Staying safe during the holidays

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Christmas Lights

By Darin Perkins, Environmental, Health & Safety manager

Did you hear the story about the guy who fell through the attic while trying to retrieve decorations? He landed on the garage floor and fractured his spine. It’s a true, but definitely not a funny story. Unfortunately, it’s not all that unusual either.

The holiday season is here and although we try our best to plan well in advance, we often find ourselves rushing around trying to make last-minute arrangements. Not only can it be frustrating, but it can also lead to accidents and injuries.

Safety is a priority at CAP and we believe that no job is too important that it cannot be done safely – including those done at home. So this holiday season, we encourage you to think ahead and make safety a part of your routine.

Here are some reminders:

  • Decorate safely. There are thousands of injuries every year that result from holiday decorating. Keep small and breakable ornaments out of reach of children. Use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors. Choose the right ladder when placing lights or decorations up high and use the ladder correctly.
  • Be careful with electricity. Electrical cords, including light strings, that are frayed or have other damage should be replaced. Turn off lights and other electrical decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Prepare foods, especially poultry, safely. Wash hands frequently. Sanitize counters and cutting boards. Cook food to safe temperatures. Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
  • Manage stress. Take an occasional break, especially if you feel stressed out or overwhelmed. Find support. Limit time with individuals that drain your energy. Get plenty of sleep.
  • If you drink alcohol, be conscious of your intake, as well as that of those around you. Don’t diminish your ability to make good decisions and always designate a driver who is not drinking.
  • Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Keep an eye on fireplaces, space heaters, candles, and cooking food. Keep live Christmas trees well-watered. Make sure you have fully functioning smoke alarms have at least one fire extinguisher available and know how to use it.
  • Eat healthily. It can be especially difficult during the holidays, but be sure to eat sufficient fruits and vegetables, and limit your intake of foods high in fats and sugar. You don’t have to skip the traditional holiday foods, just be sure to eat in moderation.
  • Being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, will not only help to avoid packing on extra pounds, it’s also a great way to alleviate stress.
  • Be sure gifts are age appropriate. Thousands of children are seriously injured in toy-related incidents every year. When giving scooters, bikes, or other riding toys, be sure to also give the appropriate safety gear.

A little forethought and common sense can help avoid unnecessary pain. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Let’s enjoy them safely!