Delta Media Group
Decorating for the holidays is one of the fun perks of being a homeowner, because your whole property becomes a blank canvas. Decorating is a great opportunity to get in the spirit of the season, show off your sense of style, and get your kids (even more) excited for the holidays. No matter how you choose to decorate your home this holiday season, just remember that it's also important to keep home safety in mind as you deck the halls. We've put together 5 decorating tips to help keep your home safe, without cramping your holiday decorating style.
Check It Twice – Holiday lights are among the most popular decorations, and for good reason! They're bright, beautiful, and can transform the look of your entire property. Before you start stringing up those lights, however, be sure to check for any signs of wear. If there are broken lights or exposed wires, it's time to purchase some new outdoor holiday lights. Remember that outdoor lights are exposed to the elements, so even minimal signs of wear can pose a risk. Bonus Tip: If you're in the market for new lights, try LED lighting rather than incandescent bulbs. LED lights are more energy efficient, burn cooler than incandescent bulbs, and come in just about any color you can imagine.
Don't Overload Outlets – Overloading a single outlet is a fire risk, even if you're plugging in new, energy efficient decorations. Avoiding tangled wires is also good for holiday decorating safety, and it's easier to do when you use multiple outlets. Always plug decorations into outlets with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, which are designed to shut down the circuit automatically if certain signs of electrical danger are detected.
Indoor/Outdoor – That giant, inflatable Santa Claus won't fit in your living room, so it's probably a safe bet that he can be used outside. But not every decoration makes the distinction so clear. For any decorations that rely on electricity, always check whether they're rated for outdoor use before you plug them in outside. This is a great step to take care of while you're shopping for decorations, as the necessary info should be available right on the packaging.
Rooftop and Ladder Safety – For many homeowners, the holiday season is one of the few times each year when we take our ladders out of long-term storage and venture onto our rooftops. Stay safe by taking your time, having a plan, and wearing sturdy boots (or sneakers) with strong treads. If you do plan on climbing on your roof or using a ladder to decorate, never do so alone. Make sure there's someone on the ground to "spot" you and aid if you run into trouble.
Clean Gutters – Since you're likely to be spending time up there anyway, it's a great idea to clean your gutters before stringing up any holiday lights. Dried leaves and plant matter in gutters can serve as kindling when a faulty wire leaks electricity. As a bonus, keeping your gutters clean is a great way to lower your risk of water-related roof damage throughout the year.
The biggest thing to remember for holiday decorating home safety is that electricity can be dangerous, especially if you're using older decorations. Check any decorations for signs of wear before putting them up, make sure that any decorations you wish to use outside are rated for outdoor use, and keep your gutters clean to reduce fire risk. And of course, don't forget to have fun!
Helping Military Families
CBT Realtor® Kendra Gonzalez works hard guiding families in the Magic Valley to the homes of their dreams. Her time as a military spouse is never far from her mind, though, remembering the days when her husband and fellow Realtor®, Jesus Gonzalez, was deployed to Iraq, leaving the new mom alone and far from family. Fortunately for Kendra, she discovered the Service Member and Family Support Program through the Idaho National Guard.
The Family Readiness Group, or FRG, addresses physical, emotional, and financial support for spouses whose partners are deployed and for children who are missing their parent. They hold fun events for military families, assist with paperwork, conduct community outreach, work with mental health and crisis intervention professionals, and much, much more.
A volunteer for six years, Kendra attends monthly meetings, chaperones at military youth camps across Idaho, and helps plan and organize events for military families. She says, "Now that my husband is back from deployment, I want to be a beacon of hope and support for those wives that have a deployed husband."
She has enlisted the help of her husband, now a fellow volunteer, and recruited the rest of the Coldwell Banker Tomlinson team in the Twin Falls area to help at FRG's first Candy Corn Fall Carnival for service members and their families.
According to Sonya Nowland, Soldier and Family Readiness Specialist for the region, the carnival will be held on October first at the Twin Falls Amory and will feature chili, hotdogs, and lots of candy. Kids will be able to get their faces painted, play in a bounce house, and participate in fun games including a cake walk, a duck pond game, bean bag toss, and a photo booth. Costumes are welcomed but not required. The CBT team will be on hand to help with the games, serve food to the families, hand out candy, and assist wherever they can.
Of the organization, Sonya, who has been in her position for 19 years, explains that "all the services we provide are open to all branches of service. We also assist with veterans who are no longer wearing the uniform."
For her part, Kendra sums it up this way: "Supporting FRG makes me feel happy. It fills my heart that I am giving back to the military."
To volunteer with FRG or to find out what you can do to help military families, reach out to Sonya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we have spotlighted over the past several months or tell us in the comments below about what lights your fire when it comes to making our communities better.