It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

The holiday season brings lots of cheer, goodwill and cherished time spent with friends and family. Unfortunately, this jolly time comes with some safety risks around your home and on the roads. A few simple precautions, however, can go a long way in preventing these problems from becoming reality.

As you get ready to celebrate the holiday season, Cayuga Mutual has a few helpful tips to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.

1. Safe and spectacular Christmas lights

Let’s make sure that snow is the only thing falling to the ground. Always use a ladder when putting up your outdoor Christmas lights. There’s no better way to ruin the holidays than ending up on crutches or forcing Santa to deliver your gifts to a hospital room! 

Using your ladder properly is key to staying safe. Before climbing up the ladder, check that it is the appropriate height, ensure there are no loose or missing parts and make sure it’s placed firmly on level ground. Have someone hold the ladder for you while you climb up and always maintain three points of contact, such as one foot and two hands.

2. Don’t make the fire department water your Christmas tree

It’s important to keep your Christmas tree well away from fire hazards such as candles or radiators, even if it’s an artificial one. Don’t forget to turn the lights off on the tree when you leave the house or go to the bed for the night. The heat from the bulbs or an electrical problem could cause the tree to quickly go up in flames.

If you choose to put up a real Christmas tree in your home, you need to keep the base filled with water and top it up at least once per day. Keeping your tree well-watered helps limit the number of needles that fall off, not to mention that a dried out tree is a fire hazard. 

A Christmas tree that hasn’t been watered could burn in as quickly as 30 seconds, as shown in this video from the National Fire Protection Association.

Water Your Christmas Tree

3. Prevent slips and falls

’Tis the season for snowy and icy weather! The downside of those Christmas-card worthy winter scenes is that they come with slippery conditions. 

Stay on top of shovelling and salting your driveway and sidewalks to avoid slips and falls. You might be fine trudging through the snow in the morning and clearing it later in the day, but this leaves behind difficult conditions for the mail person or neighbours walking along the sidewalk. You also need to abide by any local by-laws regarding clearing your sidewalks and when it needs to be done by.

Take the time to stock up on salt or de-icer early in the winter, as shortages can sometimes occur later in the season or during extended periods of slippery conditions.

4. Travel safe

Unfortunately, we can’t all have reindeer-powered sleighs, but don’t let the winter weather stop you from getting around safely in your car. No matter how little there may be, you should always clear your car completely of snow and ice before you start driving. 

Not clearing your car (including the roof!) could limit your visibility or impact the visibility of drivers nearby if snow or ice goes flying off your car and onto their windshield. Give yourself extra time before you head out so you don’t have to take shortcuts on this step.

You should also create an emergency kit to leave in your car at all times. Your emergency kit should include items such as water, non-perishable food or snacks, a blanket, extra clothing, a first aid kit, flashlight and roadmaps.

Holiday Road Safety

5. Don’t drink and drive

Cayuga Mutual asks that you never drink and drive during the holiday season. Don’t let a night of celebration turn into a tragic event for you or someone else on the roads.

If you plan to drink during a holiday party, make your plans for getting home safe before you head out. Arrange to have a designated driver, call a taxi or make use of any public transportation in your community. 

Hang up those stockings and put these safety tips into action to ensure this month is a safe and delightful one. From our family to yours, Cayuga Mutual wishes you a safe and happy holiday season.