Holiday Safety Tips

Tuesday Oct 11th, 2016


1. Don't leave your candles unattended

It may seem like common sense, but with what feels like a million things on your "to do" list, it’s easy to forget. So when you head out of the house to do your shopping, visiting, or for any reason, please ensure that the candles are put out. This can be a pretty serious fire hazard that doesn't take much to avoid.

2. Don't keep your Christmas lights near paper and plush materials

Whether they be on your tree, around your windows, or on your banisters, it's important to keep your indoor lights clear from materials that can catch fire due to the heat. When left on for several hours the tiny bulbs on your holiday lights can create a lot more heat than you'd expect, so keeping them away from flammable objects is important. As well turning off your lights before you go to bed saves energy and ensures you are extra safe while sleeping. Although modern holiday lights are definitely safer than their predecessors, taking this extra precaution is still a good idea. This applies to lights during any other festivity as well, not only Christmas.

3. Do put your outside lights on timers

Neighborhoods are aglow with lights framing homes and twinkling in trees, real and inflatable snowmen, and other festive creatures wishing passers-by happy holidays. Turning your front yard into a winter wonderland can be a blast, but the majority of modern decorations require electricity to function, and keeping the juice flowing all night is less than ideal. Save money, and the environment, by using a timer for your outdoor electronics. Plug your decorations into the timer, and set it to turn on and off at specific times. We usually set ours to turn on just after sunset, and off around 11.30 pm. Timers can also help to deter burglars by making them think you're home when you aren't, and they save you the trouble of fumbling with plugs to turn them off, in your pajamas, late at night.  You can also get timers with added motion sensors that turn the lights on when they detect motion even after the timer is in the off stage.

4. Do lock your front, and back, doors before leaving the house

The holiday season is a time when presents are tucked under the tree with delight (and hidden in closets and under beds.) The opportunity to capitalize on all those waiting gifts can mean that burglars are more likely to break into homes. You'd be surprised by the number of people who forget to lock the back door, after they let the dog in, especially this time of year. So right before you leave the house, ensure that your home is locked up tight. Check your windows and doors to make sure everything is safe and secure and turn on the alarm system if you have one.  (As an added tip, make sure you are mindful when putting your garbage out after the presents have been opened. Some waste can be a tip off that you have expensive new gifts in the home. Cut any big electronic boxes up so it's not so obvious that you bought that 70'' Smart TV or laptop. This keeps any watchful eyes guessing and less interested in what's inside your home).

5. Do shovel your driveway and salt your walkway

While we have been pretty lucky so far in Toronto as far as mild weather for December, there are some other areas around the city that have seen snow already. Winter weather is wonderful, but it's also dangerous. Avoid getting stuck in your driveway, or slipping down your walkway, by shoveling and salting regularly. These chores are a bit of a pain in the neck, but they are far superior to you, or others, falling due to prolonged snow and ice accumulation. If you can, do invest in a small snow blower. Otherwise, if you plan to shovel the old fashion way, please ensure that you don’t get out of bed in the morning and immediately start shoveling. Get your body warmed up first and DO NOT lift heavy shovelfuls of snow … PUSH it to the side. I can’t stress on this enough. It is a health hazard and a risk to your heart. I am living proof of this hazard. Talk to me. Age and fitness level is not a factor.

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