The festive season has arrived! Whether you are getting ready to cook a big holiday dinner, decorating for friends and family, or enjoying some cozy quiet time in the comfort of your home, it’s important to make sure your home is ready and safe for the holidays. The best way to ensure the safety of your home is with a Home Maintenance Inspection by WIN. A Home Maintenance Inspection will carefully examine several aspects of your home to make sure your home is secure and in good condition for you to enjoy the holidays with peace of mind!
In addition to scheduling a Home Maintenance Inspection, follow these tips to make sure your holiday season is safe and full of joy!
Holiday Decoration and Fire Safety Tips
There’s no better way to get in the holiday mood than to decorate your house! However, while stringing lights, glittering baubles and lighting candles add to the festive cheer, they can pose significant risks. By following a few fire safety tips, you can ensure your holidays are festive and safe.
Select the Right Tree
- Live Trees: Check for freshness when buying a live tree because dried-out trees can catch fire quickly. Avoid brittle needles that fall off when you bend them up and down, and keep your tree watered at all times.
- Artificial Trees: Look for the ‘Fire Resistant’ label on artificial trees.
- Tree Placement: Chose your tree placement carefully. Never set up a tree too close to heaters, fireplaces, candles or other heat sources.
Inspect Smoke Alarms
- Follow manufacturer guidelines and test all smoke alarms before setting up any lights or electronics and make sure all batteries have been replaced recently.
- Replace any alarms that are more than 10 years old.
- For additional safety, you should have smoke alarms on each floor of the house and in all sleeping areas.
Create a Fire Evacuation Plan
A fire is the worst-case scenario around the holidays, and although we hope you don’t need it, everyone in your household, including guests, should be aware of the evacuation plan and how to escape in case of a fire. When creating your fire evacuation plan, make sure you have clearly identified exits and keep them free from clutter at all times. If you have children, elderly adults, or pets in the home, assign specific people to look out for them as part of your plan. Practice your escape plan regularly so everybody in the home is familiar with it.
Inspect Lights for Safety
- Examine all lights, including decorations. Check for loose connections, cracked sockets, or bare wires and carefully replace light strings immediately if they are damaged.
- When using lighting outdoors, inspect the labels to ensure the lights are certified for outdoor use.
- To properly hang lights, use hooks, instead of tacks or nails as they can puncture the wires.
- Look for empty light sockets and burned-out bulbs and replace them with new lights.
Beware of Space Heaters
- Keep space heaters at least three feet away from electric lights, upholstery, curtains, or anything else that could catch fire easily.
- Always turn them off before leaving the room or going to bed.
Additionally, if you feel you need to use space heaters because your home isn’t holding heat well, consider scheduling an Infrared Scan to see if there are possible gaps in your insulation.
Be Cautious with Candles and Fireplaces
- Place candles on a fire-proof surface and out of reach of children and pets.
- Switch to LED or battery-operated candles to save energy and reduce the risk of fire.
- Always put out the flames before leaving or going to bed.
- Schedule a Fireplace and Chimney Inspection to ensure your fireplace is safe and ready to use.
- Use alternate fragrance sources such as candle warmers and scented plug-ins.
- Use a fire screen to prevent embers from popping out.
- Keep flammable items like curtains and decorations away from any open flame.
Use Caution with Fireworks
If you are planning on celebrating the New Year with fireworks or firecrackers, make sure to choose a location away from buildings, trees, or any combustible material. Before you start your celebration, double-check to make sure you have water or a fire extinguisher handy and always maintain a safe distance from lit fireworks or firecrackers.
Safety Tips When Celebrating with Kids or Pets
Celebrating with children or pets always requires a few extra precautions. From setting the dinner table, to decorating the Christmas tree, parents need to go the extra mile to reduce the risk of potential hazards. Below are our top holiday kids and pets' safety tips for keeping your little ones safe during the festivities.
Think About How You Set the Dinner Table
- Don’t place lit candles near any child’s place setting.
- Make sure all knives and sharp cutlery are in the middle of the table, out of reach of small children.
- When transporting your holiday dinner or any other festive foods, make sure children are clear of the walkway from the kitchen to the dinner table.
Choose Gifts Thoughtfully
- When buying gifts for children or pets, choose gifts that are age-appropriate and do not pose choking hazards.
- Avoid anything with sharp edges, strings, or strong fragrances.
- Don’t keep gifts made of glass or other breakable material under a tree where a child or pet could step on it.
- Dispose of all the wrapping items like ribbon, tape, bows, and gift wrap immediately after unwrapping to avoid suffocation and choking risks.
Be Mindful of Decorations
- We all love the smell of a holiday candle, beautifully placed in the center of the room, but make sure no lit candles are placed where children can easily get to them, or pets could accidentally knock them over.
- String lights, ribbons and tinsel are popular decorations in the winter, but they can be significant choking hazards to little ones and pets. Make sure these decorations are placed where children won’t be able to get to them.
Keep Pets Away from Human Food
- Sweets and holiday meals in the home can be tempting for pets to up their begging game. Calorie-dense foods can lead to diarrhea and pancreatic inflammation in pets, and foods like chocolate contain methylxanthine that can cause seizures and gastrointestinal issues in both cats and dogs.
Keep Electrical Wires Away from Children and Pets
- Electrical wires should be kept away from children and pets. You can tape wires to walls, floors, or hide them under carpets to keep them out of reach. If you have pets that like to chew on things, you can also purchase taste deterrents or cord protectors to discourage that behavior.
So that’s a wrap on our safety guide. We hope you find these helpful and can use them to enjoy a fun and safe holiday season. WIN Home Inspection wishes you and your family a very happy holiday season!