As you’re decking the halls this holiday season, be sure you’re doing it safely. Here are some tips from Florida Realtors® to help you prepare your home for a happy holiday.
- Use decorations made of fire-resistant materials. Artificial trees, garland and tree skirts are often made of this material, but check the package to be sure.
- If you prefer a live tree, remember to water it daily so the needles stay moist and are less likely to catch fire. There are also some plant-food products designed to extend a tree’s life, which may help.
- Check electrical decorations to make sure they’re in good condition. Replace any decorations that have frayed, that have exposed wires or loose connections. When buying new lights, select products approved by a testing agency, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which is usually indicated by the agency’s symbol printed on the package.
- Illuminate holiday lights only when an adult is home and awake.
- Place all extension cords out of the normal traffic path and make sure there’s no furniture on the cords.
- Burn candles only when an adult is present. Leave plenty of space between candles and overhead cabinets, use a candleholder large enough to contain the dripping wax and move nearby items that could ignite. Carefully extinguish the flame when leaving the room and – as always – keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- When you open gifts, discard wrapping paper and ribbons in a metal garbage can. In the event of a household fire, excess paper will increase the speed at which the fire spreads.
- If your home does not have smoke detectors, now is the time to install them. If you already have smoke detectors, check the batteries and replace them if you aren’t sure how old they are. Some new-home builders install electrical smoke detectors, which eliminate the need for batteries, but it doesn’t protect you or your home during a power outage. Most experts recommend installing at least two battery-operated smoke detectors. You should also consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in working order, preferably one that will put out all types of fires including electrical and grease fires. Make sure family members know how to use the extinguisher and keep it in an easily accessible place.
- Discuss escape routes with your family and choose alternate routes in case a preferred exit, such as the front door, is blocked.
Increased home safety is a holiday gift everyone can enjoy.
Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its more than 180,000 members in 52 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at media.floridarealtors.org.