It’s no surprise the holiday season is the busiest time of year for airports, malls, and other public places. Add hospitals to the list, too. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, roughly 12,000 to 15,000 emergency room visits each year are due to holiday-related injuries ranging from falls to strains to burns. As you light the tree and pour the eggnog, keep these safety tips in mind so that your holiday stays merry and bright. And don’t forget, you can always get the help of a Tasker to make sure the ladders are stable and the lights are hung safely!
- Ladders: Make sure a ladder is on firm, level ground before climbing — and always have a spotter! If you’re climbing, keep three points of contact on a ladder at all times to stay balanced (two arms and a leg or both legs and one arm).
- Lights: Check lights for frayed wires and outlets for loose sockets. Hang them with hooks, not nails or tacks, to avoid potential electrical fires. Turn off all lights before you leave the house or go to bed.
- Stockings & Wreaths: Hang these items at least three feet from heat sources to prevent accidental fires.
- Before the holiday activity begins, install new batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Clean grease buildup from the stove and hood to prevent grease fires. Don’t forget to check the filters!
- Set timers to keep food from burning.
- Do not put out grease fires with water. Instead, pour baking soda and salt on top to smother it.
- A dry tree will catch fire much faster than a well-watered one. Keep a close eye on water levels each day, starting with one quart of water per inch of trunk diameter.
- If you have an artificial tree, look for one labeled “fire resistant.”
- Keep the tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, candles, and radiators.
- Hang fragile ornaments high above the reach of children.
- Keep wrapping paper, bags, and ribbons away from heat sources and the reach of kids and pets. Always recycle wrapping paper instead of burning it in the fireplace.
- If you’re wrapping many gifts, stand at a waist-level table instead of hunching on the ground for long periods of time.
- Make sure outdoor lights are working and handrails are stable ahead of winter storms.
- Pre-salt all walkways, sidewalks, and steps before snow is predicted to make snow removal easier.
- When possible, push snow aside rather than lift to prevent unnecessary strain on your back.
- Don’t get too ambitious when filling your shovel. Only scoop what you can manage, and bend and lift with your legs, not your back.