The holidays are a time to gather with family and friends, enjoy good food, and make plenty of memories. But don’t let the festivities override the need for safety. Follow these seven holiday safety tips to reduce the risk of home fires and other hazards as you celebrate the season.

  1. Holiday light safety: Before plugging in a strand of lights, check the cord for fraying wires and other signs of damage. Then, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for how many strands you can string together. Only use outdoor-rated lights to decorate the exterior of your home, and set all lights on timers so they automatically shut off at night.
  2. Fireplace safety: Clear the area around the fireplace before lighting a fire, including removing any stockings you’ve hung from the mantel. Keep the screen closed while the fire is lit to contain any stray embers. Then, wait until the embers have cooled completely to dispose of them in a sealable metal container.
  3. Christmas tree safety: If you’re buying an artificial tree, make sure it’s fire-resistant. If you’re opting for a live tree, pick a freshly cut one. Cut two inches from the base of a live tree before placing it in its stand, and water the tree regularly to prevent it from drying out. Finally, set up your Christmas tree away from the fireplace, radiator, and other heat sources.
  4. Holiday decoration safety: Before setting up decorations outside, make sure they are rated for outdoor use. Mount holiday decor to your home using insulated hooks or clips, not nails, to avoid electrocution or fire. If climbing a ladder, wear sturdy shoes and ask a second person to spot you.
  5. Cooking safety: Don’t leave active appliances unattended. This includes falling asleep or leaving the house while the oven or stove is on. Also, never turn on your oven or stove solely to heat your home.
  6. Candle safety: Half of all December home fires are started by candles. To avoid an incident, keep small children and pets away from lit candles, never use candles to decorate your Christmas tree, and blow out candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.
  7. Holiday travel safety: If you’re going on vacation, don’t leave your home at risk! Tell a neighbor about your travel plans and ask them to keep an eye on your house. If you’ll be away for an extended time, pause your mail and newspaper delivery services. Lock your doors, hide your valuables, and use light timers to make it look like someone’s home.

If the worst-case scenario happens this holiday season, know that you’re not alone. For help restoring your home from a fire or other disaster, get in touch with DKI. Our disaster restoration company has over 200 locations throughout the U.S. and nearly 50 years of experience restoring homes and businesses following a disaster. Call us at 877-533-0210 or contact us online to request the emergency restoration services you need.