5 Holiday Safety Risks
The holidays come with hazards, including fire dangers, burglaries and drunken driving.
Fires. Burglaries. Drunken driving. These hazards and others increase during the holiday season. The good news is that you can take steps to prevent falling victim to such dangers. Enjoy the holidays safely with the tips below.
Look After Your Christmas Tree: A neglected Christmas tree can easily become a fire risk. Each year, approximately 240 fires occur because of Christmas trees. The U.S. Fire Administration urges the public to make sure that Christmas trees remain watered. Also, avoid putting Christmas trees near heat sources such as vents and fireplaces, which dry them out.
Take Care of Lights and Candles: Each year 150 residential fires start because of holiday lights and similar decorations. Fire proof your lights by checking to make sure they’re not frayed, tangled, or otherwise in disrepair. Never place lit candles on a Christmas tree. Consider skipping real candles in your home period. Opt for battery-operated candles that look and smell like the real thing instead.
Ward Off Burglars: Burglars struck 400,000 times from November to December last year, the Los Angeles Times reported. If you’re traveling during the holidays, don’t advertise your departure by allowing newspapers to pile up at your door or announcing your trip on Facebook. Protect your car from burglaries by installing an alarm system, motion sensor lighting and keeping valuables out of sight.
Use Space Heaters Sparingly: African Americans are twice as likely to die in residential fires than other groups. They represent 25 percent of fire victims. During the holiday season, fire dangers rise for all groups. Christmas trees, holiday lights and candles add to the risk, as do the space heaters, kerosene heaters and fireplaces people use to keep warm during winter. Avoid a heater-related fire by buying portable heaters that have been evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory. Moreover, the U.S. Fire Administration cautions the public to buy heaters that will turn off automatically if they topple over and to plug heaters directly into wall outlets rather than power strips or extension cords.
Avoid Driving Drunk: Arrange to take a taxi, public transportation or have a sober friend drive you home if you plan on drinking during the holidays. Know if the holiday drinks you’re having—eggnog, cider, punch—are alcoholic to avoid unintentionally becoming intoxicated.
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