American Red Cross Offers Safety Tips for the Holidays

presentWhile people throughout Wisconsin and Michigan are finalizing plans for holiday events and travel, the Red Cross has tips to help prevent accidents and emergencies.

“Following a few simple tips can help make the holiday season safe and enjoyable,” said Steve Hansen, Chapter Executive.

Holiday Decorations and Parties

  • Place Christmas trees at least three feet away from any heat sources and exits. Water the tree daily.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets and unplug holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Keep candles away from combustible materials and in a place where children and pets can’t get to them.
  • Pick a designated driver when attending a party and provide non-alcoholic beverage options if hosting a party.
  • Keep children and pets away from the stove; turn pot handles in; and turn off burners if leaving the kitchen.

Holiday Travel

  • Make sure vehicles are in good working order before holiday trips. This includes checking tire air pressure and windshield fluid, and cleaning lights and windows.
  • Equip vehicles with an emergency preparedness kit with water, snacks, flashlight, first aid kit and blankets.
  • Check weather and road conditions before traveling.
  • Share travel plans including intended route and estimated arrival time with someone.

No matter where people are spending the holidays, downloading the American Red Cross First Aid App allows users to have information on what to do in emergencies when and where they need it. A variety of mobile apps are available at redcross.org/mobileapps.

“Taking a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED course is a great New Year’s resolution,” Hansen said. Information about courses and how to register is at redcross.org/takeaclass.

Prevent Home Fires During Holiday Season

This Holiday season make sure you and yours stay merry, warm and safe by following these tips:

  • Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
  • Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over.  Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
  • Smoke alarms save lives.  Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed.  Use the test button to check it each month.  Replace all batteries at least once a year.