With only a few days left before Christmas, your house is sure to be decorated for the holidays with a style all your own. And hopefully you’ve kept safety in mind all the while. If not, here are a few things to consider this holiday season to make sure you and your family are cozy and safe.
1. The center of it all – your Christmas tree: For you live Christmas tree lovers, keep your tree well-watered, and for those of you with artificial trees, make sure your lights are working properly because one in every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
2. Powering up for the holidays: Don’t overload electrical outlets with too many extension cords, lights and other decorations, for this creates a real fire hazard. As a rule-of-thumb, use only 80% power on each outlet. To determine this, simply divide the watts of power you’re using by 120 volts, the number most houses are rated for, and you’ll know if you need to use more than one outlet.
3. Festive flames all a-glow: You also know that December is the peak time of year for home candle fires – especially on December 23, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Be sure you never leave a candle burning unattended and place them away from the tree and other decorations that could quickly spark a fire. An alternative is to invest in battery-operated flameless candles, which look real and are less of a fire hazard than open flames. However, keep the fire extinguisher in a convenient, easy-to-remember place, just in case.
And while you have the ladder out for hanging lights, you should also change batteries in all the smoke detectors in your house. Tackling this task during holiday decorating not only saves time, it reminds you of the need to check smoke detectors once a year.
4. A potentially icy pathway: Outside, keep the sidewalks and driveway free of snow and ice with a shovel and snow blower.
5. Hop in the car for your annual holiday road trip: Once your house is safe and beautiful, it’s time to prepare your car – and your family – for that special trip. In addition to dangerous weather conditions and limited daylight hours this time of year, traveling during the holidays has its own challenges that require extra planning. The entire family piles into a car, along with suitcases and gifts, which may make it difficult for the driver to see out the back window. Driving in unfamiliar areas can create yet another distraction.
Here’s a handy list to help you plan safely for holiday travel:
- Pack a safety kit for your car, including anti-freeze, deicer for locks, window scrapers, a shovel, tools, a small gas container and a lighter (or matches)
- Put a bag of kitty litter or sand in the trunk, to use in case you get stuck
- Bring along an extra set of gloves, sturdy boots, hats and a blanket
- Remember to bring a mobile phone, directions, a map, GPS and any reservation confirmations
- Set the car alarm or use an anti-theft device
- Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside
- Don’t leave packages on the seat of your car, creating a temptation for thieves
- Consider sending holiday gifts ahead via U.S. Mail, UPS or other expediting service
- When approaching and leaving your car, be aware of the surroundings
- Always carry a driver’s license or ID card, along with necessary cash, checks, credit or debit cards
It may seem like a no-brainer to follow the above guidelines, but the holidays inevitably get somewhat crazy, so just take a little extra time this year and your family will thank you for it. If you have more questions about holiday precautions and the tools or equipment you may need, please get in touch with us via our contact us page or the comment section below. Happy Holidays!
About the Author
Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.