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Tip of the Month: Keep the Holidays Safe

The holidays can be a festive time, filled with family gatherings and friends and neighbors dropping by to celebrate the season. With a little preparation and by following these tips, you can keep your holidays safe.

Inspect Your Fireplace

  • If you haven’t already, make sure your chimney has been inspected by a professional. When wood burns, creosote forms and can cause chimney fires.
  • Sturdy screens should be in front of every wood-burning fireplace to protect residents.
  • Be sure only wood is burned in the fireplace. Other items, like paper, can float out of the chimney and ignite the home or even a neighboring residence.

Use Caution when Decorating

  • Only use flame-retardant or noncombustible decorations.
  • Plug lights and other items requiring electricity into a power strip instead of plugging them directly into the outlet.
  • Make sure ‘live’ decorations such as centerpieces and garland are still fresh enough to be used with lights.
  • Keep candles away from small children and away from any objects and in places where they can’t be easily knocked over.

Protect your Guests

  • Keep an eye on the range or grill as it is easy to get distracted when entertaining guests. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S.
  • In wintery climates clear snow and ice from sidewalks and entryways in plenty of time before guests arrive.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors before the visitors arrive. For those staying for a long period, share your fire escape plan with them.
  • If rearranging furniture to accommodate guests make sure you don’t block exits.

And whether you’re hosting a large gathering with family or hosting an intimate dinner with friends, always make sure to designate a non-drinking driver or make plans for guests to stay over.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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