Around the world, the longest celebration of Christmas is found in the Philippines. As soon as the month of September sets in, you will begin to notice that shopping malls start to play Christmas tunes.
People would start unpacking their Christmas decors and start decorating their homes. And as soon as Halloween is over, the Christmas frenzy is full blown.
The country also has some of the oldest Christmas traditions that are still very much observed until this day. Some of these are the Simbang Gabi and Noche Buena.
It is also very important that families celebrate these traditions together. Some families will have to travel to their provinces or to where the ancestral house of the family is located to be with other relatives. Most of the time, this season becomes a family reunion as well.
For some people, they prefer to travel and go on vacation in some popular tourist destinations. After all, it’s the holiday season and people take advantage of this time to relax and unwind.
Traditional celebrations or not, both scenarios will require people to leave their houses for some time. That’s why it’s important for home safety’s sake, to keep in mind simple yet really important points to avoid fire and other related accidents during the holidays.
Moreover, these tips do not apply only when you’re not at home but also during the festivities itself.
Use quality Christmas lights
One of the most common holiday-related disasters are caused by fire due to faulty wiring from Christmas decorations. But Christmas won’t be complete without Christmas lights.
So be sure to buy quality Christmas lights, preferably those that are laboratory tested and are fire standards approved. They may be a bit more pricey than your regular ukay ones but you are assured that the quality is not compromised.
If you are using an old set of lights, be sure to check for faulty bulbs and replace them with new ones if you can. You also need to check for cracks or possible damages on the wires due to storage or rodent bites.
For multiple connections, make sure that they are secured and when not in use, unplug the lights from the power source. As much as possible, refrain from using lighted candles or lanterns during the festivities.
Unplug all electrical appliances
When a family trip is scheduled, unplug all electrical appliances such as televisions, lamps, AVRs, and other appliances that need a power source to operate.
If you will be gone for a short period of time, do not leave cellphone chargers or gadgets plugged to a power source to avoid overheating which may cause fire.
This reminder will not only ensure your safety but will also save you from unnecessary electricity costs. Also, do not put appliances near combustible materials.
Handle fire safely
Aside from faulty electrical wiring, another cause of fire is unattended open flame from gas stoves. Do not leave an open fire even if it’s for a short period of time. Always turn off the gas stoves and close gas tanks after use. When leaving, always check and make sure that the gas tank is closed and locked.
Similar to electrical wiring, you should always check for cracks or rodent bites in your gas tank hose. Sometimes the damage may also be from normal wear and tear. The hose becomes soft or brittle over time due to moisture and heat, so be sure to check your gas hose regularly.
Do not leave fire unattended especially around children. Put away matches, lighters, or anything that creates fire in a safe storage. They can be kept in closed cabinets or on top of drawers where kids cannot reach them.
Keep anything that easily creates fire away from stoves. A light fabric, ornaments that are made of dry leaves or branches, or ornaments with oils that are combustible.
Refrain from using firecrackers
Another major cause of fire and injuries during the holidays is firecrackers. On New Year’s Eve, it has been almost part of the tradition to watch and witness in television the victims of firecrackers in the last few hours of the year.
The Department of Health(DOH) recorded around 997 injuries due to fireworks in 2013 alone. 25 out of 997 were sustained blast wounds and required amputation. 147 sustained eye injuries (source: www.gov.ph).
If you decide to use firecrackers, make sure that you are in an open area and that there’s only one source of fire for everybody. You can put the fire in a concrete pedestal away from any fire hazard material and away from children.
Buy quality firecrackers instead of generic ones.
Move away from the firecrackers once it is lighted but in case it doesn’t light up, don’t attempt to pick it up. Instead, pour water over it and dispose properly.
Do not handle firecrackers if you had a drink. Children who want to light up firecrackers should also be supervised closely.
Although it is a tradition to be as noisy as possible during the end of the year as it is believed to bring good fortune, safety should also be of primary concern. There are alternative ways you can do to make a loud sound like ring bells, trumpets, or pots to create noise.
Clear up the clutter
Finally, keep your house free of clutter during the holidays. Check your backyard and clear it of unused stacks of papers, dry wood, or dried twigs and leaves from trees. These little things can attract fire easily.
If the cause is not from inside your home, it may come from external hazards such as your neighbors’ firecrackers or even as simple as cigarette butts.
Check your garage for used oil in exposed containers or gasoline and dispose them properly.
Keeping your house clean and tidy will not only save you from fire or explosions but will also give you a better space to celebrate the holidays with you family.
This is the time of the year when everyone is given a chance to celebrate life. But above the unending parties and get-togethers, safety should always be a priority for our loved ones and family.
From our PhilPropertyExpert family to yours, Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year! May the holiday season bring your family joy and hope. Above all, stay safe!