The holidays are a time of celebration. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments in the U.S. responded to 160 home fires caused by Christmas trees between 2014 and 2018 during the holidays. These fires led to an average of two deaths, fourteen injuries, and around $10 million in property damage. Trees aren’t the only cause of household fires or other accidents during the holiday season, so it’s best to create a holiday home safety checklist to ensure your family and house are safe this season. Here are some of the most common hazards and how to avoid them.
Many popular holiday traditions include candles. But candles can become hazardous if they’re used carelessly. Don’t put open flame near items that can easily catch on fire, including furniture, curtains, clothing, or decorations. Make sure candles are on a level surface so they don’t fall or drip wax. And, if possible, switch to LED candles instead.
Especially if you use live greenery as a part of your holiday décor, always turn the lights off when you’re away from home. Of course, you probably want to keep your outdoor lights on, so be sure to use only outdoor-rated cords and plugs so you can feel safe while you’re away. It’s also helpful to use a timer that can turn your lights on and off for you at different times.
Nearly half of all fires that start in the home happen in the kitchen. Holidays tend to revolve around food, so make sure you and your family are staying safe. Never leave cooking food unattended. If you’re frying foods, always keep safety in mind. But also pay attention to the hazards that aren’t fire-related. Look at food labels to ensure foods are allergen-free and invest in a meat thermometer to ensure meat and poultry are cooked through.
If you have a live tree, your watering schedule is critical. Keeping the tree healthy as long as possible can go a long way to preventing fire if there is an accident. A watered tree will take much longer to burn than a dry one. And don’t let your tree hang out in the house past the holiday season. 21% of Christmas tree fires happen in February and beyond because the tree is dead and dry. Properly dispose of your tree by mid-January.
Before decorating your tree or your house, be sure to always inspect your strings of holiday lights. Check for broken bulbs or striped wires that can create an incomplete circuit for electricity, which can cause a spark. Also, follow recommended guidelines for connecting strings of lights and use a surge protector.
Not all hazards are strictly related to holiday décor and food. Here in Georgia, we’re not always prepared for harsh winter weather, so the holidays are an excellent time to make a plan. Buying a snow shovel and some ice melt to have on hand is never a bad idea, just in case. Keep your gutters clean to prevent ice dams that can cause roof damage.
The fireplace is also a potential hazard during the holidays. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney inspected and cleaned of dangerous creosote. Have your gas line looked at to ensure it’s safe to use your gas logs this season. With a bit of maintenance, your fireplace can be a great addition to your holiday celebrations.
Are you ready to be home for the holidays?
Maison Atlanta & Co is a full-service real estate company with over 100 years of combined experience buying and selling homes in any market. As a member of Keller Knapp Realty, Maison Atlanta and Co has innovation and technology at our fingertips to help our clients meet and exceed their real estate goals and expectations. Call us today.