Family gatherings and festive celebrations are hallmarks of the holiday season, but home safety concerns are also very characteristic of this time of year. Holiday lights and decorations brighten our homes as the days get darker, but they can also pose fire hazards.

Since travel, holiday events and shopping take us away from home more than normal, here is a quick safety checklist to help keep your home and family safe during the holidays.

Home Security

  • If you have a lot of packages delivered while you away, consider installing a doorbell security camera.
  • Inside your home, keep your gifts in a safe place that is not easily visible from the outside, so it is not an easy target for burglars.
  • If you plan to spend the holidays away, ask a friend or neighbor to watch your home and request the post office to hold your mail.
  • When you are away from home overnight, consider putting your lights on timers set to your normal living pattern.

Lights and Other Decorations

  • Inspect the wiring on all holiday lights. If they are worn or frayed, throw them away to avoid any potential fire hazards.
  • Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord, don’t run electrical cords under rugs and turn decorative lights off before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Candles are a top cause of fires during the holidays. Place candles and other open flames away from decorations, never leave burning candles unattended and always supervise children and pets around candles. Better yet, use battery-operated candles instead.

Christmas Trees

  • Place trees a safe distance from radiators, vents, fireplaces and any other heat source that may dry the tree. It is also important to inspect and water your tree daily.
  • Do not block doors or hallways with your larger decorations.

Keep a fire extinguisher near your tree and make sure your family has a fire emergency escape plan.