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  • Important Holiday Safety Tips

    Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947We all know they’re coming…the holidays are practically here. And with the fast-approaching season comes more travel, more parties, and more cooking. Between the months of late November and early January, we all must remember to take certain precautions to keep ourselves, our friends and our families safe and sound. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are a few key safety topics that are particularly useful to remember before the holidays get here. We have compiled useful lists for those topics below.

    Fire Safety

    The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that one-third of fires that involve home decorations are started by burning candles and that every two of five fires result from decorations being placed too closely to a heat source in the home. Another known contributor to fires around the holidays are turkey fryers, a popular Thanksgiving staple in millions of American households. Here are some of the NSC’s tips for preventing a holiday fire in your home this season:

    • Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over. Also, make sure they are completely out of reach of children
    • Keep matches and lighters up high and out of reach of children. It is best to put them in a locked cabinet if you can
    • Use flameless rather than lighted candles near flammable objects
    • Do not burn trees, wrapping paper or wreaths in the fireplace
    • Always use a screen on the fireplace when a fire is burning
    • Never leave candles or fireplaces burning unattended or when you are asleep
    • Check and clean chimney and fireplace area at least one time each year

    While the NSC discourages using a turkey-fryer, if you must then be sure to closely follow the U.S. Fire Administration’s turkey fryer guidelines. You can view them here:

    Food Safety Tips

    Safe food handling is the best way to prevent an accidental – and potentially quite serious – food poisoning mishap. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends observing the following food safety guidelines:

    • Wash your hands frequently whenever you are handling food
    • Keep raw meats away from fresh produce
    • Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils for uncooked and cooked meats to avoid cross-contamination
    • Use a food thermometer to make sure that meat is cooked to a safe temperature
    • Refrigerate hot or cold leftover food within two hours of serving it
    • When storing turkey, cut the leftovers in small pieces so they will chill quickly
    • Thanksgiving leftovers are safe to eat for three to four days when you refrigerate them properly and per safe food handling and storage guidelines


    Decorate the House Safely

    For many, decorating the house is one of the most fun parts of the holiday season. But, with decorating comes the possibility of an accidental injury. Just ask emergency room doctors, who see thousands of holiday decoration-related injuries every year. But don’t worry, you can still get into the holiday spirit and make your home look the part without getting hurt! Check out these tips for decorating safely for guidance:

    • Keep all potentially poisonous plants, like mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherries and more, away from children
    • If you are using an artificial tree, make sure it has a “fire resistant” label
    • If you are using a live tree, cut off approximately 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, remember to water it, and remove it from your home as soon as it dries out
    • Place your tree at least three feet from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources, making certain not to block doorways
    • Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches where small children can reach them
    • Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors, and choose the right ladder for the job when you are hanging lights
    • Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections
    • Follow the package directions on the number of light sets that can be plugged into one socket
    • Never nail, tack or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground, away from puddles and snow
    • Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave your home

    Gift Giving Tips

    Each year, thousands of kids are injured by dangerous or defective toys, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The U.S. Consumer Product Commission (CPSC) has the following recommendations for safe gift giving to reduce known toy-related hazards:

    • Toys have age-ratings for safety, not for children’s intellect and physical ability. So, be sure you pick toys with the correct age rating for your child
    • Choose toys for children under 3 that do not have any small parts which could be choking hazards
    • For children under the age of 10, avoid toys that must be plugged into an electrical outlet
    • Be wary of toys that have button batteries or magnets, which can be harmful or fatal if swallowed
    • When giving scooters and other riding toys, give the gift of appropriate safety gear, too; helmets should always be worn by riders, and they should be sized to fit

    Travel Safety

    Last but not least is travel safety, an especially important topic. According to the NSC’s Injury Facts, hundreds of people die each year in car crashes that happen on Thanksgiving Day, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Day. Alcohol impairment is a factor in roughly one-third of the fatalities; speed and distracted driving are also top factors in holiday crashes. To increase your chances of staying safe on the road, be sure to:

    • Prepare your car for winter and always keep an emergency kit with you
    • Get a good night’s sleep before departing for your holiday plans – and never drive if you are feeling fatigued or drowsy
    • Leave early, planning ahead for traffic
    • Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long – or short – the trip is
    • Put the cell phone away! There are lots of distractions that occur while driving (like eating, drinking, fiddling with the GPS or music, etc.) but cell phones are one of the main ones
    • Practice defensive driving at all times
    • Designate a sober driver to ensure that guests make it home safely after a holiday party

    From our whole team here at Galfand Berger, we wish you, your friends and loved ones a happy, healthy and cheer-filled holiday season!

    Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947

    If you have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

    1-800-222-USWA (8792)