Stay safe this Holiday Season

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December is a special time of the year. All of the lights, food, parties, gifts, and magic of the holiday season can bring a smile to faces young and old. Not every Holiday season is happy for everyone, however. During December and the holiday season, house fires are more frequent than at any other time of the year. The extra load of holiday lights and decorations can push home electrical boxes to the max. Overloaded circuits can lead to shorts in wires, sparks and fires. So before you plug in, remember to check all outlets for overload, and to check wires, light fixtures and inspect extension cords for fraying.

When it comes time to deck the halls, check to see all ornaments and decorations are shatter resistant for the safety of pets and small children. Also keep wire and strings out of reach of small children to prevent them pulling it down on them or getting tangled in it.

As nice as it is to have a candle lit for the season, it is important to always keep it in eye distance; never leave them unattended. If you want to have a candle in the window, make sure to keep all window curtains away and tied back. If it is resting on a table, make sure that it is away from the edge so if it is bumped it does not fall.

If you have a real tree, be sure to keep it watered. A wet tree is a happy tree! Once a pine tree becomes dry, it can easily ignite and be fully engulfed in flames in less than five seconds. Not only will it destroy the tree and all of the family ornaments and gifts underneath, but more importantly, the room the tree is in, and possibly the whole home could be destroyed. So be sure to give your tree a drink and prevent a fire.

Finally, when it comes to the gifts, why not give a gift that will last more than a few days? Give someone you care about a disaster preparedness kit. A plastic storage box would work great – just fill it with items such as a flashlight, extra batteries, activity books for kids and adults, blankets, dry socks, gallons of water and a container to keep medicines in, just to name a few items. This gift could possibly help save someone when the unexpected arises.

Have a safe and joyous holiday season from the American Red Cross of Southwestern New York.

The American Red Cross of SWNY is a United Way agency.