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Christmas may be a celebratory season, but this does not mean you should let your guard down
Even way before December, the Philippines is already in the thick of the holiday season. And in the midst of all the decorating, shopping, gift-exchanging, and celebrating, safety tends to be one of the last things on a homeowner’s mind.
Along with the cheer and goodwill that the season embodies are potential accidents and dangers and that may ruin the holiday. But following a few simple tips when decorating the home or leaving for vacation can help make sure any mishaps are avoided, and that indeed, you and your family have a Merry Christmas.
Choosing and Setting up Lights and Electrical Décor
Sure, you want your living room and other areas of the home to be well-lit and feel as Christmas-y as possible, which you can do, just be mindful of the condition and functionality of the décor use and how you go about using them within your space.
1. When buying a Christmas tree for the first time, make sure it is made of fire-resistant material. Exposure to heat from decorative lights or lit candles often may cause sub-par trees or inflammable ones to be engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds.
2. Speaking of lights, when purchasing new ones, always make sure that they are made by licensed manufacturers who follow strict quality standards. This ensures that your lights are not only safe to use, but will also last a number of holiday seasons. Also, try to opt for the LED variants, as these tend to use less energy and run cooler than the iridescent types.
3. If you already have Christmas lights, or any other décor that utilizes electricity, make sure to carefully inspect before using them again. Be on the lookout for damaged bulbs and sockets, and loose connections or bare wires that may cause serious shock or start a fire.
4. Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many lights and décor to prevent overheating or fire. Also make sure no chord is being pinched by doors, windows, or furniture to avoid exposing any wiring.
5. When setting up electrical décor, make sure to use the right support and safety equipment. It is also advisable to work with a few more people, as it is always safer when there is another set of eyes and hands holding the ladder steady and is looking out for potential miscues.
6. Keep a properly stocked first-aid kit. This will prove useful not just during little accidents when setting up your décor, but also if you, your family, or your guests get into small mishaps in the midst of your numerous holiday celebrations.
Child- and Pet-proofing Your Home Décor
Christmas means family gatherings and parties. For most homes, this means the increased presence of children, and to some extent, pets. Make sure your home is safe for them amid the heavy activity of the Christmas season by keeping a few things in mind.
1. Avoid putting Christmas tree lights, ornaments, metal hooks, and other decorations small enough to be ingested where they may be easily reached by children.
2. Cover any unused outlets on extension cords to prevent anyone from accidentally coming in contact with live circuits.
3. Try to avoid using decorations that are sharp or breakable. Otherwise, remember to place glass and breakable ornaments out of the reach of small children and pets.
4. If you are using a tall Christmas tree, make sure it is kept from being toppled over by discreetly tying its main trunk to the wall.
5. Try not to light up decorative candles in the presence of children. If possible, opt for battery-operated LED candles; they are slightly more expensive but way safer. Also make sure to place candles, matches, and lighters out of reach of small children.
6. Fake or waxed fruit and other similar décor are choking hazards, so best to do away with them altogether or at least keep them out of reach. Chords and ribbons are often also part of décor, but they also pose a strangulation hazard and must similarly be tucked away from kids and pets.
When Leaving the House Unattended
It is important to have fun and enjoy the holiday season, and whether it is just for a few hours in the shopping mall or for a few days’ Christmas vacation out of town, this usually entails leaving your home unattended. Make sure your nice time out does not turn into a horrible time upon returning home by following these simple tips.
1. Make sure all appliances and lights are turned off when you leave or go to sleep to avoid the possibility of unnoticed electrical or fire hazards, and also avoid extra expenses on utilities. Make sure to put out candles and other open flames as well.
2. In the event that you will be away for an extended period of time, ask a relative or trusted neighbor to house-sit or at least check on your home periodically, not only to make sure everything is secure, but to also put away your mail, water your plants, and care for your pets (though it would be better if you take them with you, or have them babysat elsewhere, instead).
3. Don’t divulge anything about your itinerary online ahead of time. As excited as you are about your upcoming trip or party, don’t disclose too much information beforehand, as this may tip off people with nefarious intent that your home is going to be unattended for a given time. Save the social media or blog posts after your trip.
4. Make sure to lock up. Granted you likely do this whenever you leave, but as statistics tend to point out, crime rates also tend to increase during the season. So don’t just lock the knobs and windows when you leave, but also secure your doors’ knob-less locks, use pad locks on your gates and garages, and cover up any vehicles not in use when you leave for the best possible security.
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