from fireplaces, radiators, portable heaters and other heat sources. Make sure to water your tree sufficiently and ensure that your tree does not stand in the path of any main exits in case of any emergency.
- Decorations. Be mindful of older ornaments, which may have been painted with lead paint and any breakable ornaments with children and pets around. Use only nonflammable or fire retardant ornaments.
- Entertaining. As you get ready to have guests over to your home, remember to not leave anything cooking in the kitchen, as unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association.