Safely Home for the Holidays

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Safely Home for the Holidays

With restrictions keeping travel to a minimum, there are sure to be more people staying home for the holiday this year than ever before. As always, that means more food, lights, decorations and activity, which comes with its share of delights AND dangers. So while you’re hunkered down with your family and friends this holiday, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure everyone stays safe and comfortable. These tips aren’t anything new, but there’s a reason why we all need reminding of the basics; it’s because they’re easy to overlook!

1) Hang those Stockings with Care

Putting up festive decorations is half the fun of the holidays, but it’s also important to make sure you decorate the right way. If you’re the type of decorator who likes to have a lot of candles burning, it’s important to keep any flammable decorations far away from open flames, including your stove or fireplace! We know it’s tempting to hang decorations like stockings across your fireplace, but even with a safety screen, there’s still a chance that something could ignite. The same is true for decorations around overburdened electrical outlets. Keep yourself and everyone in your home safe; only use flame retardant decorations and keep them all well away from sources of heat or electricity.

2) Keep an eye on the kitchen

Entertaining guests is always a juggling act, but Christmas comes with more distractions than any other time of year. Likewise, while kitchen fires are always a possibility, the odds go way up around the holidays. If you’re cooking and entertaining this season, be sure to keep a close eye on the kitchen. It only takes a moment for something to start burning, and nothing ruins a holiday like a house fire. It’s all too easy to forget what’s on the stove when you’re catching up with old friends or singing a carol, so stay vigilant; there’s a lot more than Santa’s cookies at risk!

3) Check your Lights

Strings of twinkling lights are a holiday staple, but they’re also the single most likely cause of a fire this time of year. Before you put up last year’s lights, or even fresh lights, it’s important to inspect the string carefully for any fraying or exposed wires, and any malfunctioning bulbs. Even the slightest amount of fraying can cause a spark, so check carefully before you plug them in for the first time. Depending on the extravagance of your display, you also run the risk of overloading your circuits, which could lead to a surge. If you’re not sure that you have enough power in the circuit to run your lights safely, just call Gas Plus! Our master electricians have the know how you need to decorate safely, and they’ll be able to tell you how many lights is too many for your circuits to handle.

Gas Plus - Fireplaces PLUS Lights

Gas Plus – Fireplaces PLUS Lights

4) Tend to the Tree

While many families are moving towards artificial trees, there are still plenty of households that insist on the classic, living Christmas tree every year. There’s no doubt that living trees are beautiful, but they also come with plenty of responsibility. First of all, make absolutely sure your tree is stable and sturdy in its stand. During the excitement of the holidays, you want to be sure that no one can accidentally knock it over. You should also keep your tree well-watered, and that your pets aren’t drinking out the tree stand basin. If your tree were to get too dried out, the odds of a fire are much more likely. It should also go without saying that you should never use lit candles as a tree ornament, and set your tree a good distance away from any sources of heat or electricity, such as your fireplace or radiator.

5) Watch out for children and pets

The holidays are way more fun with little kids and animals to spend them with, but too much excitement can lead to trouble. It’s important to make sure your kids and pets are having fun but feeling safe and calm. Too much stimulation could lead to someone getting tangled in lights, pulling down ornaments or even the tree. This is especially true with pet cats, who may find all those dangling decorations too hard to resist. Little children are also a lot more likely to leave things lying around, which could create tripping or fire hazards. You should always keep an eye on the activities of your kids and pets, but this time of year, they could probably use a little extra supervision to keep everyone safe.

6) Check all of your detectors

This is good advice for any time of year, but make sure that all of your detectors are functioning properly. There are plenty of fire risks that come with the holidays, so you’ll want to be sure your smoke detectors are ready to give you a heads up if something’s burning. The same is true of your carbon monoxide detectors. It’s easy to assume they’re working normally, but it’s essential to make sure. You should also be sure to continually clear snow away from your outdoor furnace vent. If too much snow builds up, it could ruin the airflow, leading to a CO backup. Keep everyone in your home protected this holiday; check your detectors! If you’re in need of a fresh detector, Gas Plus has plenty in stock for you.

With these simple safety tips in mind, you’re well on your way to having a safe, happy holiday. We’re not trying to scare you by any means, but it’s easy to forget the safety basics when you’re all caught up in the Christmas magic. It’s our job to keep you comfortable at home, so if you ever have any concerns over your home heating or electrical systems, give us a call! We’re happy to inspect your systems and offer any advice or assistance that we can. From the Gas Plus family to yours, have a very merry Christmas season!