1. GIVE CANDLES CLEARANCE
Power Tip: Switch from wax to the soft light of flameless candles. These safe substitutes operate on battery power and come in a variety of styles and sizes.
2. COOK WITH CARE
Between family feasts and cookies for Santa, the stove and oven work as hard as you do during the holidays. Always cook with care, and remember that kitchen equipment is the leading cause of home fires year-round.
3. STAY WARM SAFELY
Be sure that a professional furnace checkup stays high on your holiday to-do list, and schedule it before your technician’s season gets busy. Don’t turn on the space heaters until they’ve passed your inspection. When you’re sure they’re safe, use with caution.
4. WATER THE TREE
A fresh-cut Christmas tree adds a wonderful aroma to the holiday household. A tree that isn’t watered every day dries out quickly and can ignite in just a few seconds. Pamper your fir with a sturdy, deep stand that holds plenty of water, and never decorate it with candles.
Power Tip: If you decide to play it safe and celebrate the season with an artificial pre-lit tree, make sure you choose one that’s certified as UL-rated.
5. CHECK THE LIGHTS
Some family favorites are a beloved tradition on the tree, but be extra careful with older strands of lights. Check for cracks, frays and loose connections that can overheat. When you replace bulbs, be sure to match voltage and wattage, and never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
6. HANG OUT CAREFULLY
While most holiday home safety tips focus on festivities inside, this outside pointer is very important too. Hang outdoor lights by securing them to exteriors with clips, hooks or insulated holders. Tacks and nails can damage wiring and cause dangerous electrical arcs especially during wet weather.
7. TURN EVERYTHING OFF
Power Tip: Automate the job of shutting down the glow by using light timers on indoor and outside decorations. This tip saves you steps and helps hold down the electricity bill.
8. WINTERIZE THE HOUSE
Prepping your home for cold weather also secures it for the holidays. Develop a plan to winterize the house, and let it become an annual property inspection too. This strategy helps you spot potential problems with the fireplace, fire sprinkler system, electrical wiring and more.
9. SHARE WITH NEIGHBORS
Talk with homeowners on either side of your property and across the street about watching out for each other. If one family plans on being away for the evening, another can keep an eye on the empty house. If a fire breaks out or some other emergency occurs, everyone stays covered with a little neighborly watchfulness.
10. HAVE A PLAN
Because fires occur more often during the holidays, it’s important to be ready with an evacuation plan. If you already have one, refresh the details with a practice run before things get too hectic. If you don’t have a plan yet, developing a strategy can become a life-saving present for your family.