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Nichol stresses that the most important factor having an escape plan in the case of an emergency. He says it’s important for families to not only know what to do in case of a fire, but to also practice their escape route in case a fire does occur, so those involved are familiar with how to escape. Once outside the house, families should have a designated meeting space outside the home, which should be discussed before executing the escape plan.

If an emergency escape plan involves deploying a ladder or other device to climb out of a window, those involved should also know how to set up such escape tools.

It’s also important to inform guests staying with you for the holidays about a fire escape plan, and to check escape routes regularly to make sure they are functional.

Smoke alarms are also an important safety tool to make sure are functional for the holiday season. Nichol says to regularly test them to make sure they are still working, and also to notify children of what to do if they hear one go off. Nichol says children often don’t know what to do, and will either ignore the alarm, or worse, go back to sleep.

Smoke alarms should be functional on every floor, including inside children’s rooms.

Christmas trees can also be a safety hazard during the holiday season. Firefighters are reminding anyone with a live tree in their home to frequently water the tree in order to keep it alive for as long as possible. A dead tree will combust at a much higher rate than one that is alive.

Nichol says that when a tree’s needles begin drop it is a sign that the tree has died.

Kitchen safety is also a big issue for the holidays, as often the kitchen will be the busiest and most dangerous room in the house. Children for the most part should stay out of the kitchen when the majority of the cooking is being done, unless being thoroughly supervised by an adult.

If cooking alone, try to reduce alcohol consumption, which can often lead to forgetfulness or lack of attention to a hot oven or element.

When cooking with oil, make sure pans have tight fitting lids. In case of an oil fire, place tight fitting lid on the pot with the fire, shut off burner and call 911. Do not touch the pot, as it could be scalding hot from the fire, which can burn skin upon contact, causing the pot to drop and spill flaming oil.

It’s also important to clean ovens before the holidays, as they are put through extensive use for long periods of time, which can lead to a fire.

Wrapping paper can be a safety issue overlooked during the holiday season. Wrapping paper should be discarded either in the garbage or recycling bin, and should under no circumstances be burned. Throwing wrapping paper in the fire can lead to a variety of health hazards, some of which include chimney fires or exposure to toxic chemicals.

Some other safety issues that can be overlooked for the holidays include furnace maintenance, the installation regular testing of CO2 detectors, and maintaining a clean chimney. Fireplaces are frequently used during the Christmas season and families should make sure there isn’t a substantial soot build up.

The holidays are a special time for everyone. With just a little bit of care and attention, certain precautions can be made to prevent someone from spending their holidays at the hospital.

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