The holiday season is a joyful time of year when we decorate our homes, spend time with loved ones, and celebrate time-honored traditions. However, the holidays can also present safety hazards if proper precautions aren’t taken. As we deck the halls this season, let’s review some key tips to help ensure our homes remain safe and secure.
Securing Decorations and the Christmas Tree
When decorating our homes for the holidays, we want to exercise caution to avoid turning festive decor into fire hazards. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires involving Christmas trees per year between 2015-2019. However, by following a few simple safety steps, we can prevent fires and accidents.
Inspecting and Placing the Christmas Tree
When setting up a live Christmas tree, make sure to give it plenty of water daily. Before placing it in the tree stand, cut 1–2 inches off the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Position your tree at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources, and do not block an exit. For better stability, cut off branches as needed so the tree does not exceed ceiling height. If opting for an artificial tree, make sure it is fire resistant.
Lighting and Decoration Safety
Inspect holiday light sets for broken or cracked sockets before stringing and do not overload electrical outlets with too many strands. For homes with small children or pets, avoid decorations or ornaments that are breakable or have sharp edges and stay away from poisonous decors such as holly berries. Secure frayed, dangling cords and wires of tree lights and window displays out of reach. Never leave burning candles unattended or within reach of children and pets.
Fire Safety During the Holiday Season
As we cook holiday feasts and spend more time indoors during the winter months, home fires pose an elevated risk. U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 160 home fires involving Christmas trees per year. However, nearly half of all winter fires occur due to improper heating equipment use and failure to extinguish fireplace embers. By observing some basic precautions, we can celebrate the holidays safely.
Fireplace and Candle Hazards
When lighting a fire, contain it within a fireplace screen and extinguish embers before going to bed or leaving home. Avoid burning gift wrappings in fireplaces since it can cause a dangerous flash fire. Place candles inside tempered glass containers on sturdy surfaces away from children and pets. Extinguish candles before leaving a room and avoid using near windows, exits, or paths of travel.
Cooking Fire Prevention
The leading cause of home fires year-round is unattended cooking, which tends to increase around the holidays. Stay near the kitchen when boiling, grilling, or broiling food. Keep a lid near the stove to quickly smother small grease fires. Avoid wearing loose sleeves while cooking and keep flammable dish towels and cloths away from hot surfaces.
Keeping Homes Secure During Holiday Travel and Festivities
The holidays draw many visitors and fill homes with gifts and valuables that need safeguarding. As friends and families come together to celebrate, a few prudent measures help keep guests and belongings protected.
Heavy traffic and inclement weather strain travel plans during the holidays. Prepare vehicles for winter road conditions and emergency situations before embarking on road trips. Allow extra time to reach destinations safely; make frequent stops to prevent highway hypnosis. Designate sober drivers and have appropriate safety gear in case of accidents.
Securing the Home While Away
Activate a home security system, place indoor/outdoor lighting on timers, and suspend mail/package deliveries while traveling. Ask a trusted neighbor, friend or family member to watch your home. Back up computers and sensitive files before trips and enable firewall protections on home networks to avoid security breaches by cybercriminals. Destroy labels from boxes for big ticket gifts before placing curbside for garbage collection while away.
Safeguarding Holiday Gatherings
Party fouls like drunk driving and alcohol poisoning increase around the holidays. Promote sober transportation options to guests and monitor alcohol consumption at gatherings. Keep prescription and over-the-counter medications, firearms, tobacco products, and supermarket liquor purchases out of reach of underage youth. Position fresh cut winter greens, toxic plants like mistletoe, Jerusalem cherry, amaryllis, and poinsettias plus chocolates and alcohol safely out of children and pet’s reach.
Enjoy The Holidays With These Holiday Safety Tips
As we take time this holiday season to celebrate with loved ones, let us also take a few moments to ensure we do so safely. By applying some careful planning, preventative measures, and common sense, we can spend this special time of year secure from harm. Here’s to enjoying a safe, happy, and blessed holiday season from Callaway Security!