Invite Safety Home for the Holidays

Before visitors arrive, take time to properly prepare

It is easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of holiday entertaining:  cookies to bake, decorations to hang, presents to wrap.  But don’t overlook safety during the rush.  The winter holiday period marks peak time for home fires and preventable injuries.

The good news:  It is not difficult to make your home ready to safely host all of your favorite holiday activities.

Take time out from your party preparations to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.  Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area.  Smoke alarms also should be located inside each bedroom.

Be sure to discuss your family fire escape plan with any overnight guests.

Arrange your holiday decorations to avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many lights, cords or appliances.  Inspect all decorations, cords and outlets for damage before use.  Keep electrical cords out of doorways and high-traffic areas where they pose a tripping hazard.  Do not damage cords by pinching them or attaching them with staples or nails.

Keep young visitors safe by preparing your home before they arrive.  If your home is not already childproof, install tamper-resistant receptacles or use safety covers on all unused electrical outlets.

Don’t forget to put away small items, such as buttons, coins and jewelry, which are a choking hazard.

Store breakables, candles, matches and other potentially dangerous items in inaccessible or locked areas out of reach.

Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs to keep babies and toddlers safe.

Safety does not stop when the party starts.  Keep decorations, gifts and other combustibles at least 3 feet from heat sources or open flame.

Never leave the kitchen when something is cooking.

Make sure children are supervised at all times in the kitchen and anywhere space heaters, candles or fireplaces are being used.

Turn off and unplug all decorations before leaving home or turning in for the night.

Remember that a safe and happy holiday remains the best gift you can give friends and family.

Source:  Electrical Safety Foundation International