by Phillip B. Burum, Executive Vice President, Diversified Pacific,
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
The holiday season, with shorter days and longer nights, pose challenges to some homeowners that are less prevalent throughout the rest of the year. Keeping your home and any guests you might be entertaining this season safe should be near the top of your holiday wish list. Below are some suggestions to prepare your home for a safe and happy holiday season.
Drying plants and other flammable decorations cause far too many holiday disasters so take care to ensure you are being as safe as possible with your decorating choices. If you’re personal decorating taste includes lights on a tree or wreath, or if you will be lighting a menorah this season, please take care in their placement. Place trees or wreaths at a safe distance from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents or windows with direct sunlight.
Some holiday lights can generate heat, so be sure to turn them off when away or sleeping. Before you decorate the tree, check electrical cords for wear and tear and replace any that are frayed or cracked. Decorations are meant to bring joy, not trauma so keep basic safety in mind as you plan to adorn your home as a holiday masterpiece.
Another important challenge during this season is protecting your home and family from those that see the Holiday season as an opportunity for harm rather than celebration. Examine your home in the daylight and look at the outside of your home as a potential burglar would. Look for any landscaping elements such as shrubbery that could obscure somebody tampering with the entry points to your home and cut them back.
Today, choices for security cameras, alarms and other devices used to discourage or prevent unwanted entry to your home are plentiful and reasonably inexpensive. If you have not yet invested in security technology, it is worth considering. Finally, get to know your neighbors as they are often the best source of security you will find.
For those of us who have family outside of Southern California, we have all received the call from a brother, mother, cousin or high school friend that “was thinking about coming out to the coast for the holiday break.” If you were stuck in six feet of snow and icy roads, you’d want to visit as well. If you are willing to have them and they are planning to stay overnight, make sure your home is ready for them.
Although enjoying time with the out of towners is your mission, safety should be among your goals, especially for those that might be expecting an overnight stay from an older friend or relative. To prep your home, start by examining all the exterior and interior pathways throughout and leading up to the house. Clear obstacles by relocating any furniture that might require maneuvering around and be sure that your outdoor walkways are cleared of any encroaching vegetation.
Consider installing night lights in bathrooms, hallways near the guest bedrooms and kitchen. Make sure there is a lamp or light switch within easy reach of any guest bed. Make sure your showers and bathtubs have non-slip floors and consider enhancing traction by applying non-slip strips or a suction-attached non-slip mat. These preventative measures may seem silly but, preventing a stubbed toe or a fall in the shower will pay untold dividends in the form of enjoying your company rather than worrying over an unforeseen injury.
Most importantly, after the holiday season make sure you 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 and many municipalities have rules about disposing of trees, so check with your local fire department or City Hall.
If you have any other questions or are in need of further tips, I am told there is a jolly old man who lives in the north that is an expert on this time of year. His advice would be far more valuable than mine.
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.