It’s hard to believe that during the happiest of seasons more than 1,500 people get injured. Even worse—around 400 lives are lost. The good news is that many holiday hazards can be avoided. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the safety issues listed below so you and your family can make it a happy and healthy holiday season.

Trees All Aglow~

About 250 home fires a year are caused by holiday trees that catch fire. Getting a real tree can be a great family tradition, whether you venture into the woods to find one or you go to your local tree lot. Real trees can dry out quickly and become perfect kindling for a fire so make sure you get the freshest tree possible when shopping. Artificial trees might be convenient to store and use, but they can catch fire just as easily. Make sure you read all warnings on the box and verify that the tree is made from a flame retardant material.

 Safety Tip:

  • Make sure any electric lights on the tree are in proper working order and are not overloading the outlets.
  • Sweep up and dispose of any needles that have fallen from the tree because they too are a fire hazard.
  • Never place the tree near a fireplace, wood burning stove, or even a heating vent.

Decorating Downfalls~

If you’re one of the more than 80% of people who decorate their homes during the holidays, then be careful. About 5,800 people a year seek emergency help after falling during holiday decorating. Falls from ladders account for 43% and falls off the roof account for 13% of injuries.

Safety Tip:

  • Set up ladders securely by locking them in place. Always put them on stable ground.
  • Don’t climb up to the tippy top—those top two rungs are the most dangerous.
  • If you need to get on the roof, then extend the ladder three or more feet beyond the roofline.
  • Don’t overdo it and reach too far to put up that perfect decoration, this could cause you to lose your balance.

Avoid Candle Catastrophes~

The warm glow of a candle can be a symbolic and beautiful way to usher in the holidays. The downside, of course, is that candles are related to 15,000 fires annually.

Safety Tip:

  • Keep candles clear of decorations and fresh or artificial trees.
  • Place candles in low-traffic areas where someone can’t knock them over.
  • Like always, don’t leave burning candles unattended.
  • Instead use battery operated candles.

Blazing Lights~

While holiday light displays can be enchanting, they are linked to 170 fires each year both inside and outside.

Safety Tip:

  • Don’t use any lights with frayed wires, broken sockets, or obvious wear and tear.
  • Check the packaging. Does it allow for more than three strands of lights to be linked together? If not, or if you don’t know, stick to three maximum.
  • Plug your linked strands to an extension cord before connecting to an outlet to avoid overloading.
  • Turn off your dazzling display if you’re leaving home or going to sleep.

Following these tips will help reduce your chances of a fire this season, but there’s one more piece of advice you can’t ignore. Make sure your smoke detectors are installed correctly. Test them regularly and replace any old batteries. This way, you can keep a holiday mishap from becoming a holiday tragedy.

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