Top Home Safety Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are here! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or some combination of the three, HTI wishes you a happy and safe celebration. When you're caught up in merry-making and decorating, we at HTI want to make sure you remember to keep yourself and your home as safe as possible.

Did you know that according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • During the 2018 holiday season, there were 5 deaths associated with holiday decorating.

  • About 200 people go to the emergency room each day during the three months surrounding the holiday season.

  • In 2017 about 18,100 people were treated in emergency rooms due to holiday decorating-related injuries.

Here's some tips to help ensure that you don't become one of those statistics.

COOK CAREFULLY When cooking up delicious holiday treats, remember that unattended cooking is the #1 cause of house fires. On average, there are four times as many cooking fires on Thanksgiving and Christmas than on any other day of the year.

  • Keep younger kids out of the kitchen or away from the cooking area.

  • Keep flammable items like potholders, paper or plastic bags away from the stove/oven.

  • Have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.

  • If you are forced to step away from the kitchen while cooking is in progress, set a timer to remind yourself to return promptly.

  • Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing. Cooking in a Santa suit is definitely not advised.

  • Turn pan handles towards the back of the range so you don't bump into them and upset the pan.

  • If a pan catches on fire, cover it with a lid to smother the flames or use a fire extinguisher. Never use flour or water to put out a pan fire. Call 911 if necessary.

  • If you plan to deep-fry a turkey, make sure the cooking apparatus is outside and away from the house. To prevent overfilling a deep fryer with oil: before cooking, take the pot you plan to use for deep frying, place the turkey inside, and then fill it with water to a few inches from the top. Then, remove the turkey and measure the height of the water. That will tell you how much oil to add to the pot when it's time to cook. That way, the oil won't overflow when you add the turkey. Lower the turkey SLOWLY into the pot of hot oil.


Live trees are highly flammable, due to needles and sap. The cooler you can keep your tree, the longer it will take to dry out and become a fire hazard.

  • Place your tree away from fireplaces and heaters.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher near your tree.

  • Use LED lights if possible. Old-fashioned, incandescent lights generate heat and accelerate the tree's drying process.

  • Keep your tree well watered. Choose a stand that can hold a few quarts of water, and check it every 12 hours for the first two days, then every other day after that.

  • If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.”

  • If you have small children, consider trimming your tree with unbreakable ornaments.


We follow age-old traditions when we illuminate the darkest time of the year. However, for each year from 2014 to 2016, there were about 1,100 Christmas tree and candle fires that resulted in 10 deaths, 150 injuries, and nearly $50 million in property damage. Take care when adding lights to your celebration.

  • Only use holiday lights tested for safety by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.

  • Again, consider stringing the house with LED lights. Incandescent bulbs give off enough heat to melt or scorch items that come in sustained contact with them.

  • When hanging string lights , don’t mount them in a way that might damage the cords, and avoid using nails or tacks. Use hooks or insulated staples instead.

  • Throw out light sets with broken or cracked sockets, frayed insulation or bare wires, or loose connections.

  • Consider using flame-less candles for extra safety. Some of the newer models mimic flames so well, it's hard to tell the difference.

  • If you do use traditional flame candles, make sure they are on sturdy bases so they don't tip over. Never leave a flame candle unattended.

  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed and before leaving the house to avoid a short that could start an electrical fire.


In comedy Christmas movies, characters fall from roofs, slip on icy stairs, fly off of ladders, and somehow only suffer a few scratches. If only it worked that way for the rest of us! In real-life, these mishaps usually result in a trip to the emergency room. The majority of decorating injuries involve ladder falls.

  • Make sure your ladder is in good working condition, and that your weight is under the ladder's limit.

  • If you’re using a ladder to decorate, make sure it’s on firm, level ground.

  • When placing your ladder, remember the four-to-one rule: for every four feet of height you have to climb, move the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall.

  • Do not use a ladder during high winds or a storm.

  • Wear clean, slip-resistant shoes.

  • When on a ladder, always have a helper.

  • Read the ladder's safety instructions - you'll find them printed right on the ladder.

  • Don't over-reach when on a ladder. Take the time to move the ladder where you want to work.

Thank you for taking the time to read this valuable information. May you and your home remain healthy and sound for many holidays to come!

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