Home safety tips for the holidays

Updated May 3, 2024  |   Published December 12, 2023

The holidays can be a joyful time. From gifts, to spending time with family, to everything in between, there is so much to celebrate and be thankful for. However, holiday plans can easily get de-railed with risk of fires, water leakage, and more. We’ve gathered some helpful tips below to help ensure home safety this winter for you and your family, so that you can celebrate the holidays with peace-of-mind.


Decorating the House

Decorations like trees and lights increase the risk of home fires during the holidays. Follow these tips to decrease your risk:

  1. Check all holiday light cords to see if there is any fraying or if any are broken. Don’t daisy-chain too many sets of lights together; we recommend no more than a few per extension cord.
  2. Look for the fire-resistant label on artificial trees. Even so, when putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators, and other sources of heat so that it doesn’t dry out and catch fire.
  3. Get a live tree that’s fresh, and water it to keep it fresh. The drier a tree is, the easier it is to catch fire. Bending the needles up and down can help prevent them from falling off.
  4. Check the labels on older decorations. Some tinsel made a while ago is lead-based. Angel  hair can cause irritation, so wear gloves when handling it. Don’t breathe in artificial snow either.
  5. Make sure outdoor decorations are securely fastened. Make sure that hooks or nails you’re using are insulated to avoid electrocution or a fire hazard.
  6. Be cautious when using a ladder. Make sure to have good and stable footing under yourself before you climb the ladder. Also, it’s a good idea to wear boots that have good traction when you’re up on a ladder.
  7. Avoid using electric lights with metallic trees. 
  8. Turn off all holiday lights when leaving the house or going to bed. This could be a major fire hazard.
  9. Refrain from using the fireplace if that’s where you’re also hanging stockings.


Holiday Home Cooking Tips

Over 170,000 kitchen related fires occur per year. Not far behind that is food poisoning and food allergies. Here are some tips to prevent both kitchen-related fires, and food-related sickness:

  1. Don’t leave the kitchen when something is cooking. The most common cause of kitchen related fires is leaving appliances unattended.
  2. Check the date on food labels. Check the date on your food to make sure it’s still good to cook. Also, warning your guests about ingredients that may be pertinent to a food allergy is a good idea, as if they were to  have an allergic reaction in your home, from your cooking, you would be held liable for that.
  3. Purchase a meat thermometer. Undercooked meat has salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. When cooking meat, make sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure it’s cooked to the right temperature, and it’s safe to eat.


Holiday Candle Risks & Safety Tips

Ever year, candles cause over 23,000 home fires. Follow these tips to ensure home safety with candles:

  1. Use candle holders that are sturdy. Holders that are too light or improperly weighted increase the chances of a lit candle toppling and igniting fuel nearby. Also, avoid putting candles on wobbly tables, to ensure that the candle stands upright.
  2. Blow out candles before the wick gets too low. This is especially important for candles in glass jars, which can explode if they get too hot.
  3. Don’t leave the room if there’s an open flame. As with cooking, don’t leave a burning candle unattended. Never leave kids in a room alone with a burning candle.
  4. Don’t burn candles in a bedroom.
  5. Allow for 12 square inches of space on each side of the candle. It’s less likely that flammable material will come into contact with the flame.
  6. Fake candles are a good alternative option.


Winter Weather Risks & Safety Tips

Some parts of the holiday season affect you whether you plan to celebrate or not. Winter weather can affect home safety through both physical injury and property damage. You can keep your visitors safe by following these winter weather tips:

  1. Prepare for snow and bad weather. If there is inclement weather, stock up on shovels and salt. Make sure to keep sidewalks and driveways useable in case you need to leave the house.
  2. Check your home’s seals. When temperatures drop, even a little water in a crack can cause problems; as it freezes, it expands, which means more room for water to get inside and do damage.
  3. Protect your pipes. Freezing temperatures can also damage your pipes. Luckily, there are several ways to keep pipes from freezing, including insulation and heating tape.
  4. Clean your chimney. If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, we recommend that you clean your chimney at least once per year.
  5. Follow other fire safety protocols. Keep your home fireplace or wood stove safe by clearing the area around it and be sure to soak in the hot ashes in water and store them in a metal container after you clean. Also, don’t burn cardboard or trash in your fireplace or wood stove.
  6. Keep flammable objects away from heat sources. As with candles, keeping things at least three feet away from heat sources can prevent fires.


If you’ve had an unfortunate accident in your home this winter season, we are here to help you. Click here to file a claim.

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