Whether you are traveling or staying home for the holidays, your safety should be a top priority. Now is the perfect time to either make arrangements that keep your property safe while you're away or update safety features in your home so your family and guests are safe over the holidays.
Every year, approximately 160 home fires are started by Christmas trees, causing $10 million in property damage. In more than half of these, holiday lights and candles started the fires, which can turn deadly in seconds when a Christmas tree is dry or not fire-resistant. Take fire safety seriously and help prevent it with these tips.
Before setting up any holiday decorations, make sure your home has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and a fully charged fire extinguisher.
When buying a real tree, make sure it's as fresh as possible. The needles should bend, not break. Once at home, keep it in water to prevent it from drying out and place it away from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, and candles. If using an artificial tree, make sure it's fire-resistant. Look for the UL seal of approval.
Holiday lights, while pretty to look at, pose a risk of electric shock. Check each strand for broken bulbs, frayed wires before connecting them to an outlet. Don't connect more than three strands of lights, and check the rating of your extension cord to avoid them from overheating and creating a fire risk. Check your light wires frequently to make sure they are not warm to the touch, and always turn your lights off before going to bed or leaving your home.
Remember that homes you visit may not be childproof. Keep an eye out for hazards such as stairs, fireplaces, accessible cleaning products, and medication. Ensure that any oversized furniture and TVs are secured against the wall to prevent them from tipping over. Be vigilant around choking risks, such as small button batteries that come with toys and remotes. After a holiday party, clean up promptly to remove alcohol and tobacco from open areas. Review the signs of choking and brush up on your CPR skills. Finally, always keep a list of emergency phone numbers, including the non-emergency police line, fire department, and national poison hotline.
Water Safety and Vehicular Heatstroke
In the Valley, water safety and vehicular heatstroke are year-round safety concerns.
Of the 30 days in November this year, 25 reached 80 degrees or more. Never leave a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. If you have visitors for the holidays, there might be more vehicles in your driveway than usual. Remind kids to never play in or around cars and have your visitors pay close attention when entering or exiting driveways.
While it may be too cold to get into a pool, toddlers and young children are naturally curious about water, especially if they are not used to being around it. If you have a swimming pool or are visiting a home with one, make sure a fence surrounds it. If there isn't one, make sure that an adult is actively paying attention when kids are present.
While there are plenty of fireworks shows throughout the Valley, many opt to purchase fireworks at home for New Year's Day. Fireworks should not be lit in the house, pointed at another person, or handled by young children. Only one device should be lit at a time, and it should be on your private property. Aerial fireworks of any kind are illegal in Arizona, and most cities carry a fine of $1,000.
Before getting on the road, make sure your gates, doors, and windows are locked, your light timers are on, spare keys secured, and that someone is keeping an eye on your home. Depending on the length of your trip, you should consider unplugging your garage opener and requesting a mail hold from your post office.
Millions of Americans expect to be on the road this holiday season. Avoid drowsy driving by getting a good night's sleep and leaving early to avoid traffic. Make sure young children are traveling in the appropriate car seat and are securely fastened. In cold weather, keep children in car seats in layers instead of puffy jackets, preventing their car seats from working correctly. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an airbag.
The holidays can be stressful! But planning for your safety will give you much-needed peace of mind. Want more ideas and tips on how to stay safe this holiday season? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!