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by Janna Green, Premiere Agency Network on Dec 17, 2013

It’s the Holidays! Enjoying the holidays with family and friends, shopping, cooking and decorating for our parties and gatherings – it’s a wonderful time of the year and we don’t want to spoil it with any accidents or mishaps. 

                                    

If you are planning a gathering at your home or office, knowing the risks will help you stay safe this holiday season:

Decorating – Everyone loves the festive decorations but getting them all in place can be quite a challenge. 

  • When purchasing lights, extension cords and decorations, make sure they have a certification mark from UL, CSA, ETL or other nationally-recognized laboratories that have been tested for safety. 
  • Inspect the electrical cords and sockets on all of the lights and decorations you are pulling out of storage—the smallest defect can cause a serious electrical fire
  • Don’t overload those extension cords or connect extension cords; go ahead and invest in a longer cord or multiple cords plugged into ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
  • Please use the correct ladder to hang those lights; especially outside where the ground can be soft or uneven. Wooden or fiberglass ladders are best for hanging electrical lights because they don’t conduct electricity.
  • Keep electrical connectors off of the ground and away from anything metal, including gutters, by using plastic clips to hold them in place.
  • Unplug your lights and electrical decorations before leaving your home or office and before going to bed.

Entertaining—The perfect gathering is quite an event but the challenge may be to make it event free.

  • There is nothing like the warmth of a nice fire; protect your home and guests with a proper screen. Never use paper or cardboard boxes as kindling.
  • Test your smoke alarms to make sure they work; install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on each level where guests and family may be sleeping.
  • Beware of using alternative heating systems such as stoves and space heaters. You may want to hire a professional for proper installation.
  • The kitchen poses its own hazards but holiday wardrobes can increase these hazards as those last items are pulled from the oven, make sure you don’t have any loose sleeves that can catch fire.
  • Alcoholic beverages are commonly served at holiday gatherings. Have a “Plan B” to letting your guests drive home. Have the cab company phone number handy, get someone to drive them home or have the bedrooms prepared for guests. 

But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Bio: Janna Green, Premiere Agency Network Team. With a marketing focus from market access and account placement to digital marketing, Premiere is a Network of Independent Insurance Agencies in the Southeast U.S.

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