Safety is the last thing you want on your mind when you're at home with your friends and family over the holidays. Yet this is a time when houses are especially at risk from heating problems, electrical faults, fires and other dangers. Prepare for the worst now with these home safety tips, so you can expect the best this holiday season.


A blocked furnace, flue or chimney is a fire hazard, and it can allow dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises home owners to have a qualified professional inspect their heating system once per year. What's more, a properly maintained, regularly serviced heating system can save money on fuel costs. There's no better time to book a service and safety inspection than right now.


Holiday decorations such as Christmas trees and holiday lights brighten your home and add to the festive atmosphere, but they can be a fire risk if you aren't careful. According to the NFPA, the U.S. Fire Department dealt with an average of 210 Christmas tree fires every year between 2009 and 2013, and 38% of them were due to faulty electrics. Before hanging holiday lights, check there are no frayed wires, loose sockets or loose connections.


Intentional and accidental fires are one of the biggest risks to home safety during the holiday season. Here are some tips to reduce the risks:

  • Surround open fireplaces with a sturdy fire screen, and wait until the ashes are cool before removing them. Put the ashes in a metal container and store it a safe distance from your house.
  • Never allow children within three feet of open fires or space heaters.
  • Turn off portable heaters before going to bed or leaving the room.
  • Ask a qualified professional to install stationary or central heating systems or water heaters.
  • Place holiday candles at least 12 inches from anything that can catch fire and put them out before you go to bed.
  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors if you don't already have them. According to the University of Texas at San Antonio, you should test the detectors at least once per month, and replace the batteries every six months.
  • Never leave fireplaces, candles or stoves unattended.

Home safety should be your number one priority this holiday season. For more information, contact a Ragsdale advisor.

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