As you prepare for this holiday season, here are a few simple tips to help keep you and your loved ones protected, prepared and safe.
- If you are buying Christmas lights for your home this year, look for energy-efficient LED lights that use 75 percent less energy and last years longer than an incandescent light string, according to ENERGY STAR. LEDs are reliable and do not produce heat. Look for department or home improvement stores that have a trade-in program for trading incandescent Christmas light strings toward a credit for purchasing LED Christmas light strings
- If you are using a cut tree, place it in an adequate container and water it every day. A Christmas tree stand with a well that holds at least a gallon of water, or a five gallon bucket of sand that is kept moist are both good options. If you tree is losing needles it probably needs to be watered. A dry tree is highly flammable and if ignited, can engulf a room in fire in less than one minute.
- Check your fire detectors. If you don't have them, install one in or near every bedroom.
- If cooking oil catches fire, turn off the gas or electric range and cover the pan with its lid-if you can do so at no risk to yourself. Ideally, use a fire extinguisher appropriate for grease fires.
- Never throw water or a wet towel on an oil fire, as that will cause the hot oil to splatter on you and could ignite additional materials nearby.
- Keep frying pans on the back burners of the stove, and keep the handle of the pan(s) away from the edge so children cannot reach it.
- Holiday grocery shopping is a great time to check and recycle your emergency food stocks. Remember to date your items to track their shelf life.
- Always be alert and aware of thefts and pickpockets waiting for their next victim.
- Do not bring too much cash when shopping, it's better to use credit cards instead.
- Do not flaunt your wallet and be wary of strangers looking around.
- Try to avoid overcrowded places. The best solution to avoid the holiday rush is to plan ahead and go shopping in advance so you can have more time and have fun while shopping.