The holiday season is a time for family, friends and celebrating. However, it’s also a time when safety risks can increase. Many potential risks come with the holidays, from cooking hazards to driving in bad weather. But don’t worry! By following these five safety tips, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones stay safe this winter.
Tip #1: Drive safely in winter weather
Bad weather can make driving conditions very dangerous. If possible, avoid driving in snow, ice or heavy rain. If you must drive, take your time, and go slow. Be sure to clear all snow and ice off your car before you start driving, and be sure to use your headlights so that other drivers can see you.
Keep these additional driving tips in mind to stay safe:
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid getting stranded if you get stuck in snow or ice.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly to maintain traction.
- Increase your following distance from other vehicles.
- Brake gradually to avoid skidding.
- Be extra cautious on bridges and overpasses, which tend to ice over before other areas.
Tip #2: Cook safely
Cooking is one of the leading causes of injuries during the holidays. To avoid holiday dinner disasters, follow basic food safety rules. Thoroughly wash your hands and all cooking surfaces before starting to cook. Don’t leave sharp knives or other utensils out that may injure someone.
Tip #3: Prevent fires when cooking
Additionally, cooking is one of the leading causes of house fires, and the holiday season is a time when people do a lot of cooking. To help prevent fires in your kitchen, follow these tips:
- Never leave food unattended on the stove.
- Keep a fire extinguisher close by in case of an emergency.
- Be careful when using candles, and never leave them unattended.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets, and unplug appliances when you’re not using them.
Tip #4: Stay home if you’re sick
No one wants to miss out on holiday festivities, but staying home is important. With the ongoing COVID and flu viruses circulating, staying home is more crucial than ever if you’re feeling even the slightest bit ill.
If you are sick and go to a holiday gathering, you put everyone at risk of getting sick. You may not feel especially sick yourself, but you can still spread the illness to others. It’s best to stay home and rest if you’re not feeling well.
Tip #5: Use caution with holiday decorations
You can easily injure yourself while putting up holiday decorations if you’re not careful. Falls are a common type of injury, so be sure to use a sturdy ladder or step stool when reaching for high places. Cuts and scratches are also common, so be careful when handling sharp objects, such as knives and scissors. Always be sure to unplug any electrical decorations before moving them to avoid being electrocuted.
Another safety risk involves Christmas tree fires. Christmas trees are often placed near heat sources, such as fireplaces and candles, which can easily ignite them. It’s important to keep your tree well-watered to help prevent it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
Along with Christmas trees, what you use to decorate the tree can be a choking hazard for small children. Be sure to keep any small ornaments or decorations out of their reach.
The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, but it does pose some unique dangers. By following these simple tips, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe. On behalf of all of the members at the Fermilab Fire Department: May the holiday season bring you joy and good health.