Safe rental preparations for the holiday season
Don’t become a holiday statistic. While decorating for the festivities this month may seem all sugar and spice and everything nice, live trees and greenery, combined with open candles and abundant electric lights, can be a dangerous combination. Here are a few important seasonal safety tips.
Choosing a potted Christmas tree proved to be safer, not because it stays alive for longer, but because the dry trees can catch fire more easily under the heat of the lights. Candles, the season’s favorite, are the traditional way to decorate tabletops, but it’s highly important that they’re never left unattended and that they’re away from curtains or other fabric. If you don’t mind, you can opt for the battery-powered candles that shed the same warm glow without the worry.
If you have a fireplace, make sure you have the chimney regularly cleaned. When it’s not in use, make sure you turn it off completely and double check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working perfectly.
Before you pull out the ladder, make sure you have everything in “like new” working condition. Check your extension cords for cuts and cracks in their jacket or plugs – either refurbish or replace them. Test your light strings before you put them up and make sure your tool pouch is filled with everything you need before you step foot on the ladder. Inspect your ladder as well, if it doesn’t feel strong enough, better to replace it – according to the National Safety Council, taking a fall is the leading cause of home fatalities.
Use the appropriate tools, mind that an aluminum ladder conducts electricity while a wooden or fiberglass one, when dry, are non-conductive. Replace your hammer with a staple gun, it is much easier to use with one hand and the moves it implies are less likely to make you lose your balance while high off the ground attaching cord and garlands. You can very well decorate from ground level – luminaries, yard decorations, lights strung along the ground floor and accessible locations, they can transform your home into a piece of a fairy tale without you climbing up a ladder. Remember to plug your lights into a weather-proof GFCI outlet.
Choose wisely when you decorate the outside of your rental, the shorter winter days leave too little daylight time after the work hours; better schedule decorating during a weekend. Last but not least, check your insurance and start the festivities!