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Holiday House Safety Checklist

Nov 14, 2016 10:32AM ● Published by Caitlin Marshall

Safety hazards lurk behind the spark and dazzle of the holidays, so exercising common safety measures is essential, whether the simple act of unplugging your tree lights, or minding your stove while cooking a large dinner. Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day rank as the peak days for kitchen fires, and each year, U.S. fire departments respond to about 230 home fires started from Christmas trees, according to a National Fire Protection Association study. Keep the below checklist handy to ensure that your home is ready for all of the festivities the holiday season brings.

Fire Safety

  • Test your smoke alarms monthly and make sure that your house is protected by an adequate number of working alarms.
  • Share your fire escape plan, including the location of your outside meeting place, with your overnight guests. Everyone should know at least two ways out of each room in your home.
  • Have older guests or those with mobility issues sleep on the ground floor of the house.

Decorating Safety

  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets, which can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Do not place extension cords where they could cause a tripping hazard, like doorways.
  • Do not run extension cords under rugs or furniture.
  • Keep all decorations 3 feet away from heat sources, including space heaters and fireplaces.
  • Use only weatherproof electrical devices for outside activities.
  • Make sure live Christmas trees are watered daily. 

Heating Equipment Safety

  • Have your heating system inspected annually by a licensed, qualified professional.
  • Never leave an open flame, including the fireplace, unattended. 

Child Safety

  • In homes with young children, install tamper resistant receptacles to prevent electrical shocks and burns, or use safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
  • Never allow children to play with electrical decorations or cords. 

Electrical Safety

  • Test ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to ensure that they are working properly.
  • Outdoor outlets should be protected with GFCI technology to reduce the risk of electric shock.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets, which can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Check outlets regularly for problems, including overheating, loose connections, reversed polarity, and corrosion.
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