The holiday season can be a busy time, making it hard to prioritize the safety of your home. Take the right precautions now so you can make the most of your time celebrating with loved ones at home.
If you’re planning on staying home and hosting guests this holiday season, the tips below can help you check your safety list twice and feel at ease.
Cooking and baking are a central part of any holiday celebration, but food preparation can also be the source of multiple safety hazards. Before you stir, bake, or fry your favorites, consider the following precautions.
It should go without saying, but you must maintain your smoke detectors year-round. It’s especially important to replace the batteries before your holiday cooking. Many people try intricate, unfamiliar recipes during the holidays, and it only takes a moment for flames to start in your kitchen while you walk away to use the bathroom or turn your back to prepare something else.
Clean your appliances
Use a bit of elbow grease to refresh the interiors and exteriors of your appliances to reduce the risk of fire from leftovers like grease or crumbs. However, before you do, check that your cleaner is safe for the surfaces of your appliances. Some common agents in all-purpose cleaners are not safe when heated and should be avoided in hot spaces. To play it safe and help your wallet, make a homemade cleaner, such as a 3:1 water and white vinegar solution.
Monitor your food
Food safety never takes a holiday! Check any ingredients lists on new foods or recipes for allergens that members of your household or your guests might have adverse reactions to. When you’re ready to cook, it’s wise to invest in gadgets like a meat thermometer to double-check that your recipes are ready to serve. Additionally, after your meal, promptly put any leftovers in the fridge or freezer so they don’t spoil.
Many people love to go all out with lights, a tree, and candles to bring home the holiday spirit—all of which can be safety hazards if they aren’t set up and maintained correctly. Spend a few extra minutes during your decorating to keep your pieces beautiful rather than dangerous, as below.
The warmth, light, and scent of candles bring joy, and, because of that, they are a decorative staple for the holidays. However, at this time of year there are more than twice as many candle fire calls across the US as normal. To mitigate this risk, invest in sturdy holders, use clear surfaces, and never leave candles burning while you’re sleeping or away from the room. If you prefer candles for the ambiance over their scent, consider flameless candles, which provide the same glow without the fire hazard.
Tend to your tree
A Christmas tree can be a central point of decor that you look forward to dressing up with your loved ones. But you can take a few steps to ensure your tree looks its best without ruining your holiday. For example, keep your tree well-watered. A well-watered tree is less likely to catch fire, and you can prevent a tree fire by positioning it away from any heat sources, unplugging lights at the end of the night and while you’re sleeping or out of the house. Lastly, try not to overload your tree with too many lights and ornaments.
Do not attempt to cram all your plugs into one outlet. Plan your decoration placement to strategize where you’ll need extension cords. Check that your lights and electric other decor are a proper wattage for your outlets. It’s better to have less decor to avoid tripped wires and burnt outlets. The best way to mitigate the jumbled look and safety hazard of crowded outlets is to use pieces with rechargeable batteries wherever possible.
Winter can be full of unexpected weather that can change plans and make the roads near your home unsafe, and holiday plans can add stress to the mix. Make sure your home and household are prepared in case bad weather strikes.
Have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned before you roast your chestnuts in an open fireplace. If you don’t have a fireplace and plan to use space heaters, be sure to keep them away from flammable objects. They should be away from all surfaces and set to oscillate, if possible, to distribute the heat evenly.
The best way to prepare for a snowstorm or extreme weather is to stock up on necessary supplies. Items like salt, shovels, and a generator can ensure your holiday guests aren’t stranded or left in the dark.
Check your seals
Take the time to check the seals on your home’s windows and doors. If you can fix the seal yourself, do so before you decorate to save the time of redecorating. Consider hiring a professional to check and repair any cracks, and invest in draft stoppers so your heating bills don’t ruin the holiday spirit.
Have a safe and happy holiday season by keeping these home safety tips in mind.