Holiday Home Safety

1. Protect family and guests from falls.

Clear the driveway and sidewalks of snow and ice and use salt or sand to prevent slippery surfaces. Maintain clear pathways through high traffic areas of your home, it is easy for them to become cluttered with the arrival of guests and gifts. Relocate any electrical cords or wires that may become a tripping hazard also avoid placing them under rugs.

2. Poison prevention.

Although festive and pretty many of the plants that are commonly seen during the holidays are poisonous to pets and children; for example, Jerusalem Cherry Plant, Jequirity Bean, and Poinsettia Plants. If you have poisonous plants within your home, place them in a location that is no accessible for pets and children.

3. Give your home heating system a checkup.

A large percent of home fires are caused by defective heating equipment. Have your furnace cleaned and checked by professionals. Make sure chimney pipes and flues are clean and clear of loose mortar. If you have a fireplace use a screen or glass front and never leave an active fire unattended.

4. Practice light safety.

If the lights you currently use are old consider replacing them with ones that meet a higher standard for safety. Use only UL-approved lights, this signifies that the lights have gone through proper tests and meet specific safety regulations. Inspect cables and bulbs for damage. Never use more than three strands of lights linked together. For exterior decorating make sure all the strands of lights and extension cords are manufactured and approved for outdoor use. When combining two or three strands of lights, weather proof them by wrapping the plugs with plastic bags and all-weather tape.

5. Choose your tree carefully.

When choosing an artificial Christmas tree look for labels or certification stated by the manufacturer that the tree is fire retardant. If purchasing a live tree look for fresh green needles that do not fall off when touched. Cut 1-2 inches from the tree base and place 3 feet away from any source of heat and avoid blocking exits. Water the tree daily and always turn the lights off before leaving or going to bed. Once the holiday is over or when the needles on the tree begin to drop dispose of the tree. A tree that is dried out becomes a fire hazard and should not remain in the home or garage.