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Drew: Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

Yes, the Christmas season can be “the most wonderful time of the year” filled with joy and laughter, but during the holiday season safety must come first. It must be first in everything we do, but especially over the holiday season when it comes to shopping, (in store and online), decorating, cooking, and traveling.
This month’s safety articles will focus on those traditional occurrences most people engage in during the holiday season which has begun. The holiday season usually starts on Thanksgiving, but it is during the Christmas season when the spirit of celebration really peaks. We will begin this month’s holiday safety series with decorating safety. The sources referenced will be information from the National Safety Council, Maintenance Specialist, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, along with other safety experts.
“Decking the Halls” with Christmas decorations inside and out is one of the best ways to get in a holiday spirit, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating each year. Below are some recommended holiday safety tips when it comes to decorating for Christmas:
• Keep potentially poisonous plants such as mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis out of the reach of young children.
• If using an artificial tree, check that it is labeled “fire resistant.”
• If you are using a live tree, cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, it is important to remember to water it and remove it from your home when it is dry.
• Place your tree at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators, and other heat sources.
• Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches where small children can reach them.
• Only use indoor lights, indoors and outdoor lights, outdoors and choose the right ladder for the task when hanging lights. Yes, Christmas lights can really liven up any home, but they can also be a safety hazard. Therefore, inspect them for frayed or bare wires, cracked sockets, or broken bulbs that could start a fire. With rising utility costs, consider replacing old lights with newer LED ones that can be an energy saver for you.
• Follow the package directions on the number of light sets that can be plugged into one socket.
• Never nail, tack, or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and possible snow.
• Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.
These safety articles in December are meant to assist you in the midst of your holiday celebrations to Keep an Eye on Safety. We want you to have a memorable holiday season while keeping everyone and everything out of harm’s way.