The holidays are upon us, and that means family gathering, food, decorations, parties, and plenty of good times. While many of us scramble with last minute items, it is important to take time to consider the potential hazards that could be lurking during this busy and festive time. By following the tips below, you may be able to prevent accidents and major losses, and enjoy the season worry-free.
Create a Safer Home
Imagine hosting a New Year’s party and being sued when a guest slips and falls on an icy sidewalk. Think of the medical expenses you might be responsible for if your dog bites a guest at Christmas. Though no one wants to think about accidents occurring during happy times, they do happen. Before guests come over, be sure to shovel snow and de-ice walkways and driveways on your property. Put your dog away in a kennel, replace burnt-out lights near steps, and remove obstacles and debris from floors.
Serve a Safer Meal
Most holiday gatherings are centered around one important thing: food. Whether you plan to cook the entire meal yourself or hold a group pot-luck, make sure to only cook and serve food at a proper temperature. Turkeys should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF and 140ºF for holiday hams. On the table, serve hot and cold items in chafing dishes. Once they have set out at room temperature for more than two hours, it is time to throw them away.
Fires occur year-round, but home fire-related deaths peak in the winter months. The use of heating equipment is the leading cause of fires during this time, but cooking and the use of deep fryers (particularly to fry turkeys) can also get out of hand. Other causes of seasonal house fires include dried out Christmas trees, faulty Christmas lights, and the increased use of candles this time of year. In fact, fires caused by candles are four times more common during the holidays than any other time of year.
To lower your risk, be sure to keep your heating equipment maintained, and avoid using turkey fryers near your home. Inside the house, opt for flameless candles, or otherwise keep traditional candles away from flammable objects and out of the reach of small children and pets. Also, check the lights on your tree for signs of wear or faulty bulbs, and replace any damaged components.
Driving can be dangerous during the holidays, when aggressive, drowsy, and distracted drivers are out in full-force. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and avoid driving late at night when there tends to be a larger number of people leaving holiday parties under the influence of alcohol.
It’s also a good time to talk with your insurance agent about an affordable car insurance policy that provides complete protection for you, your passengers, and your vehicle.
Have a Safe and Happy New Year!