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Holiday Safety

Close up picture of ornaments on a tree.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With holiday celebrations, though, come increased safety risks. Read on to learn what to look out for this season.

Smoke Detector

The winter months are the leading time of year for home fires. With family and friends spending extra time at your home over the holidays, it’s a great time to check your smoke alarms.

Replace smoke alarms if they are over 10 years old. Remember that you need working smoke alarms on every story of your home and outside all sleeping areas.

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Tree Safety

Christmas Trees can be a fire hazard.

If you’re using a fake tree, make sure it is labelled flame-resistant.

If you’re using a real tree, buy a fresh tree and water it daily. Keep your tree away from any ignition source such as the fireplace, heaters or candles. Also keep your tree away from heat sources such as a vent or sunny window that can dry them out.

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Ladder Safety

While putting up your lights this Holiday season, remember to use ladder safety. Maintain three points of contact, keep your body near the middle of the step, and always face the ladder while climbing. Don’t place a ladder on boxes or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.

Also, avoid using a ladder if you are alone or cannot get help in the case of an accident.

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Light Safety

Before you put those lights on the tree or the house, check the cords closely.

Discard any sets that are frayed or damaged, use the proper lights for the environment, link a maximum of three light strands together, and don’t overload circuits. Make sure to turn off all lights before going to sleep or leaving the house.

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Extension Cord Safety

Use extension cords wisely. There is often a tendency to overload wall outlets or chain extension cords during the holiday season, but its a fire hazard.

Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow, avoid coiling or bunching extension cords in use, don’t run them under carpets, and discard any defective cords with frayed or exposed wire.

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Cooking Safety

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, which means it’s easy to get distracted from what we are doing.

A stovetop fire can start in a flash, so never leave stovetop cooking unattended. Keep all combustibles away from the stove. This includes tea towels, wooden or plastic spoons and paper towels.

If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.

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Ornament and Decoration Safety

Choose decorations that are flame-retardant, non-combustible, and non-conductive.

If there are young children or pets in your home, avoid very small decorations that can be choking hazards and decorations that are sharp or breakable. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or non-leaded metals. Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.

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Candle Safety

When you go out, blow out your candles!

Candles are often part of holiday traditions but remember to always blow out candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Keep lit candles safely away from children and pets and anything that can burn, such as curtains, upholstery or holiday decorations.

Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.

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Toy Safety

Although intended for fun and entertainment, many toys contain hidden hazards unnecessarily putting children at risk. Luckily, there are ways to reduce these preventable injuries.

Parents can avoid many toy-related hazards by remaining cautious, identifying safety red flags, knowing what classic safety issues to look out for, inspecting new and old toys for defects and poor design, and learning to identify hidden hazards

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Pet Safety

As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible.

Also, be sure to steer pets clear of the human food and treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

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Celebration Safety

With all the festive cheer this time of year, social occasions coupled with alcohol consumption, cooking, smoking or unattended candles can create a fire risk. To minimize the risk at parties, plan your event in advance so you have enough time to prepare the meal.

Hurried cooking activities, multi-tasking and neglecting fire safety can be ingredients for an unwanted house fire. Avoid over-crowding. Encourage guests to smoke outside or provide them with a safe ashtray, and refrain from burning candles during parties. Ensure any guests who drink have a ride home.

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