Thanksgiving Safety

For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations. So keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.

Thanksgiving By The Numbers

  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
  • In 2014, nearly four times as many home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving as on a typical day.
  • In 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,730 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
  • Cooking equipment was involved in almost half (48%) of all reported home fires and civilian and tied with heating equipment for the second leading cause of home fire deaths.

Safety Tips

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

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Heavy Rain Safety Tips

It is important to remember that floods caused by rain can occur anywhere, with floodwaters rising gradually or flash floods striking suddenly. Water is a powerful force that can easily overtake vehicles and people.

Safety tips for driving in heavy rain:

  • If you must drive in the rain, drive slowly and steadily.  Pull over and stop if it is raining so hard that you cannot see.
  • DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOODWATERS!
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling.
  • One foot of water will float most vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles — including SUVs and pick-ups.
  • Stay away from water that electrical or power lines have fallen into; electric current passes through water easily.
  • Stay off your cell phone unless you must report severe injuries or call for help.

Safety tips for walking or cycling on urban trails:

  • When rain is falling, it’s best not to walk or bike near a river or stream, even on Denver’s paved urban bike and walking trails; water flow can quickly increase and flooding can occur without notice.
  • Move to higher ground and never go into a culvert! If you are on a streamside trail during a rainstorm use the alternate trail up to street level to avoid underpasses and culverts.
  • NEVER take shelter in a culvert, under a bridge, or in an enclosed space, especially in low elevations by rivers and streams. Always go to higher ground out of the flow of water.
  • Do not walk or bike through moving water. Six inches of moving water can cause a person to fall.
  • If lightning is present, do not stand under or near an isolated tree or group of trees.
  • Never allow children to play around streams, drainage ditches or viaducts, storm drains or flooded areas.

Localized street flooding:

  • In underpasses and some areas that are geographical low-points, water cannot be expected to disappear down the storm inlets instantly; the pace and volume of the rainfall may be too quick and too great to immediately drain off. It takes time for the system to accommodate the rainfall.
  • If you know that your street tends to flood because it is located in a low point, be sure to move your vehicles to higher ground whenever rain is forecast.

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Pet Safety for July 4th

For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including furry friends. While it may seem like a great idea to reward your pet with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and activities can be potentially hazardous to him. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:

  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them.Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
  • Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it.While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch oil products out of reach. Ingestion can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
  • Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, who can become frightened or disoriented by the sound. Please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities, and opt instead to keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

Firework Safety Tips

With Independence Day approaching, comes celebrations that will include fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks – devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

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Memorial Day Travel Tips

Are you one of the millions of people who will hit the road over the long Memorial Day weekend?  With more people on the roads, it’s important to drive safely. Be well rested and alert, use your seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road. If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink.

Other tips for a safe trip include:

1. Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.

2. Use caution in work zones. There are lots of construction projects underway on the highways.

3. Don’t follow other vehicles too closely.

4. Make frequent stops.

5. Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.

6. Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

7. Don’t overdrive your headlights.

8. Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low. If you have car trouble, pull as far as possible off the highway.

9. Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk.

10. Let someone know where you are going, your route and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

Having a fun weekend starts with having a safe one. There will be a lot of drivers carelessly making bad decisions all in an attempt to get to their destination quicker, but arriving safely only means arriving a couple of minutes later.

Christmas Tree Fire Safety Tips

Your beautifully decorated Christmas tree can also be a deadly fire hazard. Christmas tree fires are infrequent, but when they do occur, they are serious, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Fire departments responded to an average of 230 home fires caused by Christmas trees each year from 2007-2011. The result was a yearly average of six deaths, 22 injuries and $18.3 million in property damage, the NFPA reported.

Here is a list of holiday fire safety tips from NFPA and FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration:

  1. When choosing a tree, look for one that is fresh and has green needles that don’t fall out. Brownish needles mean the tree is dried out and more prone to catch fire.
  2. Water your tree daily to prevent it from drying out.
  3. Check the manufacturer’s labels to ensure you use only lights and decorations that are flame-retardant. Look for a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such asUnderwriters Laboratories, Intertek or the Canadian Standards Association, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  4. Check holiday lights for frayed wires or excessive wear.
  5. Don’t connect more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  6. Keep your tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, such as a fireplace, radiator, candles or lights.
  7. Make sure your tree is not blocking an exit. In case there is a fire, you want a way to get out.
  8. Always turn off lights on a tree before going to bed or leaving your home.
  9. Get rid of a tree when its needles start dropping. It means the tree is drying out.
  10. Check that your smoke alarm is working properly.

Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are meant to be a time for fun and celebration with family and friends. However, the hectic pace of the holidays can also present increased risks, such as overcrowded stores and greater opportunities for thieves to target your valuables and personal information. Here are five simple tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season:

  1. Watch Out for Porch Pirates
    Theft of packages from front porches and stoops increase as online shopping drives more home deliveries during the holidays. Take advantage of electronic delivery alerts and other protections to make sure your gifts are safely delivered — and received.
  2. Beware of Parking Lot Pilfering
    While you are in the mall purchasing gifts for your friends and family, thieves may be roaming through the parking lot looking to steal valuable items in unlocked cars. Shoppers should remember to always lock their doors, park in well-lit areas and hide valuables from plain view.
  3. Protect Your Identity, Both Online and in Stores
    Before you go shopping, think about how much information a thief would get his hands on if your wallet or purse was stolen. Avoid carrying Social Security cards, birth certificates or passports unless absolutely necessary. When shopping online, be sure to only use a secure website, log off from that site after you have completed your purchase, and monitor your bank accounts and credit card activity regularly throughout the holidays.
  4. Travel Safely
    The holiday season brings a number of unique driving risks. During this time of year, we have difficult weather conditions, limited daylight and drivers in unfamiliar areas. By planning extra travel time and eliminating distractions, you can help ensure safe travels during the holidays.
  5. Prevent a Home Fire – Use Candles Wisely
    Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and Dec. 23. are three of the top five days for home fires caused by candles. Never leave a burning candle unattended, and do not put any candles or open flames near Christmas trees or other holiday decorations that could quickly spark a fire in your home.

Halloween Safety Tips

Walk Safely

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  • Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to
    the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

When Trick or Treating

Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

Costumes 

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

Driving

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

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