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Holiday Season Safety Tips Everyone Should Know

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Published in Safety on November 21, 2016.

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for many Americans. While most people look forward to the winter months and holiday gatherings with friends and family, this time of year can be hazardous. To protect yourself, your family, and your property during the holidays, be proactive – there are many ways to do so.

Safety at Home

The holidays mean large family gatherings, parties, and lots of food for a great many people. Because there are many people around, incidents can easily happen. Think ahead to any possibility of hazard before the season begins. Consider these tips.

  • Fires are an extreme danger, especially in a crowded home. Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand when cooking either inside or outside.
  • Turkey fryers can produce delicious meals, but they are also incredibly dangerous if handled inappropriately. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed and dry before placing it in the hot frying oil – any residual ice or water can cause the fryer to explode.
  • Candles are a common choice during the holiday season, so take care and use them responsibly. Never keep candles within the reach of children or allow them to burn unsupervised.
  • Fireplaces are also more commonly used during the winter. Inspect your chimney and fireplace before starting any fires. A clogged chimney can easily cause a fire or allow harmful smoke to seep into your home.
  • When decorating your home, always take proper safety precautions. For example, if you are hanging Christmas lights around your house, make sure you use a sturdy ladder. Keep Christmas tree ornaments high enough off the ground so small children cannot injure themselves and so they are not a temptation to pets.
  • Although homes can become crowded during large family gatherings, keep stairways and walking paths clear of tripping hazards.
  • Winter also means inclement weather, so be diligent about removing ice and snow from your driveway, sidewalk, and steps to prevent any slip and fall injuries.

Tips for Travel

In addition to large gatherings and holiday events, the holiday season also means traveling for many Americans. Travel during the winter months is much more hazardous than the rest of the year, so don’t add to these hazards with unsafe practices.

  • Prepare for much more traffic than usual. Thanksgiving Day is well known as an awful day for travel, with millions of people taking to the road and skies to see friends and loved ones for dinner. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
  • Don’t engage in aggressive driving. Other motorists may drive at excessive speeds or take unnecessary risks to save time, but that does not mean you should retaliate. If you encounter an aggressive driver, make way for him or her to pass, or pull over when it is safe to do so. If you feel as though another driver presents a significant threat to yourself or other drivers, take note of the vehicle’s license plate (if possible) or make and model, pull over, and call the police.
  • Never use a cell phone while driving. Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of serious car crashes every year, so have your passengers navigate and handle your phone, if necessary.

Crime Prevention

Even though the holidays are meant to be a time for celebration, some individuals use the holiday season as an opportunity to break the law, take advantage of others, or put others at serious risk. Pay attention when shopping by keeping your purse or wallet close, avoid storing exposed gifts in the car, and have Uber or Lyft available if you plan on drinking at a party.

Keep these tips in mind and exercise good judgment during the holiday season to reduce the risk of preventable incidents ruining the holiday spirit.

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