Home Safety: 8 Top Tips For The Holidays
Home safety is on my mind right now as I know many of you have families and friends gathering to celebrate the holidays with you.
Nothing is worse than having a holiday ruined by a fire or another tragic accident, so here are my 8 home safety top tips to keep your home safe during the upcoming holidays.
Home Safety Tip # 1: Outdoor Lighting
The clock has fallen back but has your lighting kept up? If you have exterior lights on a timer, make sure you frequently reset their schedule to keep up with days getting darker, earlier. Having lighting around your doors and walkways when it gets dark out provides a safe entry to your home. You don’t want guests tripping coming to your door. Changing the schedule also deters possible intruders.
You also want to be able to see who is coming to the house. Doorbell cameras have become very popular and are easy to install. They also provide a record of who is coming and going and what is being delivered.
Also, make sure your house numbers are visible from the street for guests coming to your home for the first time. Emergency responders need to be able to find your home at night. Finding the house number should not be a game of hide and seek.
Home Safety Tip #2: Heating Systems
If you have not changed the smoke detector batteries in your home and other buildings on your property, like garages and pool houses, that should be first on the list. Next would be installing carbon monoxide detectors – especially if you have gas cooktops and fireplaces. As the temperature drops and the heat comes on, you want to make sure everything is in working order. Carbon monoxide can be deadly.
This is also a good time to change the filters in the heating system as well. This will help clean the air now that we are closing windows again.
Home Safety Tip # 3: Check the Ducting
Along with changing your filters, this might be a good time to have the ducting in the house cleaned. Mold and allergens can build up on the inside of the duct work. This goes for your dryer, too. The more guests you have, the more laundry. Better safe than sorry.
The hood in your kitchen has ductwork too. The best way to keep venting in top shape for those holiday meals is to clean the filters in the hood. A grease fire can happen anytime. Most metal filters are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. Personally, I clean mine once a month.
Home Safety Tip #4: Appliances
For most of you, kitchen appliances are an important part of your holiday entertaining plans. Even if you are reheating dishes, a little bit of planning goes a long way.
Cooking: If you have a gas range, make sure the burners are all in working order. You can clean the igniters with a toothbrush and some water. You will have to let the igniters dry before they will ignite. If they are not working properly, they will release too much gas into the kitchen. This is a fire and health hazard.
Ovens should be cleaned regularly. If you are lucky enough to have a self-cleaning oven, this is a no brainer. A build up of previously prepared meals can easily burn – which could set off your smoke detectors. Not something you want to have happen as your guests are waiting to dine.
Dishwashers can use a tune up, too. Newer models have food filters which should be cleaned regularly. There are cleaning products you simply drop into the machine and run a cycle. No one likes to hand wash dishes if they can help it.
Toasters and toaster ovens. Burning crumbs can leave a bad smell in the kitchen. If guests may be preparing their own snacks, make sure these small appliances are ready to rock and roll.
Home Safety Tip #5: Interior Night Lights
Add night lights to hallways and bathrooms. There are several options for plug in lighting that emit a soft blue or green glow to light up interior pathways – without blinding your guests.
Home Safety Tip #6: Tape Down Rugs
Check for throw rugs that could be trip hazards, especially important if you have a pregnant Mom in your family, small children, or an elderly person in the home. A little rug tape goes a long way.
Home Safety Tip #7: Check Your Chimneys
If you are in a colder climate and have a wood burning fireplace, you might want to get your favorite chimney sweep scheduled. Nothing says home for the holidays like warm fire. Chimney soot and creosote (a heavy, thick, oily residue similar to tar) builds up from burning wood and can ignite a chimney fire.
Home Safety Tip #8: Secure Cords
Lastly, if small children will be visiting, make sure all cords from window treatments are secured and out of reach. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye. Better safe than sorry.
I invite you to please share this post with those you know. Let’s keep everyone safe this holiday season.
Sharon L Sherman ASID CID CKD NCIDQ is the founder of Thyme & Place Design located in Wyckoff NJ. Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Forbes, The NY Times, Forbes, Design Milk, Bergen NJ magazine, Kitchen & Bath Design News, Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, New Jersey Home Magazine, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Vue, The Record, The Star Ledger, and Aspire as well as several books.
Her blog “Tips from the Trade” appears in digital form on DesignNJ.com and KBBonline.com. She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini. In 2022, she will be a featured *Voices From The Industry* speaker at the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s international convention, #KBIS2022, being held in Orlando, Florida.