Holiday Safety Tips

by SKHC Editor on December 23, 2008

Did you know that each year during the 60 days surrounding the end of the year holiday season almost 11,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries sustained while decorating? A gut reaction may be to snicker or maybe a flash of Chevy Chase trying to hang Christmas lights on his house in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has just flashed through your head. These injuries, ranging from falls, cuts, shocks, burns, etc., are no laughing matter. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that each year an average of 240 fires involving dried-out Christmas trees results in 16 deaths and millions in property damage. Can you guess what other fire hazard results in 170 deaths and $390 million in property damage annually? You guessed – candles are the culprit according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

These statistics and holiday hazards seem like a killjoy but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few simple safety precautions and staying alert your holiday can be full of peace and joy.

Check out these helpful suggestions:

Trees and Decorations:

  • If you’re into artificial trees, purchase one that is fire resistant (it doesn’t make you exempt from any fire but it will certainly help)
  • If you’re into live trees, purchase one that is fresh (strong needles, sticky with resin) and keep it that way by watering it regularly
  • Place your tree away from fireplaces, vents and radiators as well as away from high traffic areas
  • Trim your tree using only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials
  • If you have children use ornaments and decorations that are kid-friendly (avoid the sharp or breakable, small pieces that could be swallowed/choked on, trimmings resembling candy or food)

Lights:

  • Use lights that have been tested for safety by a nationally recognized laboratory for both indoor and outdoor lights
  • Use lights that have thicker wiring and safety fuses
  • New or old, check each set up lights for broken/cracked sockets, frayed/exposed wires or loose connections (toss them if any of these descriptions apply)
  • Do NOT use electric lights on a metallic tree (electricity charge + human touch = possibly electrocution)
  • Off to bed or out the door make sure you unplug the lights

Candles:

  • Keep burning candles within your view
  • Keep burning candles away from flammable items
  • Use non-flammable holders and keep out of reach of children and pets
  • Put out the flame when off to bed or out the door

Fireplaces:

  • Use color-producing fire salts with caution and keep away from children and pets
  • Do NOT burn wrapping paper or plastics in your fireplace
  • Use a screen around your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby flammable material (like your shirt when you’re sitting by the fireplace to stay nice and toasty)

Stay safe and warm.

Happy Holidays,

School Kids Healthcare

Source: EHS Today

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