There’s nothing quite like a beautifully decorated home to make the holidays feel more festive. Even if your home isn’t quite as festive as Clark Griswold’s in Christmas Vacation, there are a few safety tips everyone should keep in mind this holiday season.
According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, nearly half of all home fires occur during winter. The leading causes of accidental home fires are cooking equipment, heating equipment, and electrical systems. Fire safety is especially important during the holidays, when there is an increase in both ignition sources and fire load. On average, 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees each year. Annually, these fires cause an average of $16.4 million in property damage.
Installing decorations presents its own hazards. Using ladders safely is especially important when decorating your home. Approximately 5,800 people per year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for falls associated with holiday decorations, and more than half of these are falls from ladders or roofs.
Even the most safely decorated homes can be exposed to another holiday danger: burglars. Some areas see as much as an 18% increase in burglaries during the holidays, with an average loss of $1,675 per break-in. Use caution if you will be away from home: Accumulated snow on driveways and sidewalks, piled-up newspapers or mail, or no lights operating in the home for extended periods can tip off a burglar that you’re not at home.
The following tips will help keep your home and loved ones safe this year: