RENO, NV (December 6, 2019) With the holiday season in full swing, the American Red Cross of Northern Nevada reminds residents that safety is paramount, whether it’s decorating the tree, the house, using the fireplace, or ensuring that toys are safe. The following tips will help make your holiday season safe:
Trees and Decorations
- When buying an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." The label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire but indicates the tree will resist burning and extinguishes quickly.
- When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent, needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
- When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, so keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
- Cut a few inches off the trunk tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
- Use noncombustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Buy tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
- Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use nonflammable holders and place candles out of children’s reach.
- Take care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food, which may tempt a child to eat them.
- Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions to avoid lung irritation when using with artificial-snow sprays.
Bright Ideas for Lights
- Indoors or outside, always use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory that indicates conformance with safety standards.
- Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets.
- Use no more than three standard size sets of lights per single extension cord.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
- Before using lights outdoors, check to ensure they have been certified for outdoor use.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or run strings of lights through hooks.
- Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
- Turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short out and start a fire.
- Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
- Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result, as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
- Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.
Safe Homes Have Smoke Alarms
- If your home doesn’t have working smoke alarms, take advantage of free smoke alarms and installations offered by the Red Cross through its Home Fire Campaign. This is a free service and there is no obligation.
- To request a free smoke alarm installation, contact the Red Cross hotline number at 775-954-1185. Please leave a name, address, zip code, and phone number.
- Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received, read the instructions carefully. If the toy is appropriate for your child, demonstrate its proper use.
- Follow recommended age ranges on toy packages. Toys that are too advanced could pose a safety hazard for younger children.
- To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
- Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
- Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
About the Northern Nevada Chapter
The American Red Cross of Northern Nevada serves 13 counties and over 87,000 square miles. Our volunteers respond to disasters both locally and nationally in addition to providing training on CPR and community preparedness. The chapter has served northern Nevada for more than 100 years. The American Red Cross of Northern Nevada receives generous support from the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation. Follow us on social media! Facebook | Twitter | Instagram