Our personal injury attorneys have compiled a list of holiday home safety tips for you. There are many hazards particular to the holiday season but with some planning and awareness, these can be avoided or minimized. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.
Popular art and advertising shows large holiday stockings hung in front of burning fireplaces. This can be a hazard. Not only can stocking stuffers melt over a fire, the stockings themselves can catch on fire. If you plan to use your wood burning or gas fireplace this winter, we suggest you choose an alternate location for your stockings or at least make sure they are far removed from the heat and flame.
Trees and Lights
Live Christmas trees can pose a few fire hazard issues. Not to worry, there are easy ways to avoid problems. First, make sure you tree is watered frequently. Second, do not place the tree near a heater. Third, do not burn candles next to the tree. Often candles are knocked over and can quickly catch a tree or other flammable item, on fire. Finally, it is best to unplug your tree lights when going to bed since the worst time to have a fire is when your family is sleeping.
While we all love festive holiday lighting, lights can be an electrical hazard. We recommend LED lights which are energy efficient. LED bulbs do not heat up as much as traditional lights. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) provides public education resources. Follow the link to find videos of holiday tree fires, decoration tips and more! http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Seasonal-fires/Winter-holiday-safety .
Many of us enjoy decking our homes with color and light. Inspect electric decorations for fraying wires or cords. Avoid plugging more than three lights strands together at once. Remember to use outdoor extension cords outdoors. Finally, and most important, get help with using a ladder. Ensure the ladder is the correct height for the job and ask someone to hold it for you. Putting decorations up using a ladder is always a two-person job.
Cities often take care of de-icing the streets however they are usually not responsible for your sidewalk. Properly salting your sidewalk (and driveway) is a good winter habit. You and your guests will avoid slipping and falling. Slip and fall injuries can be sudden and life changing. The biggest challenge with icy sidewalks is traction. There are numerous and even eco-friendly ways to solve the issue. Pickle brine, urea, alfalfa meal, and cat litter all provide traction, if you are reluctant to use traditional deicers. Research your method ahead of time to ensure it is friendly to your garden and your pets.
As always, if you have any questions about a personal injury case, give our trial lawyers a call at 206-527-2000.