The holiday season is here and you know what that means!! Decoration season is upon us. Whether you opt for a more conservative decoration style or go all “Christmas Vacation” during the holidays it’s an exciting time of year!
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 15,000 injuries related to holiday decorations in 2012. Mishaps send about 250 people to the ER daily, with falls, cuts and back strains topping the list of injuries. Nothing puts a damper on the holidays quite like being in the ER…..
Check out these top tips for decking your halls safely this holiday season!
Oh, Christmas Tree: Do you remember the scene in “Christmas Vacation” where the cat chews the lights and fries the tree? If you have a fresh tree, lights and simply being inside can dry out the tree causing it to be a fire waiting to happen. Remember to keep your tree away from heat sources (such as fireplaces or heat vents), keep water in the base of your tree and turn your Christmas tree lights off at night to avoid a fire hazard. Fires are among the biggest injury claims to homes during the holidays…..and most of them are Christmas light related.
Lights out. Candles, indoor and outdoor lights and a crackling fireplace may make your home look like a scene from a classic Christmas movie….but it also increases the risk of fire in your home. Make sure that your lights (inside and out) are unplugged before you turn in at night. Be sure that your fireplace is off if you have a gas device or that the wood is burned out if you have a wood fireplace. Candles and other burners need to be off as well. If you use fake candles in windows during the holidays, consider turning these off as well. The bulbs get hot overnight and often are in direct contact with the fabric of curtains. If you have small children, consider the heat-safe coated lights that help prevent burns.
Electrical safety. If you are decorating the outside of your home, be sure that you are not overloading electrical outlets. Consider plastic light hangers that attach to your gutters in place of staples or nails that can damage and expose electrical wires.
Watch the ladders. For outside decorations, remember that decorating after it is dark, especially when it is icy, can increase your fall risk. Always use a stable ladder that is in good condition. Avoid climbing onto ladders, trees, or the roof when you are home alone. Make decorating a family event and ask for help holding the ladder steady. Falls are among the highest reported injuries during the holiday season.
What’s cooking? One of the many wonderful things about the holidays is the amazing food! Whatever your holiday favorites are, the kitchen is a busy place. With the hustle and bustle of the season, visiting family and countless other distractions, kitchen fires are extremely common during the holidays. Be sure to have a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen and keep flammable items away from burners. Double check the oven and stove before turning in to make sure everything is turned off.
Kelley Carter, CPIA
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