Holiday Safety Tips #2

Be Safe on Icy Surfaces:

When you’re taking a crisp winter stroll in your neighborhood or walking through the parking lot at work or the grocery, use caution when walking out-doors in the winter. Slips and falls are some of the most frequent types of injuries, especially during the winter months Sidewalks and pavement can be slipperier than they look, resulting in falls that can cause serious injury. Follow these tips to be aware of these dangers and to learn to walk safely on ice and slippery surfaces.

· In cold temperatures assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy.

· Wear sensible boots with thick, non-tread soles and low heels. Keep these in your car in case you become stranded or encounter car trouble.

· Thoroughly salt or sand your driveway, walkways and sidewalks.

· Wait until snow/ice has melted before walking on salted surfaces.

· Look before you walk. Surfaces can re-freeze during nighttime hours, making sidewalks and parking lots slippery in the morning. Walk in designated walkways as much as possible. Taking shortcuts over snow piles and other frozen areas can be hazardous. Look ahead when you walk; a snow- or ice covered sidewalk or driveway, especially if on a hill, may require travel along its grassy edge for traction.

· Point your feet out slightly like a penguin! Spreading your feet out slightly while walking on ice increases your center of gravity. Bend slightly and walk flat-footed with your center of gravity directly over the feet as much as possible. Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance.

· Keep your hands out of your pockets. Hands in your pockets while walking decreases your center of gravity and balance. You can help break your fall with your hands free if you do start to slip.

· Watch where you are stepping and… GO S-L-O-W-L-Y !!

· Walk slowly and carefully, taking small steps.

· If you’re in a situation where you cannot safely walk on the snow or ice, ask someone around you for assistance.

· Don’t walk your dog using a retractable leash in snowy, icy conditions.

· When helping someone on the snow or ice, use extra caution.

· Never perform outdoor tasks requiring a ladder (i.e., hanging outdoor holiday lights on your home) during snowy or icy conditions.

· Carry a shovel and small bag of salt (or other ice melting product) in your car in case you become stuck in the snow while driving.

Be Safe in Cold Temperatures:

Exposure to cold temperatures for a prolonged period of time can result in frostbite, which causes the skin and surrounding tissues to freeze. Frostbite commonly occurs in the fingers, which may lead to loss of feeling and skin discoloration. In severe cases, frostbite can also cause permanent damage and/or loss of fingers. If you’re going to be outside in the cold weather, be sure to protect your hands.

· Frostbite can occur even when the temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Wind chill and moisture contribute to frostbite conditions.

· Dress in layers, including warm, insulated gloves or mittens that repel moisture. Always carry a pair in your car in case you become stranded or encounter car trouble.

· Refrain from consuming alcohol when you’re outside in the cold weather.

· People who have diabetes and neuropathy or those taking certain medications are at higher risk for frostbite.

Recognize frostbite symptoms:

· Numbness/tingling feeling

· Skin discoloration

· Hard or waxy skin

· Blisters or blackened skin

If you suspect frostbite, follow these guidelines and seek immediate medical attention:

· Go immediately to a warm place, preferably indoors.

· Carefully remove wet gloves and mittens.

· Refrain from rubbing or scratching the affected area.

· Carefully submerse affected fingers in warm (not hot) water for 30 minutes until medical care is available.

· Cover the area with a warm towel or blanket to thaw.

· If available, wrap each frostbitten finger loosely with sterile gauze.

· Thaw a frostbitten area only if it can be kept warm. Refreezing a frostbitten finger can result in permanent loss.

· Do not touch blisters occurring from frostbite.

Be Safe with Holiday Cooking:

When preparing any food, it is important to wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling any meat. This will reduce any contamination to the meat and the spread of food borne illness.
Never share cutting boards without washing them thoroughly. Never place different forms of raw meat onto the same cutting board. This can cause cross contamination of the meat and spread food borne illness. Wash the cutting boards well with either hot soapy water or bleach and water solution.
Do not let your leftovers sit out longer than two hours. To prevent food borne illnesses, you should refrigerate the leftovers as soon as possible. When re-heating the leftovers, they should reach a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any harmful bacteria.

Be Safe with Decorations:


· Many artificial trees are fire resistant. If you buy one, look for a statement specifying this protection.

· A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. To check for freshness, remember:

· A fresh tree is green.

· Fresh needles are hard to pull from branches.

· When bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break.

· The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin.

· When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling needles shows that tree is too dry.

· Place tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Heated rooms dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards.

· Cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Trim away branches as necessary to set tree trunk in the base of a sturdy, water-holding stand with wide spread feet. Keep the stand filled with water while the tree is indoors.

· Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block door-ways. Use thin guy-wires to secure a large tree to walls or ceiling. These wires are almost invisible.


· Artificial snow sprays can irritate lungs if inhaled. To avoid injury, read container labels; follow directions carefully.


· Use only lights that have been tested for safety, whether using them out-side or indoors. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.

· Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.

· Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.

· Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

· Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire.

· Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.

· The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and any person touching a branch could be electrocuted! To avoid this danger, use colored spotlights above or beside a tree, never fastened onto it!

· Keep “bubbling” lights away from children. These lights with their bright colors and bubbling movement can tempt curious children to break candle-shaped glass, which can cut, and attempt to drink liquid, which contains a hazardous chemical.


· Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.

· Always use non-flammable holders.

· Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper.

· Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.

General Rules for Holiday Safety:

· Keep matches, lighters, and candles out of the reach of children.

· Avoid smoking near flammable decorations.

· Make an emergency plan to use if a fire breaks out anywhere in the home. See that each family member knows what to do. PRACTICE THE PLAN!

· Avoid wearing loose flowing clothes—particularly long, open sleeves—near open flames – such as those of a fireplace, stove, or candlelit table.

· Never burn candles near evergreens. Burning evergreens in the fireplace can also be hazardous. When dry, greens burn like tinder. Flames can flare out of control, and send sparks flying into a room, or up the chimney to ignite creosote deposits.

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Filed under Christmas, Christmas decorations, food safety, New Years Eve, Safety Tips

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