Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the excitement of the holidays that we throw caution to the wind. Thanksgiving is near and as soon as it passes, we go into Christmas mode. Now is a good time to think about holiday safety. These are just reminders for things you already know, but may get too busy to give your full attention. Take a moment to review and truly have a safe holiday.
- Smoke Alarms – Test smoke alarms to make sure they are functioning. Batteries should be changed twice a year. Make sure family members know what they sound like and what they should do when they hear them.
- Escape Plan – Review escape routes and designate a meeting place outside of the house for everyone to gather.
- Fireplace Safety – Keep the chimney clean and have it inspected. Use a fire screen to prevent sparks from entering the room. Don’t add anything to the fire. It is tempting to watch that flash of flames from discarded plates and cups or that big ball of wrapping paper, but don’t jeopardize you and your family’s safety. Someone should always be in the room when a fire is burning and put the fire out before going to bed.
- Candles – Like the fireplace, this is an open flame that you are allowing in your home. Don’t discount the damage it can do because it is small. Keep candles a good distance from other decorations and extinguish them when leaving the room.
- Cooking – Leave nothing unattended. Banish small children from being underfoot in the kitchen. Be aware that your holiday clothing doesn’t flow into a flame. Review how to put out stove top fires and have a working fire extinguisher close by. Unplug any small appliances that you are not using.
- Water the Tree – If you keep a live tree in the house make sure you water it every day. Keep it at least three feet from any heat source. Don’t let the rearranging of your house to accommodate it, block any exit routes.
- Check the Lights – Check cords for wear and don’t run any wires under carpets. If your lights blink and they are not supposed to, discard that strand. Don’t overload your circuits and turn all lights and decorations off when going to bed or leaving the house.
The holidays are an exciting but hectic time of year. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the season override the safety of your family and guests. Prepare your home ahead of time and embrace the holiday cheer. Below are some tips to help you:
- Light the Way – Welcome your guests and reduce the risk of falls with bright outdoor lighting on steps and walkways. Help overnight visitors find their way around your house with ample use of nightlights or flashlights if need be. Avoid the use of candles especially around children. The addition of holiday lights and decorations bring the hazard of extension cords. Make sure that they do not cross the floor where anyone might be walking and do not cover them with rugs.
- Watch the Pot – Unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of home fires. Entertaining can pull you away from the kitchen, so designate a pot watcher who can also keep the little ones from underfoot and away from the heat.
- Mind the Fire – Of course it is so cozy to fire up the fireplace, but do so only if someone can stay in that room to mind it. Of course you will want to follow all the rules of fireplace safety, like having the chimney cleaned and inspected. Don’t allow anyone to throw paper plates or wrapping paper on the fire. Make sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
- Childproof – Even if you already have children in the house, prepare for visiting children who may not know or follow your rules. Lock up any potential poisons like cleaners and medications and don’t forget that some plants can be poisonous also. Be mindful that toddlers are fascinated by holiday decorations that could hurt or burn them. Keep an eye out for choking hazards like small toy parts, leftover foods, alcohol, and cigarette butts.
- Senior-proof – Eliminate tripping hazards like throw rugs and hallway runners. Be wary of what an older person might touch to steady themselves, and remove items that teeter or roll. Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and consider installing grab bars in the shower if they will have an extended stay.
- Pet-proof – You may already know what not to feed your pets, but your guests may not. To be safe, remind them to avoid feeding pets any “people food,” including coffee, alcohol, and candy. Be aware of new hazards like glass ornaments, ribbons, tinsel, plants, and chemicals in the tree water. Pets may need to be isolated in another part of the house, if the excitement of company is too much for them.
Keeping these tips in mind, we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!
With the holidays right around the corner, chances are you’ll be taking at least a road trip or two to visit family and friends or experience the joys of the season in another city or town. The Garage Plan Shop recommends following these travel safety tips provided by a traffic safety researcher.
1. Prepare your car – Make sure your car is in tip-top shape before setting out on a road trip. Change your oil and check tire pressure and antifreeze levels.
2. Map your travel plan – If your road trip is going to take more than a single day’s travel, consult maps and find hotels along your route in which to stay for the night. Also use resources like Google Maps and travel sites to locate hotels along your route. Don’t forget to bring your maps with you.
3. Drive safe during the day – Research shows roadways are most dangerous to travel early in the morning and late at night when drivers are more likely to be tired or intoxicated. Limit your driving times between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm. Depart early and plan to be at your destination or hotel before it gets too late.
4. Plan to take breaks – Plan to pull over every 2-3 hours to stretch your legs, give your eyes a quick break and recharge. If you are traveling with another driver, take turns driving in shifts so no one experiences fatigue.
5. Wake up or catch up on sleep – Statistics report in 2009 alone over 100,000 car crashes were due to drowsy driving. If you are driving in shifts with another driver, take a nap while the other person is behind the wheel. If not, pull over in a safe well-lit place and take a quick power nap. But perhaps the best idea is plan to check into your hotel early in the evening so you can go to bed early and catch up on sleep for the next day’s drive.
6. Do not drink – It is not safe and it is illegal to drink and drive. Studies show a single alcoholic drink can cause important changes in cognition affecting your ability to drive. So, skip the beer at lunch and wait until you are at your destination (a holiday party) where you can relax, celebrate the holidays and not have to worry about getting behind the wheel later.
The holidays are a wonderful time for everyone. Make sure you and your loved ones enjoy them by staying safe when taking a holiday road trip.