I love the holidays because there are twinkling lights everywhere and people are a little nicer to one another than the rest of the year (if you avoid crowded mall parking lots!) Here are a few household tips to help keep your pets and home safe over the holidays.
- All the decorations and lights mean lots of extension cords and overworked electrical outlets. So make sure to replace your extension cords every few years. An easy way to know how old the cord is to place a band of duct tape around one end and write the purchase date on it in sharpie marker. Once it starts to show some wear and tear you can see exactly how old it is and determine weather to throw it away.
- Buy surge protectors for those new gadgets your receive for Christmas or Hanukkah. If you have more than two items plugged into an electrical outlet make sure you plug in the surge protector first and then plug your electronics into the surge protector. Remember once a surge protector receives a "surge" its time to be replaced.
- Check your electrical cords. Look under your desk, behind your stereo cabinet or entertainment center. Often cords can be stepped on, repeatedly rolled over with an office chair, or nibbled by the kitty or hamster.
- If you leave the house to go to a party or go shopping, turn off your outside decorative lights. If something shorts out or catches on fire you don't want to come home to ashes where your home once stood.
- Now is also a great time to change the batteries in your homes smoke alarm. With all the extra outlets in use and seasonal candles and roasting marshmallow in the fireplace now is the perfect time to replace batteries. A functioning smoke alarm can save the lives of your pets, and children.
- Consider adding to your homes burglar alarm monitoring package. Typically your home alarm company can add fire alarms that notify local firemen that your home is on fire. Why wait for a neighbor to smell smoke to have the fire department on the scene.
- Check your fire extinguishers "best by date". What you don't have one? Well get one for the kitchen and another one for the garage. It is always better to be safe than sorry and $20 for a fire extinguisher is well worth it. I also keep one in my car for emergencys.
- Keeping your pets safe. Install stickers on your front and back doors to alert Firemen that you have pets. Many of the stickers have a place to write what kid of pets and how many pets. That way the rescuers can save both of your dogs, not just the first one they saw. The stickers are generally available from your alarm company and some insurance providers.
- Check your fence and gates. Make sure there are no missing boards, loose boards or gates that don't fully latch, consider installing a lock on the backyard gate. Often during the fireworks displays on New Years Eve, pets can get very scared by the lights and loud noises and escape. Most owners don't notice because they are out celebrating New Year's Eve away from home. New Years Day and the 4th of July are the two days a year when animal shelters are filled to capacity and beyond with runaway pets. Make sure your pet always wears its ID collar, and be sure your current phone number is engraved on the ID tag. If they get lost you want to be able to get them back.
- Have your fireplace cleaned by a professional. The Creosote cleaning logs are fine as an intermittent cleaning, but nothing matches the clean of a real chimney sweep. They can also see if your chimney is damaged or needs a little TLC. after all Santa only sees it once a year and he is in a hurry! LOL
While I am not a home inspector or safety professional, I am a pet owner and Realtor. I want to help everyone to keep their pets and children safe over the holidays. If you want to buy or sell a home, please call Austin Home Girls Realty. We are here for you long after the transaction is done. Wishing you all a blessed holiday season & a healthy and happy New Year!
Austin Home Girls Real Estate
1601 West 6th Street
Austin, Texas 78703