This year, as always, I am wishing you and yours a happy and SAFE Christmas and Hanukkah. I’ve compiled a few tips on holiday home safety for you, because nothing spoils the festivities like the smell of burnt pine needles!
CANDLES. This is a good tip to remember year round. If you light something on fire, always put it out before you go to sleep. You don’t leave lights on around your house at bedtime, and they’re unlikely to burn the place down. Do yourself a favor and snuff out any candles before going to bed as well.
CLIMB LADDERS SAFELY. More than 164,000 people a year visit the Emergency Room for ladder-related injuries. Don’t be that person! If you are climbing high to hang a wreath, top your tree or hang lights, follow manufacturer’s instructions and keep at least three points of contact with the ladder at all times. If you want to do a swan dive, save it for the pool! Taking a dive off your ladder is probably not part of your holiday planning.
BE PREPARED FOR KITCHEN FIRES. Keeping a personal fire extinguisher handy in a location everyone is aware of is a good step, but it is also worthwhile to educate everyone in the family on how to stop a grease fire from spreading. Baking soda and flour will both stop a grease fire in its tracks, water will not. When every appliance is in use and company is helping out in the kitchen, the risk of fire or other kitchen accidents increases. If you are hosting guests overnight or dinner party or other holiday event, you may want to purchase or corral a list of common First Aid Kit items just in case.
BE SMART WITH YOUR HOLIDAY LIGHTS. You may envision holiday light accidents as swinging arms atop a ladder, but there is just as much risk of fire and injury from frayed or damaged wiring amid your twinkle lights. Before installing lights on your home, tree or mantel, carefully examine the entire length of each string of lights. If in doubt – throw it out. Reasonably priced Christmas lights can be purchased from most major retailers, and a few dollars is worth the peace of mind you’ll get knowing your lighting is not an immediate fire hazard.
DON’T INVITE CRIMINALS OVER FOR CHRISTMAS. If you’ll be away for the holidays, consider keeping that information to yourself on Facebook and other social media outlets until your return. Broadcasting your vacant house can be an invitation to would-be thieves to make themselves at home. Discuss your plans with immediate neighbors and ask them to keep an eye on the place and pick up your newspaper. Leave exterior lights on, and possibly an interior light or two.
I’m wishing you a safe, happy, blessed holiday season surrounded by friends & family!