5 Things Everyone Should Do to Keep Safe During the Holiday Season
The holidays are among us. The stores are stocking their shelves with turkeys, dressings, and all the holiday trimmings. We’re beginning to hear Christmas carols ring throughout the stores. Go to any furniture store, and I’m willing to bet you’ll find several holiday displays beginning to spread. This is the most wonderful time of the year.
Every year, we gather around with family, friends, and neighbors to celebrate the festivities. The last thing on our minds are holiday hazards: the oven, stovetop, Christmas lights, candles, fires burning bright.
Use this checklist, and check it twice, to make sure you have a safe, happy holiday season.
Finding a Safe Tree
Going to the Christmas tree lot is one of the best parts of Christmas. The fresh pine scent surrounding you while searching for the perfect tree – it’s nostalgic. When you’re searching for the perfect tree, make sure you examine the branches. Don’t purchase a tree with dry branches or needles that snap off when you slightly bend them. They should be flexible, soft, and still feel “alive”. If you get a dry tree, you’re risking a fire hazard.
Also, make sure that your tree is well-watered. An average tree can consume between one quart and one gallon of water per day. If the water level drops below the cut end of the trunk, a seal will form, and the tree won’t absorb water unless another fresh cut is made.
If you’re planning on purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant”. Nobody wants to have a charcoal tree like Chevy Chase’s on Christmas Eve.
Keep a Careful Eye on Holiday Lights
Always examine your tree lights, even if you just bought them, before hanging them on your tree. All the bulbs should function, and there should be no frayed wires, broken sockets, or loose connections. These also pose a fire hazard.
If you’re putting lights up outside, make sure you use lights and extension cords made for the outdoors to avoid any surges. All your lights and cords should be plugged into a GFCI outlet, and the avoid overloading the power cords and outlets because they can get hot enough to burn.
Yes, your lights are stunning that even Martha May Who would be jealous. But be sure to turn them off when you go to bed, or leave the house to avoid fires.
Always Pay Attention When Cooking
Between laughing, the kids running around with all their family members, and entertaining your guests, it’s easy to get distracted when cooking up big holiday meals. The U.S Fire Administration says there are more than double the number of open-flame fires on Christmas Day, and two times that on New Year’s Day, than any other day of the year. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Don’t let your home become a statistic – keep an eye on the stove when you’re cooking!
Keep the Fireplace Safe – for Saint Nick’s Sake (and yours)
Baby it’s cold outside, and of course you want the fire blazing bright! Make sure that your flu is open and clean. If it’s been awhile since you had your chimney cleaned, it’s worth calling a professional in for your own peace of mind. The last thing you want is a smoke-filled home and the lingering scent of ash replacing your nostalgic cinnamon and cranberry aromas.
Protect Your Valuables & Belongings
While the classic Home Alones gave us plenty of laughs, the concept of holiday burglary is very real. According to the FBI, nearly 400,000 burglaries occur in the U.S from November through December every year. By taking a few simple precautions, you can minimize the risk of burglary:
- Don’t advertise expensive gifts by leaving empty gift boxes from your new electronics purchases on the curb. Instead, break down the boxes and place them in large garbage bags. Or if you’ve got the room in your car, take the boxes to the nearest recycling center.
- Always arm your home burglar alarm system.
- Illuminate the exterior of your home to eliminate any hiding places for potential intruders. You can do this by installing motion sensor spotlights. This way, if there is any movement detected, the lights will automatically switch on.
- If you’re going to be gone for the holidays, consider automatic timers on the inside of your home to give the illusion of movement and activity.
Hopefully you take some of these precautions to have a safer, happier holiday season! If you have any questions about what your home insurance policy does and doesn’t cover, feel free to give me a call. I’m always happy to answer any questions about insurance you might have. Happy Holidays!