Make safety a priority this holiday season
Thanksgiving is behind us, Christmas is upon us, and safety should be in the forefront of everyone’s mind. “Safety should always be a priority,” said Donny Parker, MTEMC’s Senior Safety and Training Coordinator. “When it comes to the holidays, slowing down, assessing the situation, making sure you’re taking the proper safety precautions is just as important.”
According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, more than 12,500 people are injured in accidents related to decorating for the holidays.
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind as you decorate and celebrate.
Never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains/drapes, or near any potentially flammable item.
• Small children may think that holiday plants look good enough to eat, but many plants may be poisonous or can cause severe stomach problems. Plants to watch out for include: mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis. Keep all of these plants out of children’s reach
• Stand your tree away from fireplaces and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.
• Avoid placing breakable tree ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower branches where small children or pets can reach them.
• If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.
• Only use indoor lights indoors (and outdoor lights only outdoors). Look for the UL label. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Replace or repair any damaged light sets.
• Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs, around furniture legs or across doorways.
• Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Unplug extension cords when not in use.
• If using a natural tree, make sure it is well watered to avoid dry branches from catching fire from the heat of light bulbs.
• Live trees should be fresh. If you take a branch in your hand and bend it, it should not break.
• Tap your fresh tree on a firm surface; if several needles fall off, it’s too dry. Just looking at the color of a tree will not tell you if it is dry or not.
When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks or other furniture.
• If you have to use a step ladder near a doorway, lock or barricade the door and post signs so no one will open it and knock you off the ladder.
• A straight or extension ladder should be placed one foot away from the surface it rests against for every four feet of ladder height.
• When you climb, always keep three points of contact on the ladder whether two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
• When climbing, keep your hips between the side rails and do not lean too far or overreach. Reposition the ladder closer to the work instead.
When purchasing gifts this year, consider making a safety gift basket that includes some of the following items: smoke detectors and batteries, a fire extinguisher, flashlight or light sticks, a first-aid kit or a disposable mobile phone.
• Making sure any toy purchased for a child that matches their age and abilities is important.
• Toy parts should be large enough that a child cannot choke on them.
• Read the instructions on toys before giving them to the child.
• Keep an eye out for any recalls on the toys you purchase for a child.
Posted on: 12/9/2013