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Minimizing Homeowners Risk During the Holiday Season

December 16, 2016
Insurance , Safety , Homeowners ,

The holidays are a time for getting together with friends and family to celebrate the season.

Yet, unfortunately, they are also a time when thousands of homeowners make claims on their homeowner’s and renter’s insurance, mainly because of fires.

“We certainly want people to make the best of their holidays,” says Daniel Bates, a certified agent at Bates Insurance Agency Inc. “That’s why we want to caution them to take extra care, as sometimes accidents can be avoided.”

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports that residential fires during the holiday season are more frequent, more expensive and more dangerous than at any other time of year.

Certainly the number one culprit is the highly flammable Christmas tree. But there also are more fires caused by unattended candles and leaving cooking food unattended.

Add to that, the fact that fires aren’t the only concern during the holidays. There’s also a spike in home thefts.

“We’re all so busy during the holidays we sometimes don’t take time to pay attention to the little details,” Bates says. “But you can minimize your risks for tragedies and property damage by taking some simple precautions.”

Here are some tips to keep you safer:

  • Make sure candles are at least a foot away from anything flammable. Set them on sturdy bases and never leave unattended.
  • Water fresh Christmas trees every day. It takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames.*
  • Keep Christmas trees away from heat sources and traffic patterns.
  • Assure any live garlands or greenery are at least three feet from heating sources.
  • Inspect all light strings. Discard any with frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Keep all flammable materials _ pot holders, wooden utensils, paper _ away from your stovetop.
  • Make sure gifts are out of sight when you leave your home. Close curtains when you’re not going to be at home.

*Data from Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

“The holidays should be a joyous time, a time to celebrate our connections with others,” Bates says. “We’d all benefit from slowing down a little and truly enjoying.”

Happy Holidays to All!