Texas Living

Your Honey-Don’t List

By Lisa Martin 11.21.14

Take a few items off your holiday to-do list in order to keep your festivities merry, bright, and safe this season.

Don’t: Hang Those Christmas Lights

Consider outsourcing anything that involves work on your electrical systems, heating or AC along with plumbing, says David Waldrep, the Texas Farm Bureau Insurance agency manager in Arlington. Depending on your comfort level on a ladder, this rule of thumb might extend to include installing outdoor holiday lights.

“Why risk getting hurt or costing yourself even more if you need to hire someone to come fix what you tried to fix,” he says. “Working overhead always increases your risk.”

Every Thanksgiving weekend, thousands of Americans wind up in emergency rooms after falling off ladders. If you’re intent on doing the deed yourself, make sure you use a sturdy, non-wooden ladder and that you check your lights to make sure they’re in good working order. According to the National Fire Protection Association, holiday lights start an average of 170 home fires each year.

Don’t: Fry Up Your Turkey

Speaking of blazes, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that the improper use of turkey fryers has led to dozens of serious fires or burns.

“Our hope is that people think twice before using a turkey fryer,” says John Drengenberg, Underwriter Laboratory’s Director of Consumer Affairs. “If they insist on using one, we urge them to use extreme caution.”

Drengenberg recommends never overfilling the cooking pot with oil, only using birds that are fully thawed, and placing the unit outside in a ventilated area but where wind won’t blow it over.

Don’t: Salt the Sidewalks

In advance of any guests arriving, take a few minutes to de-ice your sidewalks. A shovel and some muscle can usually do the trick, but you may be tempted to scatter salt as well to speed the process. Salt, however, has the potential to harm your grass or shrubs. Consider, instead, a plant- and pet-friendly product like Safe Paw Ice Melter.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms, and may vary by situation. © 2014 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance

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