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Keeping Safe During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is one of the most delightful times of year. Everyone seems a little more cheerful and everything seems a touch more bright. And right now is the time when most of us are enjoying decorating our homes with the beautiful lights, evergreen, mistletoe and other décor of the season. However, the holiday season can also be a bit precarious, especially if you don't follow certain safety precautions. In fact, each year hospital emergency rooms treat approximately 8,700 people for injuries such as falls, cuts and shocks, related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees.

Avoiding fires from Christmas Trees

- If you are using an artificial Christmas tree, make certain that it is fire resistant. If a fire does start, the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.

- If you are purchasing a live tree, make certain the tree is fresh. A fresh tree will be green and won't lose many needles when moved around. You can tell fresh needles because they are hard to pull from the branches and when bent between your fingers they will not break. Also, the trunk of a fresh tree will be sticky with resin.

- Keep any tree away from fireplaces, radiators and any other heat sources.

- Heated rooms will rapidly dry out fresh trees, so keep their pot always filled with water. Also, cut off about two inches off the bottom of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption.

Christmas lights

- Check each set of lights for damaged sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.

- Do not use more than three sets of lights per extension cord.

- Do not use electric lights on a metallic tree. The metal can become charged with electricity from faulty lights and could electrocute anyone who touched the tree.

- Make sure all lights are safety tested and that indoor lights are not used outdoor.

- Use a timer to turn off lights during the night to avoid shorting out and starting a fire while everyone is asleep.

- If going on your roof to hang Christmas lights, make certain to have a sure footing. Keeping your feet angled outward can help you keep a better grip and avoid slipping. Always lean your weight slightly toward the house so that, if you were to fall, you would simply fall slightly forward and not off the roof.

Candles

- Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens

- Use non-flammable holders and keep away from other decorations, wrapping paper and curtains.

- Keep in a place where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.

We hope you enjoy a wonderful (and safe) holiday season!

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