Doug / 12-09-2014 / Consumer Safety

Holiday Mishaps to Avoid

Holiday Mishaps to AvoidAs the holiday season approaches, many of us are decorating, baking and preparing for joyful times with friends and family.  At this happy time it is important to be aware of the hidden and increased risks that come along with some holiday traditions.

Some of the most common holiday accidents are poisonings, electrocutions, and fireplace-borne fires. Christmas tree fires, falls and injuries that occur during winter sporting activities also rank high during this season.

Poisonings may seem unlikely but many holiday plants such as mistletoe, holly berries, and amaryllis are poisonous to both humans and household pets. It is important to keep them out of reach of pets, children and guests who might unknowingly touch or consume them.

Christmas lights have grown to be such a identifiable tradition with the Holidays that it is its own tradition to drive down the streets and see homes, yards and Christmas trees covered in holiday decorations and lighting.  Some of these lights can pose a significant fire hazard. It is important to know whether the lights you have purchased are for inside or outside use and to display them only in the recommended areas.

Check lights to be certain they are functioning before hanging them.  The cords and lights themselves are should be in working condition and broken lights should be replaced before using them to decorate. Make sure to look at the cords as well, and discard any with worn or cracked areas.  You should also unplug Christmas tree lights and other lighted decorations when leaving your home or going to bed to avoid fire hazards.

Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 230 structure fires that result from Christmas tree fires. If purchasing an artificial tree be certain to check if it is certified, labeled and identifies the manufacturer.  In addition look to see that the tree is made from fire retardant materials.

If your family prefers a real tree select one that is fresh, with needles that do not fall when touched. Insure the tree is not too dry by watering it regularly.  This will help ensure the tree will last through the holidays without losing more needles and causing an increased risk of fire. Also it is important to minimize dangers by taking down decorations such as lights and Christmas trees soon after the holidays as real trees tend to dry out quickly increasing the possibility of fire.

Often this time of the year we are so overwhelmed and focused on the things we need to do that we forget the possible dangers. Whether it be shopping, cooking or just decorating make sure to keep in mind safe habits that will increase your enjoyment of the holidays and decrease your risk.  May your holidays be filled with laughter and cheer.

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