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Front Page - Friday, December 14, 2018

Home safety tips for the holiday season

Family gatherings and festive celebrations are the hallmarks of the holiday season. It’s a time for decorating the house, buying gifts and traveling to visit loved ones. It’s also a time that comes with its own set of home safety concerns.

While online shopping is a great time saver and holiday lights and decorations make things merry and bright, these traditions can pose problems while you’re away from home traveling, shopping or attending holiday parties.

Here’s a quick list of safety precautions to help you, your family, and your home stay safe during the holiday season.

Home security

If you have packages delivered while you’re not home, maybe it’s time for a doorbell security camera. An app will alert you when there’s activity at the door so you’ll know when a package arrives. The real-time video allows you to check in whenever you like, giving you peace of mind until you get home.

Inside your home, consider keeping gifts in a place that’s not visible from outside your home.

Ask a friend or neighbor to watch your house if you plan to spend the holidays away from home. You can also request the post office and newspaper to hold delivery during this time.

When you’re away from home overnight, put lights throughout the house on timers to turn on and off according to your normal living pattern.

Lights and other decorations

Inspect the wiring on all holiday lights. Ones with worn or frayed electrical wiring should be thrown away.

Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Also, don’t run electrical cords under rugs. Be sure all decorative lights are turned off before you go to bed or leave the house.

Candles are one of the top causes of holiday-related fires. Place candles and other open flames away from decorations. Never leave burning candles unattended and always supervise children and pets around burning candles. Or, safer yet, consider using battery-operated candles for a flameless decorative glow.

Be sure to use electrical outlets specifically designed for outdoor use if you use plug in lights to decorate your house’s exterior, trees or yard.

Christmas Trees

Place trees a safe distance from radiators, vents, fireplaces and any other heat source that might dry the tree. Inspect the tree for dryness daily.

Make sure trees or other large decorations don’t block doors or hallways in your home.

Keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Make sure your family has a fire emergency escape plan. In case of fire, leave your home and call for help from a cell phone or a neighbor’s home.

Taking the time to follow a few safety precautions will help ensure that your holiday celebrations remain festive for your entire family. Learn more about home safety at www.nahb.org/forconsumers.