However you celebrate the season, holiday safety needs to be top of mind. Traditions can be a wonderful way to bring family and friends together, but can also pose some substantial risks.
Especially for anyone who lives in dry climates, fire is one of the primary risks during the holiday season. With more than the usual amount of cooking teamed up with Christmas trees, strings of lights and candles, it is especially important to be aware of holiday safety to avoid potential hazards.
Holiday Safety – First things first!
- One of the best things you can do is make sure your smoke alarms are working properly. Check the batteries and do a test
- If you don’t already have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen that is UL listed and rated for grease and electrical fires, get one! Take the time to read the instructions now so that you know how to use it in a hurry. And don’t hide it. Make sure everyone who is helping in the kitchen knows where it is.
- Keep all flammables away from the cooktop and oven
- Take care to wear clothing that stays close to the body so that you don’t drag sleeves near the stove burners
- Protect yourself from steam so that you can safely move pans around
Holiday Safety for lights
- Holiday lights, whether on the tree, used on garlands or other decorations can be a safety issue. Always be sure that you have lights that have the UL safety test tag on them.
- Get rid of any strings of lights that have visible damage or are malfunctioning
- Lights should be plugged into a circuit interrupter receptacle
- Do not leave lights on when you are gone or sleeping
- Christmas trees with lights are a major source of fire, so choose a tree that is fresh, keep the tree watered and discard if it gets too dry or use an artificial tree
- If you have holiday lights in your office or store, make sure they are off when you close for the day
Holiday Safety for candles and fireplaces
We all love candles, but they can be a major fire hazard. If you have small children or pets in your home, be aware of how easy it is for a candle to be knocked over. Curtains, furniture and clothing can catch fire very quickly. Consider using battery operated candles for a safer solution and perhaps a diffuser to get that candle scent. If you are having a fire in your fireplace, make sure your screen or glass doors are in place and keep an eye on small children.
Holiday Safety for children and pets
In addition to fire hazards during the holiday, small children and pets can be injured. Between ornaments, small batteries and a whole host of “interesting” items all over the place, children and pets can easily choke or ingest dangerous substances. Wrapping paper, pins, staples, tags, cords, ribbons, flower arrangements and even your guests’ glass of spiked eggnog or wine can be of danger to children and pets. If you have overnight guests, keep in mind they may not think to secure their prescriptions or other items in their room to keep your children and pets safe.
With awareness and a little planning, you and your family can have a safe holiday
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