Holiday Safety Tips

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Outdoor Christmas Decoration Safety

• Make sure all extension cords and electrical decorations used for outdoor decorating are marked for outdoor use.
• Match power needs (amperage) of electrical products with amperage rating of extension cords.
• Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). If circuits are not GFCI-protected, portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold and require no special knowledge or equipment to install.
• Inspect all lights, decorations, and extension cords for damage before using.
• Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, the house, or other firm supports to protect them from wind damage, but take care not to attach the lights in a way that could damage the cord’s insulation.
• Keep all extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water.
• Make sure spotlights used to illuminate decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather, and a safe distance from flammable items.
• Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts, and nuts before using.
• Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity.
• Use the right ladder height, ensuring ladders extend at least three feet past the edge of the roof.
• Exercise caution when decorating near power lines. Keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from power lines.
• Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices. They can overheat and cause a fire.
• Make sure that cords are not pinched in doors, windows, or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation.
• Do not mount or support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation.
• Always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.

Indoor Decoration Safety

1. Check for freshness if you buy a live tree. If the tree is fresh, its needles should be hard to pull off and don't break. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin and doesn't shed many needles when tapped on the ground.
2. Keep trees away from heat sources like fireplaces, vents and radiators. Monitor the water level and keep the tree stand filled. Put the tree up in a place that doesn't block a doorway and won't get bumped into.
3. If you get an artificial tree, look for a label that says "fire resistant."
4. Child-proof decorations. Avoid sharp, weighted or breakable decorations if you have small children. Keep pieces with small, removable parts out of reach of children and avoid those that look like candy or food so that small children won't be tempted to eat them.
5. When using lights, either indoors or outside, only use those tested for safety by a nationally-recognized testing lab.
6. Check each light set regardless if it's new or old for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections. Throw out any damaged sets and don't use electric lights on metallic trees.
7. Make sure extension cords are rated for use.
8. Keep burning candles where you can see them. Blow out all candles before going to bed or leaving the room or house.
9. Put candles on a stable, heat-resistant surface where children and pets can't reach them or knock them over. Keep lighted candles away from things that can catch fire easily like trees, decorations, curtains and furniture.

Be cautious while using SOCIAL MEDIA during the holidays!

• Don’t post if you are traveling or going to be away from home on social media.
• Be wary of which products/stores you check into and post pictures from.
• Be selective about posting pictures from inside your home.
• Talk to your kids about social media safety.
• Check your privacy settings.
• Use caution when posting pictures of gifts or tickets online.

Christmas Shopping Safety Tips:

• Always be alert and aware, pay attention to your surroundings.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
• Make sure cell phones are powered on, fully charged and accessible. If you are going with a group, ensure everyone has everyone else’s phone numbers in their phone.
• Keep purses zipped and close to your body. Never leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart where it is more susceptible to theft.
• For freedom of motion and clear visibility, do not overload yourself with bags when leaving a store and returning to your car. It’s difficult to defend yourself with when you’re carrying a lot of packages.
• Use ATMs in well-populated, well-lit locations. Do not throw ATM receipts away at the ATM location.
• Remember there is increased safety in numbers. Avoid walking alone and leave malls and stores well before closing time to assure a more active parking lot. Ask mall security to walk you to your car if you feel you are not safe.
• Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
• If shopping with children, snap a quick picture on your cell phone. This will help in the event if anything should happen and you become separated you can give authorities a current picture and accurate clothing description. Also advise your children that if they get separated from you, they should go straight to a store employee, security guard, or law enforcement officer.