The holidays should be a time that is full of family togetherness and joys of the season. Yet, certain conditions this time of year means you need to be extra diligent in order to keep your family safe and sound.
Here are some great tips on keeping safe indoors and out.
First, pay heed to weather advisories. Winter weather can be very severe. You may need to cancel or alter plans. Be sure to download the Weather.com app to your smartphone for checking the latest storm advisory alerts while on the go.
Next, be sure you prepare your car for winter travel. This means being prepared for the worst. Consider putting these items in your trunk: kitty litter (for icy traction), warm blanket or sleeping bag, water, power bars, flashlight, jumper cables and flares.
You should also be sure to carry a charged cell phone with you at all times. Before setting out for a long trip, be sure to charge it fully. Cell phones do no good if they are dead! Even if you can’t afford a full cell phone plan, consider getting a pay-by-the-minute phone that you can use in case of emergency.
Lastly, be sure to always let someone else know of your travel plans. This will help people to know where to look for you should you get lost or when to expect your arrival.
Safety inside the home is important as well.
Many winter storms will bring power outages across the country. Many families prepare for this by investing in gasoline generators. While these allow for you to heat, cook, and run other appliances, they can also fill your home with unsafe levels of carbon monoxide if not used properly.
To protect your family, the National Fire Protection Agency recommends that "CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound." Also be sure to test your alarms each month.
According to FEMA, "Each year fires occurring during the holiday season claim the lives of over 400 people, injure 1,650 more, and cause over $990 million in damage."
How can you prevent fires in your home? First, never leave a candle burning unattended. Yes, we all love the scent of pumpkin spice or apple cinnamon during the holidays, but candles can be dangerous if left unwatched.
When you are installing Christmas lights, be sure to inspect each strand for excessive kinking, missing bulbs, or fraying. Also be sure not to overload outlets.
Don’t leave any lights unattended. This means turning off lights and trees when you aren’t in the home.
Be sure to keep real trees well watered and only buy flame-retardant artificial trees.
Lastly, learn how to put out kitchen fires. Grease does not respond well to water. Instead reach for baking soda or a fire extinguisher (every kitchen should have one).
Keeping safe during the holidays (and winter) simply means taking a little extra time and precaution. When you see your family safely through another season you’ll be glad you did!