As you hustle and bustle this season to find the right gifts, attend parties, decorate the house and prepare holiday treats and meals, don't forget safety. A safe holiday season may be the best gift you give (or receive) this season and even have a life-impacting effect on you, your family, and friends.
No one wants a tragedy to be the reason we remember this holiday season. We want to remember it for the special moments, gatherings with friends and family, traditions and good food. I hope this holiday safety checklist will help provide the gift of safety to you and those around you this season.
Deck the halls...
- Check all extension cords and holiday lights for frays, loose connections or damaged plugs.
- Don't overload extension cords.
- Avoid using outdoor lights or lighted decorations inside or indoor lights, lighted decorations and indoor extension cords outside.
- Unplug or turn off all lighting decorations before going to bed or leaving the house.
Trees and plants
- If you prefer a real tree, buy a fresh tree. If needles are falling off, the tree is too dry and should not be purchased.
- Leave a fresh tree outside until you're ready to decorate it.
- Place the tree in a cool area of your home, away from heat sources or where it could get knocked over.
- Check and fill the water level of a fresh-cut tree daily.
- Make sure toxic holiday plants, such as holly and mistletoe, are out of reach of children and pets.
- Keep flammable items away from fireplaces and temporary heaters.
- Avoid leaving burning candles unattended. Keep them away from flammable materials and make sure they are in an area where they won't get knocked over.
- Check to make sure smoke detectors and their batteries are working. (Smoke detectors make great gifts!)
- Be prepared by having an operable fire extinguisher readily available. (Fire extinguishers make great gifts too!)
Out and about...
Shopping and gatherings
- Stay alert while shopping and always walk confidently.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash by paying for gifts with checks or credit cards.
- Use the trunk of your car to keep purchases out of sight.
- Volunteer to be the designated driver at a holiday party.
- After the holidays, don't put empty boxes out for garbage, which advertise gifts received. Instead, break down boxes and put them in a recycle bin, trashcan or dumpster away from your home.
- Lock doors and windows when leaving your house. Avoid leaving your drapes open where presents may be seen.
- Unplug all unnecessary electrical items, such as table lamps, electric heaters and small kitchen appliances.
- Make your house look lived-in if you are going to be away for an extended period. Use automatic timers for lights, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to occassionally park in the driveway, and stop delivery of mail and the newspaper.