The winter holiday season is full of family, friends and festivities, but unfortunately, all that extra celebrating, cooking and decorating can pose potentially serious hazards at home. Here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season!
- Decorate wisely: To reduce the risk of fire, use non-flammable or flame retardant decorations.
- Use candles responsibly: The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year's Day, and New Year's Eve! Keep lit candles at least 1 foot away from anything flammable, and always keep them away from children.
- Keep your tree away from heat sources: A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.
- Prevent Theft: The holiday season sees an increase in break-ins. Always lock your door, keep garage doors closed, lock windows, and make note of strangers in your neighborhood!
- Protect your pipes: Nothing could ruin the holiday more than the unanticipated burst of a pipe! The three central causes of frozen pipes are rapid drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats that are set too low.
- Be a responsible party host: If you plan to serve alcohol at any type of party, take steps to limit your liquor liability and make sure you are covered with proper insurance. Offer guests to stay over, assign a designated driver to take people home, or ensure no one is driving after they have been drinking.
- Protect your identity: Protect yourself from hackers and identity thieves as you shop in stores and online. Keep wallets, passports, phones, and other sensitive items secure in bags or pockets. Only share your credit card and payment information online on trusted websites.
- Test your fire and carbon monoxide detectors: Help avoid damage by making sure your home's fire safety prevention systems are working correctly.
- Inspect and clean your fireplace: Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected regularly!
- Practice Kitchen Safety: The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking, and cooking is the leading cause of home fires year round!
- Don’t overload electrical outlets & use proper extension cords: Don't plug all of your holiday lights into one outlet! Try to distribute the electrical load across several circuits to prevent any one from being overloaded.
- Follow dryer safety recommendations: Be sure to empty the lint screen before every load and remove all snow from the outside opening to the dryer vent. Also, never run the dryer while you're asleep or away from home.
- Avoid injuries in the home: Injuries requiring medical attention occur more often at home than in public places, work, and motor vehicle crashes combined!
- Keep matches and lighters away from kids: From January through March, 13% of fire deaths are the result of children playing with fire. Tragically, the number of deaths caused by children playing with fire goes up significantly during the holidays.
- Prevent pet bites: The holidays can cause a lot of stress, especially on your pets! Dog bites are a common cause of injury to guests and as the home/pet owner, you could be liable for resulting medical bills.
Knowing the risks can help you prevent accidents at home from happening! We’re wishing a happy and safe holiday season to you and your family this year!
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