safetytipsAh, the holidays – a time for twinkling lights, delicious food, and fun times with family and friends. The Suffolk County PBA wants to make sure that we all avoid any hazardous situations to ensure that we have a safe and wonderful holiday season.  Taking a few moments to read and share this information will help you feel confident that those you love and cherish will be safe, happy and full of good cheer.

Light Up the Night With Safety

There’s nothing quite like twinkling lights during the holiday seasons, and the iridescent glimmer of  ornaments adorning your home.  However, among the top holiday dangers comes from the soft glow of candlelight.

According to a 2013 report issued by the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 12% of all home candle fires occur in December, and the top three days for candle fires occurring were Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

To prevent unintended fires from occurring within your home this holiday season, make sure to take the following precautions:

  1. Never leave flames unattended – even if you’re just leaving the room
  2. Always keep candles out of reach of children and animals
  3. Put out all candles before going to sleep. Never sleep in a room with a burning candle.
  4. When lighting candles, ensure that they are on stable surfaces first.
  5. Never burn candles near flammable items, such as trees, drapery, or clothing
  6. Check, clean and maintain your chimney at least once a year.

Safety: the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Giving and receiving is one of the great joys of the holiday season for children and adults alike. When giving gifts to children, it’s important to be mindful that certain toys and objects may contain parts that are small or hazardous.

Here is how to gift safely this holiday season:

  1. Check for toy recalls.
  2. Be aware of the dangers of coin lithium batteries, particularly in regards to the ingestion of such
  3. When selecting gifts for elders, avoid gifts that are overly heavy or difficult to handle, and if they are, advise them that you will assist them with it.

Deck the Halls With Safety

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, decorating for the season is festive, yet beware! There were around 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating in U.S. emergency rooms in 2012 alone.

Watch out for these seemingly harmless holiday decoration hazards:

  1. “Angel hair” is made from spun glass, and is capable of irritating both the eyes and skin. When handling this material, be sure to wear gloves, or opt for a cotton alternative.
  2. Artificial snow can be a whimsical addition to any window or surface. But when handling, be sure to follow instructions carefully and avoid inhalation.
  3. Whether you’re hanging tinsel or ornaments, never use furniture or chairs as a stepping device. Instead, always use a proper step ladder.
  4. Poinsettias are perfect and natural holiday decorations – but they are poisonous so be sure to keep them out of both your child’s and pet’s way.  For the Poison Control Center, call 1-800-222-1222.
  5. Decorative lights are one of the best parts of the holiday season. Just make sure to use lights that are fully intact – this means that they are free of broken sockets and exposed wires.

Travel Safety

The holiday season is a time for celebration and gathering with friends and family. From shopping to social events, there will be many travelers on the road. While traveling during the holidays keep the following in mind:

  1. Always have a designated driver to get you and your family home safely after a holiday party, or any event when alcohol is being consumed.
  2. Buckle up for safety. Every passenger should wear their seat belt.
  3. Texting and driving is never okay. Remember, it can always wait.
  4. Be prepared for inclement weather, take necessary precautions and make sure your car has supplies should you get stuck. Visit www.dmv.org for a complete list.

Feast Well, Feast Safely

One of the best parts of the holidays is the endless array of delicious food and desserts. Check out these holiday food safety tips provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Services:

  1. Do NOT rinse meat and poultry before cooking — it doesn’t get rid of bacteria, instead it increases chances of spreading the bacteria around your kitchen.
  2. When cooking meat, use a meat thermometer to ensure that it is cooked to a safe temperature
  3. Whenever you have leftovers, be sure to refrigerate your food within two hours
  4. And these leftovers are safe for about four days in the refrigerator
  5. When reheating sauces, soups, and gravies, bring them to a rolling boil
  6. Cut leftover pieces of turkey into small pieces to ensure that it chills quicker in your refrigerator
  7. Whenever handling food, and before eating food, wash your hands frequently
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