However optimistic your outlook, there’s no upside to spending the holidays in the emergency room. Kwanzaa, Christmas, and other events are meant to be fun, but they involve a number of hazards that can quickly take a turn for the deadly. Luckily, these hazards can be avoided with some simple holiday precautions. When preparing for holiday parties, make sure to practice:
Christmas Tree Care
Nothing beats a real Christmas tree for beauty, smell, and authenticity, but bringing a pine or spruce into your home is not without its risks. When decked out with lights, trees are a serious fire hazard, especially as their leaves or needles begin to dry up and fall off. To keep this risk to a minimum, put the tree in a stand filled with water and refill the water regularly. This will keep the tree alive longer, preventing leaves from falling off. Also make sure that the tree is sturdy and in no danger of falling, as a fallen tree might snap electrical cords, start a fire, or strike someone nearby.
Artificial trees tend to be safer than real ones, but even they are not risk-free. Make sure you buy a tree with a fire rating. If the tree has its own internal lighting system, check the label to see if the manufacturer underwent safety testing.
Lights are hazardous in a variety of ways. In addition to being a fire hazard, lights may draw too much energy from your home, causing blackouts and other electrical problems if you aren’t careful. To keep these dangers to a minimum, try to stick to LED or other low-energy lights, and don’t illuminate more than three light sets or 50 full-sized light bulbs at one time. Hang outside lights well above the ground to keep them safe from animals; do the same inside if you have an indoor pet. Above all, never leave your lights on unless you are both home and awake.
Chestnuts should be the only thing roasting on an open fire. If you have a wood fireplace that you plan to use during the holidays, have it swept out and inspected at the start of the season. Never light a fire if the flue isn’t open or if there are any flammable decorations nearby, and keep the grate closed at all times. Never leave a fire going if you aren’t both in the room and awake. Always inspect your wood before you set it alight, making sure that it doesn’t contain grease, harmful chemicals, or anything that might pose a danger when burnt.
In addition to the fireplace, your kitchen can also be a source of fire danger, especially when cooking large, elaborate meals. Keep flammable materials away from the stove, and never leave heating equipment on unattended.
If you have small children, it is important to keep them away from decorations, wrapping, and other materials that look edible but are deadly if consumed. Hang holly, mistletoe, and other decorative plants out of children’s reach, and instruct your children not to touch them if they fall down. Likewise, get rid of wrapping paper as soon as you open your gifts, and keep fire salts somewhere kids cannot find them. Also be wary of tape and ribbons, as they pose a strangulation risk.
Holiday safety should never be taken lightly, but that doesn’t mean you have to obsess over it. The Safe Touch Security System keeps constant watch over your home, securing it from external threats while giving you peace of mind. For more information on home safety any time of year, visit our website today.