The holiday season is fast approaching, and while it’s a wonderful time of year to celebrate with friends and family, it’s also a time when your home and possessions are at a greater risk. Gifts piled under the tree are an attractive target for theft, and candles, decorative lights and cozy fires present a fire hazard. Apply these holiday safety tips to keep your home and family safe.

Candles and Fireplaces
Candles provide ambience for entertaining or relaxing during the holidays, but they are also a major cause of fires. Never leave lit candles unattended — they can easily be tipped over by children, pets or even an unexpected draft from fireplaces or doors opening and closing. Also, ensure that you monitor your indoor fire and follow all safety procedures at all times.

Holiday Trees
If you enjoy the look and fragrance of a live tree during the holidays, be sure to buy it fresh, trim the trunk before putting it up and keep it well watered. Dried-up trees can cause a home-destroying fire in just minutes. All trees (live or artificial) should be secured in a non-tipping stand and positioned away from heating ducts.

Decorative Lights
Always follow the product instructions for the use of indoor and outdoor lights. Replace any bulbs that are flickering or burnt out, and discard any strands that have damaged insulation, loose connections or corroded sockets. Avoid using extension cords, as they can overheat if overloaded and start a fire. Be sure to unplug tree lights and other interior decor when you are going out or going to bed. To avoid overloading your electrical system, you may want to minimize the use of other lights and electronic devices while holiday lights and animated decorations are operating.

Kitchen safety rules are even more important during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, when cooking and baking is at a peak and your home may be crowded with guests. Try to keep pets and children out from underfoot, turn all pot handles inward and keep all flammable materials away from the hot stove or gas flames. Keep a residential fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.

And Protect Yourself!
When outside the home, make certain that handbags are zipped closed, wallets are carried in a front rather than a back pants pocket (as it’s harder for someone to steal it from the front) and cellphones are either secured in handbags or on the hip. To maintain control of your personal information, restrict all gift purchases to only one credit card, reconciling your charges against your receipts, and track all other credit card and debit card receipts.

Remember that an important holiday safety tip includes insurance. To protect yourself when the unexpected happens, make sure your home, condo or tenant insurance is active and up to date. If you are purchasing an expensive gift such as jewellery, call your insurance provider before the big day to ensure you have coverage from the moment you bring it home.

Stay covered with Hudson’ s Bay Insurance.

We wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season!