Leatherhead Thursday: Seasonal safety

By J.R. Dennison
For the Leatherhead Instructors, LLC

Thanksgiving starts the holiday season for us and with that, comes the meals, outdoor decorations, Christmas trees, travel, and countless other things.  The holidays are typically an enjoyable time, but because of either mechanical or human error; the holiday season is also linked to a large amount of fires and accidents.

A Thanksgiving meal would not be complete without a turkey, and deep frying a turkey is becoming very popular.  There are many safety considerations that you should take note of when preparing a turkey using a deep fryer.  These are some suggestions to keep your holiday meal preparation a little more safe.

  • Keep the turkey fryer at least 20’ from any structure
  • Do not place a turkey fryer on or near a deck or any combustible/flammable materials
  • Be cautious when using a turkey fryer in the rain or snow – the moisture striking the hot oil can cause it to splatter outside of the pot
  • Make sure that your turkey is fully thawed before placing it in the hot oil; this will prevent crackling and splattering of the oil
  • Make sure that the turkey fryer is on a solid, flat, and stable surface
  • Keep people and pets away from the fryer when it is in use to prevent injuries and prevent the pot from being spilled
  • Make sure that an adult is with the fryer at all times when it is in use

There are also many considerations of safety in regard to Christmas decorations.  Christmas trees and holiday lighting can pose a great threat of a fire if they are not properly cared for.  Below are some of the safety tips for Christmas decorations…

  • Make sure that your Christmas tree is properly watered to prevent drying of the tree and the possibility of a fire due to the lights on the tree
  • Check your holiday lighting for any cracks or tears in the wiring and to ensure that the items are properly fused
  • Inspect the lights for loose bulbs and replace any that are not tight fitting
  • Follow the manufacturer’s suggestions regarding the number of strings of lights that can be connected together; this will vary based on the type of lights you are using
  • Make sure that your holiday lights are turned off when you are not at home
  • Make sure that you are not overloading any electrical circuits in your house with lighting
  • Be tidy with your wiring to prevent any trip hazards
  • If you have pets, be cautious of chewing of wires
  • Some of the newer lighting technology (LED) puts off less heat and may be a safer way to go
  • Do not pinch wires in doorways
  • Stay abreast of any unusual odors that may be indicative of burning or shorting circuits
  • If a breaker trips, figure out what the problem is before resetting it

As the winter season arrives and travel will be increased, it is a good idea to keep a few additional items in your vehicle to prepare for any emergencies.  The winter season poses greater risks for hypothermia and frostbite if you find yourself in the elements for any prolonged period of time unprotected.  There are also some changes that you may want to make in regards to how you drive when the weather changes.  Below are some suggestions to keep you protected in the winter months.

  • Keep a blanket in your vehicle at all times
  • Make sure that your windshield washer fluid is full and that you are using a winter mixture
  • Keep jumper cables and/or a jump pack in your vehicle at all times
  • If you are making any long trips, keep someone posted about your travel plans
  • Be certain that you have gloves, a hat, and a winter coat when you are traveling
  • Keep a couple of bottles of water in your vehicle
  • If you have one, make sure your cell phone is charged and with you when you are traveling
  • Keep a working flashlight in your vehicle
  • When you are traveling, stay updated on the weather reports and changing conditions
  • Makes sure to leave yourself plenty of extra time when traveling
  • Keep greater distances between you and the next vehicle
  • Allow your vehicle to warm up a few minutes before moving
  • Be sure to clear all of your windows to ensure proper visibility

I hope that these suggestions will serve as a refresher to you for your safety during the holiday/winter season.  Please feel free to offer any additional safety tips that you may have!

Stay safe and train hard!

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