While the holidays are a time for fun and merriment with family and friends, it is important to keep holiday safety in mind so that you can look back on those memories fondly. Holidays are often chaotic, with lots of travel, cooking, and parties, so we’ve listed some holiday safety tips that are easily overlooked, and just as easy to implement.
1. Decorating Your Home Safely
- When putting up string lights, check them first to make sure the wires, sockets, and bulbs are not damaged. Frayed wires and broken sockets can cause an electrical fire when in contact with a Christmas tree or other flammable items.
- Identify which sets of string lights are certified by an established light testing lab such as UL for indoor use only, and indoor/outdoor use. As a rule of thumb, a green label means indoors only and a red label means it can be used for either.
- Use a sturdy stepladder when trying to reach high areas and have someone else nearby to assist if needed.
- Only handle string lights when they are unplugged. When plugged in, a faulty string light can cause an electrical shock when touched!
2. Stay Alert While Traveling
- Expect heavier traffic than usual during the holidays, and give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. Keep in mind that heavy snow is a possibility as well that could hinder your travel time.
- Avoid texting when driving. The DMV states that in 2014 one quarter of all wrecks involved a cell phone.
- If you have been drinking alcohol at a holiday party, have a designated driver get you home safely, or call a cab, Uber, or Lyft.
3. Cooking with Care
It just isn’t the holidays without lots of good food, so cooking is an important aspect of holiday safety.
- While a deep-fried turkey tastes delicious, it is a tricky process to do safely. It is best to set up your fryer outside, on flat ground, and at least 10 feet away from your home. Make sure the turkey you use is completely thawed and dry, as water and hot oil can cause a dangerous reaction. It is always a good idea to have an accessible fire extinguisher, just in case.
- Avoid the risk of food poisoning by using a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature.
- After your big meal, don’t let the leftovers sit out all night. It is best to pack them up and put them in the refrigerator within 2 hours.
- As always, wash your hands frequently when preparing and handling food.
4. Keep an Eye on Open Flames
- No matter what holiday(s) you celebrate, open candles are inevitably going to be on your holiday table. Keep them on a stable surface, and out of children’s reach.
- Make sure that all open flames, whether candles or a fireplace fire, are dead-out before you go to bed.
- Be careful what you burn in your fireplace. It’s not a good idea to throw wrapping paper, wreaths, or tree branches into an indoor fire because they can turn into a bigger fire than your fireplace can handle.
Holiday Safety for a Happy Holiday Season
As a Firefighter owned business, 1st Alert Home Inspections wants you and your family to stay safe not only during the holiday season, but also throughout the year. We offer a wide array of home inspection and testing services to meet your particular needs. If you are in Northeast Ohio and would like to schedule our services, contact us today!