The lights, the tree, the crackling fire. The presents, the parties, the children’s excitement. The things that make the holidays so special also call for a little extra attention. Keep your celebrations merry, and worry-free, by following these tips.
- Use only lights certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or another safety standards association. Indoor lights should be used indoors, and outdoor lights outdoors.
- Before you put them up, make sure all strings are in good shape, with no fraying or exposed wires, and all bulbs are working and not broken.
- Don’t run cords under carpets or through doorways or overload electrical sockets. If necessary, use more than one outlet or power bar.
- Before going to bed, turn off all lights.
- When buying a live tree, make sure it’s fresh. Needles should be green and difficult to pull off the branch, and will not break when bent. Before placing the tree in water, cut off a small section of trunk. This helps it absorb water.
- Place the tree in a sturdy stand, away from high traffic, and make sure it’s stable. Keep it clear of heat sources such as a fireplace, radiator, vent or candles.
- Water the tree regularly. In the first few days, it can drink a surprising amount of water.
- A dry tree presents a high fire risk. As soon as the holidays are over, dispose of the tree properly.
- If you use an artificial tree, make sure it’s fire-resistant.
- Use non-combustible decorations. If you have young children, don’t put up sharp or breakable ornaments.
- Tiny, loose objects are readily swallowed, so hide them away from younger children.
- Don’t leave batteries lying around. Install them yourself, making sure they are secured.
- Plastic wrap, packing material and other packaging can cause harm. Discard them immediately.
Candles and fireplaces
- Never leave lit candles or fireplaces unattended.
- Place candles out of children’s reach. If a candle is in a centrepiece, be sure to replace it before it gets too low.
- With a wood-burning fireplace, use a manufacturer-approved screen. If you have a gas fireplace, never leave them unattended while it’s on and remind children the glass screen is hot and not to touch it.
- Once a year, have your chimney inspected and cleaned. Burn only seasoned wood (such as hardwood)—it’s cleaner burning and won’t emit harmful fumes.
- Do not burn wrapping paper as it could result in a flash fire, so avoid the temptation to throw it in.
- Regularly check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Change batteries once a year, such as when you turn back clocks.
- Clear walkways of snow and ice. Throw sand on icy patches. Make sure the stairs and porch are well lit.
- Always keep an eye on what’s cooking. Never leave your stove unattended when in use.
- Know who the designated drivers are, and ensure guests pace themselves. Make sure they’re safe to drive or have other arrangements, such as staying over, a taxi, walking or public transit.
- Always lock doors and windows and set your alarm, even if you’ll be away for only a short while.
- Don’t forget your home is considered an unoccupied property when you’re away – whether for a weekend or on an extended vacation. Be sure to have someone check on the house, pick up mail and shovel. Put indoor and outdoor lights on a timer.
- Make sure gifts can’t be seen through windows, tempting would-be thieves. Keep more valuable presents hidden until Christmas Eve.
Happy and safe holidays from all of us at BrokerLink.