Tis the season to be jolly – as the saying goes. The holiday season is gaining momentum everywhere, including right here in beautiful Nova Scotia. For many, the holiday season is a time to decorate your home, enjoy festive gatherings, and maybe cuddle up in front of a warm fire. So, we’ve curated some top tips to keep you, your family, and your home safe this holiday season.
Decorating and electrical safety for the holidays.
For many Nova Scotians, a holiday tradition includes decorating your home inside and out. Here are a few smart safety tips to keep in mind.
- Don’t overload extension cords or outlets by plugging in too many decorations – this can cause overheating or blow the circuit. Don’t run extension cords under carpets or through doorways, where they can be damaged and be at risk of overheating.
- Never remove the third prong on plugs; this is the grounding pin and prevents shock in case of electrical equipment failure.
- Indoor lights, as the label says, are only meant for inside use. Outdoor lights are designed to work in colder weather. Plus, make sure your outdoor plug connections are above ground, away from water, and plugged into ground fault-protected outlets.
- Be responsible with ladders – inside and out. Never climb ladders when you’re alone, and make sure it is fully stable before you take that first step up.
Holiday home security.
Unfortunately, the holiday season comes with an increased risk of break-ins and home theft. While you’re busy enjoying holiday events, criminals are busy watching your home. Be aware of your surroundings, taking note of strangers in your neighbourhood.
- So be extra careful and keep your doors locked, garage doors closed, and lock windows
- Do not hide the spare key in obvious places. Burglars know to look under doormats, rocks, flowerpots and above the door.
- Make it look like someone is always home. Leave a radio or TV on and keep a few strategically located lights on. If you travel away, even for a few days, ask a neighbour to gather any mail or deliveries.
- Know that savvy criminals also scan social media. Be smart about what you post and avoid overt references to when and where you are away from home.
Heating and fire safety for Christmas and beyond.
However you plan to keep warm over the holiday, following these common-sense safety practices is especially important.
- If you have a fireplace, regardless of the type, ensure that it has been adequately cleaned and maintained. Keep children and pets a safe distance away from the fire. Always make sure the fire is out before going to bed or leaving the house. And double check that your home insurance is up to date and covers the use of a fireplace.
- Test all your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector and ensure that your fire extinguishers are in good working condition.
- When using candles, keep them away from flammable materials. Most Christmas tree fires start because of a heat source, such as a candle or heating equipment being too close. When you leave the house or the room, always blow out candles – candles should always be burning in sight.
- Have a qualified professional perform a yearly maintenance check of your furnace and venting system before the holidays arrive so that you avoid any surprise system failures.
- If you use a space heater, do not plug it into an extension cord or power bar. Plug it directly into the wall outlet. Always turn it off when you leave the room.
Whether it is the holidays or any time of year, our Bauld Insurance Advisors are here to help. If you want to learn more about how your home insurance or tenant insurance policy could protect you, your home and the contents in it, contact us and we’ll help you Be Well Protected.