Featured Home, 2018 Upstate Parade of Homes: The Williamsburg at Saddlehorn by Saddlehorn Living.

By James Speer, APB, President, Home Builders Association of Greenville and Partner, CarsonSpeer Builders

Family gatherings and festive celebrations — the hallmarks of the holiday season.

This also a time for home safety concerns. Holiday lights and decorations brighten our homes as the days get darker, but they can pose fire hazards. Travel, holiday events and shopping take us away from home more than normal.

Here is a quick safety checklist to help you keep your home and family safe during the holidays.

Home Security

  • If you have a lot of packages delivered while you are not home, it may be time for a doorbell security camera.
  • Inside your home, consider keeping gifts in a safe place that is not easily visible from outside.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to watch your home if you plan to spend the holidays away. And request the post office to hold your mail.
  • When you are away from home overnight, put 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.
  • 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 you go to bed or leave 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, and 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.

For more information on home safety and maintenance, and to find an Approved Professional Remodeler to help you with your home improvement needs, visit HBAofGreenville.com.