Holiday Safety

The holiday season is here once more, a time when friends and families gather to celebrate. The holidays are also a time for increased risks associated to this time of year; a time to take some additional precautions to ensure everyone enjoys a safe and injury-free time. The following tips will help all those who celebrate have a bright and cheerful season.

Holiday Fire Safety
As we celebrate this holiday season it is important keep in mind fire safety as fire can be one of the major dangers to the personal safety of our friends and family members during the season.

First and foremost have a home fire escape plan in place and inform any guests celebrating the holidays with you about your plan.
When decorating, choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.

If you burn candles, use holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Place candles where children and pets cannot reach them and blow them out before leaving the house or going to bed.

When cooking or baking never don’t leave items unattended. If using a turkey fryer, make sure you understand the dangers associated with its use. The National Fire Protection Association discourages its use, but consumers continue to use them. Carefully follow the unit’s instructions and thoroughly research the dangers caused by hot oil spills or splashes.

Finally, test your smoke alarms to ensure that they are working properly and loud enough to alert you, your family, and your guests in case of a fire. You should also have fire extinguishers easily accessible, but if you have an uncontrollable fire, just get out. As you leave, remember to close the door behind you to help contain the fire and call 911 immediately for help.

Christmas Tree Safety
When buying your tree don’t buy a one that is dry and dropping needles. To check for freshness, loosely grip the end of a branch and pull your hand over it. If more than a few needles fall off the tree, it is too dry and should be avoided.

When you find that perfect tree, ask the vendor make a fresh cut an inch from the bottom as this will help the tree drink and extend its life.

As you bring that perfect tree into your home, try to position it near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances to prevent trip hazards. Don’t place the tree where it may block exits in case of a fire and keep it at least 3 feet from furnaces, radiators and fireplaces. If your tree seems wobbly, center it in the stand more securely and redo the bolts or screws and if your tree still seems unstable, buy a larger, stronger tree stand to prevent injuries.

Keep your tree hydrated by making sure the stand holds plenty of water, and remember not to let it run out. Well-watered trees reduce risk, but dry neglected trees increase it.

When decorating your tree, make sure your lights are safe and that they carry certification from a testing laboratory. Discard any strings of lights that are frayed or broken; Christmas lights are cheap. Also, keep a close eye on small children and pets when they are around the tree; many small decorations and ornaments are sharp, breakable and can be swallowed.

And remember, a good rule of thumb is to unplug your Christmas tree before you leave your home or as you go to sleep for evening to reduce the risk of fire.

Holiday Stress
Although the holiday season does come with increased physical risks, it also brings with it the possibility of increased mental strain for those who just want to enjoy the holiday season. To help reduce the stress that is associated to the holiday season, have a realistic plan in place for season. Having a realistic plan will help reduce the strain of juggling tasks, duties, errands and appointments.

Establish your own standards, and don’t be governed by other’s expectations or demands. Learn how to turndown less important activities. Be selective and don’t over-schedule; limit yourself to two social events per week and schedule some “down time” to use for rest and reflection. You can also plan parties or shopping trips with family and friends to reduce the number of responsibilities you have during the holiday season.

One of the most common sources of holiday stress is overspending. Stick to your lists and your budget. Remember, the point of the season is to show how much you care for family and friends, not to show how much you are willing to buy for them.

Additionally, don’t skip meals and don’t sacrifice your exercise program because you feel that you are too busy.

And always keep your sense of humor during the holiday season and beyond.

We here at the Naval Safety Center wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. We hope the information in this article will help ensure everyone enjoys a safe and injury-free time.

National Fire Protection Association

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Safety Council

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