Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Home School Care & Maintenance

Everyone has a lot on his or her mind during the holiday season.

Have I picked up everything on my gift shopping list? Do we have enough food for our guests? But one thing that should stay top-of-mind is safety. Setting up for the holiday season can come with a number of risks. Here are some tips for keeping safe throughout the holiday season.

Decorating the House:
With the holidays coming, many people are pulling out their box of decorations. This includes strings of coloured lights to line the roof and wrap around the pine tree in the front yard. When putting up these lights, make sure you have the ladder you need and that it’s in working order. Leaning against the house, the ladder should be at least three rungs above the edge of the roofline. The ladder should also have a one-to-four ratio, which means, for every four feet in height, the base of the ladder should be one foot from the wall. This angle maximizes the ladder’s strength, balance, and the chances you stay safe. Another way to keep your balance is to not spend time standing on the top rung. Stay three or so rungs down. When stringing lights along your home’s roofline, remember to not line them across metal, which is a conductor of electricity. And when setting up power for these lights, steer clear of plugging more than one extension cord together, which can lead to an electricity overload.

The Tree:
Whether you’re picking up a fake tree or going the real tree route, there are a few things to consider. For department store bought trees, it’s important to check the box or tag, which should say that the tree is fire resistant. When picking a live tree, test the needles. If it’s easy to pull them off the branches, the tree is likely old, dry and won’t last long. When you take the tree home, make sure the stand can contain between two and three litres of water, keeping it moist through the holidays. When decorating the tree, bigger is better, especially when there are kids or pets in the house. A child or dog may visit the tree when you’re not looking and try to pop one of these ornaments in their mouth, creating a choking hazard.

The Kitchen:
One of our favourite things about the holidays is all tasty dishes coming out of the kitchen. Whether it’s cookies, cakes and tarts for get-togethers leading up to the holidays or turkey and mashed potatoes on the big day, that oven is likely to stay busy all month long. If you need to slip away from the house for any period of time, while in the middle of one of your cooking sprees, remember to turn the stove and oven off.

While using the stovetop, if a grease fire breaks out, there are a few simple options. Either smother the flames with a lid or another pan -- or cover the blaze in baking soda. Never use flour. Its chemical composition can actually cause the grease fire to explore. While it may be a natural reaction to crank up the hoodfan, this will only cause the fire to spread.

If you have a delivery on the way and don’t think you’ll be home around the time it’s expected to reach your doorstep, call ahead and make arrangements to pick it up. Leaving a note that asks the delivery person to place the package elsewhere, is a clear signal to thieves that nobody’s home. The mall parking lot is another place where thieves are looking for opportunities. Try not to leave purchases in your vehicle and if you do, keep them clear of plain sight.

On Boxing Day, be cautious of placing the boxes of big ticket items by your garbage. There’s no need to let potential thieves know about the new TV that’s now setup in your living room.

The Party:
It’s the season for having family and friends over. For get togethers when you know alcohol will be served, it’s a good idea to keep your guests’ car keys in a basket. When it’s time for them to leave, assess their state. If it appears that they’ve had too much to drink, make alternate arrangements for your guest to find a safe way home or to their next destination.