The holidays are here. We are all making preparations, attending parties and decorating our homes and yards. This is all great fun, but we should always keep home safety in mind during all if this festive activity.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Keep everything merry and bright: Carefully inspect holiday light strings each year and get rid of any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders, or loose connections. When replacing bulbs, unplug the light string and be sure to match voltage and wattage to the original bulb.
2. Turn the lights out when not using them: Always turn off holiday lights when you leave the house unattended or when going to bed.
3. If you have a fresh tree, the fresher the better: Try to buy a freshly cut tree, it will look good much longer and keep the needles from falling before you are ready to take it down. Keep your Christmas tree watered and away from open candles.
4. Timers work wonders: Use an outdoor timer to switch lights on and off. Lights should be turned on after 7 p.m. to avoid the electricity rush hour.
5. Protect your property: The holidays are prime time for burglaries. Think about updating your locks with electronic deadbolt systems. If you install a deadbolt entry set with a numeric keypad, you won't have to worry about leaving keys for your guests or the kids when they get home from school.
6. Use a single extension cord: Never connect more than one extension cord together; instead use a single cord that is long enough to reach the outlet without stretching, but not so long that it can get easily tangled.
7. The great outdoors: When hanging outdoor lights, keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal rain gutters. Use insulated tape or plastic clips instead of metal nails or tacks to hold them in place.
8. Always use caution when climbing ladders: Using a ladder when you put up lights? Choose the correct ladder for the job and always be careful when climbing up and down the ladder.
9. Keep the gas behind glass: Do not use your gas fireplace if the glass panel is removed, cracked, or broken, and only allow a qualified service person to replace fireplace parts.
10. Check your alarms: Test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they work, and be sure to install smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on every level of your home -- especially near sleeping areas.
11. Filter-friendly furnace: To help prevent CO hazards in your home, have a yearly maintenance check of your furnace and venting system, and clean or replace your furnace filter frequently during the heating seasons.
The holidays are great fun with friends and family and keeping everyone safe is very important. Have a safe and happy holiday season.