Welcome back readers!  You’ll have to forgive us on missing the November monthly blog.  It SNOWED on HALLOWEEN (yup, that happened)… and we just haven’t been the same sense!

Winter snuck up on everyone this year which means we get to enjoy all things comfort that much sooner!  If you haven’t already begun celebrating the holidays you’re likely heading out soon on either a hunt for the perfect tree, a road trip to visit long since seen relatives, or a quick stop at the grocery store to prep your favorite meal.

The holidays are the perfect time to decorate, travel, and spend time with loved ones; and making sure we do that safely is of the utmost importance.  We’ve put together some “Holiday Safety Tips” which will help ensure a happy and stress-free holiday season! *Disclaimer* Sorry, this list will not help with family or in-law stress 😉

Holiday Decorating

Decorating is one of the best ways to get into the spirit and spread holiday cheer.  Avoid injuries and fire hazards by following these tips while decorating:

Holiday tree with ornaments

  • Inspect electrical decorations/lights for damages before use: Loose or bare wires may start a fire.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets: Overloaded outlets can cause tripped breakers and fires.  In fact, overloaded outlets and faulty wires are one of the most common causes of holiday fires.
  • Keep potentially poisonous plants away from children and pets: Some popular plants such as mistletoe, holly berries and poinsettias are poisonous to pets and children.  While these plants are beautiful, just be conscious of where you place them.
  • Water fresh trees daily: Before you place your tree in the stand cut off about 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption.  Continue to water daily to avoid dry needles as they can catch fire easily.  Keep your tree at least 3 feet away from any heat sources such as fireplaces or baseboard heaters.
    • Bonus Tip: If using an artificial tree, check the label to ensure it is “fire resistant.”
  • Turn off all lights and decorations, extinguish flames when you go to bed or leave your home: Unattended candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires (NFPA).
    • Bonus Tip: Use battery operated or “flameless” candles!

Holiday Travel

It’s unavoidable.  It’s the holidays, you’re going to be traveling somewhere.  Weather it’s to Great Grandma Judy’s for some over the top kisses or to your local market for some boxed stuffing- wherever you go you want to get there safely!  Stay safe on the roads by following these tips:

  • Prepare your car and yourself for winter: Keep an emergency preparedness kit with you such as hats, mittens, blankets, water, etc.  Be sure your car has a full tank of gas.  Just because your gasoline won’t freeze doesn’t mean a low gas tank won’t be harmed by cold temperatures.  If your tank is low, there is more space for water vapor to develop and freeze.
  • Keep your cell phone charged, but out of distractions way: It is important to keep your cell phone charged in cases of emergency, but this can also cause distracted driving.  Commit to keeping your phone down- no texting or web surfing!
    • Bonus Tip: Make sure someone knows your route and tentative arrival time!
  • Make sure everyone is buckled up: No matter how long or how short the trip, make sure everyone is buckled up- every time!
  • Leave early: Plan ahead for heavy traffic.  Between weather and traffic there are bound to be delays.  It is important to not feel rushed or distracted while driving.
  • Elect a “DD”: A designated driver or a car service makes sure you get home safely.  Don’t plan to drink alcohol at a party if you don’t have a plan to get home- that easy!

Assorted holiday cookies

Holiday Entertaining

If you enjoy entertaining or cooking your favorite holiday meal for your loved ones, you also know how stressful it can be.  Take some of the stress out by keeping yourself and others safe with these tips:

  • Stay in the kitchen: Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires (NFPA).
  • Test your smoke alarms: It’s as simple as that!  Test your smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly.
  • Create a “kid free” zone: It is important to teach younger children about safety in the kitchen.  Teach them to stay at least 3 feet away from your cooking space.  It’s also far less stressful for mom when children are not racing through the kitchen when oven doors are open (ok- that last tip may be from experience) 😉
  • Food poisoning is NO JOKE: Keep everyone happy and healthy this holiday season by practicing handling food safely.
    • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Use separate cutting boards for uncooked and cooked meats.
    • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature.
    • Refrigerate hot or cold leftover food within two hours of serving.
      • Bonus Tip: Leftovers are safe for three to four days when properly refrigerated (NSC).

Overall the holidays are a joyous time well spent with family, friends and loved ones.  Keeping everyone safe by having these tips in the back of your mind will help create a carefree (and incident free) memory for all!  So cheers to you!  May your holidays be filled with laughter and love… and delicious food!

 

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