Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Fire Safety Tips

December 15, 2011

From the United States Fire Administration, these timely tips can help with your Holiday safety.

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires

  • Christmas Tree Fire Hazards – Movie segments demonstrating how fast a live Christmas tree can become fully engulfed in flames. Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.
  • Selecting a Tree for the Holiday
    Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
  • Caring for Your Tree
    Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
  • Disposing of Your Tree
    Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or woodburning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

Holiday Lights

  • Maintain Your Holiday Lights
    Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
  • Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
    Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.
  • Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended

Holiday Decorations

  • Use Only Nonflammable Decorations
    All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
  • Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace
    It can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers and may result in a chimney fire.
  • Artificial Christmas Trees
    If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

Candle Care

  • Avoid Using Lit Candles
    If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
  • Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree
    Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame – candles, lighters or matches.
Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.
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Red Cross Holiday Safety Tips

December 8, 2011

Thanks to our friends at the American Red Cross, here’s some holiday safety tips for you.

  1. Prepare your vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Make an emergency kit and include items such as blankets or sleeping bags, jumper cables, fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type), compass and road maps, shovel, tire repair kit and pump, extra clothing, flares, tow rope.
  2. Drive your sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm, but if you must, keep your gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing. Let someone know your destination, route and when you expect to arrive.
  3. Help prevent the spread of the flu. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.Use sanitizing wipes to disinfect hard surfaces such as airplane tray tables, luggage handles, cell phones, door handles and seat armrests.
  4. Prevent hypothermia by following Santa’s lead. Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, which will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat.Wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears. Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
  5. Use a Red Cross-trained babysitter when attending holiday festivities. Red Cross-certified babysitters learn to administer basic first aid; properly hold and feed a child; take emergency action when needed; monitor safe play and actively engage your child; and some may be certified in Infant and Child CPR.
  6. Avoid danger while roasting chestnuts over an open fire. Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking and be alert. Keep anything flammable—such as potholders, towels or curtains—away from your stove top.Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared or carried.
  7. Be a lifesaver during the holidays and always. The Red Cross recommends at least one person in every household should be trained and certified in first aid and CPR/AED. Your local Red Cross chapter has conveniently scheduled courses and can have you trained and certified in a few hours. 
  8. Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. When you designate a driver who won’t be drinking, you help make sure a good party doesn’t turn into a tragedy. A good host ensures there are non-alcoholic beverages available for drivers. The designated driver should not drink any alcoholic beverages, not even one.
  9. When the weather outside is frightful, heat your home safely. Never use your stove or oven to heat your home. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
  10. Cut down on your heating bills without being a Grinch. Get your furnace cleaned by a professional; change the filters regularly. Make sure heat vents aren’t blocked by furniture. Close off any rooms you aren’t using and close heat vents or turn off radiators in those rooms. Use either insulating tape or caulking strips to surround your windows and door moldings. Put up storm windows or storm doors to keep the cold out.
  11. Don’t move a muscle, until they buckle. Each person in your vehicle should have their seatbelts securely fastened before driving off. Ensure children are buckled up and their car seats are installed appropriately based on their age and size. Children 12 and under should always sit in the back seat.
  12. Resolve to Be Red Cross Ready in the New Year. You can take one or more actions to prepare now, should you or your family face an emergency in 2010. Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.
Merry Christmas from your friends at Altus Emergency Management.