Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Safety at Home

Greetings Shipmates,
I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season. 

Over the past month, I have written about travel safety and the dangers of driving under the influence, however, there is one other area I would like to highlight and that is holiday safety at home.   

When preparing for the holidays, think about what you are doing. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 30% of all home fires and 38% of home fire deaths occur during the months of December, January and February. Help minimize your risk by planning in advance, practicing good situational awareness and using common sense. 

Properly working smoke and fire detectors are an essential part of a safe holiday. Make sure to change batteries once a year and check to ensure they are in good working order.
Familiarize yourself with how to put out a kitchen fire and ensure your fire extinguisher inspections are up to date.

Get your chimney checked before lighting the first fire of the season and make sure the vent is open for the smoke to escape.

Christmas trees and lights pose another fire risk.  When attempting to string lights together, make sure you are not exceeding the number of strings recommended on the box. Also, use the right kind and number of extension cords and surge protectors and refrain from running extension cords under rugs, as this is the cause of many electrical fires.

It should go without saying you should never leave a burning candle unattended, but you should also make sure you keep your space heaters away from trees and flammable objects.  

Lastly on a personal note, at one of my previous commands, a young Sailor lost his entire home during the holidays due to improper use and placement of a turkey fryer.  If you must use a fryer, don’t place it close to structures or on the deck and never, ever place a frozen or partially thawed turkey into the oil.

Make sure your home is safe this holiday season.  Think about what can go wrong, how you can prevent it and what you would do if it happened anyway.  Prepare, pay attention to what you are doing and use common sense.  A little common sense can go a long way in keeping you safe throughout this holiday season. 

Have a safe and happy holiday!


Monday, December 2, 2013

2013 Holiday: Driving/Travel Safety

Last week, I discussed the importance of drinking responsibly and alternatives to getting behind the wheel. Over the next few weeks, the highways will be filled with people so plan your trip accordingly and keep safety in mind.  When it comes to the holiday season, weather is always a concern, especially if you are heading to places up North or in the upper Mid-West.  Be realistic about your vehicle’s condition, how far you’re going and who’s driving. 

I am well aware the desire to see loved ones can make driving 14 hours in one day through ice and snow seem like an acceptable risk.  It’s not. Fatigue or drowsy driving WILL affect your reflexes and judgment even if you don’t fall asleep and drive off the road.   Plan for rest stops, more than one driver and make sure you get enough sleep BEFORE hitting the road both to and from your destination.  Better yet, if you’re traveling a long distance, take a train.  You’ll be able to relax and travel safely and at a reasonable cost.
Next week, I will discuss another important safety-related area: cooking and decorating.