This 2 part series focuses on tips for your home safety this holiday season.

to Deck The House
Every years millions of people put up decorations all over their homes. The end result should be festive and light, but without taking a few important precautions, it can become a nightmare.

Strings of holiday lights are put up both inside and outside to brighten up any dwelling. Unfortunately, these same lights cause a large number of fires each year. Before putting them up, you should always check on the condition of the lights. Make sure the wiring is not frayed or damaged in any way, and that none of the bulbs are broken. A set of lights that is in bad shape can be very likely to short out and start a fire. The wires that cover every string of lights provide insulation and prohibit the electrical current from getting out. When the wires are not in prime condition, it’s time to dispose of that set for another. Even a newer set of lights can be a hazard, so it is never a good idea to leave them unattended. When you go out for the night or go to sleep, make sure to turn them off.

A tree makes a magnificent centerpiece for holiday decorations, but it can also be a major hazard. Every year hundreds of fires begin in festively decorated trees. There are a few things you can do to make the tree as safe as possible. First off, mount the tree securely so it can not tip over or be easily knocked down. A falling tree can land on someone or damage property. A dry tree can ignite far too easily. It is essential to keep the tree well watered the entire time you have it in your home – especially if you plan to place candles on or near it. Place the tree far away from the fireplace if you intend to use it, and the same goes for wrapping paper, gifts or any other holiday items that may be flammable.

Just in case there is a fire, make sure you have a charged extinguisher around the house. Let everyone who lives there know exactly where it is, and show them how to use it. Check the batteries in any smoke alarms you have in your home to be certain they are in good working condition. An alarm will immediately alert you about a dangerous situation, and will let you know to grab the fire extinguisher. One final note – holiday decorations are often used all over the house, but they should never block any exits. In case a fire does break out, you’ll want to have every possible escape route free and clear.

Holiday Gatherings
Having friends and family over for the holidays can be a fun and joyous experience, but you still must be cautious and alert. A dinner party is a great way to entertain your guests, but don’t neglect the food you have cooking. Another major household fire hazard is food that is placed on the stove and forgotten about. The table settings at these meals tend to be lavish, but if they include candles you may want to remove them when it’s time to eat, especially if there are young children involved. All it takes is a quick bump to knock one over and catch the tablecloth on fire.

Keeping your home safe from fire is only part of the responsibilities home owners face during the holiday season. Read on to find out more about protecting your house from criminals who would take advantage of this season of giving.

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