The holiday season is the time for carols, mistletoe, crackling fires, hot cocoa, and presents under the tree. With all those things, it’s easy to forget about home safety habits. We get complacent and preoccupied with all the hustle and bustle that’s so common this time of year.
To help secure your home, here are some expert-approved holiday home safety tips to prevent fire, injury, and break-ins.
How to Prevent Fire
Tip 1: Keep an eye on your cords
Whether you prefer a simple strand of lights on your Christmas tree or a yard full of animated decorations, paying attention to cords and electrical outlets is a must. You need to be smart and not overload your cords.
Experts suggest that you also examine individual strands and cords while decorating. Throw away any frayed or worn light strands you see.
Tip 2: Clean and maintain your dryer
Dryer fires are possible any time of the year but the winter months can present a special risk. Extra lint from heavier materials, like your ugly Christmas sweaters and fuzzy warm blankets, can build up on the lint screen.
If not cleaned routinely, that accumulated lint is an accident waiting to happen. Clean the lint screen after every single load of laundry to reduce the danger.
Also, don’t start your dryer right before you go to bed or leave the house to run errands; make sure you’re home when the dryer is running.
Tip 3: Check your fire alarms
Ideally, you should check your fire alarms monthly and not just during winter. That said, if you sometimes neglect this household chore, the holidays are a great time to get back on track.
With festive candles, meal preparation, and guests constantly coming and going, the risk of fire is heightened. Ensuring that your fire alarms are working properly can help prevent serious injuries and property damage.
Tip 4: Take Care of Your Tree
If you like to put up a freshly cut tree, don’t use lighted candles nearby. Trim branches off near the base of the trunk and make sure to keep it watered so the branches don’t dry out. Dry branches can be vulnerable to fire from the heat of decorative lights.
If you display an artificial tree, experts suggest to use one that has a fire resistant label and don’t use more than three sets of lights per extension cord.
How to Prevent Injury
Tip 5: Clear walkways, inside and out
Something as simple as a blocked hallway can cause serious injury to you, your family or your guests. Keep cords and decorations away from doors, chairs, stairways, and other high-traffic areas to prevent trips and falls.
Clean up stray boxes and gift-wrapping materials promptly and watch to be sure that presents under the tree don’t inch their way into well-trod walking paths in your home. When hanging up decorations, use a step stool or a ladder rather than a chair.
This tip isn’t just for indoors. Watch for extension cords or yard decorations that could be hazardous outdoors as well.
Tip 6: Exercise caution while decorating
Is your house known as the most decked-out, bedazzled house on the block? Good for you!
Just be sure to prioritize safety while you deck the halls this year. Use sturdy ladders of the appropriate size for outdoor decorations and examine your roof for any potential hazards, including loose shingles.
Tip 7: Prepare for snow and ice
If you live in an area where snow and freezing temperatures aren’t an issue, feel free to skip ahead. For the rest of you, cold weather safety is no joke!
In most towns and cities, removing snow and ice from your sidewalk is required by law to prevent injury to pedestrians. Have your snow shovel ready and accessible always and stock up on ice melt for your driveway and sidewalks. Icicle prevention is also important and so is cleaning out and repairing gutters regularly.
How to Prevent Break-ins
Tip 8: Make your home an undesirable target
The first step to avoiding break-ins is to prevent your home from becoming an easy target. First of all, make it look like you are home by keeping a car parked in the driveway, playing music, and being careful not to leave packages on the doorstep. Packages sitting outside your door are like a billboard that screams no one is home. Try sending your packages to your office or a trusted neighbor you know is home during the day.
Don’t give burglars places to hide. Clear the path to your door so neighbors can see it from the street. Keep your bushes trimmed and avoid large blow-up decor during the holidays.
You can also put a camera above your doorway (even if it’s a non-working one) to scare off potential intruders.
Tip 9: Use a security system
Another great home safety tip is to get a home security system. It can greatly increase your safety since around 60% of criminals look for a different target if a home alarm is installed.
Most security systems come with security cameras and fire and flood sensors for your safety. Some of them even allow you to monitor things from your smartphone, which is a convenient bonus.
For your home, try to do your research first because the devices you’ll need will depend on your location, budget, and home type.
Tip 10: Secure your home’s entry points
We all know enough to lock our doors and our windows but a lot of homeowners often overlook garage doors, which are common entry points for burglars.
Something else that gets overlooked?
Spare keys. If you have these hidden in your yard, be sure they’re not obvious to potential thieves.
With these easy home hacks under your belt, you can count on a safe and secure holiday season.
What other holiday home safety tip can you share? Be sure to comment below and share this article with others who can use a hand getting ready for winter.