By Brian Lane
Florida Department of Health in Broward County
The holidays bring lots of opportunities for family fun and great gatherings, with home-cooked feasts, bright lights, decorations and evergreen trees in the living room. But be sure to take a few small precautions to keep your family safe during all the activity.
In the kitchen:
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stove.
- Keep children away from the stove, hot food, hot liquids, steam and cooking splash.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives, matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children.
- Avoid dangling cords from an electric knife, coffee maker or other appliances over the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Test smoke alarms.
Inside and outside the house:
- Find a freshly cut tree, as they are more resistant to catching fire. Keep it watered and away from flames.
- Discard holiday light strings with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections.
- Make sure electrical items such as light strings, extension cords, spotlights, etc. are certified by UL.
- Keep outdoor light electrical connections off the ground and away from metal objects. Use insulated tape or plastic clips to fasten them.
- Use an outdoor timer to switch lights on and off. Wait until 7 p.m. to avoid peak electricity hours. Turn them off when you leave home or go to bed.
- Use only one extension cord for each need. Never string them together.
- Don’t use your gas fireplace if the glass panel is removed, cracked or broken.
Sources: CSA International, National Fire Protection Agency