By Ali Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
Between hosting guests and storing gifts, this holiday season means your home can become a beehive of activity that will present many unique seasonal challenges to homeowners. So, to help you protect what may be the biggest and best investment you will ever make, prepare your home now for a safe and happy holiday season.
Today’s new homes are the most fire-resistant homes ever built and new home communities are always designed in close collaboration with local public safety officials to ensure the most rapid response times in the event of an emergency. Yet, using plants and trees as holiday decorations risks fire hazards. So remember to keep your tree and decorations such as wreaths and menorahs as fresh as possible until it’s time to take them down. If you bring in a freshly-cut Christmas tree, place it in water as soon as possible. Most species can go six to eight hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Place your tree or wreaths at a safe distance away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents and windows with direct sunlight. Use holiday lights that produce low heat and turn off the lights when you’re away or sleeping. Check for wear and tear and replace any electrical cords that are frayed or cracked before you light up your tree
Take a walk around your home in the daylight. Try to see the outside of your home as a potential burglar would. Find out which of your neighbors have the most unobstructed view of your home and ask them to keep an eye on it if you’re going to be traveling. Look for any landscaping elements such as shrubbery that could obscure somebody tampering with the entry points to your home. With shorter days ahead, make sure you outdoor walkways are safe and well lighted.
Review all of your outdoor or garage-based energy sources such as circuit breakers, shut-off valves ducts or service lines. Cut back any shrubbery or obstacles and make sure all of your family members all know where these important parts of your home are located. If you have automatic timers for your irrigation system or lighting system, this provides a terrific opportunity to cut back on your water and energy use. Make sure all of the spaces around your appliances are clear of paint, solvents, rags, paper or any other combustible products.
Inside your home, consider pathways throughout the house especially if you will be hosting older guests or young children. Clear obstacles and relocate any furniture that might require to maneuvering around. Secure any exposed electrical cords and check that railings on stairs inside and out are secure. Put night lights in bathrooms, guest bedrooms, hallways near the guest bedroom and the kitchen. Make sure there is a lamp or light switch within easy reach of the guest bed so that visitors can keep a light on until safely tucked in.
In the bathroom, make sure the shower has a non-slip floor and enhance traction by applying non-slip strips or a suction-attached non-slip mat. Secure or remove any throw rugs or bathroom mats. Edges of rugs can be a tripping hazard so if there are rugs you want to secure rather than remove, you can apply double-sided carpet tape or even caulk to attach the rug to the floor. If you choose one of these methods, use a product that will not mar the floor underneath.
After the holiday season, dispose of trees or other decorations properly. Never burn any part of a tree in the fireplace or wood stove. Recycling is the most environmentally-friendly method. If you’re not sure where to take the tree, check with your local fire department or City Hall.
The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on homebuying, home improvements, the benefits of homeownership or home safety or maintenance, visit our www.BIABUILD.com website and have a terrific holiday season.