Holiday Safety Reminders

All of the carols tell us that the winter season is “the most wonderful time of the year”, but in reality, holiday mishaps happen more often than you might think. Festive celebrations, decorative lights, and wintry wonderlands may seem like innocent hallmarks of the holiday season, but they also create unique risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one.

Here are a few holiday health and safety risks that may surprise you, along with our tips for celebrating a healthy, injury-free season.

1. Slips and Falls

Perhaps the most obvious risk on this list, slips and falls account for approximately 40% of all traumas and injury-related deaths in Canada. Even when surfaces do not look icy or slippery, it is possible that a thin sheet of transparent ice could be covering the ground and putting you at risk. In order to reduce your risk of falling, make sure that you are always wearing appropriate footwear when venturing out into the snow. Stick to sidewalks and avoid walking on roads whenever possible – remember that cars can slip on the ice, too! You should also refrain from putting your hands in your pockets while walking on the ice, so that if you do fall, you are able to catch yourself. Lastly, if you can’t avoid the ice and snow, walk with your knees slightly bent and take shorter steps to reduce your risk of slipping.

2. Drinking and Driving

We all know that we shouldn’t drink and drive, but the season of holiday parties and warm mulled wine can put this conviction to the test. If you are attending a festive event that involves alcohol, remember to designate a driver who agrees not to drink and will be responsible for driving others home. If you are hosting a holiday party, consider not serving alcohol in the last hour of the party to ensure that everyone has time to sober up before leaving. If someone overindulges, it is your responsibility as the host to keep him or her from driving. Arrange for a ride with a safe driver, or offer the person a place to stay.

3. Christmas Lights and Decorations

Electrical fires and decorating-related falls account for a number of holiday injuries each year. Before hanging your lights, check along the entire strand for fraying or exposed wires to prevent electrical fires. The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs also recommend using no more than three standard sets of lights per single extension cord to avoid overloading a circuit.

When hanging your Christmas lights, make sure that you are using a sturdy ladder and wearing appropriate footwear for the job. If you are decorating long stretches of your house or trees, make sure to move your ladder as you go so you aren’t over-reaching. Never hang lights while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and avoid decorating at night or in the dark.

4. Candles and Trees

Some of the most devastating accidents of the holiday season occur from fires that result from unattended candles and Christmas trees. If you don’t want your house roasting on an open fire, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Buy safe lights: The lights you use should bear the marking of a safety testing laboratory. LEDs are a great choice as they’re energy efficient and run cooler.
  • Check lights for damage before use: Discard sets that have any exposed or frayed wires, cracked or broken bulbs, or any other damage.
  • Burn candles safely: Keep burning candles in sight and away from places where they can be knocked over by kids or pets. Also, make sure candles aren’t placed near anything that can catch fire, like decorations, curtains, furniture, or Christmas trees.
  • Consider an artificial tree: An artificial Christmas tree is less likely to act as kindling in your living room. Look for one with a “fire resistant” label.
  • Turn off decorative lights before going to bed: If you choose to decorate a tree, make sure that you always unplug the lights before going to sleep.

We hope you enjoyed these tips, and we wish you all a happy, safe and healthy holiday season.

Terra Crest Property Management