December is a busy month for almost everyone. We've got our regular commitments to work and family, and then we're planning and preparing for all the year end activities. It might be tempting to take shortcuts when there isn't enough time or maybe you're a bit tired.
Please remember to always put safety, your personal safety as well as your family and guests, first as any type of calamity will put a damper on your holiday spirit. We're offering you a list of simple reminders about the things or situations that can cause problems. A quick review is all you need, nothing else to add to your already busy schedule.
Fires Really Do Happen
Noone expects a fire at their house but they do happen. Maybe there's no smoking but lots of other things in your house are prone to catching fire when someone forgets for just a moment.
- Candles are great decorating tools and harmless until you light them. The candles here might be fine when the green trimming is fresh but after a few days, it will dry out and a small ember might be enough to start a fire.
- Fireplaces are wonderful if you respect them. Make sure to get your chimney cleaned and learn how to operate the damper. Use glass doors or a screen to keep embers from getting into the room and store firewood at a safe distance. Don't light a fire while stockings are hanging from the mantel and insure someone remains in the room to monitor any fire.
- Strings of holiday lights and anything on extension cords should be handled with care, especially when you've got visitors who are less familiar with navigating through your home.
- Today's stoves are really safe until you leave something cooking on the stove top unattended. The water can boil over, boil away or worse, something nearby can burst into flame.
Falls Aren't Fun for Anyone
You're the host/hostess and one of your guests falls while visiting. You'll spend time dealing with injuries and have to fix the problem that caused the fall. Why not walk around the house and make repairs/changes changes to prevent possible falls? You won't have to deal with feeling guilty or worse, an uncomfortable lawsuit and the loss of a friend.
- Good outdoor lighting welcomes guests from the street or driveway to the entry door(s). While you might not use your front door, most guests will enter through the front door so be prepared at all exterior doors.
- Clear walkways are essential so if you've got a wobbly paver or missing bricks, now is the time to fix them before they cause a fall in the dark.
- Handrails are important for older guests so even though you never use them, check them and tighten if they're loose (indoors and outside).
- Slippery sidewalks are never fun so if there's a chance of rain, sleet or snow, make sure you've got your favorite ice melt product handy.
A good way to prepare for guests is to act like one and visit your home. Park on the street and walk up your driveway in the dark. Enter your home through the front door and remove your shoes if guests commonly do this — is there a convenient place to sit? Check bathrooms and any public spaces guests will visit, i.e. the pool table in the basement?
Falling Objects Can Hurt
When we've got lots of company, we hide things in closets or dig out extra chairs for guests. It's safer to rearrange things when you have time to do it without interruption or people underfoot.
- Take down extra serving dishes you'll use throughout the holiday season. Do the same with extra dishes, glasses, place mats, etc. If you're able to store these treasures in an easy to reach cabinet or closet, that's even better.
- Decide in advance where guest coats will go and if that means putting your own items away, do that before the first guest arrives.