Thinking of the winter holidays brings to mind family gatherings with home-cooked foods, a lit fireplace and candles all around, and colorful decorations. There are also gifts under the tree and holiday travel plans. All these things, if not handled carefully, could cause damage to your home or property. No one likes making a claim on their home insurance policy — especially in the midst of the busy holiday season.
Here are 11 tips to keep your home safe this holiday season:
- Don't share travel plans online. Share that you're excited about getting away for a little R&R, but don't give details or post pictures until you're back. Thieves are internet savvy and troll social media to find out when homes are unoccupied.
- Use a fireplace shield. This will keep pets and little ones away from the fire. Ask for recommendations at your local home supply store on high-quality models.
- Put candles out of reach. Again, keep the flames away from the overcurious — kids and pets. Better yet, skip the candles and use an essential oil diffuser to add fragrance to your home. If you must have candles, consider battery-operated ones.
- Water fresh trees regularly. Check the water level daily to insure the trees are properly hydrated and as low of a hazard as possible.
- Don't use lights with exposed wires. Colorful lights are cheap enough that you shouldn't think twice about tossing out one that has exposed wires or burnt out lights.
- Don't link extension cords together. If the outlet that you want to reach is too far from the place where you're putting your tree or electrical holiday decor, consider changing the location.
- Stay in the kitchen while cooking. Items that are on the stovetop need to be supervised. Teach children about kitchen safety and model those learnings yourself.
- Unplug decorations when you leave the house or are sleeping. Even though they are pretty, there's too much at risk to leave them on when no one is awake and easily able to mitigate a fire.
- Inspect your HVAC system. The earlier that you do this in fall, the better. Have the system serviced and cleaned for optimal performance and safety.
- Clear your drive and walkways. Learn your city's regulations about snow removal (if applicable) and abide by them.
- Follow food safety rules. Don't eat the raw batter as you bake your holiday cookies. Keep raw meats away from salad toppings and the fresh fruit platter.
Implementing these tips will help you to have a healthy, safe, and happy holiday season.