The holiday season presents a time for joy and fellowship with loved ones. During this time of year, however, it is important to keep safety tips in mind to ensure you get the most enjoyment from this special time of year.
It’s important to be vigilant when it comes to protecting your home during the winter, especially with holiday seasons like Thanksgiving being the peak time for fires and burglaries. If you want to prevent damage to your home during the winter holiday, follow these important holiday safety tips.
Preventing Home Fires During the Winter
As the cold creeps up during the winter, so does the temptation to turn up the heating. When we try to make our property warmer, this can be when we let our guard down. You can take some very simple measures to prevent home fires during the winter:
- Double-check your heat sources like space heaters, fireplaces, and ovens, to make sure they have the latest safety certificates. When using a fireplace, make sure that you use a heat-tempered glass screen or a metal screen if you are using a traditional fireplace. If you are using a wooden stove, make sure you keep the door closed at all times. When checking your space heater, make sure it has an automatic shut-off function. This means that if the automatic if the space heater tips over, it will shut off. And if there are problems with the heating and you feel tempted to use the oven or your stovetop, just don’t!
- When decorating your home for the Christmas season, make sure that you avoid putting tinsel near any electrical source. As nice as it is to have tinsel wrapped around a lamp, the material could easily catch fire. It’s also important to make sure that when you are decorating your Christmas tree, use fiber optic lighting. Many manufactured trees have lighting as a part of its design, which is a much safer option. And make sure you place the tree at least 3 feet away from a heat source, as well as unplugging the tree before leaving your home or going to bed.
- You can also use a few interior design tricks to prevent house fires. If you have flowing curtains that hang all the way to the floor, this can be a fire hazard, especially if you have a log burner fire. You should also think about flame retardant roller shades as a replacement for long curtains, and installing flame resistant window coverings.
Keeping an Eye Out for Dead Trees That Pose a Fall Risk
While it is a beautiful sight during the winter to see large trees adorned with decorations every year, falling trees and branches cause tens and millions of dollars in property damage, injuries, and sometimes, death. While you may think that you need to chop all the trees down, this isn’t the best course of action if the tree is healthy. You can inspect the tree to make sure that it is healthy using the “4-zone approach”:
Zone 1: This is the tree as a whole from a distance.
Zone 2: This is the ground under the tree, visible roots and ground surrounding, as well as the first three feet of the trunk.
Zone 3: The trunk, which is the main vertical stem or stems of the tree.
Zone 4: The crown, which are the branches and leaves, including where the branches connect to the trunk, and each branch all the way out to its tips.
When you take this approach, you can address each part of the tree individually. There are also signs that you should keep an eye out for, in case there is the potential for it to fall. For example, if you see big dead branches, cracked or raised soil, fungus, sawdust on the base of the tree, and missing bark down the middle of the tree. During the winter, the biggest problem is extra weight from the snow, which can cause a tree to topple over and cause excessive damage to your property. If you see any warning signs, you need to get your trees checked by a specialist.
Safely Decorating Your Home’s Exterior for the Holiday Season
Some extra precautionary measures can help to ensure that the exterior of your property is stable, especially with winter weather like blizzards.
- Examine the exterior of your property to look for gaps in the siding along the doors and window frames. You can fill any of these gaps with caulk to fix any air leaks.
- Make sure that your exterior doors don’t let any drafts in. You can install a draft guard to slide between the ground and the door to prevent any heat from escaping. If you’re feeling a large draft, you may want to replace the exterior door with a new energy efficient one.
- Make sure you remove ice safely from any outdoor walkways. As the owner of the property that borders a public walkway or sidewalk, it is your responsibility to keep the sidewalk clear of snow and ice. If snow has fallen, the timeframe to remove snow is between 24 to 48 hours. Failure to comply with this usually results in a fine from the local authority.
Ensuring Your Property’s Interior Is Safe for the Winter
With falling temperatures comes a significant increase in energy bills.
- Make sure that your property’s interior is safe for the winter by insulating the property to reduce heat escaping.
- Make sure that during the holiday season that you keep your property secure. Installing a burglar alarm, as well as automatic lights, and a doorbell security camera, helps you to protect your property and your loved ones this winter. Many modern security systems are compatible with your mobile phone so if you are away from the property, you can always keep an eye on it.
The winter season is a time for friends and family to get together, but there can be so many hazards. By following these holiday safety tips, you can prevent damage in your home and make sure that you and your loved ones are sufficiently protected from the elements this holiday season.