5 Safety Tips for the Holidays

This is many people's favorite time of the year. The leaves are changing color, family and friends visit, the kids are out of school, a fire crackles in the fireplace, football is on and good food and drink is everywhere. With all of the merriment comes the need for us to employ smart safety strategies to avoid injuries to ourselves, loved ones and strangers. The following are some useful tips.

  • 1. Be careful with fire. The holidays are a time for fires in the fireplace and candles burning around the house. Although it is easy to do, one should never leave these flames unsupervised. Candles get hot or tip over and fireplace fires carry risks of logs rolling out, sparks getting onto the floor or carpet or a child getting too close. Make sure the fireplace is covered with a screen or a door at all times and be sure to inform guests, especially those with children. Make sure all candles are secured in stands or jars and that they are burning only in rooms occupied by responsible adults.
  • 2. Salt ice and clear snow from your walkways. Always be sure to keep your walkways free from ice and snow. This is good advice not just for you, but for any guests who visit, for delivery people and other passersby. Additionally, if you know a particular place on your property is icy or otherwise dangerous because of falling ice or snow, or the like, advise your guests to watch their step or to stay away from certain areas. Again, pay special attention to children.
  • 3. Unplug holiday lights when not in use. There is nothing quite like the lights inside and out decorating the neighborhoods during the holidays, but they also carry a real risk of fire: the lights get hot, the old cords can short and trees and other things adorned in lights dry out. The best rule is to unplug the lights when leaving the house or going to bed—also make sure to carefully inspect that string of lights you have been using for the last several years to ensure they are safe to use again this year.
  • 4. Keep an especially good look out for pedestrians. The holiday hustle and bustle brings many people out into the communities and the children are out of school. Pay special attention in parking lots where excited children are shopping with their parents. Be sure to look for pedestrians in downtowns or city squares where many people are out enjoying the sights and sounds. Always use your headlights when driving as it will not only help you see pedestrians, but it will help them see you.
  • 5. Drink responsibly. This does not just mean don't drink and drive—of course one should never do that. This also means be careful with alcohol consumption if you are going to climb a ladder to string some lights, cook a nice meal or if you plan to make a fire in the fireplace. Routine activities become exponentially more dangerous with the excessive consumption of alcohol. Plan your outings. Make sure you have a safe ride home planned if you intend to consume alcohol at your destination. Call a taxi, take the metro or the bus, call one of the ever-growing private companies offering rides home, some companies offer free rides home or use a designated driver. Many unnecessary injuries and deaths occur every year during the holiday seasons directly as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.

The holiday season is hard to beat, and working together we can all enjoy it more safely.