Here at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling, we’re just as interested in our customers’ safety as we are in your comfort. That’s why we’re taking a break from the HVAC discussion in this week’s blog article. We humbly present The 12 Days Of Safety to you, a celebration of best practices to ensure that one careless mistake doesn’t take the festiveness out of your holiday festivities!
1. Never forget about a burning candle.
On the 1st day of safety, we offer a reminder to extinguish any lit candles when you go to sleep, leave home, or exit the room. According to a recent study, candles cause more than half of all home decoration-related fires, and most of those fires happen in December.
2. Turn off space heaters, tree lights, and decorations when you’re away or asleep.
Did you know that more than 50,000 fires involving heating equipment and over 700 are caused by decorations each year? Be sure to unplug all lights, decorations, and portable space heaters when you’re not in the same room.
3. Never burn wrapping paper in your fireplace.
On the 3rd day of safety, we remind you never to toss your wrapping paper into the fireplace. This could start a flash fire because wrapping paper is highly flammable and burns intensely.
4. Use indoor and outdoor lights as their packaging indicates.
Holiday lighting can be dangerous. Only use lights tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory for safety for maximum safety. Lights for indoor and outdoor usage need to meet different standards. Before using, thoroughly inspect each set of lights – new or old – for bare or frayed wires, cracked or broken sockets, and loose connections. Discard damaged light sets and never use electric lights on a metallic tree. Finally, read the labels on your outdoor lights to be certain they have been certified for outdoor use, and only use them with a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacle.
5. Never overload power strips, sockets, or extension cords.
Overloading the devices could cause a fire. Limit each extension cord or power strip to no more than three sets of lights. When in doubt, plug that fancy decoration into another outlet.
6. Don’t neglect your cooking or baking.
You may not realize it, but cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires. Also, unattended cooking equipment is a factor in 1/3 of home cooking fires and half of related deaths. Be especially careful when cooking on the stovetop and while frying. Always stay close to the kitchen – even when baking or roasting – and set a timer reminder to check on what’s cooking.
7. Keep holiday plants away from pets
The 7th day of safety brings a reminder to keep those festive holiday plants – including mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias – out of your pets’ reach. Eating any of these may cause health issues ranging from digestive problems to more severe conditions requiring a visit to the vet.
8. Replace your smoke and CO detectors’ batteries.
Test your home’s detectors frequently and replace their batteries at least once each year. Set a calendar reminder to check your alarms during the winter holiday season. Remember: a working smoke detector cuts your risk of home fire death in half!
9. Celebrate on a small scale, in moderation, and never drink and drive.
As in 2020, consider having a virtual holiday celebration or spending time in person only with members of your own household to limit the spread of COVID-19. If you do have a sizeable in-person get-together, consider wearing a mask, maintaining a distance of six feet, and washing your hands often.
Even having a small gathering, stay mindful of other safety concerns – including that during the holiday season every year, hundreds of people die in drunk driving accidents. If you do plan to celebrate with some adult beverages, have a designated driver take you and your family home safe and sound. Alternatively, consider using a ride-share app.
10. Choose a fire-resistant artificial tree, or be sure to water your live tree daily.
More than 200 house fires are started by Christmas trees each year. To prevent this from happening to your family, on the 10th day of safety, we remind you to exercise caution on the placement, decoration, and maintenance of your tree, whether it’s live or artificial. Locate your tree a minimum of three feet from all heat sources, and remember always to keep a live tree hydrated.
11. Maintain your chimney and wood-burning fireplace.
Few things are cozier than relaxing by the fire, but it’s essential to have your heating equipment and chimney inspected and cleaned each year by a qualified professional. Also, maintain a “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters, including keeping the area free of flammable items.
12. Don’t overshare on social media.
Posting on social media is a fun way to share what your family is doing for the holidays, but we remind you on the 12th day of safety to wait until after you return to put your plans or pictures on social media. Don’t inadvertently invite thieves into your empty house while you’re away.
From the entire Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling family, we wish you a warm, wonderful, and safe holiday! As always, if your family needs emergency HVAC service this holiday season – day or night, weeknight or weekend – we’re here for you. That’s how neighbors should treat neighbors!™