It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but don’t let your guard down. We all assume our homes are safe until something happens. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics indicate that 30% of all home fires and 38% of home fire deaths occur during the months of December, January, and February. Here are some safety tips to keep your home, your family and guests safe during the holidays.

FIRE SAFETY

Assess your candles: Consider battery-powered candles. These are less risky than traditional ones. Real candles should be placed at least four feet away from curtains, decorations and bedding.

Check your string lights: Before stringing them up, thoroughly inspect your holiday lights for cracked or frayed wires and broken bulbs. Light them and shake them.

Secure loose wires: Tape the cords to the floors with duct tape, or run them through PVC pipe to prevent small children and pets from getting to them.

Cut unnecessary power: Unplug the lights on your way out before you go to sleep, and cover open outlets with a guard.

THE TREE

Get a safe artificial tree: It should come with a fire retardant tag.

Choose a well-hydrated real tree: Choose a tree that’s as fresh as possible. Give it a “tug” test: Gently grasp the bough between your forefinger and thumb, and pull it toward you. Very few needles should shake off.

Keep your tree watered: Trees are often precut early in the season. Take an inch or half-inch off the bottom, and put it in water. Keep the water level above the cut line and monitor it daily.

Display your real tree in a safe place. Situate the tree at least three feet away from any heat sources like fireplaces and heating vents as well as exits.

Keep ornaments out of reach: Avoid decorating the lower boughs of your tree with breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts. This is where children and pets can reach them.

HOLIDAY ENVIRONMENT

Install several light timers: This will make your home appear occupied even when you’re not home.

Greet your guests with well lit walkways: Be sure to check your exterior lights, and changing light bulbs requiring a ladder is a good thing to do when putting up holiday lights.

Remove anything that might cause a fall: Handrails need to be secure and pick up rock salt or similar de-icer if you frequently have ice on your walkways.

Often lighting up the fireplace is a last minute thought: Prepare your kindling now and buy a box of 11 inch long, fireplace matches.

Small children: If you don’t have small children but expect some to visit over the holidays, walk around the house and add childproofing with cabinet locks or simply moving things like cleaning supplies and medicines up high.

For more information, contact your trusted local insurance agent, Sandi Purinton with The Insurance Connection. We help our clients Live Better. Save More. That’s what we try to help you do at The Insurance Connection. Offering the benefits of an independent agency, The Insurance Connection carefully considers your individual insurance needs and finds the right coverage for the best price for you, all with a smile. Contact us today at 678-439-8757 or sandi@insconnectga.com to get free insurance quotes

Disclaimer: This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusions. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. The Insurance Connection welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.