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Be sure there's good light to guide your guests.
Be sure there's good light to guide your guests. / Eunice Harris / Getty Images

Before holiday guests ring your doorbell, pay attention to these matters of home safety, says Laurie March of

Check your chimney. Each year, $7.2 billion of direct property damage occurs that could be avoided with proper fire safety and cleaning.

Get carbon monoxide detectors. Hundreds die every year after being poisoned by this odorless, colorless gas; you might confuse the symptoms with the flu. The most common culprit: unvented supplemental space heaters. But malfunctioning appliances and dryers can create toxic levels, too. Install a detector outside each sleeping area and on each floor.

Install lights outside. Younger and older holiday guests might be unfamiliar with your walkways. So clear all obstacles from your driveway and paths to your front door and be sure you have enough light.

Snake any slow drain lines. A backed-up, overflowing toilet is a gift nobody wants.

Get more tips from Laurie March at

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