Holiday Safety Tips

December 16, 2016

Whether it is Christmas or Hanukah at your home, all of us at Torgenson Law hope you are enjoying a festive season! Tis’ the season to wear the perfect, obnoxious sweater and splurge on delicious foods as well as gifts with favored friends, family members, and fellow workers. It is also a season to decorate the home, power shop for the perfect and imperfect gifts, and of course, spend hours in the kitchen baking a melody of delightful treats. However, with all these joyous activities, there are of course a number of unforeseen holiday hazards that could potentially lead to personal injury. As Torgenson Law wishes everyone a glorious and merry holiday season, we have compiled a short guide to help you stay safe this winter.

Avoid Fires and Burns

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 30% of all home fires occur during the month of December, January, and February. It is especially important to note that these fires involving Christmas trees and holiday decorations are substantially more damaging than other fires. On average, these fires amount to twice the injury and five times the fatalities per fire compared to the average winter house fire (not involving Christmas trees and decorations). December is also the peak time of year for candle fires, which account for 45% of decoration fires. The risk of fires involving holiday lights, candles, decorations and Christmas trees can be reduced by:

  • Simply substitute wax candles with battery-powered flameless candles;
  • Make sure that ALL candles are blown out and turn off or unplug ALL decorations before leaving the house or going to sleep;
  • Maintain about a foot of space between candles and anything that can burn;
  • When decorating the outside of your home, use lights and electrical decorations that are approved for outdoor use;
  • When purchasing Christmas trees, target fresh green trees or fire-retardant trees if going the artificial route;
  • Remember to water your tree daily and place it well away from heat sources, 3 feet is the general rule;

Avoid Injury When Hosting a Party

Holiday parties and ugly sweater contests are big highlights of the winter season.  Aside from Scrooge and the Grinch, almost everyone enjoys getting together with family and friends to exchange gifts, share stories, and munch on delicious treats.  Needless to say, considerable planning and preparation goes into most holiday parties to ensure that guests have a grand time. Possibly the most critical factor to consider when party planning is the safety of your guest. Below is a list of safety tips to remember before hosting your next party:

  • Encourage your guests to designate a driver before they arrive or provide some type of alternate transportation if alcohol will be served;
  • Keep a keen eye on guests and alcohol consumption. If you notice signs of intoxication, encourage your guests to stay the night or find alternate means of transportation;
  • Reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents by keeping driveways and walkways clear of leaves and décor, as well as ice and snow if you’re in the Northern part of the state;
  • Keep the focus of your party on good conversation and good food instead of alcohol. Offer an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages and foods for your guests to enjoy;
  • DO NOT LET YOUR GUESTS DRIVE INTOXICATED. It is very important to understand that as the party host, you could be held partly liable for a drunk driving accident

Avoid Injury While You’re Shopping

Holiday shopping can be chaotic! Parking lots are packed and holiday shoppers are in a fight to the finish to find the perfect gift for their friends and family. So, whether you are celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or any other holiday, please be considerate of your surroundings and fellow Samaritans.  Use these tips to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you:

  • Be aware and alert of what is going on around you;
  • Use designated crosswalks when crossing streets and walkways;
  • Park in well lit spaces and be sure to lock car doors, windows, and hide shopping bags. People do not tend to steal what they can not see;
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash on your person. Instead, use credit and debit cards (or write checks if that’s your thing).
  • Never be afraid to ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location if you feel unsafe.

Avoid Injury While in the Kitchen

Cooking holiday meals and baking delicious treats, as a family is a great way to create lasting memories. At Torgenson Law, we want those memories to be filled with laughter and joy and not of personal injury. Yes, our expertise is in the courtroom and not so much the kitchen, however we were able to compile a short list of safety tips to remember when cooking and baking your favorite holiday foods:

  • This should be obvious but I’ll say it anyways: always use oven mitts when handling hot items;
  • Wear closed-toed shoes and do not wear lose clothing when cooking near hot surfaces or open flames;
  • If there is a kitchen fire, DO NOT THROW WATER ON IT – smother it;
  • Cover the fire with a large pot lid or soup pan;
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed;
  • Keep your knives sharp. Believe it or not, dull knives are more likely to lead to an injury than a sharp knife;
  • If your can opener breaks, go to the store and buy a new one. For Gods sake, please do not attempt to open canned food with a knife;
  • If you spill a liquid, mop it up before you or some one else slips and falls.

If you or a loved one suffers a personal injury this holiday season, give Torgenson Law a call for a free consultation. We will discuss your options and fight for the compensation you deserve. Torgenson Law wishes everyone a safe and merry holiday season!