Keep the holidays fun and safe

Can you guess what’s wrong in this picture?

The holiday season brings many joys, such as family gatherings and festive decorations. However, it also brings hazards. Flickering candles, blinking lights and fragrant evergreens are beautiful staples of the holiday season, but when used improperly, these holiday decorations can pose dangers.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year during the winter holiday season, about 11,000 people are treated in emergency rooms because of decoration-related injuries, with falls, cuts, shocks and burns topping the list. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that each year an average of 240 fires involving dried-out Christmas trees result in 16 deaths and $13 million in property damage. Deaths, injuries and property loss are preventable if we follow a few holiday safety tips:

Ladder safety

  • Use ladders with slip-resistant feet, and wear clean, dry and slip-resistant shoes.
  • When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper stepstool or a ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks or furniture.
  • Do not stand on a ladder step that is higher than the indicated highest standing level.
  • If you have to use a stepladder near a doorway, lock or barricade the door, and post signs so no one will open it and knock you off.
  • Place a straight or extension ladder one foot away from the surface against which it rests for every four feet of ladder height.
  • When you climb, always face the ladder and grip the rungs, not the side rails, to climb.
  • Keep three points of contact on the ladder — two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand.
  • When climbing, keep your hips between the side rails, and do not lean too far or overreach. Reposition the ladder closer to the work instead.
  • When using ladders outdoors, get down immediately if high winds, rain, snow or other inclement weather begins.

Electrical and fire safety

  • Decorate with non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.
  • Ensure that you are clear of overhead power lines while decorating.
  • Check for frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
  • Check labels to be sure of the proper use of indoor and outdoor lights.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets.
  • If using a real tree, fill the stand with water to keep the tree from drying out.
  • If using an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled “fire-resistant.” Place trees away from fireplaces, radiators and portable heaters.
  • If you use a fireplace or candles, always ensure there is a working fire extinguisher available and that everyone knows how to use it.
  • Never position lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains, drapes, children, pets, gift wrapping or anything combustible or flammable.

View this video for more information.

Happy Holidays!

J.B. Dawson