Everything that makes Christmas what it is – the tinsel, the tree, the lights… all combine to make our homes more hazardous throughout December and early January. To help you practice safety in the home while you enjoy the festivity, we’ve created a master list of decoration advice, starting with ladder use. Stay safe this season!
Tips for safety in the home at Christmas
Putting up lights
When putting up your twinkly lights at the front of your house, did you have a ladder companion? To minimise your risk of accidents, have a friend hold the bottom of the ladder steady while you climb and attach the lights. The same approach should go for inside lights too. Many of us over-stretch by climbing on chairs to drape the lights around the ceiling. Play it safe and use a step ladder.
All ladders should be locked open on level ground and spaced 1 ft away from the wall for every 4 ft. If you can avoid the top two rungs, do, as this is when you will become less balanced. Also, think about if you were to fall. Don’t have plugs and other wires surrounding the bottom of the ladder. Even if you don’t fall, you’ll step off the ladder backwards and the last thing you want is to step onto something sharp!
Changing smoke alarms
While you’ve got the ladder out, take the time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, or test them if you’ve changed them recently. The only exception is if you’re using a ten year battery. You should vacuum the inside of the alarm every six months to remove dust from the sensor and you can vacuum through the holes if you have the secure type that doesn’t open. Your home is more flammable over Christmas thanks to the decorations and tree – unless you’ve opted for a flame-resistant artificial one!
Paying attention to plugs and sockets
Extensions off of extensions are recipes built for disaster. Don’t make extension cables work too hard by overloading them with plugs on top of plugs. Many fires have started from overheating and electrical short circuits. Also inspect them for cracks and any evidence of unsafe electrical connections before you start such as frayed wires and call in the professionals if you have any doubts about the safety of your electrics.
Positioning of wires and cables
When plugging in your lights or waving santa, be careful to tuck the wires and cables away from the flow of traffic throughout your home. All pathways should be clear, including any shortcuts to get you from one side of the room to the other. Keeping the wires out of sight is best, for the visual factor more than anything. If you have animals, it’s worth keeping in mind that they might move the wires out of place so you’ll want to check on them more often. You might be lucky enough to escape the tree being knocked over and baubles flying everywhere but cats in particular enjoy pulling at loose wires!
The garland along the fireplace mantel is a Christmas film must-have but you need to be extra careful when letting air into the room if you have a real fire. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever open a window while the fire’s on but should it happen, pay attention to the way that the wind’s blowing. It could create a mess in front of your fireplace but more importantly, if tinsel were to fall down, it could blow straight into the fire, with the potential of it blazing out of control.
For help with a big decorating project, post a job on Rated People in our Painter / Decorator category to receive quotes from our qualified and trusted tradesmen.