Christmas Safety Tips

December is a wonderful month of anticipation. The Christmas and New Year’s holidays are on the horizon. Young kids and old kids alike have things to look forward to, as there will be gatherings of friends and family, presents, bowl games and lots of good food and cheer.

With the holidays come traditions in decorating and celebrating that can be wonderful, and a bit dangerous, all at the same time. So, let us take a moment to review how some holiday safety tips.

Candles, in church rituals, romantic dinners and holiday lighting always improve the setting. Candles also start fires. Do not leave them unattended, keep flammable items away from candles, and never put them on or near your Christmas tree. While this may look wonderful on a Hallmark card, Christmas trees are highly flammable.

Our ancestors lived by firelight for countless generations, using fire for warmth, cooking, nighttime vision and for protection from scary things in the dark. After countless generations of human evolution by firelight, maybe we are genetically inclined to desire it. This would explain the appeal of fireplaces and firepits. Here again, beauty and safety must balance. Always have a spark screen on your fireplace and never place the tree by the fire.

Every home should have a fire extinguisher within a reasonable distance of any active fire, and residents need to know how to use it. Were an errant spark to start a fire, you’ll want to act quickly. This is also true for cooking fires at any time of year. Knowing where to find the extinguisher, and how to use it, may just save your home.

Given the risks involved with fire, most holiday lighting is electrical. While very safe, there are protocols here as well. Each year the process of installing lighting always sends a few folks to the hospital. When preparing to climb a ladder, make sure it has both feet on solid level ground. If it naturally wants to lean, it is likely to topple with you on it. Also, make sure the base is way from vertical by 25% of the height of the ladder. So, a 20’ ladder should have the feet 5’ out from vertical to create a safe and proper ‘lean’.

When installing the lighting, look at the ratings on your lighting and do not connect more strands together than they are rated for. This overloads the circuit, and greatly increases fire risk. Run additional extension cords and make sure your holiday lighting is safe.

It is not Christmas yet, but as you prepare to light your home and gather friends and family before the hearth, please prepare to do it safely.

For those of you that enjoy the mood set by holiday lighting, but have no intention of installing them for yourself, Mr. Handyman may be able to help. While we suggest you contact and electrician if you desire a light display that can be seen from space, lighting along your roof peek and wrapping a tree is something we can surely help you with. We can also hang wreaths on doors and handle any last-minute home maintenance and repair tasks to have your home looking ‘just right’ when family and friends arrive.