Holidays year-round come with unique sets of safety issues.
- Use only flame-resistant materials to decorate a tree.
- Check all extension cords and holiday lights for frays, loose connections, or damaged plugs. Don’t overload extension cords.
- Avoid using outdoor lights or lighted decorations inside; or indoor lights, lighted decorations and indoor extension cords outside.
- Unplug or turn off all lighted decorations before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Keep decorations with small parts and sharp edges out of children’s reach, as pieces could be swallowed or inhaled.
- Avoid decorations that resemble food or candy that may tempt a child or pet to eat them.
- Never leave lighted candles near a tree or other evergreens.
- Buy a locally-grown tree. Trees transported. were cut earlier and are more likely to be dry, which is a fire hazard.
- Shake the tree to see if green needles fall off. If they do, the tree is dry. Brown needles that fall from the inside probably fell years ago and were trapped in the tree.
- Cut about one inch off the base of the tree to help the water move through it (most vendors will do this for you).
- Check the water level daily. A six-foot tree should use a gallon of water every two days.
- Place the tree in a cool area of your home, away from heat sources or where it could get knocked over.
- Look for the “Fire Resistant” label when purchasing an artificial tree.
- Make sure toxic holiday plants, such as poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe, are out of reach of children and pets.
Around the House
- Gift-wrapped packages should be kept out of sight of your home’s windows and doors.
- Candles, lighters, and matches should be kept out of the reach of children.
- Smoke alarms should be checked to make sure they're working correctly.
- When possible, shop during daylight hours. If you must shop at night, take someone with you.
- Stay alert to your surroundings.
- Keep records of credit card information in a safe place at home.
- Plan your trip so you have plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Make sure your vehicle is well maintained before you leave. Check tires and tread, clean all lights, and check your brakes and battery.
- Wear seatbelts every time you drive and instruct your passengers to do the same.
- Always make sure children are properly secured in car seats and booster seats.
- Drive defensively.
- Avoid driving distractions.
- Let someone else drive if you become drowsy, or pull over and catch a few winks.
- Don’t be an aggressive driver. Avoid speeding, tailgating, and failing to yield the right-of-way.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
- Always have water nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
- Read and follow all instructions and warnings.
- Move spectators out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never relight a “dud.” Let it sit for 20 minutes then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Use fireworks only as intended. Do not alter or combine them.
- Wash your hands and work areas before preparing food.
- If preparing food ahead of time, allow plenty of time to thoroughly chill in shallow containers in the refrigerator.
- Store perishable foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and salads in ice. You want to keep the food at 40 degrees F. Pack foods right from the refrigerator into coolers.
- Store the coolers inside an air-conditioned car, not in the trunk.
- Use a separate cooler for drinks so the one containing the food won't constantly be opened and closed.
- Pack coolers until they are full. A full cooler will stay cold longer than one that is partially full.
- If you plan on getting takeout foods such as fried chicken, eat them within an hour of pick up.
- When taking food off the grill, put it on a clean plate. Don't put the cooked items on the same plate which held the raw meat.
- Don't leave perishable food un-refrigerated for more than two hours.
- Discard leftovers that have been sitting out for more than an hour or two. If the ice in the cooler has melted, that food should be discarded also.
- Wear a life jacket when boating.
- Make sure your boat is legally equipped with U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets for all passengers, and carry other required safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, sound signals, and navigation lights.
- Operate your boat at a safe speed.
- Comply with signs and rules.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- If you can’t swim or don’t swim well, make this the summer to learn. The American Red Cross offers many Learn-to-Swim classes. The objective is to teach people to swim and to be safe in, on, and around the water.
- Swim with others, not alone.
- Keep children in direct sight at all times.
- Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by your residential pool and know how to use it. A first aid kit, phone, phone list with emergency contact information, a reaching pole and a ring buoy with a nylon line attached are recommended.
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