5 Holiday/Winter Home Safety Tips

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In the midst of our busy holiday season, here are some basic home tips to help make your holiday season a safe and enjoyable one from your friends at Home Owners Network.

Here are 5 great tips to help you save on your utilities this holiday season.

1. Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

While this practice is outdated, remember to never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item. When setting up the tree cut off about two inches off the bottom trunk to help keep the tree watered and refill the stand daily . so the tree does not dry out. Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Avoid placing breakable tree ornaments on lower branches where small children or pets can reach them. If using a pre-lit artificial tree , be sure it has the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label. Replace or repair any worn or damaged light sets. Be sure to use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house for safety and to save $$.

2. Keep Your Holiday Plants Out of Reach

Small children may think that holiday plants look good enough to eat, but many plants may be poisonous or can cause severe stomach problems. Plants to watch out for include: mistletoe and holly berries, to name a few. Keep all of these plants out of reach of children and pets.

3. Ladder Safety

When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks or other furniture. When using a step ladder near a doorway, lock so no one will open it and knock you off. When using an extension ladder, it should be placed one foot away from the surface it rests against for every four feet of vertical height.

When on the ladder, always keep your hips between the side rails and do not lean too far or overreach. If necessary, reposition the ladder closer to your work instead.

4. Hosting and Food Saftey

When preparing a holiday meal for friends and family be sure to wash your hands, utensils, sink, and anything else that has come in contact with raw meat, especially poultry. Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw it in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. Use a food thermometer to cook foods to a safe internal temperature prior to serving. Internal temperature is a better measure of food safety than cooking time. When reheating leftovers, bring the temperature up to at least 165°F. This will reduce bacterial growth.

5. Winter Vehicle Preparation

Be prepared for emergency situations on the road by having a winter “survival kit” in the vehicle including items such as, a working flashlight, extra batteries, reflective triangles, compass, first aid kit, exterior windshield cleaner, ice scraper, snow brush, wooden stick matches in a waterproof container, and non-perishable, high energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy. Prepare your car for the winter by checking items such as the brakes, spark plugs, battery, and tires.

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Lisa Biddle

Assoc. Broker, ABR, GRI, SRS

972-333-0301

lisambiddle@yahoo.com

www.LisaBiddle.com