HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The holiday season is a festive time, which often means homes are decorated and family and friends visit. The Wolf Administration is offering some tips on how to keep this season happy by avoiding potentially dangerous and costly situations.
"Holiday lights and candles give a home a holiday glow, but they can also pose a fire hazard," said State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay. "One way to avoid this hazard is to purchase artificial candles, which can look very realistic, while giving you peace of mind this holiday season. If you'd like to use real candles, always make sure to use precaution and blow them out if they will be unattended."
Commissioner Solobay offered several other suggestions for keeping your home safe:
- Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant and
- Keep all holiday greenery, including trees, well-watered.
- Never leave burning candles or cooking appliances unattended,
- Always keep children and pets away from open flames and hot surfaces.
- Replacing any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections and avoiding connecting more than three strands of lights on a tree.
- Be sure to turn off holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Holiday party hosts should also be aware of the legal responsibilities that go with holding a gathering in their home. This is especially true if alcohol is being served.
"Though we always encourage Pennsylvanians to celebrate the holidays with their friends and families, we also want everyone to be responsible and safe," said Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller. "Social host liability can have consequences for those who serve alcohol to guests and hosts can be held legally responsible for guests' actions after they leave a party. Always make sure your guests are drinking responsibly."
Commissioner Miller reminded consumers that homeowners insurance often provides some liquor liability coverage, but this coverage varies by policy. She recommended that homeowners planning to host a party review their policy or discuss their coverage with their insurance professional.
Commissioner Miller also recommended several ways to make sure guests get home safely from holiday parties. For example:
- Stop serving liquor toward the end of the party;
- Switch to coffee, tea, or soft drinks;
- Arrange for a ride or offer for that guest to stay at your home if anyone appears to have had too much to drink or seems too tired to drive home.
Commissioner Miller also advised consumers that if they are giving or receiving expensive gifts, such as jewelry, fur, or firearms, they should review their homeowners insurance to make sure the coverage allotted for contents is enough for these expensive items. Most homeowners' policies have specific, lower limits for valuable items such as those just listed. The commissioner recommended that unwrapped gifts not be left visible through windows. She also encouraged anyone traveling to hold off posting vacation pictures on social media until they return, to avoid making it known the home will be unoccupied for a period of time.
"The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy getting together with family and friends," said Commissioner Solobay. "By applying a few common sense safety ideas, you can make sure your holiday gatherings remain happy ones you will want to remember for years to come."
For fire safety tips, visit the Office of the State Fire Commissioner on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PAOSFC.
For homeowners' insurance information, visit www.insurance.pa.gov, and click on Home under Insurance Coverage Resources.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ruth Miller, Office of the State Fire Commissioner, 717-651-2009;
Ron Ruman, Insurance, 717-787-3289
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance