There is no greater joy during the holidays than gathering with friends and family to celebrate. Entertaining loved ones in your home can be a magical experience for all, whether you have people staying for days or just a cozy holiday party, the events of the season make for wonderful memories. Remember to follow the useful tips below to make sure you’re ready for all the festivities of the season.
The winter season generally brings cold weather, so make sure your home heating system is ready to keep your home comfortable.
- Have a licensed professional inspect your heating system annually before cold weather arrives.
- If you use space heaters, follow the user instructions. Ensure they are at least three feet from anything flammable and out of high traffic areas.
- Never leave space heaters running unattended. Turn them off and unplug them when the room is empty and before going to bed.
- Don’t leave open flames (fireplaces included) unattended.
Decorating for the holidays makes the season feel even more celebratory, however pay attention to where you place your decorations, as well as using the correct lights to accent them. Electrical problems are one of the leading causes of fire during the holiday season.
- Ensure your tree placement does not block any exits and remember to water your live tree daily.
- Keep all decorations three feet away from heat sources, including space heaters and fireplaces.
- When decorating, keep young children in mind. Ensure all breakables, candles and anything else that could present danger out of reach.
- Use the correct lights (US rated, indoor, outdoor) for your decorating plans and make sure that they are turned off before leaving the house or going to sleep.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets, which can overheat and cause a fire.
- Watch the placement of electrical cords, so as not to cause trip hazards. Do not run them under furniture or rugs.
When guests stay at your home over the holidays, the home becomes a little more crowded, and it’s important that everyone is aware of what to do in case of a fire. New spaces and added people can throw a wrench into a finely tuned escape plan, so the following tips for fire safety are important.
- Make sure you have smoke alarms located inside each bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on every level of your home.
- Test smoke alarms monthly to ensure they are working properly.
- Make sure your family and all your guests are aware of the fire escape plan and the meeting space outside the home, in case of a fire event.
- Keep the halls, stairs and doorways lit and free of clutter so that escape is not impeded in the event of a fire emergency.
- If you have a multiple storied home, consider putting older guests or those with mobility issues on the ground floor.
The holidays seem to be wrapped around food preparation for celebratory dinners, so creating a safe cooking space is of the utmost importance.
- When preparing meals, stay in the kitchen when anything is on the stove, grilling, or broiling in the oven. Unattended cooking fires are a leading cause of home fires.
- Have a kid free zone of three feet around any cooking appliance.
- Keep your clothing close fitting when cooking because loose clothing can catch fire.
- Make sure that towels, potholders, curtains and any other items that can burn are kept away from hot surfaces.
- Keep an all prupose fire extinguisher on hand for small fires. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire; remember oil and water do not mix.
- When using a turkey fryer, never leave it unattended and keep children and animals away from the area.
The holidays are a joyous time to create wonderful memories, so be safe and focus on your loved ones.
Source: NFPA.org – Holiday Entertaining Safety Checklist