Holiday Safety Tips for You and Your Home

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It’s that time of year when the “hustle and bustle” of the holidays are in full force. You may feel like your to-do lists for decorating, shopping, and baking will never end because I sure feel that way (except for the baking because we all know I don’t belong in the kitchen).

As a homeowner (and especially if you are a first time home owner!) now is the time to make sure you’re prepared and aware of any unique hazards that tend to come up at this time of year.

This handy guide will show you how to keep your home safe and secure for you, your family, and any friends. You’ll be all set for a happy holiday full of good cheer.

Fire Prevention:

  • Test and check your batteries in all smoke and CO detectors. If your detectors have been around for more than 10 years, they are past their prime. Replace them and add fresh batteries.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher and mount it centrally in your home. Know how to use it!
  • Never leave a space heater unattended and, better yet, buy one that automatically shuts off.

Trees:

  • Artificial trees should be labeled “fire resistant.” It could still catch on fire but it will be more resistant to burning and spreading a fire.
  • Check to make sure a natural tree is fresh, with green needles that are hard and don’t break easily, and the trunk should have a sticky resin on the bottom. Needles should not fall off if you tap the tree on the ground. Cut two inches off the trunk and put it in water when you bring it home.
  • Help prolong the life and reduce the fire hazard of your live tree by watering your tree every day and keeping the stand filled with water. 
  • Don’t hesitate to remove your live tree when it’s starting to look dry and needles are dropping. It’s not worth the risk.
  • Avoid using old-fashioned metallic trees since they can pose an electrocution danger. Even if you like retro trees and even ornaments, the safety requirements are mostly outdated.
  • Place your tree away from fireplaces and radiators.
  • Make sure your tree is securely anchored and won’t tip over, especially by small children and pets.

Lights:

  • Only use lights with the UL seal of approval and purchase them from a reputable store.
  • Consider buying LED lights since they don’t produce as much heat and use less electrical current.
  • Inspect your lights — new or old — for frayed or bare wires, broken or cracked sockets, loose plugs, and excessive kinking. Throw out damaged sets and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • When replacing bulbs, unplug the light string and be sure to match voltage and wattage to the original bulb.
  • Plug lights into a surge protector rather than straight into an electrical socket to avoid any electrical hazards if the lights short out or if there’s a power surge.
  • To prevent overheating, plug in no more than one extension cord per socket and string no more than three sets of traditional lights together.
  •  When using an extension cord, make sure it is rated for its intended use. Make sure it’s safely out of the way of any traffic flow.
  • Never use lights on metallic trees.
  • Make sure outdoor lights have been certified for outdoor use.
  • Outdoor lights should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to protect against electric shock. This device cuts off the current if a leak is detected; without one, a damaged wire can transfer electricity into water or metal, making it “live” and dangerous.
  • Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house.

Decorations:

  • Keep burning candles in sight, or use battery-operated or solar-powered ones. There are more products with better “flames” out there to choose from!
  • Use non-combustible, flame-resistant materials for your decorations. Remember retro or vintage ornaments could pose a danger. Perhaps put them in a bowl or scattered as table decorations rather on a lighted tree.
  • Hang all glass and breakable ornaments near the top or middle of the tree to avoid children and pets grabbing them.
  • Instead of hooks consider using ribbon to tie ornaments on branches. Children and pets can choke on hooks.

Plants:

  • Mistletoe, poinsettias and holly plants are poisonous to pets and children if ingested. Place them up high or outside.

Now you’re all set to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!! 

Hi, there!

I'm Daisy Mazariegos and I love helping first time home buyers make their first home more affordable and I love helping sellers looking to move up to their forever home. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true. 

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I'm Daisy and I love helping first time home buyers make their first home more affordable and I love helping sellers looking to move up to their forever home. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true. 

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