Spirits are bright, and you’re decking the house in its holiday best. From frosty snowmen on front lawns to Christmas trees glowing in front windows, Chicagoland turns into a beautiful wonderland this time of year.
As busy as you are, have you set aside a little time to work up your checklist for holiday home safety tips?
As the leader among Chicago’s fire restoration companies, we can help. Based on our years of experience in the field, we offer a list of tips that are easy to apply to your upcoming celebrations this very special season.
Holiday Home Safety Tips: 10 Ways to Keep the Season Safe
1. Give Candles Clearance
Beautiful candles light up the holidays with a special glow, but they can quickly become a fire hazard. Give candles at least 12 inches of clearance on all sides, and display them on sturdy bases protected by hurricane globes.
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
When you go to bed, turn off all the holiday lights. Unplug the tree, make sure outside decorations are off, and double-check space heaters. If you leave during the evening, resist the temptation to come home to a brilliantly lit house. Play it safe, and turn everything off before you go.
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.
Give Yourself a Gift
Our holiday home safety tips cover those seasonal things around the house that make this time of year so special, but you need to take care of more than the tree and lights. Take good care of yourself too.
Get plenty of rest, and let the family pitch in with the work. Why try to do it all by yourself? Shopping, wrapping, decorating and cooking are always easier when you share the fun.
This year, give yourself the gift of taking it a little easier. Print out our tips, and go over them with the family. Relax knowing that you’re all playing it extra safe this holiday season.
We’re Here For You 24/7
Every holiday season, we help so many families deal with fire damage cleanup. We hope our safety tip list helps keep your holidays bright and your family safe. Just let us know how we’re doing through our Comments Section.
If you ever need help after a home fire, you can depend on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. We earn our reputation as one of the best fire restoration companies in Chicago and the suburbs every day, and we’re here for you 24/7.