As a homeowner, you are always looking for ways to protect not just your investment but also your family. Unfortunately, as the temperatures plummet and the holiday season lingers, more dangers come your way. In this article, we will share 15 holiday hazards and what you as the homeowner can do to avoid them.
1. Leaving holiday lights on unattended
If you’re leaving your home for an extended period of time during the holidays, be sure to unplug all your holiday lights before you go. Otherwise, you risk a fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), “An estimated average of 160 home fires that began when Christmas trees caught fire caused an average of two civilian deaths, 12 civilian injuries, and $10 million in direct property damage per year between 2015 and 2019.” Christmas trees burn fast and are seldom contained in just one area. Please take this danger seriously.
2. Improperly disposing of holiday trees and wreaths
Once the holidays are over, it’s important to properly dispose of your holiday trees and wreaths. If you simply leave them out on the curb, they can become a hazard for pedestrians or cars.
3. Blocking exits with holiday decorations
When putting up holiday decorations, be sure not to block any exits in your home. In case of an emergency, you’ll want to be able to quickly and easily get out of your home.
4. Using real candles
While they may look and smell nice, candles can be a serious fire hazard. This is especially true during the holiday season as we often find ourselves so busy we forget they are burning. If you must use them, be sure to blow them out before leaving the room or going to bed.
5. Overloading electrical outlets
Holiday lights and other decorations can lead to overloaded electrical outlets. Be sure to use power strips and surge protectors to avoid any potential hazards. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 5,000 electrical fires attributed to overloaded outlets occur annually in the United States.
6. Leaving your home unsecured
If you’re traveling for the holidays, be sure to secure your home before you go. This includes locking all doors and windows, setting the alarm system, and stopping the mail. Also, consider using automatic lighting inside and outside of your home.
7. Hanging decorations on gutters
Gutters can be a weak point in your home’s structure, so hanging any decorations from them can be dangerous. Use hooks or other supports to avoid putting any extra strain on your gutters.
8. Climbing on the roof
If you need to hang any decorations on the roof, be sure to do so safely. Avoid standing on the edge of the roof and always have someone else spot you in case you fall.
9. Walking on icy sidewalks
Ice can build up on sidewalks and driveways, making them dangerous to walk on. Be sure to salt or sand these areas to avoid any potential slips and falls and don’t forget the areas your guests might use such as the sidewalk on the side of the house or the front steps.
10. Eating holiday plants
Holiday plants like poinsettias and holly can be poisonous if ingested. Be sure to keep them out of reach of children and pets and dispose of them properly after the holiday season.
11. Decorating with flammable materials
Some holiday decorations, like paper lanterns, are made with flammable materials. Be sure to keep these away from any open flames, like candles or fireplaces.
12. Having an open flame in the home
In addition to being a fire hazard, an open flame can also be a danger to small children and pets. If you have an open flame in your home, be sure to keep it out of reach and place it where it will not be knocked over onto other furniture.
13. Leaving the fireplace unattended
If you have a fireplace, be sure to extinguish the fire before leaving the house or going to bed. Also, be sure to keep flammable objects, like holiday decorations, away from the fireplace.
14. Ignoring carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly. Be sure to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home and check them regularly. If the alarms go off, be sure to evacuate the premises immediately.
15. Not having your chimney swept
If you are going to be using your fireplace, be sure to have your chimney swept beforehand. A build-up of soot and debris can be a fire hazard. Learn more about the danger of not having your chimney cleaned on our blog. If you need a chimney sweeping, give ChimneyTEK a call at (410) 796-8450.
As a homeowner, it’s important to be aware of the potential hazards that come with the holidays. By taking some simple precautions, you can avoid these dangers and have a safe and happy holiday season.