Tips for A Happy and Safe Holiday

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are filled with all sorts of fun activities and while we’re busy shopping and celebrating, there are potential hazards lurking in unexpected places. This is the perfect time to do a few safety checks. Follow these tips to insure that your holidays are safe and stress free.

Inspect the lights.
Carefully inspect holiday light strings before you hang them and discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders, or loose connections. If you need to replace bulbs, unplug the light string and be sure to match voltage and wattage of the original bulb. Never connect multiple extension cords together and use a single cord that is long enough to reach the outlet.

House lights.
When hanging outdoor lights, keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal gutters. Use insulated tape or plastic clips instead of metal nails or tacks to hold them in place. An outdoor timer certified by CSA International is an easy and efficient way to switch lights on and off. If using a ladder to hang lights, choose the correct ladder for the job, overreaching is the primary cause of ladder falls.

Tree tips.
The fresher cut the tree the more resistant it is to ignition. Cutting a few inches off the trunk to expose fresh wood allows for better water absorption and will help keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. Set your tree up away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters and out of the way of traffic and doorways.

Decoration dangers.
Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to decorate a tree. Never use lighted candles on a tree. Keep decorations that have small removable parts out of reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces.

Batteries required.
This is the perfect time to test, check and replace batteries in all the safety devices in your home. Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home -- especially near sleeping areas. Make this a holiday tradition as it will be easier to remember when you last replaced them.

Furnace fitness.
Have a qualified heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check of your furnace and venting system, and clean or replace your furnace filter. Do not use your gas fireplace if the glass panel is removed, cracked, or broken, and only allow a qualified service person to replace fireplace parts. Do not store combustible materials such as gasoline, propane, paper, chemicals, paint, rags, and cleaning products near your gas furnace.

American Home Shield is providing the information for general guidance only. Due to the general nature of the property maintenance and improvement advice in this material, neither American Home Shield Corporation, nor its licensed subsidiaries assumes any responsibility for any loss or damage which may be suffered by the use of this information.