The holiday season is filled with joy, cheer, and festive times complete with decorations, twinkly lights, trees, and yummy food. These set the perfect holiday mood, however, they pose hidden dangers. Your family, home, and possessions are very valuable, so we put together a list of tips that can keep your loved ones and your home safe.

1. Holiday lighting

These twinkly lights help make your home jolly and warm feeling, but they are a potential fire hazard. Make sure you inspect your decorative lighting every year. Check for frayed or kinked cords, cracked bulb holders, or loose connections. You should look for certification marks such as CSA, UL or ELT. These indicate safety compliance. 

When setting up your decorations, don't overload outlets or extension cords, and keep them away from flammable materials and candles. For outdoor lights, make sure they are hung with plastic hooks or clips. You should avoid hanging lights with nails, tacks, or staples as these can damage the wire's insulation.

Always turn off your holiday lights while you are away or sleeping.

2. Christmas trees

Live trees are more resistant to flames (when you water them daily), but if you opt for an artificial tree, look for a fire-resistant label. Set up your tree away from potential fire starters -- fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, and other heat sources.

One-in-six holiday tree fires are caused by a heat source being too close.

3. Decorations

Only use nonflammable or fire retardant ornaments and decorations. You should not use breakable or sharp ornaments. If you do, keep them away from the reach of children.

Older ornaments may contain lead paint. When in doubt, do not display them.

4. Entertaining & cooking

As you're cooking that delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, never leave the kitchen unattended. According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires.

5. Fire safety

Ensure you have a working fire extinguisher, and functional smoke and CO2 alarms. Should something catch fire in your home, you will be ready to respond quickly and prevent a big problem.

Unfortunately, fires occur more frequently during this time of year, so make sure you and your family have an evacuation plan.

6. Home security

The holiday season is many people's favorite time of the year. It's also a criminal's favorite time of the year. Many people are away from home having fun at holiday events or visiting family & friends. Criminals know that homes are stocked with expensive gifts, and they're watching your home -- especially if you leave conspicuous packaging by your curbside the morning after Christmas. Keep your home secure this season by:

  • Being extra careful to lock all doors and windows.
  • Leave a radio or TV on while you are away.
  • Put some of your indoor lights on a timer.
  • Keep gifts and other valuables out of window's sight.
  • Ask a neighbor or trusted friend to get your mail if you won't be at home.
  • Don't make it obvious you just bought a new 70-inch TV on Black Friday.
  • Don't hide a spare key in obvious places (you shouldn't hide one at all).
  • If you have one, arm your security or smart home system. Most systems offer fire and smoke alerts. This can give you extra piece of mind while you are away.

Have a safe & happy holiday season from Music City Experts!