Tips to Stay Safe this Holiday Season

The weather’s getting colder and the holidays are quickly approaching. This time of year brings with it specific hazards to protect yourself against – alternate heat sources, carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical safety, and burning candles to name a few. With some preparation and careful use of seasonal products, you can have a safe, happy winter season. Here are a few, easy to follow tips to help ensure your safety during this time of year.

As temperatures fall, the use of portable heaters rises. Unfortunately, more fires are started by heating equipment than by any other cause. However, it is possible to be warm and safe this winter just by following a few quick tips. First, make sure your heater has been tested for safety. Look on the bottom for a label showing ETL, UL, or CSA. Make sure your heater is at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including furniture, people, pets, and curtains. Turn off your space heater before leaving the room or going to bed, and never use it to dry clothing or blankets.

If you’re using a wood stove or fireplace, burn only seasoned hardwood like oak, ash, or maple. Don’t burn cardboard boxes or trash. These may contain poisons that may cause a fire. Be sure to have your chimney inspected by a professional every year. He or she will fix any cracks, blockages, or leaks and clean out any build-up in your chimney that could cause a fire.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the “silent killer.” It claims over 300 lives per year, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). You can’t smell it, taste it, or see it. CO is a deadly gas that’s produced by fuel-burning heating equipment, such as furnaces, wood stoves, fireplaces, and kerosene heaters. Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up your home’s central heating system and repair leaks and other problems. Keep your gas appliances properly adjusted and serviced, and never use an oven or range to heat your home. Portable electric generators must be used outside, only. Never use them indoors, in a garage, or in any confined area that can allow carbon monoxide to collect. To protect yourself from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, you should install at least one CO detector near sleeping areas.

Holiday lights are a wonderful way to make the season more beautiful. However, they can also cause fires. There are easy ways to minimize the risk of fires. Before you put your lights up, inspect each string. If any are cracked or damaged, throw them away. When you buy new lights, look at the box for a label, such as ETL or UL that shows they’ve been tested for safety. Never string more lights together than what’s recommended on the box, and don’t plug too many lights into one outlet. Instead, use a surge protector. Be sure to unplug all holiday lights when you go to sleep or leave home.

If you’re using outdoor displays, use outlets protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) to prevent shock. Check that the extension cords you’re using are rated for the products you’re using, and that they’re for outdoor use. Keep all extension cords and light strands away from snow and standing water.

The cold winter months are a perfect time to burn candles. However, despite the calming glow and pleasant aromas they provide, candles can be extremely dangerous if not handled properly. Never leave a candle unattended. Be sure to blow it out when you leave the room or go to sleep. It’s important to place candles at least 3 feet away from anything than can burn. Place them where they can’t be knocked down or blown over, and be sure to keep them out of the reach of pets and children. To eliminate the risk of an open flame, use battery-powered candles whenever possible, especially when they’re combined with greenery or other decorations.

By simply following a few easy steps, you can ensure you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season. If you have any questions about any of our products that can help protect you from the hazards of winter, give our Technical Support Reps a call at 800.922.8553, or email They’re here to make sure you stay safe…all year round!

Northern Safety Co., Inc.
PO Box 4250. Utica, NY 13504-4250
Phone: 1-800-571-4646
Fax: 1-800-635-1591

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