December 8, 2014

From decorating the house and family dinners, to out of town visits and holiday parties, the holidays are a busy time of year for everyone. However, with this added excitement comes added risks to the safety of your home. Following these simple tips will help keep your home and family safe throughout the holidays.

1. Inspect your lights
Before decorating your tree or home, carefully inspect your holiday string lights for frays or breaks. If you find lights that are not fully intact, discard them as they are a fire hazard. When inspecting your lights, check to make sure that they are CSA International certified. This certification means that they have been inspected to ensure that they meet international safety and performance standards. Lastly, when changing burnt out bulbs always make sure that you unplug the lights first.

2. Choose a fresh tree
If your family prefers a real tree to an artificial one, avoid choosing an older dry one. Fresh trees are less flammable than dry ones, making them a safer option for your home. Once you bring your tree into your home, always make sure to keep your tree well watered to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Whether you have a real or artificial tree, make sure that they are kept away from open flames.

3. String lights carefully
When putting up your outdoor lights, make sure that you keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from your homes eves droughts. When securing your lights, avoid the user of metal nails, instead using electrical tape or plastic clips. It is also important that you use an extension cable that is long enough to span the entire length of your lighting area. Never string multiple extension cords together, as it is a fire hazard. For lights that you need a ladder to secure, make sure that it is placed on flat ground and that when climbing, your hips remain between the two vertical rails.

4. Use a timer
For both your outdoor and tree lights, use a CSA International certified timer. This will save you money and make sure that your lights aren’t left on for extended periods of time, which can be a fire hazard.

5. Don’t advertise that you’re out of town
With many people travelling during the holidays, it’s important not advertise when your family is away. To deter break-ins while you’re out of town, make sure that your home looks “lived in”. This can include leaving a car in your driveway, asking a neighbour to collect your mail and shovel, and using timers for your lights. The more “lived in” your house looks, the less likely someone will break into it.

6. Don’t leave your gifts out
Even if your family is home for the holidays, leaving gifts out for display can make your home a possible target for break-ins. Instead, keep the gifts tucked away until it is time to open them. After the gifts have been opened, the same rule applies: Don’t leave opened gifts on display near doors and windows.

Following these 6 simple steps will make sure that your family is free to enjoy the holidays without a hitch!

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