Holiday Tips

The winter holidays are a time for celebration and that means more cooking, home decoratiing, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire and accidents. Below is a list of tips from the Greensboro Home Inspector that will help to make the holidays safe.


  • Choose lights made of fire-resistant materials.
  • Keep candles away from any flammable material.
  • Inspect light strings and replace damaged sections
  • Use hooks or insulated staples when hanging lights. Do not use nails or tacks.
  • Do not let children or pets touch electrical decorations.
  • Never use a metallic tree with electrical decorations. Could pose a shock hazard.
  • Make sure that outdoor lighting is rated for exterior use.
  • Outdoor electrical decorations should be plugged into GFCI outlets.
  • Turn off all lights when you are not at home and before you go to bed.


  • Tinsel should be made of plastic. Tree decorations should be flame resistant.
  • Sharp or breakable decorations should be kept out of reach for children.
  • Do not use decorations that resemble food. Children may be tempted to eat.

Holiday Entertaining

  • Never leave items that are cooking unattended.
  • Provide large deep ashtrays for guest that smoke.
  • Keep matches and lighters in a safe location.
  • Test all smoke alarms.


  • Artificial tree should be labeled fire resistant.
  • Live trees should be fresh, green, and have strong needles.
  • Place the tree away from all heating sources.
  • Trim the trunk of live trees for better water absorption.
  • Water the tree regularly to slow the drying process.
  • Make sure the tree is steady on the stand to avoid it tipping over.


  • Keep all decorations away from the fireplace.
  • Do not burn and holiday trash in the fireplace.

Toys and Ornaments

  • Purchase only age appropriate toys.
  • Electric toys should be ul and fm approved.
  • Do not buy toys with sharp edges or little parts for small children.
  • Older ornaments should be kept out of reach as they may contain lead.

Children and Pets 

  • Poinsettias are poisonous to humans and pets. They should be out of reach.
  • Decorations should be kept 6 inches away from a child's reach.
  • Avoid using tinsel, children may eat causing serious health problems or death.
  • Ribbon and bows should be shorter than 7 inches to prevent strangulation.
  • Children and pets should not be left unattended around decorations.
  • Store items used to wrap presents out of a child's reach, such as scissors.
  • Check wrapped gifts for decorations that pose a choking hazard.


  • If you have an alarm system, use it.
  • If you are going to travel for the holidays, don't tell strangers.
  • Have a neighbor or friend check on your home while you are away.

I wish you a safe and Happy Holiday!

Submitted by JasonMichael on Sat, 12/19/2009 - 04:36.
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