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How To Enjoy The Holidays Safely

Aug 17, 2007
For most of us during the holidays there just aren't enough hours in the day. However, if we don't slow down and take some time for safety, what should be a joyous period can become a season of regrets. Here's a collection of suggestions to help keep you safe for the holidays.

Fresh Trees And Safe Lights

* Buy a fresh tree that smells like pine. Be sure its needles are hard to pull from the branches. Otherwise, it may be too dry and a fire risk.

* Keep the tree outside with the trunk in water, snow, or wet dirt or sand until you're ready to use it.

* Place your tree at least five feet from heat sources that can dry it out.

* Saw about two inches off the trunk. Keep water in the stand.

* Check the water in the tree stand daily.

* If a tree begins dropping its needles, put it outdoors at once.

* Light strings should have the UL mark. Don't use strings that are frayed or have broken wires.

* Unplug electrical decorations when making adjustments or repairs, and when leaving the house or going to bed.

* Don't run extension cords under the carpet, through doorways or near heaters. Be sure cords are not pinched behind or under furniture.

* Secure electrical cords so no one will trip over them.

* Use no more than three standard sets of lights per outlet.

* Plug lights into multiple-outlet surge protectors.

* Never use light strings marked "For Indoor Use" outdoors.

* Power for all outdoor lighting should be supplied by permanent weatherproof wiring, and installed by a professional electrician.

* When stringing outdoor lights, work in pairs.

Candles, Fireplaces, And Potpourri

* Decorate with flame-retardant or noncombustible materials.

* Read labels before you use special holiday materials.

* Put candles in stable holders.

* Keep lighted candles away from decorations, trees, draperies and other flammable material. Never put them in windows or near exits.

* Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly.

* If you build a fire, use a fireplace screen and do not leave young children unattended.

* Always keep a fire extinguisher handy. Know how to use it.

* Wear gloves while decorating with spun glass "angel hair" to avoid irritation to eyes and skin.

* Use a sturdy ladder or step-stool to reach high places.

* Keep kids' safety in mind when decorating and buying holiday treats. Carefully supervise youngsters during holiday activities, including when you visit relatives or friends.

Adults Just Want To Have Fun

Children aren't the only ones who want to have fun this holiday season. If you plan to host or attend a holiday party, keep these safety stocking stuffers in mind:

* If you have guests, be sure walks and steps are well lighted. Clear any ice or snow thoroughly.

* Avoid leaving perishable food at room temperature for more than two hours.

* Provide smokers with large, deep ashtrays, and pay special attention to any smoker who is drinking. Empty ashtrays often, wetting their contents before dumping them.

* After the party, check on and under cushions for cigarette butts.

* Use a designated driver if you plan on drinking, or call a cab.

* Eat before and while you're drinking alcohol. Food in your stomach slows the absorption of alcohol.

* Make your first drink a large glass of water, juice, or soda to quench your thirst. Never drink alcohol because you're thirsty.

* Stand away from the bar. Dance, mingle and talk to the guests.

* Space drinks to a maximum of one an hour. Alternate between alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

* Stop drinking alcohol 90 minutes before the party is over. There is no other way to sober up.
About the Author
John Myre is the author of the award-winning book, Live Safely in a Dangerous World, and the publisher of the Safety Times Reproducible Articles..
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