There’s a lot to love about the holidays, from the beautifully decorated homes to the special time with family and friends. We know how much fun it is to make your home cozy and festive, but it’s important to remember to keep your family and belongings safe. Too often we’ve seen a simple oversight—a forgotten candle, for example—turn into a terrible accident and major home damage. We’ve put together a list of a couple simple things you can do to prevent fires and other hazards this holiday.
Here are several tips for holiday safety this season and any time of year:
Stay safe in the kitchen.
Cooking accidents are common during the holiday season when there are more cooks in the kitchen (literally). It’s easy to get distracted while playing host, enjoying wine, and visiting with your guests. Always keep children away from the stove and keep pots and pans on the inside burners and away from the edges of counters. Don’t leave food unattended or cooking while you’re not home. And if you’re socializing while preparing food, set timers to keep you alert, especially if you have several dishes going at once.
Dispose of food properly.
Many people cook more during the holidays and it’s easy to let things slip down the drain by mistake. Only rinse dishes with food into a sink with a garbage disposal and avoid rinsing liquids like oils and grease from cooked meat down the drain, which can later harden and block your pipes. There are several other culprits when it comes to clogging your drains and causing problems, including coffee grounds, egg shells, and starchy foods that grow bigger when wet (such as pasta and rice). When in doubt, throw food into the garbage instead of the drain. You’ll save yourself major headaches down the road.
Use the right kind of lighting accessories.
If you’re decorating the inside or outside of your home, use lights and extension cords that are functioning properly and still in good condition. Replace any that appear worn out or have exposed wires. Indoor and outdoor lights are labeled as such for a reason, so be sure to use them properly. Flameless candles are a good alternative to the real thing and they still create the homey atmosphere that real candles do. When you’re leaving home or going to bed, turn off your holiday lights.
Practice tree safety.
If you’re buying an artificial Christmas tree, check that it is fire resistant (as most new ones are). If you’re going with a live tree, keep the tree watered or it will dry out quickly, causing a serious fire hazard. Whatever kind of tree you use, don’t set it up near a fireplace or heating vent. When decorating the tree, only use non-flammable decorations and lights. Avoid metallic ornaments, which can be dangerous if they come into contact with bad wiring.
Be careful with fireplaces.
Wood burning fireplaces create a romantic ambiance during the holiday season, but they can be very dangerous if used improperly. Use a screen to contain embers and sparks, and make sure your chimney is clear (an annual inspection is a wise idea) and that the flue is functioning as it should. Don’t burn plastic, charcoal, garbage, or newspapers in the fireplace or use a liquid accelerant to start a fire. Put out fires completely when you’re retiring for the night and never leave them unattended.
The holidays are meant to be enjoyed with the ones you love. Take a few simple precautions to avoid any accidents and minimize the risk of fire or plumbing problems. If the worst should happen, however, AOA Cleaning and Restoration is here for you. Call us at 201-848-8600. And if you have questions about how to ensure your home is ready for the holidays, we can help you there too.