Is Your Home Safe for the Holidays?

With the holidays quickly approaching, it is a good time to make sure that your home is safe for you, your family, and loved ones. You may be rushing around, getting the decorations ready, preparing a feast, putting lights on your home, and more. However, during all the hustle and bustle, holiday nightmares can emerge and turn your holiday plans into disastrous situations for you and your family.

Therefore, it is important that you prepare ahead of time to reduce the risk of injury during these happy times. Here are 10 ways you can make sure your home is safe for the holidays so that no one suffers any personal injuries.

1.     Prepare your sidewalk and driveway for potential snow and ice

New Jersey sees its fair share of nor’easters and snowstorms in the colder months. You should prepare your sidewalk and driveway for potential snow and ice. If people are visiting your home during the holidays, they may stay later, putting themselves at risk of slipping on black or hidden ice on your driveway or sidewalk when walking to their vehicles. However, you can prevent these slips and falls on your property by applying salt or anti-icing products ahead of time.

2.     Have fire extinguishers and first aid kits ready

Many people associate the holidays with good food, so you and a few family members may be sharing your kitchen, preparing tasty meals for everyone. This means open flames, hot foods and liquids, and sharp knives abound – all in a space that’s crammed with people. Thanksgiving has more home fires than any other day of the year. It’s important to have fire extinguishers and first aid kits ready in case of fire as well as burns, scalds, or cuts.

3.     Put up security cameras around your home

Security cameras are a great idea. Not only can they identify potential thieves, but they also create a visual record of events outside your home. They can be useful if they pick up the events leading to a fall or a car accident, and they can also show if a trespasser was on your property. In most cases, trespassers are unable to file a lawsuit against a home or property owner for injuries they suffered while trespassing.

4.     Keep your “regular” outdoor lights on

Security cameras may identify thieves, but outdoor lights may prevent them from targeting your home at all. Making sure that your front and back yards are well lit can deter trespassers as well as stray animals. They can also make it easier for visitors to come and go, and potentially prevent an accident altogether.

5.     Keep your holiday lights and candles away from flammable items

When you get into the holiday spirit, one of the first tasks you may want to do is put the holiday lights up and light the fragrant candles. However, it is important to remember that holiday lights and candles can be fire hazards. You want to make sure that they are kept away from flammable items at all times, and that you only use them under supervision. In addition, you should take the time to look at your holiday lights and wires to make sure that there are no broken, malfunctioning, or cracked pieces before placing them on your home (or tree, if you have one).

6.     Unplug your lights every night

Every night before you go to bed, you should make it a routine to turn off and unplug your lights. If not, they could become too hot and start an unexpected fire while you are sleeping or away from home. It is also a good idea to turn off your lights periodically throughout the day to allow them to rest. In fact, purchasing lights that have timers is a wonderful idea!

7.     Feed and put pets in a separate part of your home before your guests arrive

Although you may consider your pet as part of the family, it is advisable to feed your pet and put them in a separate area of your home before your guests arrive. The reason for this is because pets often become stressed and anxious while around a lot of people, and they can especially become annoyed with children. In order to prevent dog bites or severe cat scratches, it is best that you put your pet in a safe area by themselves for the evening.

8.     Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace their batteries

Before each holiday season arrives, test your smoke and CO2 detectors and replace their batteries. This is important because your smoke detectors will let you know if there is something burning or on fire. During the chaos and busyness of the holidays, it is easy to forget that you were cooking something in the oven or to extinguish the fire going in your fireplace. Therefore, if anything catches fire, your smoke detectors will notify you right away. The CO2 detectors are especially important if you end up needing a generator because of a power surge or severe storm.

9.     Read the labels for toys and gifts you give to people

Exchanging gifts is one of the best parts of the holiday season. You should always read the labels and make sure that you follow the directions on certain items before you give them to people. This is especially true for children because many toys can quickly become choking hazards. In addition, if you know that young children will be at your house during the holidays, you should keep certain items and objects out of their reach. A young child may put a simple bow or even a piece of wrapping paper in their mouth, causing them to choke or suffocate.

10. Do not allow anyone to drive themselves home if they had too many drinks at your annual holiday party

Lastly, if you are hosting an annual holiday party or serving alcoholic beverages with your Christmas meal, you should never allow anyone to drive themselves home after too many drinks. This can quickly lead to a drunk driving accident. If you provided drinks and knew that the individual was intoxicated when they left your home, you may be held liable for the accident and the damages caused. Instead, it is a good idea to book them a rideshare service, allow them to sleep at your home for the night, or drive them home yourself as long as you are sober.

If you or a family member suffered an injury during the holiday season, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a Cherry Hill personal injury lawyer from Ferrara & Gable at your earliest opportunity. We will listen to your experience, evaluate the facts of your claim, and determine if negligence was involved. If our attorneys believe that you have a valid personal injury case, we will do everything we can to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you are owed. Call or contact us to schedule your free, no-obligation case review at our Cherry Hill office today. We gladly assist clients all over South Jersey.

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