This isn’t just the time of year that we eat more than usual, it’s also the time when we have the most household accidents and fires.
To help make sure your holidays don’t go from merry to scary, remember these 12 safety tips:
- Keep decorations at least three feet away from heat sources – especially those with an open flame, like fireplaces and candles. And remember to blow out your candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- The best decorations are safe decorations, so when you are decorating, make sure not to run cords under rugs or furniture, out of windows or across walkways and sidewalks.
- If you have a natural Christmas tree, water it to keep it fresh and safe. Real trees can dry out and turn into kindling in no time. Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Brittle trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home or garage.
- Always turn off your decorations when you leave your home and when you’re sleeping. Most deadly fires happen while people are asleep.
- Be mindful of how you are using electrical outlets. If you’re using extension cords or adapters that add receptacles, consider having a qualified electrician add more outlets to your home. Extension cords are a common cause of home fires.
- Only use electronics in dry areas. As tempting as it is, you just can’t decorate your aquarium with icicle lights.
- Remember that phones and tablets should stay on your nightstand. We all love falling asleep to the muffled crooning of Bing Crosby and Michael Bublé, but overheated electronics under pillows and blankets are dangerous.
- Need a perfect gift idea? How about a smoke alarm? Every home needs a working smoke alarm in each bedroom; outside sleeping areas; and on every level, including the basement. And remember to test your own to make sure they’re working.
- If you’re using a space heater, switch it off before leaving the room. It only takes seconds for a fire to start if a space heater tips over or comes in contact with something combustible, like a blanket or curtains.
- Inspect your decorations and discard any that are damaged or worn out. Talk to your aunt about that life-sized Elvis-dressed-as-Santa statue. It’s falling apart, it’s creepy and it’s got to go.
- Keep batteries stored safely in their packaging and out of reach of anything that might try to eat them, like small children and pets. Eating a battery can be deadly.
- The best gift for your family is to upgrade to arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers or outlets. It is estimated that half of the electrical fires that occur every year could be prevented by AFCIs. All upgrades should be completed by a qualified electrician.
Source: Adapted from Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)