The holidays can be a festive time, filled with family gatherings and friends and neighbors dropping by to celebrate the season. With a little preparation and by following these tips, you can keep your holidays safe.
Inspect Your Fireplace
- If you haven’t already, make sure your chimney has been inspected by a professional. When wood burns, creosote forms and can cause chimney fires.
- Sturdy screens should be in front of every wood-burning fireplace to protect residents.
- Be sure only wood is burned in the fireplace. Other items, like paper, can float out of the chimney and ignite the home or even a neighboring residence.
Use Caution when Decorating
- Only use flame-retardant or noncombustible decorations.
- Plug lights and other items requiring electricity into a power strip instead of plugging them directly into the outlet.
- Make sure ‘live’ decorations such as centerpieces and garland are still fresh enough to be used with lights.
- Keep candles away from small children and away from any objects and in places where they can’t be easily knocked over.
Protect your Guests
- Keep an eye on the range or grill as it is easy to get distracted when entertaining guests. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S.
- In wintery climates clear snow and ice from sidewalks and entryways in plenty of time before guests arrive.
- Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors before the visitors arrive. For those staying for a long period, share your fire escape plan with them.
- If rearranging furniture to accommodate guests make sure you don’t block exits.
And whether you’re hosting a large gathering with family or hosting an intimate dinner with friends, always make sure to designate a non-drinking driver or make plans for guests to stay over.