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Holiday safety tips for around the home

Holiday safety tips at home

Christmas is all about love. But ways of showing that love, such as holiday decorating, can create hazards. To help you and your family stay safe, here are holiday safety tips for around the home from Courtney Klosterman, Home Insights Expert at Hippo.

Christmas holiday insights

Holiday home preparedness is key to keeping homeowners and their families feeling protected against some of the most common hazards that come up during the holidays, to help avoid unwanted home insurance claims.

In a survey of homeowners, Hippo found the following Christmas holiday insights:

Decorating at home: Holiday safety tips

More than half (52%) of homeowners who decorate for the holidays will put up a live tree, but only 1 in 5 (16%) say they will water it daily. Regular watering is recommended or becomes a leading risk of house fires during the holidays.

  • Tip:
    • Keep an eye on how fresh your tree is. A fresher tree is less likely to be a fire hazard. Water it daily to maintain freshness and change the water every few days. Not sure when the tree is getting too dry? Touch the needles and if they seem dry, use a spray bottle full of water on the needles.

If you will be away a long time over Christmas, guard against risks associated with having a live tree indoors by asking a neighbor or friend periodically come over to water it. Or, take down your tree early.

We all love to decorate our homes for the holidays to make them feel warm and festive. But remember that decorations like lighting, wreaths, trees and garland can also be a safety risk.

As well as reading and following the manufacturer’s instructions, take additional precautions. Here are some examples:

Outdoor string lights:

  • Safely attach lights to gutters or trim with clips made for this purpose rather than hammering tacks or nails into electrical cords.
  • Inspect your strings of lights for damage, such as frayed wires or missing bulbs. If lights can’t be repaired, discard them immediately.

Outdoor inflatable decor:

  • Plug outdoor inflatable decorations or lighting into circuit protectors with GFCI. Doing so can help prevent electric shock.

Electrical cords:

  • Tuck away cords or decorations on the ground or floor to help prevent trip and fall incidents.
  • Always be careful when on the ladder, indoors or out.

Fireplace safety tips at the holidays

A favorite holiday tradition for many when the temperature cools down or while entertaining at home is to light a fire. This always sets just the right atmosphere to enjoy the holidays.

Hippo’s survey of homeowners found that over one-third (38%) of respondents plan to use their fireplaces more often than usual this year, but only half use protection around the fire. Surprisingly, only one-third (35%) say they have a fire extinguisher handy.

To make things extra concerning, 1 in 4 (25%) respondents say they will likely keep a fire going overnight.

  • Tips:
    • Clean fireplaces after each use.
    • Install smoke alarms and detectors, and change the batteries on these devices before they lose power.
    • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
    • Keep flammable objects (like Christmas trees), as well as pets and children, away from fireplaces.

Turkey frying/Holiday cooking

Finally, we all know the holidays aren’t complete without a few great dinners shared with friends and family. In fact, nearly one-third (28%) of homeowners say they have experienced home damage related to holiday entertaining and/or cooking accidents.

However, many might not realize that the kitchen is the most common place in the home for house fires. Yet, 1 in 10 homeowners (12%) say they will fry a turkey this year, with those in the US Southern and Western regions being 180% more likely to fry a turkey this year.

  • Tips:
    • Do not deep-fat fry a turkey indoors. This includes your garage or any other out-building.
    • Keep a fire extinguisher handy – under the kitchen sink is a great spot
    • Have good ventilation above or near the stove.
    • Change the batteries in your smoke alarm.
    • Don’t leave items unattended in the kitchen, on the stove, or in the oven.
    • Keep alcohol away from flammable areas while actively cooking.

Package theft

38% of respondents say that they have been the victims of package theft during the holiday season. Those in multi-family homes were 113% more likely than average to have had their holiday packages stolen.

  • Tip:
    • There are several cost-free ways to prevent the risk of porch piracy.
      • Smart devices like SimpliSafe or Ring, both hippo partners, can help deter unwanted visitors.
      • Stay home on days they’re expecting a delivery.
      • Try to schedule package deliveries for the weekends.

Also, seek out delivery methods that require a signature. This is a great option for higher-priced or valuable items.

Another way to lower the risks of theft is to remove packages from your porch as soon as possible. And encourage delivery drivers to place boxes behind a plant, piece of furniture, or other structure on your porch to help hide them from sight until you can bring them inside.

Takeaway on holiday safety tips at home

Thank you, Courtney, for sharing the Hippo survey results to help families be safer during the Christmas holidays (and beyond). Being together home is a beautiful way to spend this special time of year, but please make sure you’re taking the safety precautions to help limit dangers. All the best to you and your family this holiday season!

16 thoughts on “Holiday safety tips for around the home”

  1. These are very good points, Christy. I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen as I cook and bake a lot. I haven’t put up any Christmas decorations this year as we were suppose to go to the UK. We have cancelled but I still haven’t decorated. I think I’ll leave it this year.

  2. Great tips Christy! This time of year we are all busier than perhaps we should be or want to be, so it’s extra easy to make mistakes. A little caution goes a long way.
    Have a wonderful holiday season!🎄🎁

  3. Lots of tips thank you Christy. We are spending Christmas in Edinburgh. So will be extra careful. We no longer have an open fire, which is nice at Christmas but can be a hazard. We’ve downsized to our rented flat in Portugal and stay with family, or Airbnb in UK. Living a nomadic life!

  4. Such good tips, I’m afraid I’ve been a bit guilty of not keeping enough water in my tree stand.
    Here is my totally unsolicited holiday safety tip: Never, ever use one of those disposable aluminum roasting pans for a turkey unless you put it on a very sturdy baking sheet. My sister ended up in the emergency room with a couple of very serious third-degree burns after the aluminum roaster collapsed when she started taking it out of the oven and she was covered with hot turkey fat.

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