BLOG: Home Holiday Safety Tips for Pennsylvanians

December 21, 2015

By Teresa Miller, Insurance Commissioner, and Tim Solobay, Fire Commissioner

The holiday season is a festive time, which often means homes are decorated and family and friends visit. In order to keep this season happy and safe, we have tips to offer to Pennsylvanians on how to avoid potentially dangerous and costly situations.

Fire Safety

First, while holiday lights and candles give a home a holiday glow, they can also pose a fire hazard. One way to avoid this hazard is to purchase artificial candles, which can look very realistic, while also giving you peace of mind.

Holiday safety tips from Governor Wolf

Be sure to choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant, and keep all holiday greenery, including trees, well-watered.

In addition, never leave burning candles or cooking appliances unattended, and keep children and pets away from open flames and hot surfaces.

If a string of lights has a worn or broken cord, or any loose bulb connections, replace it. Try to avoid connecting more than three strands of lights on a tree. Be sure to turn off all lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Holiday Party Safety

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.

Hosts can be held legally responsible for guests’ actions after they leave a party. Social host liability can have consequences for someone who serves liquor to a guest.

Holiday safety tips

Homeowners insurance often provides some liquor liability coverage, but this coverage varies by policy. Party hosts should review their policy or discuss their coverage with their insurance professional.

There are several ways to make sure guests get home safely from holiday parties, such as:

  • Stop serving liquor toward the end of the party;
  • Switch to coffee, tea, or soft drinks;
  • If a guest appears to have had too much to drink or seems too tired to drive home, arrange for a ride or offer for that guest to stay at your home.


If you are planning to give, or expecting to receive, expensive gifts — such as jewelr>y, electronics, or other costly items — you should review your homeowners insurance to make sure you have enough coverage for these expensive items.

Holiday safety tips

Unwrapped gifts, especially more expensive ones, should not be left visible through windows.

Be Safe, Relax, Enjoy the Holiday

The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy getting together with family and friends. 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.

For homeowners insurance information, visit, and click on Home under Top Pages.



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