The holidays are here and the decorating has begun! With so much to do and so much excitement, it’s easy to forget safety precautions and their purpose. This year, make safety part of your holiday tradition with these tips broken down by holiday activity:
- Hanging up the lights and other decorations: When hanging up your lights and other decorations where a ladder is needed, proper ladder safety applies. This means checking your ladder is safe to use and using three points of contact (both feet and one hand or both hands and one foot) at all times.
- Powering your light display: Whether outside or on your tree, check your lights for any frayed cords or cracked bulbs. If any are damaged, don’t use them. Lights for indoor use should not be used outside and vice versa. Check the tag on the string of lights for clarification. Use extension cords when necessary, but make sure they are not overloaded or run through the snow, unless they’re an outdoor extension cord.
- Shoveling Snow: When Old Man Winter makes an appearance, check your state and local laws for snow removal responsibilities. In Pennsylvania, property owners and those who occupy properties (i.e., single family home tenant) have the duty to shovel sidewalks within a specified time frame after a storm has ended. Failing to do so may result in a fine. City ordinances specify a time frame and how wide the path must be when removing snow.
- Working in the cold: Make sure you’re wearing the proper protective gear to prevent illness and cold stress, the sister of heat stress. Proper winter protective gear includes a hat or headband that covers your ears, gloves that are water and wind resistant, and a scarf to block the wind from your neck and face. Layer your clothes but make sure they’re loose to allow for mobility and shoes should be waterproof boots. Wear wool socks to prevent frostbite.
- Holiday baking: December is the deadliest fire month out of the year. To avoid kitchen fires, do not leave your food unattended and check kitchen appliances for frayed wiring. In case you have a grease fire, do not attempt to put it out with water – use baking soda.
- Travelling in the snow: Driving slow is the key to avoiding accidents on an icy road. This helps maintain control and avoid sliding. Make sure you have a half full gas tank to avoid your gas line freezing if you’re stuck in traffic for too long, and don’t slam on your brakes. Brake softly to avoid your tires locking and you skidding and maintain a distance of 8 to 10 seconds between you and the car in front of you to prevent an accident.
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