Home Safety for the Holidays

While we promote safety on the jobsite at Helmkamp, we also want to take a moment to address home safety as the holidays and colder weather approaches. While the holidays can be festive, there is also an increased chance that something can go wrong if you’re not cautious or well-prepared. From home fires to home burglaries, there are plenty of problems that can arise this time of year.

One is holiday light safety as stringing lights throughout your home and yard is a beloved tradition for most of us. While they can put us in the holiday spirit, they can be one of the most dangerous decorations as well. Consider these precautions before decking the halls in your home:

  • Replace old light strands
  • Never plug more than three strands into one extension cord
  • Never string together multiple extension cords
  • Use light clips rather than nails or screws as they conduct electricity
  • Secure loose light strands to avoid pulling or tugging by pets and children
  • Switch to LED lights as they use less energy and are less likely to start fires from emitting too much heat
  • Don’t run lights through doors or windows
  • Turn off lights when you’re not home
  • Keep your tree properly hydrated
  • Don’t take ladder safety for granted just because you’re not at the jobsite!

Fire safety is another area to address. The risk of home fires is highest during the holiday season. It is crucial to test and replace batteries in your smoke detectors or upgrade to smart smoke detectors that send alerts directly to your phone. While enjoying holidays “where the home fires burn”, here are precautions to take that expression less literally:

  • Always put out candles if you intend on being out of the room for an extended amount of time
  • Keep candles at least 3 feet away from flammable objects and out of reach from pets and children
  • Have a professional chimney sweep and annual furnace inspection
  • Don’t toss wrapping paper into an indoor fireplace
  • Have a properly functioning carbon monoxide detector near every sleeping area
  • Watch what you’re cooking because unattended cooking is the most common cause of fires in the kitchen
  • Have a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen
  • Water live Christmas trees frequently and place them away from heat sources

Home security can also be a safety issue during the holidays. While Christmas joy is at its highest, so are home burglary rates. Consider these tips and step up your security game:

  • If your tree is visible from a window, don’t show gifts under it
  • Make sure you are home for package deliveries if possible
  • When bringing home gifts, unload your car in the garage with the door closed
  • Don’t leave gifts in your car overnight
  • Make sure doors and windows are locked and secure
  • If you’re traveling, put lights on timers and coordinate with trusted ones to maintain the impression that someone is home
  • Never post about travel plans on social media
  • Invest in a home security system if you don’t have one

Lastly, cold and icy weather poses another safety issue at home. Here in the Midwest, we have our share of snow on jobsites. In can be considered beautiful when you’re cozy at home, but it can be a hazard for your loved ones if you’re not careful. Winterize your home with the following tips for cold weather safety:

  • Swap out screens for storm windows
  • Seal gaps around doors and windows with weather stripping
  • Make sure the appropriate exterior vents on your home are closed
  • Keep your driveway and sidewalk clear by shoveling snow and applying deicer
  • Drain water from outdoor faucets or sprinkler systems to protect your pipes from freezing
  • Prepare your car by having ice scrapers, blankets, first-aid kits, and well-treaded tires

Taking these basic precautions at home will help ensure you and your family remains safe and injury-free throughout the season.