It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of holiday entertaining—cookies to bake, decorations to hang, presents to wrap. But don’t overlook safety during the rush. The winter holiday period marks peak time for home fires and preventable injuries.
The good news is that it’s not difficult to make your home ready to safely host all of your favorite holiday activities.
First, take time out from your party preparations to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. Smoke alarms should also be located inside each bedroom. Be sure to share your family fire escape plan with any overnight guests.
Arrange your holiday decorations to avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many lights, cords, or appliances. Inspect all decorations, cords, and outlets for damage before use. Keep electrical cords out of doorways and high traffic areas where they pose a tripping hazard. Do not damage cords by pinching them or attaching them with staples or nails.
Keep young visitors safe by preparing your home before they arrive. If your home is not already “child proof,” install tamper-resistant receptacles or use safety covers on all unused electrical outlets. Store breakables, candles, matches, and other potentially dangerous items in inaccessible or locked areas. Don’t forget to put away small items, like buttons, coins, and jewelry, which are a choking hazard. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways to keep babies and toddlers safe.
Safety doesn’t stop when the party starts. Keep decorations, gifts, and other combustibles at least three feet from heat sources or open flame. Never leave the kitchen when something is cooking. Make sure children are supervised at all times in the kitchen and anywhere space heaters, candles, or fireplaces are being used. Turn off and unplug all decorations before leaving home or turning in for the night.
Remember that a safe and happy holiday remains the best gift you can give to your friends and family.
Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International