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Preparing Your Home for the Holidays

The stretch between Halloween and New Year’s Day is a highly anticipated time of fun and festivity. Being home for the holidays brings warmth, fellowship, and typically a lot of decorations and feasts to accompany gatherings. At the same time, people can be in a rush and forget about the baking cookies, roasting turkey, or keeping decorations away from heat sources. Unfortunately, many home fires result from these simple oversights, which are a leading cause of holiday disasters.

Hosting at Home for the Holidays

The following safety tips are intended to help make your holiday celebrations successful and full of fond memories. We start with some basic holiday safety recommendations and have separately created a special post on Holiday Lighting Safety.

How to Prepare Your Home for the Holidays

At All Times of the Year

  • Keep your exits clear of decorations and any clutter to help keep escape routes fully accessible.
  • Test your smoke alarms (each month) to ensure they are working.


  • The National Fire Prevention Association says to stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric when choosing a costume.
  • Have children carry a flashlight or other non-flammable source of light.
  • It is best to use a battery-powered candle in jack-o-lanterns and other displays.
  • Keep dry decorations (e.g. flowers, crepe paper) away from heat sources.
  • If you or your children go to parties, look for a way out in case of emergency.

Thanksgiving (and any other day)

Did you know that Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment?

  • Keep any eye on your food and stay in your kitchen at all times while cooking on a stovetop.
  • Keep your countertops and floors clear of clutter.
  • Do not leave the home while cooking your turkey.
  • Keep electric cords, matches and lighters away from the reach of children.
  • It is a good idea to keep children busy with fun activities outside of the kitchen.


  • If purchasing a natural tree, choose one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched, and cut off two inches from the base of the trunk.
  • If you have an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled “fire retardant.”
  • Place all natural or artificial trees in a solid stand to best secure and help them keep from being knocked over.
  • Keep trees away from exits and at least three feet away from any and all heat sources, including electrical outlets.
  • Keep natural trees well watered each day.
  • Dispose of natural trees after the holidays. Dried-out trees are serious fire dangers and should not sit around. Check within your community for recycling or pick-up services.

Always be prepared before and after winter. Stay tuned for more home safety recommendations!

Help be more prepared for disasters by reviewing ALE Solutions’ temporary housing options.

Photo credits: ©, ssuaphoto, chrisgroch



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