As the festive season approaches, the excitement of decorating our homes and planning for celebrations can sometimes overshadow an equally important aspect – safety. From twinkling lights on a towering Christmas tree to the warm glow of candles that add a touch of magic, these Christmas staples need careful handling. And if you’re planning to travel, securing your home becomes paramount. At WMIB, we value your peace of mind as much as your festive spirit. Therefore, we’ve curated a list of essential tips that will help you enjoy Christmas while ensuring your home remains safe and secure.
Staying Home During Christmas
The Christmas season is a time of joy, merriment, and togetherness. However, it’s also a period when we need to be extra cautious about household safety. Here are some tips to ensure your home remains a safe haven during the festivities.
#1. Inspect Your Christmas Lights
The twinkling lights of the Christmas season bring a sense of magic and wonder to our homes. However, it’s critical to ensure that this enchantment doesn’t lead to electrical hazards. Before you begin the process of hanging up your Christmas lights, take the time to inspect each string carefully. Look for any signs of frayed wires, damaged sockets, or broken bulbs. These damage signs can be potential fire starters or cause electrical shocks. If you spot any of these issues, it’s safer to replace the entire string of lights than attempt a repair. This way, you can enjoy the beauty of your brightly lit home without any safety concerns.
#2. Choose Fire-Resistant Decorations
During the festive season, our homes are often adorned with various decorations to reflect the Christmas spirit. When selecting these decorative items, it’s important to make safety a priority. Opt for decorations that are specifically labelled as fire-resistant. Items like tinsel, garlands, and paper ornaments can quickly ignite if they come into contact with an open flame or a hot light bulb. By choosing fire-resistant decorations, you significantly reduce the risk of accidental fires, ensuring that your celebrations remain joyful and safe.
#3. Water Your Christmas Tree
A Christmas tree is often the centrepiece of Christmas decorations. If you choose to celebrate with a real tree, it’s important to keep it well-watered throughout the season. A dry Christmas tree can quickly become a fire hazard, especially when adorned with lights and near a heat source. A well-hydrated tree, on the other hand, is less likely to catch fire. It also stays green and lush longer, adding to the festive atmosphere. Make a habit of checking the water level daily and adding water as needed. This simple step can go a long way in ensuring a safe and happy Christmas season.
#4. Secure Decorations Properly
Christmas decorations add a festive flair to our homes, but they can also pose a risk if not secured properly. This is especially true in households with pets or small children who may be curious and accidentally knock them over. Whether you’re hanging ornaments on a tree, setting up a nativity scene, or draping garlands across the mantle, make sure everything is fastened securely. Use sturdy hooks for hanging items, and consider using non-slip mats under table decorations. Also, try to place breakable decorations out of reach of little hands and paws. By taking these precautions, you can keep your home festive and safe.
#5. Use Flameless Candles
Candles are a traditional part of Christmas decor, creating a warm and cozy ambiance. However, they can also present a fire hazard, especially in a busy household. To enjoy the atmospheric glow without the associated risks, consider using flameless candles. These battery-operated alternatives offer the same flickering light as real candles without the danger of an open flame. They come in various sizes, colours, and even scents, so you can still have the festive look and feel you love while ensuring the safety of your home.
#6. Test Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms are an essential part of home safety, especially during the Christmas season when the risk of house fires increases due to cooking, heating, and Christmas lights. Take the time to test all your smoke alarms to ensure they are in working condition. Replace their batteries if needed, and make sure there’s at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, including in bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Regular testing of your smoke alarms ensures they are ready to alert you at the first sign of a fire, helping to keep your Christmas celebrations safe and worry-free.
#7. Be Cautious with Space Heaters
During the colder months, space heaters can provide much-needed warmth in your home. However, they must be used with caution to prevent accidental fires. If you’re using space heaters, it’s essential to keep them at a safe distance from any flammable items such as curtains, furniture, or Christmas decorations. A good rule of thumb is to maintain at least three feet of clear space around each heater. Additionally, never leave a space heater unattended. Always turn them off when you leave the room, even if it’s just for a short period. This simple practice can significantly reduce the risk of a fire and ensure that your home remains a safe and cozy haven during the Christmas season.
Going Away For Christmas
The Christmas season often involves travelling, whether to visit family or take a well-deserved vacation. As exciting as these plans may be, they also leave your home vulnerable to potential risks. Therefore, it’s essential to take some preventative measures to ensure your home stays safe and secure while you’re away. Here are some key steps to consider.
#8. Lock Doors and Windows
Before setting off on your Christmas travels, it’s crucial to ensure the security of your home. One of the simplest yet most effective steps is to double-check that all doors and windows are locked securely. This includes not only the main entrances but also any side doors, garage doors, and basement windows. Sometimes, these less obvious points of entry can be overlooked, making them attractive targets for potential intruders. By ensuring everything is locked, you can significantly decrease the risk of break-ins and enjoy your vacation with peace of mind.
#9. Install Timers for Lights
An empty house can be an inviting target for burglars. However, you can create the illusion of occupancy by using timers for your lights. By programming your indoor and outdoor lights to switch on and off at various intervals throughout the day, it can appear as if someone is home. This can deter potential burglars from attempting a break-in. Modern digital timers allow you to set different schedules for each day, mimicking natural patterns of use. This simple precaution can go a long way in protecting your home while you’re away.
#10. Don’t Share Travel Plans on Social Media
With how much we use social media these days, it’s easy to want to share our vacation plans and experiences online. However, it’s important to be mindful of the information we share online. Announcing your travel plans on social platforms can inadvertently alert potential intruders to your absence, making your home a target for a break-in. Consider waiting until you return from your trip to post your Christmas photos and updates. Alternatively, adjust your privacy settings so that only trusted friends and family can view your posts. By being cautious about what you share online, you can help ensure the security of your home while you’re enjoying your vacation.
#11. Extra Tip: Ensure Adequate Home Insurance Coverage
As we approach the Christmas season, it’s increasingly important to ensure you have comprehensive home insurance coverage. In Canada, while home insurance is not mandatory, it can save you from significant financial losses should any damage or loss occur to your home or possessions. Whether it’s potential Christmas-related incidents such as theft, fire, or property damage, your home insurance policy should offer comprehensive protection.
Understanding the terms and conditions of your home insurance policy is just as critical as having one. This means knowing what is and isn’t covered. For example, some policies may exclude certain types of property damage or may have specific stipulations regarding theft during the Christmas season. By understanding these details, you can take the necessary precautions or consider purchasing additional coverage if needed. As an insurance broker, we can help you navigate these options and secure the best possible home insurance coverage for your needs.
Make sure your turn your water off if leaving for more than three days during the heating season, alternatively, have a competent adult check your home every three days. Make sure your house sitter visits the basement to check for water. Although coverage will be activated by your caretaker, no one needs to come home to tremendous water in the basement.
In conclusion, safeguarding your home doesn’t have to be a difficult task. With careful planning and the right precautions, you can ensure your home remains secure while you revel in the joy of the Christmas season. Remember, having a comprehensive home insurance policy is not just about financial protection; it’s about peace of mind. Don’t let unexpected events dampen your festive cheer. If you’re unsure about your coverage or looking to update your policy, our experienced team at WMIB is here to help. Contact us today for personalized advice and tailored home insurance solutions. Let us help you enjoy Christmas with the assurance that your home is well-protected.