Nelson: Holiday safety tips to keep people safe

Published 8:11 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

As you make plans for your Christmas celebration, remember to follow safety measures to ensure that your home and love ones are safe from the threat of fire and other hazards.

During the holiday season, an average of 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing, and candle fires are four times as likely to occur. Also, keep in mind that Christmas trees themselves don’t cause fires, but the fires are caused by external sources, such as electrical outlets, frayed electrical cords and lamps.
Here are some items to consider that will help keep you and your family safe during the holidays.

Fire Safety Tips:
Keep children, pets and decorations away from candles and open flames.

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Never leave burning candles unattended and if possible avoid using them in high traffic areas.

Be sure to check your string of lights for worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections; replace them as needed.

Also, connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and the total number of bulbs should not exceed 50.

Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as the heaters and stove.

Decorate only with flame-retardant or noncombustible materials.

If guests will be smoking, provide them with large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently. After the party, check inside and under upholstery and in trash cans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering.

If you plan to hang stockings on your fireplace, do not use the fireplace for fires.

Select the freshest-looking real tree that is available and secure it in a sturdy stand.

Once home, make a fresh cut across the tree base and immediately place it in water.

Place the tree away from heat sources and exits, and water daily. Keep the tree water container full at all times.

Check daily for dryness. If the needles fall off when you touch them or the stem break off when bent, your tree is too dry.

If you purchase an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.

Winter Safety Tips:
When traveling allow extra time and monitor weather conditions carefully and adhere to travel advisories.

Keep a winter storm survival kit in your car. This should include blankets, food, flares, chains (if traveling in areas where it snows), gloves and first aid supplies.

Buckle up. During the holiday there are more people on the road than ever. Wearing a seat belt is the easiest and best way to prevent injury in a motor vehicle collision.

Designate a driver. When attending a party/gathering/dinner, always designate a non-drinking driver.