With Thanksgiving now an afterthought, our focus turns to the last big holiday season of the year and the first holiday of next year. Yes, believe it or not, 2023 is just a few weeks away. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or maybe even Kwanzaa with our families, it is not the time to let our guard down. There’s no doubt that winter is a magical time filled with cozy fires, warm cocoa, and tons of holiday joy. But if you’re not taking extra precautions during the holiday season, your winter wonderland can quickly turn into a towering inferno. Falls and fires are all too common in the US during this time of year. As everyone knows safety is our core value and that doesn’t just apply when you are on the clock, we care about your well-being 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
Today we will cover three key points that will help prevent turning the upcoming holiday season into a disaster. Those key points are:
- Avoid common fire hazards with decorations
- Take precautions with Christmas trees
- Exercise safe practices with decorating
1. Avoid common fire hazards while decorating.
Decorative lights bring holiday cheer for sure, but if the proper attention isn’t given, they can start a fire in the blink of an eye. Use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors, and always turn them off when leaving the house or going to bed. Be sure to replace light sets that have broken sockets or frayed wires. Test light strings and powered decorations in a safe area to avoid starting a fire. Avoid overloading electrical circuits, and always use a GFCI outlet for your decorations. Ensure not to run cords under rugs or furniture, out of windows, or across walkways and sidewalks. According to the NFPA, fires caused by candles spike during the holiday season. The top three days for home fires started by candles are Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. To avoid a disaster, keep candles at least a foot away from anything flammable. Lastly, ensure candles are in stable holders that can’t be easily knocked over, and never leave burning candles unattended.
2. Take precautions with Christmas trees.
Christmas trees can go up in flames in a matter of moments, especially if they are dry and brittle. If your family chooses to have a live Christmas tree, make sure to have the tree vendor cut off about 2″ of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, and make sure there’s always water in the tree stand. If you opt for an artificial tree, check that it’s labeled “fire resistant.” If your artificial tree has lights permanently installed, make sure to inspect them before turning it on. Keep your tree at least three feet away from radiators or fireplaces, and never operate a space heater next to any tree or flammable decorations.
3. Exercise safe practices when decorating.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, they were over 12,000 trips to the hospital last year for folks who were working on their holiday lights and decorations. During the holiday season, there is an average of 160 decorating-related injuries daily, and more than half of those injuries are associated with falls. When installing decorations, never use furniture as a ladder. When using a ladder, inspect it before you use it, set it up properly, and don’t stand on parts of the ladder that you shouldn’t. Standing on that top rung to get that extra foot or two isn’t worth it! If you plan on getting onto your roof to install Christmas lights, don’t take a complacent approach. One misstep can land you in the emergency room or worse. Don’t access your roof when there is snow, ice, or rain. A slippery roof is your worst enemy! We all want that winter wonderland look but don’t sacrifice your safety.
While the holidays are an exciting time, this time of year can turn disastrous in a split second. We only brushed the surface of the hazards that can be present. Hazards associated with cooking, eating, shopping, and stress are other things to be mindful of. With a little awareness and planning, we can all have a safe and joyous holiday season.
If you want more information on those topics, reach out to the Ontivity safety team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get you taken care of.