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Winter Holiday Safety

Nova Medical Centers wants everyone to stay safe this winter throughout the holiday madness. In the frenzy to get things finished this time of year, it is tempting to cut corners and easy to forget simple safety rules. Think of all the planning and packing and gift wrapping and decorations that fill your mind this holiday season. Here are some winter holiday safety tips to help you have a safe and happy holidays.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. They have many helpful reminders regarding holiday safety, including many of the tips below.

General Rules for Holiday Safety

  • Avoid smoking near flammable decorations.
  • Make an emergency plan to use if a fire breaks out anywhere in the home. See that each family member knows what to do, and practice the plan.
  • Avoid wearing loose flowing clothes—particularly long, open sleeves—near open flames – such as those of a fireplace, stove, or candlelit table.
  • Never burn candles near evergreens. Burning evergreens in the fireplace can also be hazardous. When dry, greens burn like tinder. Flames can flare out of control, and send sparks flying into a room, or up the chimney to ignite creosote deposits.
  • If you are planning a holiday road trip, avoid driving when you are typically sleeping. According to AAA, 1 in 5 fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver.
  • Artificial snow sprays can irritate lungs if inhaled. To avoid injury, read container labels; follow directions carefully.


Many artificial trees are fire resistant. If you buy one, check for a statement specifying this protection.
A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. To check for Christmas tree freshness, remember these tips:

  • Fresh trees are green.
  • Fresh needles are hard to pull from their branches.
  • Fresh needles do not break went bent between your fingers.
  • The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin.
  • When the trunk of a tree is bounced or bumped on the ground, a shower of falling needles shows that the tree is too dry.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, you should place trees away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Heated rooms can dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards.

Trim Your Tree: Cut off roughly two inches of the tree’s trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Trim away branches as necessary to set tree trunk in the base of a sturdy, water-holding stand with wide spread feet. Keep the stand filled with water while the tree is indoors.

The CPSC also recommends, you place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways; use thin guy-wires to secure a large tree to walls or ceiling (these wires are almost invisible).


  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
  • Always use non-flammable holders.
  • Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper.
  • Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.
  • Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that flue is open.
  • Keep a screen before the fireplace all the time a fire is burning.


  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and any person touching a branch could be electrocuted! To avoid this danger, use colored spotlights above or beside a tree, never fastened onto it!

Please be careful this holiday season and do what you can to prevent accidents and injuries. For even more Holiday Decoration Safety Tips, click here.

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