(BPT) - The winter holiday season is here, which means we can look forward to a lot of decorating, parties and possibly some travel during the next few months. But with all the hustle and bustle of shopping and celebrating, it's important not to lose sight of what matters most: the safety of your family and home.
From now until New Year's, you'll be expecting guests more frequently and your house will be filled with beautiful, but highly flammable, decorations. These range from the candles on your dining room table to the tree in your living room to the paper decorations on your walls. All of these items can contribute to potentially unsafe conditions in your home.
To keep your family and house safe and still enjoy all the festivities, keep in mind these simple precautions:
1. Always make sure burning candles are never left unattended (blow them out if you leave the room) and are placed at least 12 inches away from flammable objects. Candleholders should be sturdy and placed on a stable, uncluttered surface.
2. Make sure to check your smoke alarms monthly. They should be installed in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your house. Replace the batteries in all of your smoke alarms at least once a year.
3. The holidays also mean travel for some families, and it's important to make sure your house is safe while you're away. Consider a home security and automation system that offers comprehensive protection inside and out, such as ADT Pulse. This innovative, customizable system allows you to control your lights, lock your doors, adjust your thermostats and watch your pets from wherever you happen to be via a computer or smartphone.
4. Make sure your decorations are safe. Only use items that are flame resistant or flame retardant, and avoid placing them near doorways or windows.
5. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. Make sure to use a fireplace screen to contain any sparks or hot embers. Once you put the fire out, let ashes cool, and then transfer them to a metal container with a lid. This should be kept at a safe distance from your house.
With the help of some common-sense safety precautions and a good security system, you'll be able to enjoy all the fun and festivities of the holiday season, whether you're hosting or traveling.