Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Holiday Decorating: 8 Safety Tips

With Thanksgiving behind us, many of you are already starting to decorate your homes for Christmas. As your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent, I care about the safety of you and your family. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while you're decorating for the holidays this year:

1. Keep Decorations Away from Heat Sources. 

If you have a fireplace, it's especially important to keep your Christmas tree (particularly live ones) and other decorations away from the flames. However, you should also be careful about putting decorations near heaters, heating ducts, radiators and your kitchen appliances, such as the stove. You'll also want to keep your tree out of entryways and other high-traffic areas to prevent injuries.

2. Hydrate Your Tree. 

A dried out tree can catch fire more quickly than one that has been properly hydrated. Even if you don't have a fireplace, your tree can catch fire other ways too, such as an electrical issue with the Christmas lights. If you choose to purchase a fake tree, make sure the label says that it is fire resistant. While these are not fire proof, they are less susceptible to catching fire.

3. Clean Your Fireplace.

Before you make your first fire of the season, make sure your fireplace is clean and ready for use. It's best to hire a chimney sweep to clean it out for you. A dirty chimney filled with debris is a major fire hazard. It's also important to have your fireplace and/or wood stove inspected annually.

4. Hang Delicate Ornaments Up High. 

If you have small children and/or pets, be sure to hang any delicate ornaments out of their reach. Broken glass is dangerous and isn't the easiest thing to clean up either. In addition, keep anything that looks like food up higher on the tree as well. You should also consider replacing metal hooks with ribbon or string to prevent injury or choking.

5. Work Together When Hanging Lights. 

If you are hanging lights or other decorations that are out of normal reach, be sure to work with someone else to get them hung. You need someone to support the base of the ladder while you are up on it hanging those decorations. If you're hanging exterior lights, be sure to use extra caution if the ground and your home is slick from inclement weather.

6. Double-Check Your Lights. 

You want to make sure your lights are in proper working condition before hanging them. Replace any lights with frayed wires, broken sockets, and/or loose connections. These types of issues can be a fire hazard. You'll also want to make sure if your lights are made for outdoor use or indoor use only before hanging them.

7. Turn Lights Off When Leaving. 

Be sure to turn off all your Christmas lights before going to bed and before leaving your home. This will help you avoid a short that could start and electrical fire. Also, if you have any candles for decorations be sure to blow them out before leaving the room.

8. Use Extension Cords with Caution. 

Check all your cords to make sure they are rated for the intended use. Do not use inside extension cords for outdoor use. Also make sure you don't have too many strands plugged into the same extension cord or power source. Only plug your cords into GFCI protected outlets. Lastly, make sure that all cords are kept out of areas where they could be tripped over. Not only could the person tripping get hurt, but a pull on the wires could start an electrical fire.

By following these tips above, you can keep yourself, your family and your home safe from decoration hazards this holiday season. While preventing the problem is key, it's also important to make sure your homeowner's insurance is up-to-date in case an accident occurs. Give the best insurance company at the Lake of the Ozarks a call to review your policy today!

Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 

About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral