Sparkling Christmas lights and festive holiday feasts can make the holidays brighter -- and they can pose dangers such as fire or illness. This season, make sure that your holiday celebrations are festive and bright by practicing a few safety tips in your home.
1. Keep your Christmas tree watered and hydrated. A dry tree can become a fire hazard. Be sure to cut the base of the tree to allow it to soak up more water, and put it in a stand with a deep dish.
2. Keep your Christmas tree at least 3 feet away from your fireplace or electrical outlets. Be sure garlands or other decorations are also kept far enough away from these sources to avoid becoming a fire hazard.
3. If you choose an artificial tree, make sure it is fire resistant.
4. Secure your tree. Make sure it is tied at the top so that it can't be pulled or knocked down by small children or animals. Keep it behind a gate if you have
small children so that ornaments do not become a choking hazard or cannot become broken and cut small hands.
5. Check all extension cords and strings of Christmas lights for exposed wiring or cracked or frayed cords or plugs. These can spark and start a fire.
6. Make sure all extension cords and strings of Christmas lights are secured. Run them under rugs and carpets, or pull them back with ties or staples. If extension cords are used, make sure they are not overloaded with wattage.
7. Turn out all lights and blow out all candles when you go to bed. Lights could short out and start a fire while you are asleep, and candles always pose a fire risk and should never be left unattended.
8. Install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm. Make sure you are aware of any signs of danger as soon as possible.
9. Develop a fire escape plan. In the unfortunate event of a fire, knowing how to act quickly could save you and your family from danger. Create a specific plan for how to escape your home and call for help, and practice it with your whole family. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be.
10. Thoroughly cook all meats. E. Coli and Salmonella poisoning are both dangers when it comes to handling raw meats. Make sure you cook them thoroughly, and use a meat thermometer to check.
11. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Bacteria can live on the surface of fruits and vegetables, including E. Coli and Salmonella. Make sure you wash these thoroughly before eating them.
12. Thaw meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Again, harmful bacteria can breed, increasing your risks for food borne illnesses.
13. Follow proper food-storage guidelines. Don't leave perishable foods at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Make sure you refrigerate or freeze all foods that require it. Pay special attention to items such as eggnog or dip that are left out for long periods during get togethers.
14. Wash your hands often. When you're in the kitchen, washing your hands often will ensure that you don't spread harmful bacteria. During the winter months, washing your hands often will help to limit the spread of illness like the flu.
Following these tips can help you and your family to stay safe this holiday season to make sure that your celebrations are happy and bright.