The holiday season is in full swing. This has been a long year for everyone, and the joy of this special season is anticipated now more than ever. We get so busy and consumed with preparing for the holidays, we let our guards down for simple accidents; nobody thinks they are going to be the person that breaks their leg putting up or taking down Christmas lights, or the person that gets third degree burns on their hand from frying a turkey, but it happens every year. We put together a list of holiday home safety tips to ensure that you and your family stay safe and healthy through the holiday season.
1. Team Real Tree?
Christmas tree fires are not common occurrences like they were many years ago, but when they do happen they are devastating.
- Water it daily – a dry tree isn’t only sad to look at, it is a fire hazard. Trees need a lot of water to stay fresh, make sure you’re watering it with the proper amount, daily.
- Keep it cool – Keep your tree away from any heat sources and close any nearby vents.
- Safety first – Use only UL approved lights & decorations. Making the switch to low-heat LED lights will help keep the tree cool and will use less electricity.
- Timely removal – A shocking 21% of tree fires happen from February on. If you have a live tree it should be disposed of by mid January.
2. Ladder Safety
Just because 20 years ago you watched your dad balance a ladder on a step and reach three feet over doesn’t mean this is proper ladder etiquette. No contest, ladder injuries are at the top of the list for accidents during the holidays. Every year, nearly 15,000 people are treated at hospitals for ladder related injuries between the months of November and January. Follow these guidelines for ladder safety:
- Ensure your ladder is always set up on a level surface.
- For every four feet in height, the base of the ladder should be out one foot from the wall.
- Extend the ladder three feet beyond the roof.
- Stay centered between the ladder rails. If you feel you need to reach, don’t. Move the ladder instead.
- Open step ladders fully and make sure they are locked.
3. Inspect Your Heating System and Test Your Alarms
Winter is the season when people are most at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure you have your home’s heating system inspected by an HVAC professional. Remember to change your furnace filter and test your smoke alarm and CO detectors to confirm they are in working order.
4. Fire Safety
Trees aren’t the only miscreants when it comes to holiday fire safety. The use of candles and fireplaces can turn hazardous as well. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) the top three days for candle-related fires in the home are Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. If you’re planning to have an open flame this holiday season, follow these quick tips.
- Candles – Make sure you use sturdy holders for your lit candles. Keep candles on a flat surface far away from anything flammable. Extinguish when unattended or nearing end of wax.
- Chimney – Get your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional before the winter season.
- Fireplace – Clear the area around the fireplace, make sure to open the flue and protect the opening so children and pets stay out. Also never toss anything in your fireplace to burn as a flash fire might occur.
- Fire Extinguisher – If you have an open flame, always keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergency.
5. Home Security
Nothing can ruin the holiday spirit faster than becoming the victim of a break-in. Whether it’s your car, your front porch or your home – there’s fewer things more troubling than having your personal space invaded and your things stolen.
- If you park your car outside, lock your doors and remove all valuables.
- Avoid letting packages sit on your front porch.
- Don’t openly display your wrapped Christmas gifts.
- Keep your holiday plans off of social media.
- Don’t advertise your absence by letting packages, newspapers or mail pile up.
- If you leave for a few hours, consider leaving your lights and a tv or radio on to give the appearance that someone is home.
- After Christmas, refrain from disposing of empty boxes from your new TV, computer, or Xbox. Break the boxes down or take them to a recycling center.
- Invest in security cameras. If there’s evidence of a security system or cameras present, thieves are less likely to attempt a break in.
As obvious and avoidable as some of these holiday home safety tips may seem, tragedies can happen to anyone. Just make sure no matter how busy the season may get, you always take an extra moment for safety. Happy holidays from Jackson Comfort Heating and Cooling! Stay safe and be merry.