Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season with Family and Friends

The holidays tend to be a hectic time of year, with guests coming and going, lots of cooking, and traveling through heavy traffic. That’s why we’ve listed our tips for a safe holiday season, with precautions to keep in mind so that your family and guests can be as safe as possible in your home.

Holiday Lights

  • Set the mood for a safe holiday season by decorating with safe lights. When you get your sets of holiday string lights out from storage, take a good look at them to make sure they are still usable. If the wires or sockets appear to be damaged it is best to retire that set of lights.
  • Check out the labels on your string lights to see that they have been tested by a nationally-accredited lab such as the UL. UL lights will have a green label for indoor-only lights and a red label for lights that can be used indoors or outdoors. Use the lights appropriately based on what the label says.
  • If you are hanging string lights in a tree or along your roof, climb on a stable ladder to reach those places and have someone nearby to assist as needed.
  • When you are positioning string lights, keep the string unplugged until the lights are all in place.

Christmas Tree Safety

  • When choosing your live Christmas tree, perform some tests to make sure that it is fresh. A dry tree is more likely to be a fire hazard. Reach in, grab a branch, and give it a gentle tug. If that causes the needles to fall off the branch, then it is not a good choice. You can also tap the cut trunk on the ground and see how many needles fall to the ground. A few should be expected, but if a lot of needles fall off, that means you should find a fresher tree.
  • You may be tempted to put your Christmas tree wherever it looks best in the room, but remember you should keep your tree away from heat sources, like fireplaces and heating vents. Heat will dry out your tree, and of course, an open flame near a dry tree could start a fire.

Don’t Serve Your Guests Food Poisoning

  • Don’t let meat thaw by sitting out on the counter. Room temperature is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Instead, use the fridge, cold water, or a microwave.
  • When using a cutting board for raw poultry and other meat or eggs, wash it immediately after use with hot and soapy water, along with the knife.
  • Keep all raw meats far away from any foods that will be served raw, both while you are storing them in the fridge and during preparation.

Traveling in High Traffic

  • Refrain from sending text messages while driving. While never a good idea, during the heavy traffic of the holidays, being distracted by your mobile phone can be even more dangerous.
  • Check your vehicle’s maintenance before you leave for a road trip. Take care of any serious issues that could result in a breakdown, but also address minor necessities such as changing your windshield wipers and filling your tires. You will be glad you did, especially if you run into treacherous weather.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going. Being in a hurry is never a safe way to drive, especially with so many other travelers on the road.

Kids and Pets

  • When decorating your Christmas tree, keep ornaments with small parts towards the top of the tree away from pets and children.
  • The ever-popular Poinsettia is actually poisonous if ingested, so if you choose to decorate with these festive flowers, make sure they’re safely placed out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Chicken and turkey bones are too brittle when cooked to be safe for pets to eat. Not only are they a choking hazard, but they could splinter after being swallowed and hurt an animal’s intestines. Obviously, keep poultry bones away from kids too.

At Home Inspections and Beyond, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season. We offer home inspection services so that you can be confident that your home is safe all year round. Please feel free to contact us if you require inspection or home testing services in Brunswick County or the Greater Wilmington area.

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