As the holiday season approaches, we are all looking forward to special gatherings and celebrations with friends and loved ones. With all the excitement the holidays bring, it can be easy to forget and overlook dangers. Throughout the country there are 5,000 to 6,000 injuries during the typical holiday season. A little caution and planning while preparing for the holidays will help you avoid tragedy during the upcoming holiday season.
Celebrating at Home:
- Check the batteries in your smoke detectors.
- Choose a Christmas tree that does not lose its needles when touched or shook. Water the tree every day, keep it from heating devices (wood stoves, fireplaces and heating vents), and dispose of it when needles begin to fall off in large quantities.
- Buy new light strings before using lights which you are unsure of or that have worn, frayed or blackened wires. When using lights outside, make sure plugs hang away from where snow or water can get inside and that they are UL approved and marked for outdoor use. Don’t overload extension cords.
- Unplug all decorations when leaving the house or going to bed.
Celebrating Away from Home:
- Lock all doors and windows before you leave.
- Keep an “at-home” appearance by temporarily canceling daily deliveries, leaving lights and radios on in different parts of the house, and asking trusted neighbors or friends to shovel the walks if you will be gone for any extended period of time.
- Ask a trusted neighbor to watch for any suspicious persons or vehicles.
- Have a chimney sweep inspect to make sure there is no build-up, which can start a fire.
- Dispose of ashes out of doors in an area away from flammable objects.
- Don’t burn wrapping paper.
- Hang stockings off to the side of the fireplace, away from its direct heat and where they cannot easily fall in.
- Beware of erratic drivers, those going too slow, driving recklessly, weaving, following too closely or braking without reason.
- Use caution if involved in an accident in an isolated area; drive slowly to the nearest populated area before leaving the car to exchange information.
- Avoid drowsy driving during the holidays; in 1998, there were over 3,500 instances throughout the U.S. in which someone was killed or injured because they couldn’t stay awake.