November 12, 2021

"Oops, a little knot here. You work on that." -- Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation

The time is soon approaching that most of us will start planning for the holidays.  We will be planning our menus, decorating the trees and the rest of our homes to make a cozy atmosphere for our family and friends.  As I think back about the holidays as a kid I remember my mom putting lights on everything that stood still.  In fact, I think she put some lights on things that even moved on occasion.  I remember pulling the tape off the dispenser and handing it to her strip by strip to tape up inside lights in the doorways, windows, stairs, picture frames, etc.  Like I said, you name it my mom was either wrapping it, taping it or hanging lights and tinsel on it. 

Of course, as we all know those lights need plugged in somewhere too.  My mom was always one to push the envelope when it came to filling up the outlets and surge protectors. There was always room to add one more string of lights.  Can you say FIRE HAZARD??  So here I am now after being in the insurance business for over 25 years blogging about holiday fire safety.  If my mom could see me now. 

Christmas lights are not the only dangers around the holidays to keep in mind, but it is an important one.  It doesn’t take long for one bad string of lights to cause a fire in your home.  Be sure to untangle your cords and check your bulbs before using them each season.  

Yes I know, it is not a fun job.  I know this because my mom would of course make that my job each year.  OH...how I hated that job as a kid!!!   My mom was a decorate the day after Thanksgiving kind of mom.  Untangling those cords and pulling those bulbs out one by one to check them was the worst part of the holiday break.  I think I had calluses on my fingers until way after New Year's Day for a lot of years.  However, spending that time with my mom was the best way to start Christmas.  I will tell you a secret tough.  Nowadays I have been known to just go out and buy a new string of lights to avoid the stress of a tangled mess. LOL

One safety tip to keep in mind when it comes your holiday lights may depend on your type of tree. Whether it is an artificial or a living tree be sure to unplug your lights before heading out of the house or heading to bed. Of course, when it comes to a living tree be sure to water your tree often to keep it hydrated for added safety.  A decorated tree that is watered efficiently is less likely to ignite so quickly.

“Save the neck for me, Clark”  -- Cousin Eddie, Christmas Vacation

Okay, hopefully not too many of us have a cousin Eddie sitting around the holiday table, but lets not forget the really important stuff when it comes to the holidays. THE FOOD!!!  Christmas at my grandma's house was always filled with the smell of roasted turkey and the trimmings.  If you didn’t see the noodles and potato stuffing on the stove then it just wasn't Christmas.  As I write this I can almost smell it.  My grandma grew up in a time where you did not waste food.  So, as a kid at my grandma's house you would often see her nibbling on the turkey neck.  I still have images in my brain of that sight that I would like to get rid of, but I have great memories of helping her cook the holiday meal.  When it comes to others cooking their holiday turkey some may go the extra mile.  You all know what I am talking about.  You are enjoying the crisp cool air of December while getting ready to drop your turkey into a deep fryer full of hot oil.

Be sure to educate yourself if doing this for the first time to protect yourself, your family, and your home. Before you know it hot oil could be splashing all over and you could create a severe fire hazard and cause yourself or someone else severe injuries.  Some simple things like wearing the appropriate clothing, grilling mitts, or safety goggles can help prevent injuries.  Also, be sure to pick the right location to cook "Tom the Turkey".  Keep it a safe distance away from your home and be sure it is on a level surface away from any other flammable objects.  It is never a bad idea to have a fire extinguisher handy to prevent your holiday celebrations from turning into a disaster.

"Is your house on fire, Clark?" -- Aunt Bethany, Christmas Vacation

There is nothing like the smell of a scented candle when it comes the holiday season.  Whether it is Cinnamon Spice, Pine Forest, or your favorite Vanilla combination be sure to keep a close eye on them. There are many things you can do to help your family have a Harm-Free Holiday.  Make sure they are away from flammable objects such as your tree or maybe fresh pine on your mantle.  Again, these items can easily ignite.  You also want to be sure to snuff those candles out when leaving the house or heading to bed. 

Keep these and other safety measures in mind this holiday season to protect your family from fire dangers.  Always remember that Dinnin & Parkins is also here to help protect you and your family when the unforeseen events happen.  As an independent agency we have many companies to provide you with quotes for your personal, business, health, and life insurance needs.  It is our goal to provide you our best available pricing while finding you the coverage to meet your current insurance needs.  Contact me today at 412-828-5122 to review your insurance or obtain quotes to be sure you are protected this holiday season and into the new year.