Tips for Hazard-Free Holiday Decorating!

The holidays are a time to create wonderful, fun-filled memories.  Many of us spend time cooking, decorating our homes, giving gifts, and entertaining.  It’s also extra important to be vigilant, and take care to avoid fires and accidents this holiday season.

Holiday Decorating

Cheery lights, an evergreen tree, and a cozy fire in the fireplace are holiday essentials to many of us.  Let’s keep safety in mind as we decorate this season.

  • Don’t block an exit way:  in the event of a fire, time is of the essence.  Keep all exits clear and unobstructed, so they don’t hinder your departure in the event of a fire.
  • Decorations should be non-flammable or flame retardant.
  • Keep decorations away from heating vents.
  • Inspect all light strings before use!  Are there bare or frayed wires, broken or cracked sockets, loose connections, or worn insulation?  If so, throw the lights away.
  • Indoor / Outdoor lights should be used only where appropriate; follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and precautions listed on the packaging for the lights.
  • Avoid shocks by plugging outdoor decorations into circuits with ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  • Turn off the lights before you leave or go to bed.

Choosing a tree for the holidays is a heart-warming experience.  Make sure when you choose your tree, that the tree is fresh.

  • Gently shake the tree before buying:  do a lot of needles fall out?  Your tree may already be drying out.
  • Pull off a needle and bend it between your fingers.  If it’s pliable, the tree is fresh.  If it’s brittle and stiff, the tree is dry.
  • If you choose to decorate with an artificial tree, purchase one that has a “fire-resistant” label.

Do you plan to enjoy a fire in your fireplace this season?  Safety is always a top concern when using your fireplace and chimney.

  • Keep flammable items away from open flame such as candles and fireplaces.
  • Have your chimney cleaned professionally before using; flammable creosote builds up inside chimney flues and could start a fire.
  • Remove all greens, boughs, papers and other decorations from the fireplace area.
  • Open your damper before lighting a fire.
  • Do not burn anything in your fireplace besides seasoned wood.  This includes wrapping paper!  A flash fire may result as the wrapping paper ignites suddenly and burn intensely.
  • Keep the safety screen or doors closed at all times when the fire is lit.
  • If you are decorating with candles, use materials that are labeled non-combustible, flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
  • Extinguish all candles and fires in the fireplace before you go to sleep or leave the house.

Holiday decorations may be dangerous to children and pets, so inspect everything.

  • Keep older ornaments and decorations that might be painted with lead paint out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Poinsettias are known to be poisonous to humans and animals, so keep then well out of reach, or avoid having them.
  • Keep ribbons on gifts and tree ornaments no longer than 7 inches, to prevent a choking hazard.
  • Inspect wrapped gifts for small decorations that are choking hazards such as candy canes and gingerbread men.

Let’s Talk

Home insurance has many benefits for you, and it’s important that you are familiar with those benefits.  At Kemner Iott Benz, we make sure our clients receive the best homeowners’ policy to suit their needs.  If you’d like to discuss your policy, please contact us online with questions, or call one of our local insurance agencies:

Adrian:  517.265.7000   |    Ann Arbor:  734.971.1000   |   Cassopolis:  269.445.2425

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