Holiday Home Hazards: New campaign helps keep you safe during the holidays

During the holidays, insurance companies see a huge increase in the number of damage claims. That's why Allstate started a new campaign this year called "Holiday Home Hazards." It points out some of the most common home safety risks, to keep you and your family safe.

They're hoping to cut down the 67,500 claims typically filed during the period of mid-November through mid-January.

After analyzing four years of holiday claims, Allstate found data showing significant holiday-specific loss trends. From 2009-2012 there was an increase in holiday theft, sewer backup and fire loss claims. The top contributors to holiday fire loss claims are Christmas trees, candles, turkey fryers, and fireworks.

There are several things you should think of going into the holiday season. If you like to put lights up, make sure the outside lights go outside and the inside lights go on the inside. Also, Niles Fire Department Lt. Scott Rieth suggests not buying lights or space heaters from garage sales. He says you never know if they have been damaged, have wire issues and you don’t know if they have been recalled.

He also suggests watering your Christmas tree if you have a real one. If you don’t, the heat from the lights you have on it could start a fire. When it comes to candles, make sure you watch them and blow them out any time you leave.

It is not just holiday decorations that could pose a safety issue. Even the things you use to stay warm could cause a fire. For example, space heaters could be a safety hazard. Lt. Rieth suggests having a three foot distance anytime it is in use.

If you are using an extension cord, make sure you on have one heat producing appliance plugged into it. Rieth says it is only designed for that one.

And of course, having a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector is always key.

“We have had, recently in Merrillville, Indiana where a family of four passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning. Power went out so they were heating their house with a generator and it produced carbon monoxide,” says Lt. Rieth.


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