Safety tips for the winter holiday season |

Safety tips for the winter holiday season

Wire Reports

The winter holidays are a time for celebration with family and friends, and that means more cooking, entertaining, home decorating and an increased risk of home fires due to increased usage of cooking and heating equipment. Most home fires and injuries occur in the kitchen as reported by the U.S. Fire Administration.

Some simple and easy life-saving tips to remember during the holiday season:

Cooking Fire Safety:

The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Please stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.

It’s not a good idea to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves) while cooking.

Please do not leave flammable materials, such as pot holders or paper towels near the stove.

If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll. Stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover face with hands. Roll over and over or back and forth to put out the fire. Immediately cool the burn with cool water for 3 to 5 minutes and then seek emergency medical care.

Please create a ‘kid-free zone’ by keeping young children at least 3′ away from stove and cooking area.

Use back burner when possible to reduce the risk of spills and turn pot handles away from stoves edge and always use a pot holder or mitt when moving hot food or liquid.

If using a turkey fryer (remember these devices are not certified by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) because of the numerous safety hazards they present to consumers), please use outdoors away from buildings and items that can catch fire and never use in a garage or on a wooden deck.

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires:

Selecting a tree for the holiday – When buying a live tree, look for one that is not shedding needles. If needles fall off or branches snap when bent, the tree is already too dry.

Keep trees watered. A mixture of lemon-lime soda and water will keep a tree moist longer.

Keep trees away from all heat sources including fire places, stoves and room/space heaters.

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant”.

Secure the tree firmly in tree stand to keep it from toppling over.

When tree becomes dry, promptly discard it. Please consider using the IVGID Waste Not Free Holiday Tree Recycling Program. This service will be available December 24th through January 25, 2012. For more information on this program, please call Waste- Not Hotline at 832-1284.

Lights & Candles:

Please do not use candles on a Christmas tree.

Place candles where they will not be knocked down.

Keep candles away from curious pets and children’s reach.

Be extremely careful with candles that have leaves, flowers, pinecones or other decorative items cast into them. These items can become wicks and ignite the candle in a way that the candle is not designed.

Keep lights or candles away from anything that could easily catch fire (NFPA reports that half of home candles fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle).

Please do not leave holiday lights or candles unattended.

Inspect all lights and cords before using them. Discard all lights with cracked or broken wiring and never overload circuits.

Holiday Decorations:

Keep wrapping paper and ribbons away from heat sources. This includes candles, lights, fireplaces, stoves and heaters.

Wrapping paper and ribbon should be thrown away in trash containers, not fireplaces. Burning paper and ribbon could cause a chimney fire.

Put decorations high enough on the tree so your child or pet can’t reach them. Children can choke or cut themselves on ornaments or ornament hangers.

Holly and mistletoe are poisonous. Keep them away from children.

Use only nonflammable or flame-retardant decorations and place away from heat vents.

If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame-retardant.

Fireplace Safety:

Check and clean the fireplace and chimney every year.

Always put logs and newspapers on a grate inside fireplace and use a fireplace screen.

Please do not use gasoline, lighter fluid or kerosene to start a fire and make sure the fire you build “fits” your fireplace (use an appropriate amount of newspaper and logs).

Place completely cooled ashes in a metal container. Keep metal container outside away from the house in a safe place.