With the winter months and the holiday season right around the corner, our homes are soon to be filled with the warmth of festive lights, a cozy atmosphere, and the smell of delicious food baking. Amidst the joyful celebrations, though, it’s essential to prioritize the safety of you and your family, especially when it comes to electrical hazards and fires.
Electrical hazards can occur more frequently during the cooler months due to increased usage of decorative lighting, heating devices, and more time spent in the kitchen. To ensure a safe and accident-free season, we’ve put together some tips to prevent possible electrical mishaps.
Tip 1: Avoid Overloading Circuits
With holiday lights, various decorations, and more time in the kitchen, it’s tempting to overload our electrical outlets, which can be a serious fire hazard (State Farm). Try to avoid using multiple high-wattage appliances or decorations on one circuit. Instead, consider using power strips with surge protectors to distribute the electrical load more evenly.
Tip 2: Check Your Heating Systems
Be sure to inspect your heating systems before you actually need them. This includes your furnace, fireplace, space heaters, and any electric blankets or throws you may use. Make sure they are clean, a safe distance from anything flammable, and in good shape. Check for any rust on your heaters and any exposed wires or frayed power cords on any electrical heating device (HealthDirect). Be proactive rather than reactive!
Tip 3: Use Caution with Decorative Lighting
It’s the time of year for holiday lights on the exterior of the house and inside the home. While these certainly add cheer and festive spirit, they also pose a significant risk. Be sure you use lights that are rated for outdoor use when placing them outside and when using indoor lights, make sure they are suited for the indoors. Inspect all lights for any frayed wires or broken bulbs. Also, be sure to turn off your lights when leaving the home, especially when leaving for an extended amount of time, and when going to bed for the night.
Another quick lighting tip… Consider using LED lights, as they use less energy and run cooler than others. For outdoor lights, use plug protectors to create a water-resistant seal when connecting multiple cords (This Old House).
Tip 4: Be Careful in the Kitchen
The holiday season brings more people into the kitchen than most times of the year. And with more traffic, there are more chances for accidents to happen. Be cautious when using kitchen appliances. Keep flammable objects away from open flames and hot surfaces, and don’t overload one outlet with multiple appliances or fun kitchen gadgets.
Tip 5: Check Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers
Check your smoke alarms regularly to ensure they are in good working order. Create a plan with your family on what to do in the event that the smoke alarms are triggered. Also consider purchasing fire extinguishers to have on hand in the event of an emergency. Be sure to familiarize yourself and your family on how to use the extinguisher so that you can hopefully minimize any damage or prevent a larger fire from breaking out.
By taking some precautionary measures, you can enjoy a safe and cozy winter season in your home. Prioritizing electrical safety and awareness not only protects your property but also your loved ones. Here’s to a happy, safe, and warm winter!
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