Holiday Home Sense and Safety Tips

Hanging Christmas Lights 2This is a great time of year to share time with family and friends. Here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe, in your home, especially, over the holidays, let alone any period during the year.

Tip #1 – Fire Alarms

The most valued tip for keeping your home safe is to check your smoke detector every holiday (Christmas, Easter, Summer Long Weekends, Thanksgiving…). This singular step will safeguard your home, above and beyond all others, should you neglect completing all the remaining tips combined!

Tip #2 – Open Flame

The fireplace is often the centerpiece of the home and an easy way of disposing of all the winter holiday “evidence.” Be cautious of burning gift wrap, boxes, and other types of packing. They burn rapidly and can get out of control fast.

Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks and make sure the damper is open to avoid being smoked out.

Make sure that candles are in safe fire proof containers, or on fire proof surfaces (candles can burn down and drip wax and spread fire.) I have seen this first hand when our dinner table was on fire! Never leave the fire or candles unattended or smouldering.

If your pipes freeze do not use a blowtorch to thaw them. The open flame itself is a hazard. Furthermore, the pipes that you are attempting to thaw may be in contact with other points of you house which could catch fire.

Tip #3 – The Tree

When setting up your Christmas tree make sure it’s at least three feet away from any heat source (fireplace, radiators, heating vents and lighting.) Heat sources will dry out a tree and increase its flammability.

To assist in keeping the tree fresh keep the stand filled with water at all times.

Fire safety professionals recommend that you not leave your tree up any longer than two weeks.

When finished celebrating the holidays, dismantle and discard the tree immediately and properly. Don’t leave it in or around the house as a dried-out tree is highly flammable and can still cause major damage. (Check with your local community for a recycling program or other disposal options.)

Tip #4 – The Kitchen

Did you know that grease fires are a leading cause of home fires? Bearing this in mind, it is imperative to be extra careful when cooking with oil and know how to combat a fire in a pot or pan that catches fire.

*Never put water on a grease fire (it will make things far worse).

See this Youtube clip of what will happen with only one teaspoon of water added to a pan of oil on fire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmjSUlKoMXE

If you do have a fire: If in a container, such as a pot, smother the flames by covering them with a metal lid (use an oven mitt to protect you hands). Remember to turn off the heat immediately. If you do not have a lid, or the fire is not in a pot that can be covered, use baking soda (flour can be explosive).

Do not turn on the overhead fan, as this could spread the fire and again never throw water on a grease fire.

Tip #5 – Electrical Safety

There are often lots of items to plug in and it is easy to overload outlets during the holiday season. Avoid doing this and prevent electrical fires.

Also, avoid overheating extension cords by not plugging in multiple items to a single cord, coiling or bunching them and don’t run them under carpets or rugs. It is also important to ensure that there are no breaks or exposed wire in the cord.

Always make sure plugs are fully inserted into outlets. A poor contact may cause overheating or shock.

We at Team Andruff want to wish you a happy and safe Holiday around your home!

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