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As your sprucing up your home this holiday season, keep an eye out for these common holiday hazards and make note of the helpful hints.

Christmas Trees:  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) an average of 240 home fires begin with Christmas trees every year.  Tree fires result in deaths, injuries and roughly $17 million in property damage.  To care for a real tree, make sure it is secured in a sturdy base filled with plenty of water so it does not dry out.  If you're going with an artificial tree be sure to choose one that is fire resistant.  Make sure to keep the tree out of the way of foot traffic, doorways, exits, and away from all heating sources.

Holiday Lights and Candles:  Every year more than 50,000 home fires are started by electrical problems according to NFPA.  When it comes to hanging lights make sure to only use indoor lights and outdoor lights appropriately.  Make certain to verify that the lights have been tested and approved by an independent safety testing laboratory.  Be sure to check lights for broken, cracked or loose bulbs as well as any bare wires.  Replace any damaged lights before use.  Make sure to turn off all the lights on the trees and outdoor decorations when you go to bed or leave the house, you don't want to risk starting a fire.  Also be certain to keep an eye on all candles.  Keep them away from the tree, decorations and other objects that could potentially burn or catch fire.  The U.S. Fire Administration states that candles cause more than 10 deaths, 175 injuries and $20 million in property damage each holiday season.  Never leave burning candles unattended and keep them out of reach of children.

The Oven and Holiday Cooking:  Food plays a major role in most holiday celebrations, so it's not shocking that unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires in the U.S. according to NFPA.  Stay in the kitchen and be attentive of what is cooking on the stovetop and in the oven.  Keep anything that can catch fire (oven mitts, towels, plastic bags, etc) away from the stove top.  Make sure the kitchen area near the stove is a kid free zone in order to prevent spills and burns.  Never leave your stop top or oven on when you leave your home.

The Fireplace:  Have a professional chimney company inspect and clean the fireplace and chimney annually as maintenance is crucial to prevent potential fires.  Never leave the fire unattended and use a screen, especially with children in the room.  Make sure to extinguish the fire fully before going to bed or leaving the house.  Also allow the ashes to cool before removing them.  Dispose of ashes properly in a tightly covered metal container and place it outdoors at least 10 feet from your home and other nearby buildings.

Toy Safety:  Select toys to suit the age, skills and interest level of the child.  Before allowing your child to play with a toy that was received as a gift, make sure to read the instructions.  Remember that young children can choke on small parts contained in certain toys and games.  Be certain to remove all tags, strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children, as this will help prevent any choking or strangulation hazards.

Holiday Visiting:  Remember that homes you visit may not be child proofed for the younger guests.  Keep an eye out for danger spots like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, accessible cleaning products or stairways, just to name a few.  Keep a list of important numbers on hand that you are likely to need in case of emergency such as poison control and your child's pediatrician.  While traveling always make sure your child is riding in an appropriate child safety seat.  Adults also need to make sure to buckle up this holiday season.  Another helpful hint is to try to stick to your child's usual routines, including bedtime and nap schedules, this can help reduce stress and allow you to enjoy the holidays.

Davis & Massey Insurance wishes everyone a joyful and safe holiday season.  If you are interested in getting a quote or reviewing your current home and/or auto policy please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (843) 839-9229 or check us out online at
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