Published on 12/10/18

Delegate safety duties during the holidays

By Pamela R. Turner

The holiday season is a great time for families to get together to decorate and celebrate. If celebrating is a family affair, safety can be too.

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension recommends delegating safety responsibilities to different family members so no one person spends has to spend the holiday season as the safety Grinch. Delegating safety roles can help spread the burden of holiday-season tasks and help everyone feel included in holiday preparations.  

One person in the household should cover each of the tasks below. If you have a small household, you can double-up on assignments.

Appoint a “safety captain.”

This person should oversee the walkway and porches to make sure they are safe for the guests and delivery people. Job duties might include:

  • Removing leaves, twigs or other debris from the walkways and porches.
  • Making sure outdoor lighting along pathways and on the porch is in working order.
  • Securing extension cords so they do not present a trip or fall hazard.

Commission a “keeper of the light.”

This person is in charge of the candles, decorative lighting and fireplaces. Job duties might include:

  • Making certain no candles are burning and that decorative lights are unplugged when everyone goes to bed or leaves the house.
  • Checking the batteries in the carbon monoxide (CO) detector or installing a CO detector if the home does not have one.
  • Keeping the area around fireplaces free from all types of combustibles. Try to keep things at least three feet from the fireplace.

Empower the “keeper of the tree.”

This person is in charge of the tree. Job duties might include:

  • Keeping the tree watered if it is a live tree.
  • Making sure all portable heaters are at least three feet away from the tree.
  • Monitoring electrical cords to make sure pets have not chewed on them.
  • Picking up decorations and ornaments that fall or are knocked off the tree.

For more information about keeping homes safe during the holidays, visit

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