MADISON, Wis. – With Christmas and the New Year quickly approaching, ReadyWisconsin is encouraging people across the state to make safety a priority. Whether you are celebrating at home or traveling to a destination, consider these tips to help ensure your family and guests have a safe and happy holiday season.
Beware of dry Christmas trees – Trees should be kept away from heat sources, such as vents and fire places. A dry tree can catch fire very easily, so make sure live trees are being watered every day. After the holidays, follow your community’s guidelines for tree disposal.
Be careful with electricity – If you have lights on your tree or your home, inspect them regularly to make sure there’s no damaged or loose bulbs. Unplug lights when you are not home and when you go to bed. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on decorations that use electricity. Never connect more than three strands of lights together, and be careful not to overload electrical outlets.
Use caution with candles – According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than half of the home decoration fires in December are started by candles. Never leave lit candles unattended or put them on a Christmas tree. Make sure they are kept at least 12 inches from anything that can burn. Keep them away from children and pets. Consider using flameless candles that provide the appearance and glow of a candle, but are battery operated.
Prevent fires in the kitchen – The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking and most cooking fires involve the stovetop. Keep anything that can catch on fire – such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels or food packaging – away from the stovetop. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food. Use a timer to prevent food from burning or becoming overdone and make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby.
Test smoke detectors – Make sure you have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries. Remember to practice your home escape plan.
Make safe travel plans – If you are traveling for the holidays, keep an eye on current road conditions, traffic delays and weather forecasts. The state’s 511 Wisconsin Traveler Information System is a valuable tool for knowing what to expect while driving. You can view current information at www.511wi.gov or by downloading the mobile app.
Have your vehicle ready for winter – Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas before heading out. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, which should include items such as food, water, candles and matches, a flashlight, pocket knife, snacks, a cell phone adapter, a snow shovel, a blanket and extra clothing.
For additional holiday safety tips, visit http://readywisconsin.wi.gov
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