Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Safety

With the holidays quickly approaching for many of us and already here for others (Happy Hanukkah, my Jewish friends!), we really need to remember to keep this holiday a safe one.

Here are some tips:

  • The CDC analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) for three winter holiday seasons. For this analysis, the holiday season was defined as November 1--January 31. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that, during 2000--2003, an estimated 17,465 persons were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs) for holiday-decorating--related falls. Approximately 62% of those injured were aged 20--49 years; approximately 43% of injuries were caused by falls from ladders; and males were 40% more likely than females to be injured. Prevention strategies should focus on raising awareness about falls and promoting safety practices during the holiday season.


  • Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.
  • Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
  • Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don't burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.
  • Don't heat your house with a gas oven.


  • Many artificial trees are fire resistant. If you buy one, look for a statement specifying this protection.
  • A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. To check for freshness, remember:
    --A fresh tree is green.
    --Fresh needles are hard to pull from branches.
    --When bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break.
    --The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin.
    --When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling needles shows that tree is too dry.
  • Cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Trim away branches as necessary to set tree trunk in the base of a sturdy, water-holding stand with wide spread feet. Keep the stand filled with water while the tree is indoors.
    Place your tree at least 3 feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces and radiators. (4)

"SNOW" (3)

  • Artificial snow sprays can irritate lungs if inhaled. To avoid injury, read container labels; follow directions carefully.


  • Whether indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Lights could short and start a fire.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.
  • The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and any person touching a branch could be electrocuted!
  • Avoid using candles when possible. Consider using battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.
  • Never leave an open flame unattended. Keep burning candles within sight.
  • Extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room or leave the house.
  • Place lighted candles away from combustible material and areas where they might be knocked over.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Keep candle away from other decorations and wrapping paper.
  • Make sure all products are marked for outdoor use.
  • Keep all outdoor extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water.
  • Make sure spotlights used to highlight decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather, and a safe distance from flammable items.


  • Holiday decorations are meant for temporary use. Take down all decorations during the first week of January.
  • Do not yank or tug on cords when unplugging them.
  • Carefully inspect all decorations prior to storing them. Discard broken or faulty lights.
  • Make sure that electrical cords are in good condition, and wire insulation is not frayed or cracked.
  • Store decorations in a dry location that is safely out of reach of children and pets.
Photo credit: Anthony!!
Sources: (1) (2)
(3) (4)

1 comment:

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