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Tips for having a safe holiday

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POSTED: December 21, 2012 7:00 a.m.

Feelings go crazy during the holidays. It’s exciting and exasperating, it’s fun and it’s a hassle, and in spite of all that, it’s still full of wonder.

The real beauty lies in the fact that children get to feel all the joy and wonder — minus the traffic, crowds and costs that drive their parents nuts.

Yet, within the wonder lies hazard. Children are drawn to the glittering electric lights and to the glow of candles — both of which can cause injury. Every year, according to redcross.org, 1,300 people are treated for injuries related to holiday lights, and 6,200 people for injuries related to holiday decorations and Christmas trees.

If the national statistics hold true this year, there will be at least 400 fires involving Christmas trees. As a result, 10 people will die, 80 will be hurt and more than $15 million in property will be lost.

By taking action before the holidays, you can help keep your family safe. Here’s what the Bryan County Emergency Services recommends:

• Check and/or replace the batteries in your smoke alarm. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 85 percent of all fire deaths occur in the home, and the majority occurs at night when most people are sleeping.

• Carefully choose and maintain Christmas trees. A 6-foot tree will use 1 gallon of water every two days. A dried-out tree can be consumed by fire in less than 30 seconds.

• Be careful with holiday lights. When you purchase new lights, choose brands that bear the mark of a testing laboratory. If the lights are broken, throw them away. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Don’t overload electrical outlets, and always unplug lights before you leave home or go to sleep.

• Be smart about candles. Candles are among the leading causes of fires in the home. If you have children, keep the candles out of their reach. Never leave a child alone in a room with a lit candle, don’t let teenagers keep candles in their bedrooms, and don’t use candles to decorate the Christmas tree.

• Be careful when you cook for the holidays. The NFPA says unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S.
• Have a home escape plan. Even young children can learn what to do in the event of a fire in your home.

• Finally, even though the weather has changed and the swimming pool is the last thing on your mind, you must still watch your children around water. Drowning can happen no matter what the temperature is outside.

By planning ahead, paying attention to the hazards and taking the right steps to avoid them, you can have a safe and very happy holiday season.

Best wishes from Bryan County Emergency Services!

 

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