Family gatherings and festive celebrations — these are the hallmarks of the holiday season. It’s a time for buying gifts, decorating and traveling.
It’s also a time with its own set of home safety concerns. Holiday lights and decorations brighten the scene as the days get darker, but they can pose fire hazards. Travel, holiday events and shopping take people away from home more than usual.
Here’s a quick list of safety precautions to help home owners keep their families safe during the holiday season.
- If you have a lot of packages delivered while you’re not home, maybe it’s time for a doorbell security camera. Its app can alert you when there’s activity at the door, so you’ll know when a package comes. And with the camera’s video, you’ll be able to check in any time for peace of mind until you get home.
- Inside your home, consider keeping gifts in a safe place that is not easily visible from outside.
- Ask a friend or neighbor to watch your home if you plan to spend the holidays away from home. You can also request the post office to hold your mail delivery during this time.
- When you’re away from home overnight, put lights throughout the house on timers to turn on and off according to your normal living pattern.
Lights and Other Decorations
- Inspect the wiring on all holiday lights. Ones with worn or frayed electrical wiring should be thrown away.
- Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Also, don’t run electrical cords under rugs. Be sure all decorative lights are turned off before you go to bed or leave the house.
- Candles are one of the top causes of holiday-related fires. Place candles and other open flames away from decorations. Never leave burning candles unattended and always supervise children and pets around burning candles. Or, safer yet, consider using battery-operated candles for a flameless decorative glow.
- Be sure to use electrical outlets specifically designed for outdoor use if you use plug-in lights to decorate your house’s exterior, trees or yard.
- Place trees a safe distance from radiators, vents, fireplaces and any other heat source that may dry the tree. Inspect the tree for dryness daily.
- Make sure trees or other large decorations do not block doors or hallways in your home.
- Keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Make sure your family has a fire emergency escape plan. In case of fire, leave your home and call for help from a cell phone or a neighbor’s home.
Taking the time to follow a few safety precautions will help ensure that your holiday celebrations remain festive for your entire family. Learn more about home safety by contacting your local HBA or at nahb.org/forconsumers.