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HOLIDAY SAFETY

Holiday safety is an issue that burns brightest from late November to mid-January, when families gather, parties are scheduled and travel spikes. To ensure your family remains safe and injury-free throughout the season, follow these tips from the National Safety Council

 

Candles and Fireplaces

Turkey Fryers

Travel

Trees

Lights

Decorations

Toy Safety

Costumes

Fireworks 

 

CANDLES and FIREPLACES

Thousands of deaths are caused by fires, burns and other fire-related injuries every year, an12% of home candle fires occur in December, the National Fire Protection Association reports. Increased use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations present in many homes means more risk for fire.

1.   Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle

2.   Keep candles out of reach of children

3.   Make sure candles are on stable surfaces

4.   Don't burn candles near trees, curtains or any other flammable item

5.   Don't burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace

6.   Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year

 

TURKEY FRYERS

 

While many subscribe to the theory any fried food is good – even if it's not necessarily good for you – there is reason to be on alert if you're thinking of celebrating the holidays by frying a turkey.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there have been 168 turkey-fryer related fires, burns, explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning incidents since 2002. CPSC says 672 people have been injured and $8 million in property damage losses have resulted from these incidents.

NSC discourages the use of turkey fryers at home and urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments or consider a new oil-less turkey fryer. But for those who don't heed that advice, please follow these precautions:

1.   Set up the fryer more than 10 feet from the house and keep children away

2.   Find flat ground; the oil must be even and steady to ensure safety

3.   Use a thawed and dry turkey; any water will cause the oil to bubble furiously and spill over

4.   Fryer lid and handle can become very hot and cause burns

5.   Have a fire extinguisher ready at all times

 

TRAVEL

 

Many people choose to travel during the holidays by automobile, with the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation. In 2013, 343 people died on New Year's Day, 360 on Thanksgiving Day and 88 on Christmas Day, according to Injury Facts 2015. Alcohol-impaired fatalities represented 31% of the totals.

1.   Use a designated driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; alcohol, over-the-counter or illegal drugs all cause impairment

2.   Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance being traveled

3.   Put that cell phone away; distracted driving causes one-quarter of all crashes

4.   Properly maintain the vehicle and keep an emergency kit with you

5.   Be prepared for heavy traffic, and possibly bad weather 

 

TREES

1.   When purchasing an artificial tree, look for "Fire Resistant" on the label.

2.   When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and needles do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

3.   When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.

4.   Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.

5.   Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly. 

LIGHTS

1.   Check all tree lights (even if you've just purchased them) before hanging them on your tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.

2.   Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.

3.   Some light strands may contain lead in the bulb sockets and wire coating, sometimes in high amounts. Make sure your lights are out of reach of young children who might try to put lights in their mouths, and wash your hands after handling them.

4.   Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them.

5.   Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.

6.   Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.

7.   Lights and candles are fire hazards. If you use electric lights, look for frayed or exposed wires, and make sure no wires are pinched by furniture and no cords run under rugs. 

8.   Don't use the same extension cord for more than three strands of lights and turn off all lights before going to bed. 

9.   Space heaters are involved in 79% of fatal home heating fires. If space heaters are in use, there should be a 3-foot open zone--make sure they are not close to curtains, blankets or potentially flammable materials. Always turn off and unplug when unattended. 

DECORATIONS

 

1.   Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens

 

2.   In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.

 

3.   Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

 

4.   Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child or can cause a fire if near flame. 

 

5.   Keep potentially poisonous holiday plant decorations, including mistletoe berries, Jerusalem cherry, holly berry, and Easter lilies away from children and pets.

TOY SAFETY

COSTUMES

Fall celebrations like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, and eat yummy treats.  These celebrations also provide a chance to give you healthy snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety. Check out these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick or treaters and party guests.

 

·         Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible

·         Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

·         Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you

·         Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating.  Limit the amount of treats you eat.

·         Take a flashlight to help you see, and others see you. WALK and don't run from house to house.

·         Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin irritation

·         Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.

·         Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses

·         Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe

·         Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls

·         Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers

·         Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

·         Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes