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Simple Ways to Disaster-Proof Your Home this Holiday

holiday safety   Last Christmas Eve, I awoke at 1am to the glowing lights of fire engines streaming in through the window. My neighbor’s family room, just across the street, was engulfed in flames. Fortunately, the neighbor was safely out of the house, but damage to her home was so extensive, it displaced her for 7 months while repairs were being made. A forgotten, burning candle was the culprit. It not only ruined her Christmas, but the next half of her year.
It’s easy to forget those little things with all of the holiday hustle and bustle, but keeping home safety a top priority is critical. With that in mind, here are some basic tips to ensure your holiday is a safe and happy one to enjoy with friends and family:

Never Leave Burning Candles Unattended
Or better still, purchase battery-operated flameless candles. The best ones come with an automatic timer so all you need to do is turn them on once, and they do the rest – safely.

Turn Christmas Lights Off at Night
It’s so tempting to leave those beautiful lights glowing into the night, but lights can short at any time and start a fire while you and your family are sleeping. December is the deadliest month for electrical fires according to the U.S. Fire Administration. So remember to turn all lights off, inside and out, before retiring.

Never Plug More Than One Extension Cord Into an Electrical Socket
Overburdening Electrical Sockets with multiple extension cords and power strips is another major cause of electrical fires during the holiday season. If you begin to smell an odd odor in or around the outlet or a power strip becomes hot, turn the electronics off and reduce the usage on the outlet.

Check for Freshness When Purchasing Your Christmas Tree
Fresh trees are more resistant to catching fire that older, dried out trees. You can check for freshness by making sure the tree is green, and that needles not falling off. The needles should also be difficult to break and hard to pull off. If you choose to purchase an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled “fire resistant”.