Tuesday, 16 November 2010 17:25
Are you in the holiday spirit yet? Your home is often the centerpiece for your holiday spirit and celebrations! You want to insure that the season will not only be a joyous one but also a safe and secure one! Here are a few “holiday tips for homeowners!” Follow these guidelines and enjoy a wonderful holiday season!
Since the incidents of house fires can be one of the biggest holiday season disasters, start the season with a quick check of all the batteries in your smoke detectors. Most detectors have a “check button” to let you know the detector is working properly. Every home should also have one or more fire extinguishers. Normally the extinguisher will have a pressure gauge near the handle that will show the pressure needle in the “safe range” with enough pressure to actually work! It is a good idea to have several extinguishers located at different areas of the home.
A holiday tree is one of the biggest fire hazards in homes during this time of year. Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a tree:
*If you are purchasing an artificial tree make sure it is fire resistant. If you have an older, artificial tree, look for a fire resistant tag. If it does not have one it might be time to put out some cash in the name of safety!
*Real trees should be purchased as close to the holiday season as possible. Your best choice is a “live tree” with roots intact that can be replanted after the season. These trees are less likely to dry out and cause a fire. If you do purchase a cut tree, have the vendor cut the bottom of the tree at a forty-five degree angle so it will absorb more water.
*Check the water level in your tree stand daily. In most cases, for a tree of three feet or taller, it will absorb water on a daily basis and have to be refilled. This is critical to your family’s safety and the beauty of your tree.
Decorations for your tree and home also present safety issues. Follow these tips and reminders so your tree and home will not only radiate with holiday spirit but you will feel safe and secure!
*For all indoor lights use only small bulbs. The larger decorative bulbs give off far more heat and can present a fire hazard indoors.
*Check older light strands for cracks in the wiring insulation, faulty plugs and the “UL” seal of approval (Underwriters Laboratory).
*Do not overload extension cords with too many strands of lights. Cords can overheat causing power problems and fire.
*Never leave your lights on inside when you are not at home! Nothing can be more disheartening than to come home to a blazing home!
*Check all bulbs in light strands and any decorative displays. Be on the look out for cracked bulbs, loose bulbs and any that appear to be overheating after being on for any period of time.
*Make sure any flammable material is not resting near lights. Paper products and plastic can burn or melt causing damage or fire.
Mistletoe is a romantic and standard part of the holiday spirit and offers some interesting situations (not all romantic)! Mistletoe, unfortunately, is poisonous and should always be placed out of reach of small children and securely fastened with something other than tape! After all, we do not want it falling at the wrong time (guys, this is your job)!
In most parts of the country, fireplaces are ready for action during the holiday season. There is nothing that warms a cold night like snuggling next to the fire! A few quick pointers to make sure there are no surprises while you are snuggling!
*Make sure the chimney is free of bird’s nests or other things that may have gotten into the chimney during the summer and fall.
*Burning of wood causes a buildup of creosote, a tar like substance in the chimney itself. Hire a professional each year to do an inspection and cleaning. Creosote is highly flammable! Creosote remover can also be purchase at hardware stores, but is not a replacement for a professional cleaner.
*Use dried hardwood for your fire. Soft woods like pine are more likely to spark and also do not burn as cleanly as hardwood.
*Always use a fire screen. The smallest spark can turn deadly!
*Keep any flammable materials such as blankets and paper at least five feet from the fireplace.
*Make sure the fire is dead or dying before turning in for the night. Also it is advisable to have glass doors that can close to prevent late night sparks as the fire is dying.
Other indoor decorations can present special problems if not carefully addresses. Here are a few quick tips!
*If using candles, keep them far away from any flammable material and never leave them unattended!
*Use only non-flammable decorations, especially near lights and candles. Sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised!
*Put special decorations beyond the reach of young children. They are curious and chances are your decorations will catch their eye and hands!
*For tree decorations, keep small hanging decorations away from the bottom of the tree where young children can pull them off and swallow objects.
*Keep all extension plugs protected by barriers where young children cannot reach them.
Okay, you are feeling pretty safe indoors! Now let’s talk about the most frequent personal accident during the holiday season and it is usually good old dad! More people fall from ladders and roofs during the holiday season than any other major accident including fire! Here are a few precautions.
This is such a joyous time! You can have complete peace of mind and a wonderful and safe holiday just be taking a few extra steps! Hey! Leave some cookies for us!