Here are some safety precautions that you should consider during holidays
Over the years, we’ve come up with an important list of safety precautions we should all consider during the holidays.
Use a very safe and sturdy ladder when putting up decorations
Even if heights don’t scare you while you’re stringing lights on the eaves of the house, be sure to have a friend or relative hold the ladder while you work. When you’re working with electricity, use a wood or fiberglass ladder instead of a metal one. If your ladder is rickety, throw it away and then borrow a neighbor’s or buy a new one. And never go up the ladder when it’s raining.
Light up the house with safety in mind
Whatever kind of lights you festoon from the eaves of your house, be sure to pick lights manufactured for outdoor use. Don’t hang lights using tacks, nails or screws that can pierce the insulation and short circuit. Use insulated hooks instead.
One of the biggest mistakes most owners make with lighting up houses is plugging together string after string of lights to hook into the one receptacle on the outdoor wall they’re decorating. Generally, every electric receptacle in a house will be the same size: 15 amps and 120 volts. The safe wattage for that receptacle will always be 1,440 watts. If you must use extension cords, remember that they can overheat. Touch them now and then to see if they are too warm.
If you buy new lights, you’ll find that the box they come in will tell you just how many strings you can safely put together. And if they’re old lights that have been drying out in the garage for a few years, you’d better buy new strings.
One way to avoid many problems is by switching from those old-fashioned incandescent lights to LEDs – light-emitting diodes – for your tree and outdoor decorations. They’re cooler to the touch; they use only about 15 percent of the energy that incandescents use. They’re safer to use around Christmas trees and wreaths. However, they can be a little more expensive.
If you’re planning a very serious display of twinkle lights and electronic reindeer at your house, you might want an electrician to add new circuits and receptacles to your house to make sure that all is safe and sound.
Cooking and the kitchen: Don’t leave the kitchen when frying, roasting, broiling or grilling. It’s easy to get distracted during the holiday season, so set a timer as a reminder that your oven is on or when something is simmering on the range.
Candles: Only burn candles that you can keep within your line of sight. Put them out when leaving a room or before going to sleep. Keep candles out of the reach of pets or small children. Trim the wicks on candles to a quarter inch in length each time before burning, according to the National Candle Association. Always place candles on a stable, heat resistant surface and make sure the candle is not a shelf in a bookcase or under a cabinet. Don’t burn a candle all the way down.
Smoke alarms and extinguishers: Make sure your smoke alarms are working and replace any needed batteries now if you haven’t done so in a long time. They may need replacing once a year; doing that regularly on New Year’s Eve will make that job easier to remember. Many homeowners have fire extinguishers in their kitchens, but don’t know how to use them. Check the instructions: Stand about six feet from the fire and pull the extinguisher safety pin. Aim the chemical low — at the base of the fire. Keep the extinguisher upright and squeeze the trigger slowly. Sweep the flames until the extinguisher runs dry – about 10 to 20 seconds.
Christmas trees: Remember to water your tree daily. Always keep the tree at least three feet from any heat source, like a fireplace, heat vent or candles. Replace lights on your tree that have worn cords or loose bulb connections. Turn off tree lights at bedtime or before leaving the house. When the needles on your tree get dry and crispy, it’s time for the tree to go.