With Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve quickly approaching, it’s important mentally prepare for…well, just about anything. Who knows what all can happen over the holidays?

#1 Be Careful When Preparing Food

Make sure children and pets steer clear of the kitchen while you’re preparing food, both for their safety and your sanity. Never leave the kitchen unattended when you have anything baking in the oven or cooking on the stove. Also, make sure to keep anything flammable away from the stove. Turn on the exhaust fan above your stove to vent any smoke or gas. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.

#2 Keep Your Kitchen Sink Clog-Free

Be careful what you put down your garbage disposal! Check out our previous blog post, Brace Yourself – Brown Friday is Coming, to learn all about what you can stick down your garbage disposal safely, along with other great information on how to avoid a plumbing emergency over the holidays.

#3 Keep Candles in Designated Safe Zones

If you know you’ll have small children and/or pets running around the house over the holidays, consider swapping your candles out for battery-operated candles. If you do use real candles, be extra careful where you place them, and never let them out of sight. Never place them near the tree or in a traffic-heavy area of the house. Blow all candles out before you leave the house or the room they are being used in or going to bed.

#4 Holiday Lights

Don’t overload electrical outlets by trying to plug in too many cords at the same time. This could cause an electrical outage, shocking, or even a fire. Turn off all lights, including your outdoor Christmas lights, before heading to bed for the night. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home fire deaths in the U.S. happen between 11 PM and 7 AM while most people are still asleep. Make sure you have a working, fully charged fire alarm in every bedroom!

#5 Fireplace

Don’t hang decorations or stockings in front of a crackling fireplace. Keep gifts, toys, and children away from the area as well. Decorations and gift wrap are highly flammable and could burst into flames if a spark jumped out of the fireplace. Don’t throw gift wrap into the fireplace, either. It could start an internal fire inside your chimney as small pieces float upward. Don’t use your fireplace if the glass panel is cracked or broken. Be sure to have the glass panel repaired before you use the fireplace. Your fireplace and chimney should be cleaned every year before you turn up the heat.

#6 In the Bathroom

With extra people in the house, plumbing problems often arise over the holidays. To avoid a plumbing emergency in the bathroom, keep a plunger nearby, make sure your trash can is visible so people don’t toss things they shouldn’t into the toilet, and know where the shutoff valve is located and how to operate it to avoid flooding in the bathroom.

#7 Lock Up

More burglaries happen over the Christmas season than at any other time of the year. With all those extra gifts in the house, your home automatically becomes a target for robbers. Keep your household safe and lock up all doors and windows at night and whenever you leave the house throughout the day. And don’t keep a spare key under the rug near your front door. If you’re leaving for a few days, have a neighbor keep an eye on your house for you.