Safety Tips to Make Your Holiday Warm, Bright and Accident Free

christmas lightsAs family gathers for this most joyous of seasons, a few basic precautions can ensure your celebrations won't be marred by the tragedy of a house fire or other accidents. Let's bundle up and begin with the outside of your home:

Christmas lights

Before putting your lights up, examine each string for wear, fraying, kinks, etc. Also check the plugs. If they're not the safer new style with a fuse mounted in the plug, consider replacing them. Make sure that your lights have been rated by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (such as Underwriter's Laboratories) and are outdoor-rated. Some lights are only intended for indoor use and lack the insulation needed for exposure to weather. When you're installing outdoor lights, be sure to keep your ladder stable and move it frequently so you never have to reach far and risk tipping over. Make sure the lights are very securely fastened to your home to protect them from wind damage and eliminate the possibility of a short circuit. Use insulated hooks, available at any hardware or home improvement store during the holiday season, to hang the lights. These not only prevent electric current from being transferred to your home's structure if there's a problem, they prevent the damage to the wiring that is sometimes caused by rubbing against screws and nails. And of course, never hang your lights by driving any hardware directly through the wire. Lastly, avoid stringing more than 3 strands of lights together. If you're using more than that, make a new string plugged into a different outlet. If possible, plug your lights into a Ground Fault Current Interrupt (GFCI) outlet.

Smoke Detectors and Decorations

If you didn't check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you changed over to Daylight Saving Time, there's no better time than now. Using the test button is good; changing the batteries completely is even better. As you decorate your house or buy new decorations, make sure to use only flame retardant materials.


Whether it's a bright menorah or a solitary flame in a front window, few things symbolize the holiday season as aptly as candles. However, open flame has its dangers, so follow these tips for safe use:
  • Consider using battery powered flameless candles. Many of them simulate the scent of a holiday candle as well as the look of one.
  • If you're using real candles, keep them at least 12 inches from any flammable object.
  • Your candles should be like Santa: nice and fat! Choose candles with a broad base and (if possible) and even broader holder or dish.
  • Never use candles on a real Christmas tree.

A Safe Fire

Nothing beats a blazing fireplace, but keep the flames and sparks contained. Before starting your fire, check that the hearth and the surrounding area are free of debris. You should also have a metal mesh curtain or glass doors on the front of the fireplace. If you're using a real Christmas tree, make sure it's at least 3 feet from your fire. We'll cover Christmas tree safety in full detail in our next post. With all these lovely decorations taken care of, all you need is a great meal. Check out our 9 tips to make holiday cooking safe as well as delicious, and accept our best wishes for a lovely, safe and fulfilling holiday season! LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


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