Action Line: Holidays no time for risky behavior
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
12/11/12 at 6:16 AM
Dear Action Line: Warn these people who throw caution to the wind by getting up on their roofs (in the wind) with wads of Christmas lights. Just because it's a joyous time of year is no reason to act a fool! - W.W., Tulsa
UL (the Underwriters Laboratory) says with the holidays comes this tendency to sacrifice safety for "more time to do things." It's important, though, to ensure safety doesn't get left off the list.
Between 2006 and 2008, there was an annual average of four deaths and $18 million in property damage related to Christmas tree fires, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
And during November and December 2010, CPSC estimates that more than 13,000 people were treated in emergency departments nationwide due to injuries involving holiday decorations.
Water your tree: Dry trees pose a fire risk - make a fresh cut on the base before putting your tree into a sturdy stand, and water the bowl frequently.
Check lights: Inspect electric lights and decorations for damage and wear. Cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections pose fire and shock hazards.
Plan your fire escape: The holidays require forming and practicing a fire escape plan with your loved ones. Identify at least two exits from every room in the house.
Sleep safe: Install carbon monoxide alarms - at least one on each floor of the home and close to sleeping areas.
Be flame aware: Blow out unattended candles and teach your children to stay away from lit candles and fireplaces.
Give wrapping paper the gift of life: Don't burn used wrapping paper in the fireplace. It can cause intense flash fires and put out fumes more noxious than wood smoke. Throwing it out adds waste to the landfills. Wrapping paper is not recyclable in Tulsa, but it can be undone carefully and used over and over (make this a family contest).
Check extension cords: Don't connect more than three miniature light strings together. Check the rating on your extension cords and do not plug in more than the recommended wattage total on any one cord.
Steer your tree clear: Your tree should be positioned at least three feet from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. It should also not block any doorways or exits.
Decorate with safe eye: Cords should not be run under carpets or tacked-up with metal nails, pushpins or staples. Small decorations are choking hazards so keep them out of the reach of toddlers.
Look for UL: The UL mark on a product means samples of that product have been tested to the highest safety standards. Look for it to help keep your holiday safe and bright.
Original Print Headline: The holidays are no time for risky behavior
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