tangled multicolor Christmas lights on a white background

The holidays are filled with family, parties, and other festivities, but they are also a time of increased personal injury.  Here are five ways to keep yourself, your home and your family safe over the holidays and throughout the winter months.

  1. TREES.  When selecting a live tree, be sure it is fresh.  The needles should be hard to pull off, the branches should be flexible, and the bottom should be sticky with sap.  The drier the tree, the greater to fire hazard.  When buying an artificial tree, look for a “fire resistant” label.  Never place trees in front of a heat source.
  2. CANDLES.  Never leave candles unattended and always put them out of children’s reach.  Be careful of placement during holidays to avoid setting decorations on fire or harming guests.  Of reported holiday fires, 40 percent were due to unattended candles.
  3. LIGHTS.  Indoor and outdoor lights brighten the holidays, but use them according to manufacturer directions.  Never use wiring that is frayed or cracked.  Turn lights off when leaving the house or going to bed.  Look for lights that have an Under-writers Laboratories (UL) label.
  4. FOOD SAFETY.  Cook food thoroughly, serve safely and never leave the kitchen while using the stove or the home while using the oven.  When preparing meals, wash hands often, don’t use the same utensils to prepare and serve food and be sure to remove anything from the counter that has come into contact with raw meat, poultry, or eggs.  Keep hard candy and other temptations that could be choking hazards out of the reach of small children.
  5. DECORATE SAFELY.  Use a ladder or step stool to decorate and hang lights and decorations.  Be sure ladders are on a solid, even surface.  Use a step stool rather than a piece of furniture to extend your reach.