The holiday season is full of opportunities for people to get together for fun, food, and sharing. By following some simple precautions, you can make the holidays safe for yourself, your family and friends.
- Choose a fresh tree. Look for one without shedding needles. Trim the truck at an angle before you put it in a non-tip stand. Make sure it is watered constantly and placed away from all exits and sources of heat. All artificial trees should have labels which indicate they are fire-retardant.
- Care with candles. Always put candles in containers before you light them. Do not use them in decorations or displays. Keep candles away from curtains or other combustible materials. Never put them in windows or near exits. Never leave candles within the reach of unsupervised children or pets. Always extinguish candles when you leave a room.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in each bedroom. Check their function according to manufacturer’s directions, and change their batteries at least once a year. (New Year – New Batteries!) It could mean the difference between waking up to a small, smoldering fire, or one you can’t escape.
- Be watchful of dangers to children. Teach them to stay away from candles, fireplaces, fireworks, space heaters, matches and lighters. Holly and mistletoe can be poisonous to small children and pets.
- Choose toys wisely. Pass up those that could be highly flammable or a choking hazard. Make sure electric toys are labeled for fire safety, and keep them away from your tree. Be sure to check for toys that may be recalled by the manufacturer.
- Wrap it up! Dispose of gift wrappings soon after opening presents. A room full of paper lying around on the floor and furniture is yet another holiday hazard. Do not burn wrappings in a fireplace; they may ignite suddenly and cause a flash fire.
- Have a fire safe fireplace. Have it professionally inspected at least once a year and cleaned if necessary. Don’t burn anything but dry wood, as paper can fly out of the chimney. Have a spark arrester installed on top of the chimney to cut hazards. Use a metal fire screen, put ashes in metal containers and never store them in your home.
- Check out lights. Make sure all holiday lights are tested for safety. You can identify these by a “UL” label from Underwriters Laboratories. Replace any worn sets or those with loose connections. Outside, use lighting labeled for outdoor use. Inside, do not overload outlets. Never put lights on a metal tree. And, always unplug everything before you leave your home or go to bed.
Enjoy your holiday season!