The holiday season is upon us again, and that means time with family, fun activities and beautiful seasonal decorations. However, the tidings of the season can become stories of tragedy if we are not careful during this time of the year. If you want to make your holiday safer, here are seven things you need to do:
- Decorate with Care: If you plan on adding holiday lights to the exterior or interior of you home, plan to do so safely. Use the proper ladder for the job. Keep electrical connectors for outdoor lights off the ground and don’t hang them on metal gutters. Don’t decorate outside during bad weather.
- Check Your Lights: To prevent holiday fires, make sure you check your lights before hanging them on a Christmas tree or along your eaves. Check for frayed cords, loose connections and cracked lamp holders. If you find any of these defects, then it may be time to purchase new lights. Check for the proper certification marks if you buy new lights. If your lights are still in good condition, but a few bulbs are out, unplug the light string and replace the burned-out bulbs with replacements that use the proper voltage and wattage.
- Care for Your Tree: If you are going to have a real tree in your house this season, be sure it’s freshly cut and has an ample water supply. The horticulture department at Penn State recommends getting a stand that will hold one quart of water for every inch of tree’s trunk diameter. They also recommend checking that water daily to make sure the tree has enough. In addition, keep the tree away from sources of heat to reduce the risk of it catching on fire.
- Time Your Lights: Another way to reduce the risk of fires is to make sure your holiday lights are on a timer. You should also select a timer that is certified by organizations like CSA International. You should turn your holiday lights off when you leave the house or go to bed.
- Don’t Overload Sockets: A tangled mess of wires plugged into a single wall outlet is a recipe for disaster. These cords can overheat and start a fire. Use one plug per outlet. If you need more outlets, be sure to use a proper surge protector with a protection fuse to prevent overloading. Try to use as few extension cords as possible to reduce tripping hazards.
- Check Your Fireplace: If you have an old-fashioned wood burning fireplace, then make sure the chimney is clean. You may also need to check your flue to make sure it functions properly. If you have a gas fire place, check the fittings and make sure the glass panel is not cracked. Also, be sure that you have a fire screen to keep embers from drifting into your house.
- Check the Alarms: Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms should be tested every month. The warning provided by these devices could be the difference between life or death. Make sure that these safety devices and your fire extinguishers are working properly.
Here at the Grutzmacher Law Firm, we want you to have a happy and safe holiday season. However, if you are injured through the reckless actions of others, consider giving us a call at (215)261-7975.