For many of us, the winter holidays are a time of joy, celebration and tradition. We look forward to hosting or attending festive gatherings. We travel near and far to share in the spirit of the season with family, friends and co-workers. We cook more, shop more and decorate more.
However, all that extra cooking, traveling, shopping, celebrating and decorating we do can post potentially serious hazards at home, in the office and on the road. Reports from leading safety organizations indicate that the time from Thanksgiving through the New Year is also one of the most dangerous for homeowners.
Whether you are planning or participating in the festivities, knowing the risks and how to help avoid injury, theft and damage to property through the holiday season are important however you choose to celebrate.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires and home fire deaths peak between December and February.* Cooking is the leading cause of home fires year round, and the increased use of stovetops and ovens for preparing holiday meals can increase the risk. Holiday decorations and the open flames of fireplaces, candles and sparklers used during Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s and other holidays can also pose a threat.
To help reduce the risk of fire, consider using non-flammable or flame-retardant decorations. If you decorate a Christmas tree this time of year, select a quality artificial tree and decorate with only UL-listed lights. If you choose to have a fresh tree, keep water in the stand at all times. According to the NFPA, even a well-watered fresh tree should be taken down after four weeks. If you celebrate using a menorah, consider lighting dripless candles . Remember to keep decorations and trees away from candles, fireplaces and heaters. Never leave an open flame or stove unattended.
Decorating the home, office or yard is a popular way to get into the spirit of the season. Planning your displays carefully is important to help reduce the risk of fire, electrical shock, trips and falls, and property damage. Read these simple decorating safety tips to help keep your family and friends safe when putting up, playing around or packing away your festive displays.
Winter driving safety
Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, shopping malls and holiday parties we go — all increasing our risk of having to drive in hazardous winter conditions.
Always check the weather before going out, and avoid driving in snowy, icy or other severe conditions if possible. Take a vehicle survival kit stocked with cold weather essentials on every trip, and try to keep your gas tank full too. Following these and other winter driving tips can help ensure you and your passengers reach your holiday destinations safely.