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Enjoy a safe holiday season 

Take care not to overlook safety during the holiday season because an accident or becoming a crime victim can ruin an otherwise joyous time.

Home safety:

  • Buy a size 3A40BC multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher at a home improvement store. This size will last 1- 1½ minutes.
  • When using fire extinguishers, use the PASS method – Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.
  • Carefully check light strands to be sure that the plastic insulation is intact.
  • Use surge protectors instead of extension cords and do not overload outlets.
  • Space heaters need space – at least 36 inches all the way around. Replace space heaters that are more than 15 years old with a heater that has the UL symbol (Underwriters Laboratory).  Newer models should go off if turned over. Watch pets around space heaters.
  • While buying batteries for new Christmas toys, get new ones for smoke alarms if they were not changed when daylight savings time ended.  Don’t take batteries from smoke alarms for new toys.
  • A well-watered live tree – one that has a stand that will hold 2-3 gallons of water – is safer than an artificial tree. However, a dry live tree can engulf a room in flames in 30 seconds.  Check water level in tree stands often.
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Advise overnight guests of fire escape plan.  Designate one specific meeting place, not simply “outside,” but specifically front yard, sidewalk, neighbor’s house, etc.
  • Do not attempt to extinguish grease fires with water as it can cause serious burns and will not put out the fire. Instead, use a lid that fits the pan and have it ready to be put in place if the grease ignites. Remember to turn off the burner and do not move the pan until it cools off.
  • Turkey fryers should be at least 10 feet away from buildings, and check propane tank hoses before use.
  • When frying turkeys, determine the correct amount of oil by placing the frozen turkey in the fryer and covering it with water.  Remove it, and mark the water level.  This is the correct level for oil.  Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Have lid for the fryer nearby as it can be placed on top to cut off oxygen to the fire if one should start.


Public safety:

  • Be aware of surroundings when coming and going from car during shopping trips.  When possible, shop in pairs or groups.
  • Pepper spray can be an effective self-defense tool in many cases.  In addition, holding keys with one finger through the key ring allows keys to be used as a weapon against attackers.
  • Put all items in car trunk or place them out of the view of people walking by.
  • Be a good neighbor.  Know when people should be coming and going from neighbors’ homes and call police if anything suspicious is observed.


Pet safety:

  • Keep poisonous flowers/plants such as poinsettias, lilies and mistletoe berries out of pets’ reach.
  • Keep Christmas tree water stand covered.  Pine sap mixed with water can be poisonous to pets.  Preservatives such as aspirin or chemicals added to the water can also be poisonous.
  • Ensure that no ornaments, hooks, tinsel, ribbon are within the reach of pets. These can cause serious internal injury or choking.  Pine needles can be hazardous as well.
  • Pieces of aluminum foil used to cover food and other food/candy wrappers smell like food and are attractive to pets. Keep them out of reach and keep garbage can covered.
  • The water in snow globes can contain antifreeze, which is poisonous to pets.
  • Secure trees to wall or ceiling hook with fishing line to prevent it from being pulled over by pets.
  • Cover or tape down electrical cords to keep pets from chewing on them.
  • Many food items can be harmful to pets. For example, chocolate is toxic and chicken/turkey bones are a choking hazard.  Rich, fatty foods and alcohol are also harmful to animals.
  • Keep candles on high shelves and use a fireplace screen to avoid burns.


Stay safe and enjoy the holidays!