Keep your home and loved ones safe this holiday season with these Holiday Tips:
Minimize the Risk of Fire and Smoke:
Be cognizant of placing decorations around or near fireplaces.
Keep candles on stable surfaces, away from children and do not light near trees or other flammable items.
Before leaving your home or going to sleep, make sure fires, candles and holiday lights are extinguished, turned off or unplugged.
Use extension cords sparingly and only temporarily. Overheated wires start one of every six home fires.
If disposing of fireplace embers, let them sit overnight so you are certain they are fully extinguished.
Check all fire extinguishers as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within your home. Make sure fire extinguishers have not expired and do not have any damage. They should be checked monthly and replaced every 5 to 10 years.
Make sure your heating system has had its annual servicing.
Conduct annual chimney maintenance before using your fireplace each year.
Winter Weather Tips:
Avoid possible lawsuits by keeping walkways, stairs and sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Remove icicles, they are dangerous and can cause serious injury.
Practice proper snow removal around your home:
Do not pile snow near the foundation of your home as this could cause cracks or pipes to freeze.
Clear snow from your roof to avoid heavy pressure which could cause the roof to collapse.
Clean out gutters to avoid ice damming. Ice dams cause water build up which leads to leaks and water damage to the ceiling, walls and the insulation of your home.
Mark the location of your water shutoff valve in case there is a water related occurrence like a pipe freeze and it needs to be used.
Consider a reliable back-up power source in the event of a power outage.
In the event of significant freezing weather over many days, check your home regularly, turn on faucets and flush toilets (as the movement of water prevents freezing).
When traveling throughout the holiday whether or visiting loved ones or while vacationing, have lights in your home on timers to deter break-ins.
Be careful while posting travel plans or photos on social media. Never mention the length of travel or that you will be leaving your home unsupervised. Criminals use social media as a tool to find possible homes to burglarize.
Keep your house heated at a minimum of 65 degrees to reduce the chance of pipes freezing.
If headed on an extended trip, consider purchasing a Travel Insurance policy.
Take precautions while serving guests alcohol at your holiday parties.
Create a holiday “mocktail” to give guests a festive and non-alcoholic drink option.
While attending celebrations where you may be consuming alcohol, arrange for alternate transportation or have a designated driver.