by East Coast Risk Management on Dec 20, 2011
The holiday season is a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, decorating, entertaining & an increased risk of accidents. We would like to share some simple guidelines to help make your holiday season safer and more enjoyable:
- Use caution with holiday decorations and, whenever possible, choose those made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant and non-combustible materials.
- Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible materials, and do not use candles to decorate Christmas trees.
- Carefully inspect new and previously used light strings, and replace damaged items before plugging lights in.
- Don't mount lights in any way that can damage the cord's wire insulation. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples - don't use nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them.
- Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights & a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
- Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground-fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
- Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
- Use only non-combustible and flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel and artificial icicles of plastic and non-leaded metals.
- Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
- In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp and breakable, while keeping trimmings with small removable parts our of the reach of children.
- Avoid trimmings that resemble candy and food that may tempt a young child to put in his/her mouth.
- Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the US. When cooking for holiday visitors, remember to keep an eye on the range.
- Keep matches and lighters up high, out of sight and reach of children
- Test smoke alarms and make guests aware of your fire escape plan.
- When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break.
- When purchasing an artificial tree, look for a "Fire-Resistant" label.
- When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators and portable heaters. Place tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
- Cut a few inches off the trunk to expose fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help you keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
- Make sure the base is steady so the tree won't easily tip over.
- Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers and other decorations from fireplace area.
- Be sure to check that the flue is open.
- Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
Toys and Ornaments
- Purchase appropriate toys for the appropriate age. Some toys designed for older children might be dangerous for younger children.
- Electric toys should be UL/FM approved.
- Toys with sharp points, sharp edges, strings, cords and parts small enough to be swallowed should not be given to small children.
- Place older ornaments and decorations that might be painted with lead paint our of the reach of children and pets.
Children and Pets
- Poinsettias are known to be poisonous to humans and animals, so keep them well out of reach, or avoid having them.
- Keep decorations at least 6 inches above the child's reach.
- Avoid using tinsel. It can fall on the floor and can be eaten by a child or pet.
- Keep any ribbons on gifts and tree ornaments shorter than 7 inches. A child could wrap a longer strand of ribbon around their neck and choke.
- Avoid mittens with strings for children. The string can get tangled around the child's neck and cause them to choke.
- Watch children and pets around space heaters or the fireplace. Do not leave a child or pet unattended!
- Store scissors and any sharp objects that you use to wrap presents out of your child's reach.
- Inspect wrapped gifts for small decorations, such as candy canes, gingerbread men and mistletoe berries, all of which are choking hazards.