Holiday Safety

The long 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.

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. Avoid 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.

Install smoke detectors on every level in your home and in each bedroom. Check their function according to manufacturer’s directions, and change their batteries at least once a year.  It could mean the difference between waking up to a small, smoldering fire or one you can’t escape. For the greatest fire safety, we recommend a smoke detector inside each bedroom in addition to the required smoke detector on each level of the home.

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.

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.

Use motorized ornaments/decorations wisely. Motorized ornaments and other decorations (animated figures) are very popular. Be sure to turn off any motorized ornaments on your tree with your holiday lights., and keep watch over animated figures, which can overheat and burn out if used for long periods of time.

Choose a fresh tree. Look for one without shedding needles. Trim the trunk 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 candlesticks before you light them. Do not use them in decorations or displays. Keep candles away from curtains or other combustibles materials. Never put them in windows or near exits. And never leave candles in the reach of unsupervised children or pets.  Always blow out candles when you leave a room.

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.

Give space heaters space!   An adequate clearance of at least 36” from any combustible surface.  Make sure the heater meets UL testing and is used properly.

Party safely.   Costumes and decorations should be flame - retardant or non– combustible. Take extra care with smoking materials and always cool the contents of ashtrays before disposing. The use of alcohol and smoking can be a deadly combination.