Carol Ann Guarino
Maybe this is the year you are lucky enough to house your whole clan for the holidays or maybe you’re packing to make that long hike to your relatives. Either way, a few things to remember…
If you’re heading out of town for a few days, ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home. Install a few timers on various lights or set up reminders on your smart home app. Unplug appliances and electronics when you are not using them. Make sure your smoke/CO2 detectors are in working order. Check that windows are locked and outside doors are secure. Turn off the interior water main valve and any water pumps (if applicable). Trust me on this one, a few hours/days of leaking water can do massive damage. Stop your mail and suspend package deliveries and lastly, lock your doors.
If you are traveling by car, check road conditions beforehand and alternate routes. Invest in AAA for unexpected vehicle trouble and pack a road emergency kit.
For air travel, it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance. Busy holiday traffic adds to flight delays and inclement weather can lead to cancellations. You don’t want to spend a holiday stuck in an airport.
With a houseful of guests be sure that cords are out of the way and extension cords aren’t overloaded. Check lights for wear, fraying or missing bulbs before decorating the tree and if you have a real tree check it daily to keep it from drying out. Keep trees and decorations away from heat sources (fireplaces, etc.). Only use heavy-duty extension cords outdoors that are labeled for outdoor use and keep connections dry. Be mindful of candles, keep them out of reach of children and on stable surfaces. Watch plants around pets as some holiday plants are toxic. Make sure ALL guests have a safe ride home and designated driver if needed. Turn off all decorations before heading to bed or set decorations on timers.
Properly clean work surfaces when preparing raw meat and check temperatures before serving. Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Store leftovers promptly and reheat food to 165*.
A little preparation can help guarantee a safe and relaxing holiday.