Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
Blog: Staying safe during Christmas season
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Rae-Ann Tucker-Marshall
Henry-Stark Health Department
Dec. 16, 2013 10 a.m.

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments would like to offer some
safety tips to ensure that everyone has a safe and healthy holiday season.
We start with Christmas tree safety. Many artificial trees are fire
resistant. If you buy one, look for a statement specifying the duration of
this protection. A fresh tree will stay longer and be less of a fire hazard
than a dry one.
To test the tree for freshness, remember: * Needles are hard to pull
from fresh tree branches. * When bent between your fingers, fresh needles
do not break. * The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin. *
When the trunk of the tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling
needles shows that the tree is too dry.
Do not rely on chemical coatings or sprays to flameproof your tree. Cut
off about 2 inches of the trunk. Mount the tree in a sturdy, water-holding
stand with wide spread legs. Fill the baseholder with water. Keep it full
of water while the tree is indoors. Remember, heated rooms dry out trees
rapidly, creating fire hazards.
When trimming your tree this year keep in mind to use only
non-combustible or flame resistant materials. Wear gloves while decorating
with spun glass or "angel hair." It can irritate eyes and skin. Choose
tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or non-leaded metals. Leaded
materials are hazardous if ingested by children and pets.
In homes with small children, take special care to: * Avoid decorations
that are sharp or breakable. * Keep trimmings with small removable parts
out of reach of children. Pieces could be swallowed or inhaled. * Avoid
trimmings that resemble candy or food. A child could try to eat them.
When holiday decorating with lights indoors or outside, use only lights
that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the "UL" label from
Underwriters Laboratories. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken
or cracked sockets, frayed or bared wires, and loose connections. Check
labels on outdoor lights to see that lights are weatherproofed. Don't use
indoor lights outside and vice versa. Fasten outdoor lights securely to
trees, house walls, or other firm support to protect from wind damage. Turn
off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave
the house. Lights could short out and start a fire.
For more information on Christmas safety call the Health Department at
(309) 852-1097 (Henry) or 852-3115 ( Stark) or visit our website at
www.henrystarkhealth.com. or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County
Health Departments.

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