The holiday season brings with it a variety of safety concerns - from cooking fires to car break-ins. Follow these tips to keep your loved ones and property from harm.
Take Care When Frying Turkey
Many families prefer the taste of fried turkey to roasted. If yours is one, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers this advice if using an outdoor, gas-fueled turkey fryer:
- Set up the fryer away from your home and other structures, such as the garage or a shed.
- Only use the recommended amount of oil; do not overfill.
- Completely thaw the turkey before frying.
- Turn off the flame when lowering the turkey into the cooker.
- Keep a grease-fire approved fire extinguisher handy.
Or better yet, follow the NFPA recommendation to purchase a fried turkey from a store or restaurant or to use an oil-less turkey fryer, both of which eliminate the risk of that type of fire altogether. Other Thanksgiving fire safety tips from the organization include keeping an eye on all cooking pots and pans as well as placing lids within reach to smother small grease fires. And when enjoying leftovers, be sure to heat to 165 °F.
Stay Safe When Hanging and Enjoying Holiday Decorations
Holiday lights add festive sparkle to your home, but installing and using them can be dangerous as doing so involves ladder work and electrical wires. Follow these holiday decorating tips to reduce the risk of injury and fire during the holiday season:
- Use only lights approved for a specific use.
- Inspect lights for cracked, frayed or bare wires and loose connections before hanging, whether fresh from the box or from last year.
- Attach light clips to strings while on the ground to reduce ladder time.
- Have a helper hold the ladder while you work.
- Use no more than three sets of lights per extension cord.
- Plug lights into ground fault circuit interrupted outlets only.
- Use a timer to ensure lights get turned off each night.
These same tips apply to Christmas tree lights and other interior lighting. With all holiday decorations, be sure to check that they are flame-resistant or flame-retardant before using and always keep children and pets away from lights.
Use Candles as Decorations Wisely
December ranks as the peak month for home candle fires, according to the NFPA. More than half of the fires start because the candle was placed too close to a flammable item. The organization offers this advice on how to safely make candles a part of your holiday decorations:
- Use sturdy candleholders that will not tip over.
- Keep all candles at least 12 inches away from flammable items.
- Place candles only on uncluttered surfaces.
- Blow out all candles if no one will be in the room to monitor.
- Do not leave a child alone in a room with lit candles.
- One way to eliminate this particular fire risk altogether is to opt for flameless candles. They look and smell like real candles and will last for many seasons to come.
More Holiday Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
Fire and falling from a ladder are not the only risks posed during the holiday season. Thieves cruise shopping mall parking lots looking for unattended bags and packages, so place all items in the trunk before heading inside. Also try to have packages delivered only when you will be home or ask a neighbor to take them in; thieves will follow delivery trucks and snatch boxes from porches if possible.
Also take care when bringing holiday plants and flowers into the home. Some are toxic to small children and pets, including mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis.
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