Winter is here! Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, the temperature has dropped to window-scraping levels, and there are holiday themed events everywhere you turn. That makes now a good time to remind yourself of some safety tips for the festive season!
With the excitement of the holidays, it’s easy to get a little carried away with the festivities. Make sure you focus on what really matters, the safety of your family and guests.
1. Fire Hazards
Candles are a perfect accompaniment to your holidays, whether it’s a quiet evening in front of the fireplace, or a feast with friends and family. Make sure they are in a spot where they won’t be easily knocked over, and always blow them out before leaving the room or going to sleep.
Christmas lights are on in almost every home; wrapped around the tree, hung in a window, or strung along the roofline. Make sure that only those that are rated for outdoor use are used outside, though outdoor rated lights can be used inside your home. The plugs should be inserted fully into outlets as poor connections can cause overheating or shock.
Use the right type of extension cord for the task at hand. Use one long cord instead of multiple cords connected, never use indoor extension cords outside, and don’t pass the cord through a window or under carpets where they may get pinched or damaged.
2. Travel Safety
If you’re going away at any time during the holiday season, have a friend or neighbour collect your mail and newspapers, as a build-up can announce your absence.
Make sure you have your lights – Christmas and indoor lights – on a timer so they keep coming on even while you’re away. If it’s going to snow while you’re away, have someone shovel your driveway so your home looks occupied. Consider a house-sitter who will use the heat, so your home doesn’t look like the cold one on the street with the snow in-tact on the roof.
Never announce your travel plans on social media, as it’s easy for predators to plan for while you’re away.
3. Staying Warm
If you use space heaters in the winter, make sure you use them safely. They should always have 3 feet of space on every side, and shouldn’t be left unattended or on while you’re sleeping. The model you choose should have an auto-off function that turns it off if it overheats or tips over. Always plug the heater directly into the wall and not an extension cord.
If you have a wood-burning or gas fireplace, put a barrier around it to prevent children and pets from getting too close to the heat.
Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. You should check them monthly and replace the batteries every 6 months.