Keeping your Holidays Happy – 5 Holiday Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are here and between all of the “hustle and bustle” we can sometimes forget the little things which can potentially turn into something much bigger. Here are a few tips on keeping you and your loved ones safe and happy for the upcoming New Year.

1. Be cautious with candles.

Which are the top days for candle fires? You got it! It’s Christmas Eve and Day, New Year’s Eve and Day and Halloween too!

More than one-quarter of candle fires occur because they were too close to something that was flammable, such as curtains or gifts. This can be prevented by simply moving your lit candle at least a foot away from any other potentially flammable objects.

You should never leave a candle unattended. Whether you leave your home or go to bed, be sure to blow out all of your candles.

LED “candles” are the new craze. They are battery-powered and flicker, creating a flame-like appearance.

2. Set a timer when you cook.

With all of the holiday meal preparations, it’s easy to get side tracked. To avoid a fire started by unattended food, be sure to use a timer. If you have multiple dishes cooking, try more than one timer. Label the timer with a sticky note so when it goes off, you know which dish needs your attention.

3. Properly dispose of live trees.

I think most everyone knows just how quickly an evergreen tree can burn. Never try to dispose of your tree or wreath by tossing it into your fireplace. Not only are they hazardous because the burn so fast, but burning evergreens can also mean creosote buildup which is another fire hazard in itself.

Visit http://www.mesaaz.gov/waste/Christmas_Tree_Recycling.aspx to find out more about the Christmas Tree Recycling Program in the City of Mesa.

4. Mask high-priced gift boxes.

There is no better way to announce your new flat-screen TV or LED Laptop to an unsuspecting burglar than leaving out the trash. Instead of leaving the box intact, break it down for recycling, turn it inside out or simply tear it into pieces small enough to fit inside a garbage bag.

5. Designate a driver.

Celebrate holiday parties with peace of mind! Always have a plan that will end with your safe arrival home. Visit http://www.taxifarefinder.com/main.php?city=Mesa-AZ to find a list of local taxi companies. You can estimate your fare too!

From my family to yours, happy holidays! Please enjoy and be safe!

Don’t Drink and Drive (image via google)

Everyone knows that fireworks are dangerous and must be handled appropriately if they are going to be part of your July 4th celebration.  The same holds true for alcohol.  It can be dangerous if not handled appropriately.  This July 4th, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to make sure you are being as careful around alcohol as you are around fireworks.

As people across the country get ready to celebrate Independence Day, officers at all levels of law enforcement are preparing for one of the deadliest holidays of the year.  In 2010, nearly 400 people lost their lives over the July 4th holiday and 39%of those fatalities involved one or more drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than .08 according to the NHTSA.  Here in Arizona, the NHTSA reports that July 4th, 2010 was the deadliest holiday of the year with 6 alcohol-related fatal accidents resulting in 7 fatalities, almost twice the number of any other holiday that year.

This year, police departments all over the country will be participating in an enforcement campaign designed to crack down on impaired driving of all kinds and reduce the loss of life over the holiday.  The motto this year is “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” which highlights the nationwide zero tolerance for impaired driving.  Law enforcement officers will be manning additional sobriety checkpoints, heading out on patrol, and participating in other activities to raise awareness of the danger and encourage drivers to make the right choice.

Here are some tips to help you and the other drivers in your life celebrate Independence Day without risking your life or the lives of others by getting behind the wheel when you are too impaired to drive safely.

1.     Stay Sober or Stay the Night

Making plans ahead of time to spend the night wherever you are going to be celebrating allows you to drink and make merry without worrying about having to drive.  Night driving during the holiday is even more dangerous than driving during the day and driving fatalities involving impaired drivers go up as soon as the sun goes down.  According to the NHTSA, over the 2010 July 4th holiday 80% of nearly 400 alcohol related fatalities happened at night.  Staying the night, even if you aren’t drinking, can save your life.

2.     Designate a Driver

The best way to make sure everyone gets to have fun and get home safely is to make sure there is someone designated to drive.  If you are heading out for the day, the afternoon, or all night, decide ahead of time who is going to be getting you back home.  This is important even if you are going out and have no intention of drinking or getting drunk.  Having a designated driver every time ensures you will never be behind the wheel because you are the “most sober” one.

3.     Don’t Play the Odds

Many people think that if they just drive this one time, it will be fine.  They think that the odds are in their favor because they are focusing on whether or not they will get caught, rather than whether or not they will get killed.  If someone told you that you could stay the night and be fine but if you walked out the front door you stood a 26% (1 in 4) chance that something would fall on you, would you walk out the door?  What if you knew that 40% of the time that something falling on you would kill you?  Would you take the risk?  The odds of getting pulled over, losing your license, and going to jail may not be high enough to make you stay out of the game, but maybe understanding that you are playing with your life will.

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