Home Safety Tips For the Holidays

woman enjoying the fireplaceIt’s full speed ahead for the holidays, now that Santa has made his first official visit to Whitehorse. (Hope you had a chance to say hello to him, as he’s been spotted a few times since the parade.) As the theme of merry and bright is on everyone’s mind, we thought we’d just pass on a few home safety tips to help keep it that way. We want to wish all of you a safe and happy holiday!

  1. We’ll start with the most obvious, which is to not overload your outlets. You may be plugging things into different outlets during the holidays to accommodate your temporary Christmas lights so keep in mind that it’s best to only have one high-wattage appliance plugged into each outlet.
  2. Most people are using LED lighting or projection lights which are cooler than the incandescent bulbs in more ways than one, plus they reduce the risk of fire. If you’re among those who have been using the same strings for years consider upgrading. As pretty as they are, unplug your Christmas lights when you’re away from the house or asleep.
  3. Keep the chimney clean to reduce the risk of chimney fires, which can quickly escalate and create situations that are out of reach for fire extinguishers.
  4.  Make sure that the extension cords you’re using for your outside lighting are marked for outdoor use and keep them clear of snow and standing water.
  5. If you’re putting up a real tree, trim the bottom to ensure that it can absorb moisture, then make sure you give it plenty of water while it’s up to keep it from drying out. Those dry branches can pose a fire hazard. If you’re tree is an artificial tree, there are products labeled as fire resistant, which are a better option. Ensure that they are placed a safe distance from your heat sources, curtains, and any flammable materials.
  6. Keep an eye on your candles while they’re burning and don’t leave them unattended.
  7. Test your smoke alarms to make sure that they are working and review your fire escape plan with your family.
  8. Make sure that your electrical cords aren’t pinched in the door jams or by furniture, or attached with nails or staples to reduce the risk of the dangerous cycle of electrical short, spark, and fire.
  9. The holidays are usually a busy time, especially with visitors. If you’re not used to having little ones around, it might mean being especially mindful of safety in the kitchen. It’s tempting to multi-task but don’t tend the stove and hold a youngster at the same time. Make sure that the pot handles on the stove can’t be reached and their kept away from the hot oven door.
  10. Electronic toys or those that require batteries can be dangerous for younger children if they’re able to remove the battery cover. Button cell batteries can causes serious damage if swallowed so supervise the kids while they’re enjoying their gifts.
    Even when lives are spared, and fire insurance coverage is in place, a home fire is a devastating event and can have traumatic outcomes for survivors. It’s always a good idea to have home safety in mind and we hope that by sharing these holiday safety tips, incidents like these can be avoided. Here are a few more winter holiday safety tips , as well as year round home safety tips to help you learn how to detect, prevent, and escape a fire. We appreciate the members and volunteers of the Whitehorse Fire Department and wish them and YOU a safe and happy holiday!