Holiday safety tips for Capital Region residents

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. – As the Capital Region enters into the holiday season, grocery carts fill with gingerbread cookies and poinsettias, and boxes of holiday decorations reemerge from the dusty depths of basements and garages, bursting at the seams with tinsel.

[PHOTOS: Holiday Safety tips]

The holiday season just wouldn't be complete without seasonal objects, but there are safety measures to remain conscious of, especially in households with children and pets.

The following is a list of safety tips pertaining to holiday preparations:

HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Holiday lights are a fire hazard, so always remember to them off! This means before bed as well as whenever you leave your home.

Before stringing up icicle lights around your home or porch area, be sure to re-inspect them, since the condition of the lights may have changed since last winter. If the lights have frayed or have loose bulb connections, they are unsafe and need to be discarded.

Check that the holiday lights you intend to use outside are meant for outdoor use – not all holiday lights are!

HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS: Keep in mind that children and pets are attracted to shiny ornaments and objects that resemble foods. Make certain that small ornaments, items with small or removable parts and ornaments that resemble foods high up on the tree, out of reach.  

CANDLES AS ORNAMENTS: In the 1800s, people used to put lit candles on their trees as ornaments – that stopped after it resulted in many, many fires. Using electric lights on your Christmas tree is just as beautiful and much safer.  

CANDLES IN WINDOWS: Candles in windows are a holiday staple, and can be done safely with care and planning!

Don't leave a lit candle in the vicinity of a loose piece of fabric like a wafting window curtain, as it could easily catch and spread the flame. Securely fasten window curtains or completely remove them, if you intend to put a lit candle in the window. Also be sure that the candle is set on an uncluttered surface.

HOLIDAY PLANTS: Poinsettias are popularly rumored to be toxic, and they are, but to a minor extent. They will make animals sick if they are digested.

Far more toxic to animals are their holiday plant accomplices: lilies, holly and mistletoe. Keep all of these plants away from animals that are likely to chew on or digest them.

HOLIDAY TREE: If you are purchasing a pine tree for the holiday, make sure that the tree is fresh!

You can tell that a tree is fresh by reviewing a few things:

  • The color should be vivid green
  • The pine needles should be difficult to pull from the tree (not brittle and falling off with a light touch)
  • The base of the trunk should be sticky with white resin.

Dried out trees are dangerous because they are highly flammable. Be sure to purchase a sturdy tree-stand that resists any change in weight and keeps the tree standing up tall and straight!

HOLIDAY FOOD: A cook or designated helper should be in the kitchen at all times when there is food cooking. A large number of fires occur because of unattended food cooking- and the hopeful dog does not count as a watchful eye in the kitchen.

FIREPLACE: Don't burn wrapping-paper in the fireplace, as it burns quickly, with intensity, and can spread fire to other areas of the house.

The winter holiday season is a time of celebration and intimacy, so be sure that all necessary safety measures are undergone in advance, to ensure that everyone can enjoy their holiday season safely!

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