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Tips for a safe winter break

When enjoying extra time with family and friends over the holiday season, take some time to review some basic considerations to help keep you and the ones you love safe and secure. 

Fireplace safety

It’s an unfortunate fact, but most home fires happen during the winter months. Simple steps of avoiding overuse of extension cords, not overloading outlets, using flameless candles instead of open flames, keeping flammables at least 3 feet away from heating elements, and inspecting heating systems regularly can decrease your chances of becoming part of that statistic.  Information from yahoo.com 

Shopping 

If you are shopping in person, consider doing so in daylight hours. Be sure to be aware of your surroundings while carrying items out to your car, keeping your purse and belonging in sight at all times. If you are unable to secure them in a trunk, always cover any purchases from plain sight through your car windows if you need to make more than one stop on your trip.  

Kitchen safety 

Be attentive to the heat on the stove and remember to turn it down should you need to step away. Wearing shorter sleeves or turning them up can help prevent them from getting too close to flames. To prevent bumping or catching them accidentally, place pot and pan handles toward the back of the stove. 

Keep boxes, wrappings, dish towels, and any flammable materials away from flames. For their safety and yours, keep pets and small children at least three feet away from a hot stove. 

Watch your step decorating 

To avoid instability and falls, always choose an appropriate weight-rated and correct height ladder for areas requiring elevated attention. Make sure your ladder base is properly supported on a firm surface. 

Should you need to access the roof, ensure the ladder extends beyond the roof line by at least a foot and a half and be sure the eaves can sustain the weight being placed on them before ascending. Don’t forget to wear anti-slip shoes. 

Pet safety

No matter the puppy-dog eyes, people food is best saved for people. Chocolate, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, and anything sweetened with xylitol are particularly toxic. Be sure to pick up any discarded wrapping paper, ribbons, tinsel, or packing materials. If they are ingested, they can cause severe blockages that may require surgery to remedy. Keep plants and flowers out of reach, as seasonal items – such as poinsettias, lilies, holly, and mistletoe – can cause various maladies from irritation to kidney failure. 

Let it snow 

It is beautiful for the season, but snow also means clearing driveways and walking paths. Remember to wear layers so if you get too hot shoveling, you can remove a layer rather than overheat. Don’t forget your hat, scarf, mittens or gloves, and warm, waterproof footwear. 

Push snow off the path instead of lifting loaded shovels in order to save your back. Take a break after 15 minutes in a warm, dry place. And don’t leave a snowblower unattended while running, being sure to shut off the engine when filling with gasoline.  

Information from safety and health magazine  

Holiday travel

When traveling for the holidays, consider asking a neighbor to keep watch over your property, or utilize a security system. To prevent calling attention to your absence, refrain from posting travel photos and videos to your social media until after you have returned. 

Unplug any electrical appliances that do not need to run while you are gone, but utilize light timers to assist the illusion of someone being home. 

Contact your local post office to hold your mail until you return, as overflowing mailboxes are a sure sign of travel to drive by opportunists. Give your travel itinerary to a friend or relative along with contact information in case there is an emergency back home. Information from safewise.com. 

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