Make Your Home Safe for the Holidays

Every home should have these four life-saving items - especially during the holidays when safety risks are higher than normal

Credit: Flickr /jaypeg21

Flickr /jaypeg21

The holidays bring more safety risks at home, so it’s important to be prepared

Keep your family healthy and safe this holiday season and throughout the year by ensuring the proper safety equipment is in place in your home

Families spend a lot more time indoors during the holiday season, and that can create more safety risks than normal. Here’s what you’ll need to keep your loved ones safe.

Smoke Detector

Fire can be a risk at any time, but especially during the holiday season with the increased use of candles and the presence of Christmas trees. Smoke detectors should be installed near every bedroom and on every level of your home, including the basement.

Test, clean and replace the batteries in your smoke detectors once a year. Replace smoke detectors that are more than 10 years old.

Fire Extinguisher

A good-quality fire extinguisher is very handy in the event of a small fire. For the home, choose a multi-purpose fire extinguisher that can put out fires from different causes, but is not too heavy to handle. Keep it in a place with quick, easy access. It should only be used under the following conditions:

  • After the fire department has been called
  • After everyone else is out of the building
  • The fire is in a contained area (e.g., a wastebasket) and is not growing
  • The room is not filled with smoke
  • You can operate the extinguisher with your back to a clear exit

Fire Escape Ladder

A fire escape ladder is an important safety device for homes that have more than one level. (If a fire prevents you from leaving through the house, you may have to escape from a window.)

Store it under the bed and make sure everyone knows how to use it. Have a practice drill using the ladder. It will make dealing with an emergency much less frightening.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector

A carbon monoxide (CO) detector is a lifesaving device that no home should be without. Odourless, tasteless CO can be emitted from any gas appliance, which is why furnaces, fireplaces and gas appliances should be checked annually for leaks. Exhaust from cars in attached garages can also contribute CO.

At low concentrations, CO causes fatigue and flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving the home. However, at high concentrations it can be fatal.

A CO detector will warn you when the level of CO in your home is too high, allowing you to evacuate the building and get help for anyone suffering symptoms.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.