Safety Tips to Remember During the Holiday Season

It is holiday time again and in order to ensure a great time is had by all, here are some easy safety tips to put into place while you are doing two of the most popular past times of the season, decorating or shopping.

When it comes time to decorate there are some easy things to remember that will help you to remain safe:

For those of you who will be hanging up exterior Christmas lights make sure you purchase lights that are meant to be hung out of doors. Also ensure that you are using plastic hooks to hang the lights (never metal, and this includes being sure you are not using metal nails or tacks). Before you hang any lights, make sure to check each and every bulb to ensure it is secure and working. Also make sure that none of the wires attached to the bulbs are frayed. This is an important step to take even if the lights you purchased are brand new and have never been used. While you are hanging your lights, make sure that you gently untangle lines, do not pull on them. Use heavy-duty extension cords that are meant for outside use and make sure the lines are not tattered, torn or frayed. When plugging the lines in make sure you are using circuits that have ground fault circuit interrupters; necessary to avoid electric shock. Make sure you have a buddy system in place if you will be going on the roof to hang your lights, or any other high place that requires use of a ladder. You will want to make sure that someone is holding on to the bottom of the ladder at all times while you are on it to prevent injury from falling. Make sure that you turn all of your exterior (and interior for that matter) lights off prior to going to bed each night. This is simply a fire prevention remedy. Also be sure that all exterior lights are off during heavy rain or snow. Even better, purchase a remote control system that allows you to turn your lights on and off from the inside of your home.

When decorating inside be sure to purchase fire-resistant or flame-retardant materials when possible. Ensure that all loose ends (ribbons, table cloths, etc.), glass decorations and other breakable items are well without of the reach of curious children or pets in the home. Check all items that are within reach of small children to ensure small pieces that may break off and cause a choking hazard are not present or are removed. If you are using candles be sure they are out of reach of children and are not placed where they can be knocked off. Make sure candles are placed in nonflammable holders and never use real candles to decorate your Christmas tree.

When putting up a Christmas tree, be sure to place tree away from heaters or fireplaces. Make sure fragile and breakable ornaments are out of reach of children and pets (put them higher up on the tree). While decorated trees may look lovely in front of windows or doors, make sure the tree is not blocking a potential fire exit in the home and that it is not blocking a walkway or exit route. Be careful to choose a tree that is fresh to prevent drying out too soon in the home and causing a potential fire hazard. Also be sure to have the trunk cut off a bit when you purchase it, or to do this step at home before assembling it, to allow for better water absorption (which will allow tree to remain fresher longer). Make certain your tree stand is the proper size for the tree trunk and that it will hold the tree securely in place. Ensure that you have tightened the clamps on the tree stand to the tree properly before you begin decorating. Check the clamps again once tree has been decorated, especially if tree was moved afterwards into a proper position. Make sure you keep an ample supply of water in the tree stand for the entire time that the tree is present in the home.

Shopping Tips:

Some simple safety tips to remember when shopping can easily keep you from having a holiday nightmare on your hands:

First of all make sure that while shopping you keep your purse or wallet in a secure spot. Never leave your purse in the shopping cart unattended, and even better keep it clasped properly and tucked in under your arm at all times, if possible. Never leave your child in an unattended cart to look at an item in the store, not even for a moment. When going through a checkout, make sure you do not enter security PIN codes in the view of others. Do not leave the checkout line without your money, debit or ATM cards being tucked away securely. Have the key to your automobile in your hand and at the ready. Be certain to keep aware of people and/or vehicles in the immediate area of your automobile when you are entering or exiting. Lock your doors immediately upon entering your vehicle. Keep all packages within your vehicle out of sight if shopping at multiple stores. For safety measures do not store your purse in the trunk of your car and never leave vehicle unlocked when you are not present. Before you leave to go shopping, make sure your home is securely locked (doors and windows) as well and if you are going to be gone an extensive amount of time (i.e., you are shopping out of town) make sure you have indoor and outdoor lights on an automatic timer. You may also want to ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home if you will be gone for any length of time.

By following the simple safety tips given here for decorating and shopping, you can help ensure that you and your family have not only a fun holiday but a safe one as well.

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