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Holiday Hazards: Tips for Celebrating Safely

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Holiday Hazards: Tips for Celebrating Safely


The winter holidays are a festive time of glimmering lights, cozy fires, and gatherings with family and friends. But in many parts of the country, it’s also a season of snow and ice on stairways, sidewalks and roads. Even in warmer climates, winter may bring rain and fog.

Unfortunately, the combination of winter weather, flammable decorations, and festive parties can create dangerous situations that could deflate your holiday spirit. Considering the potential risks and taking appropriate steps to address them in advance might make for a happier and healthier holiday season.

Deck the Halls, Carefully

You want your home to be welcoming and showcase your style, of course. But you also want it to be safe for your family and guests.


Make sure your walkways and porch have adequate lighting and are clear of ice and snow. Salt icy areas before guests arrive. Repair stairs and handrails if necessary.

Verify you have working smoke alarms with fresh batteries on every level of your home. If you bring a natural Christmas tree into your home, make sure it’s as fresh as possible and keep it well watered throughout the holiday season. Use only nonflammable or flame-retardant decorations and keep them away from all sources of heat or flames, including fireplaces, heating vents and space heaters.

Place candles away from flammable materials (including the Christmas tree) and in a stable position where they’ll not be knocked over. Never go to bed or leave home with candles still burning. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles.

When hanging holiday decorations, use a sturdy ladder and make sure it’s on level ground. Have someone act as a spotter and help to stabilize it, and never stand on a higher rung than is recommended by the ladder manufacturer. Stay off the roof – it may be safe for Santa, but it’s risky for the rest of us.

When installing lights, carefully check the strands to verify wires and sockets are in good condition, and pay attention to the manufacturers’ instructions. Unplug lights before going to bed or leaving home.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Check your homeowners or renters policy to make sure you have sufficient liability. For an insurance review please call your credit union owned insurance agency, Member Advantage Insurance Services.