Last week a friend of mine was sitting on her couch, admiring her family’s newly-decorated and beautifully lit Christmas tree, when she and her husband heard a strange hissing sound. They assumed that the sound was coming from one of the lights, and they were right. When they found the hissing light, they discovered that the bulb was smoking and the plastic around the bulb was melting. Thank goodness they caught the problem when they did – in all likelihood, the bulb would have caught fire within a few minutes.
My friend’s story reminded me that our tendency to become caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season often leads to forgetting to take the appropriate safety precautions when it comes to travel, decorations, etc.
Here are a few tips to help you and your family members stay safe and truly enjoy your holiday season:
- When traveling during the holiday season, be prepared for severe weather. Check the forecast ahead of time, adhere to travel advisories, allow extra time to reach your destination, and keep a winter storm survival kit in your car. And perhaps most importantly, ALWAYS wear your seatbelt.
- Dress appropriately – in layers and taking into account the air temperature, the wind speed, and your anticipated level of physical exertion – before going outside.
- Be very careful with holiday candles. Never leave them unattended, and keep them (along with matches and lighters) away from children, decorations, and combustible materials.
- Be very careful with your holiday lights, both those inside and outside your home. Before you hang your lights, check them carefully for cracked cords, frayed ends, and loose connections. Turn off indoor lights when you leave the house, and turn off both indoor and outdoor lights before you go to bed at night.
- Decorate your home with flame-retardant or noncombustible materials, and do not light a fire in your fireplace while stockings are hung from the mantle.
- Keep live Christmas trees fresh (water trees daily), secured in sturdy stands, and away from heat sources and exits. If you use an artificial tree, make sure it’s fire-retardant.
Stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season!