Your Definitive Guide to a Worry-free Holiday Home
For many of us, the holiday season is a time to decorate, celebrate and spend time with friends and loved ones. But with excitement, social commitments and colder temperatures, comes increased safety hazards and generally distracted homeowners. We’ve scoured the lists of holiday home safety tips and put together a definitive list of what you need to know about keeping yourself safe this holiday season.
When you’re decorating:
- When you take holiday decorations out of storage, or out of the box for the first time, inspect them for damage before use.
- Make sure you’re using the right extension cord for the job, and don’t string multiple power cords together.
- Use exterior-grade lighting and power cords for outside decorations. Ensure they are safely secured and that connectors are not running on the ground.
- Don’t mix and connect different types of lights (LED, incandescent, etc.). Read the instruction manual and be mindful of number of lights you string together (typically never more than 3 sets).
- Don’t overload your outlet and make sure you plugs are fully inserted into the outlet.
- Make sure your tree is well-secured in its base and away from high traffic areas.
- Keep your tree away from heat sources, and if you’re using a real tree make sure it’s well watered.
- Keep tiny, sharp or glass ornaments and decorations out of the reach of children.
- Take care to not puncture wiring when handing decorations using tacks, nails or staples.
- Keep pets away from electrical cords.
When you’re celebrating at home:
- Double check before serving to make sure food is fully cooked.
- Ask guests ahead of time if they have allergies or health considerations.
- Keep food at a proper temperature and don’t leave it sitting out for extended periods of time.
- Make sure your walkway is safe for your guests to walk on and is clear of ice, snow, and debris.
- Serve alcohol responsibly, offer non-alcoholic options for guests who are driving, and offer a place to stay or a ride home to those who need it.
When you’re relaxing or sleeping:
- Burns candles on flat, sturdy surfaces and never leave them unattended. Consider using battery-operated candles if you have children and/or pets.
- Never leave a hot fireplace unattended, even after you extinguish the flames. Use a barrier to keep away children and pets.
- Keep a working fire extinguisher handy and smoke/carbon monoxide alarms installed near sleeping areas.
When you’re out visiting or shopping:
- Thefts rates rise in November and December so be diligent in locking your cars and homes.
- Turn lights off when not in use and use timers to control lights.
- Dress kids appropriately when riding in car and booster seats. They should be snugly fastened, wearing thin layers, and kept warm with blankets.
When you’re trying to stay warm:
- Although not recommended, if you have a space heater make sure to plug the unit directly into a wall, not into a power bar. Make sure nothing is touching the unit and turn it off when you leave the room. Consider upgrading to a model that automatically turns off when overheating or when bumped.
- Keep spare blankets and flashlights or candles handy in case of a power outage.
When you’re gifting:
- Buy age appropriate toys for children and avoid gifting toys with small parts.
- Don’t leave packages you ordered online outside while at work. Have them delivered to your work, family member or at-home neighbour instead. You can also request they be sent to the nearest postal outlet.