The winter holidays are a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire and accidents. Experts recommend that you follow these guidelines to help make your holiday season safer and more enjoyable.
- Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible materials.
- Do not overload extension cords.
- Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.
- Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
- Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground-fault circuit interrupters.
- Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
- Use only non-combustible and flame-resistant materials to trim a tree.
- Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
- In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp and breakable.
- Avoid trimmings that resemble candy and food that may tempt a young child to put them in his mouth.
Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S and Canada When cooking for holiday visitors, remember to keep an eye on the range.
- Keep matches and lighters up high, out of sight and reach of children
- Test your smoke alarms, and let guests know what your fire escape plan is.
- When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "fire-resistant."
- When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators and portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
- Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly.
- Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.
- Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten.
- Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace.
Toys and Ornaments
- Purchase appropriate toys for the appropriate age. Some toys designed for older children might be dangerous for younger children.
- Toys with sharp points, sharp edges, strings, cords, and parts small enough to be swallowed should not be given to small children.
Children and Pets
- Keep decorations at least 6 inches above the child’s reach.
- Avoid using tinsel. It can fall on the floor and a curious child or pet may eat it.
- Keep any ribbons on gifts and tree ornaments shorter than 7 inches. A child could wrap a longer strand of ribbon around their neck and choke.
- Watch children and pets around space heaters or the fireplace. Do not leave a child or pet unattended.
- Inspect wrapped gifts for small decorations, such as candy canes, gingerbread men, and mistletoe berries, all of which are choking hazards.
- Use your home burglar alarm system.
- If you plan to travel for the holidays, don’t discuss your plans with strangers.
- Have a trusted friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your home.