Minimize

INGHAM COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

REMINDS YOU TO BE SAFE DURING THE HOLIDAYS

 

One of the best places to be on a cold snowy night is home with a warm blanket and a fire in the fireplace. Sheriff Wrigglesworth offers the following safety tips to keep you and your family safe when using a fireplace or wood burning stove to keep warm:

 

  • Get an annual chimney check. Have chimneys inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a qualified professional chimney service technician. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys.

     

  • Keep it clear. Keep tree branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from the top of the chimney.

     

  • Install a chimney cap to keep debris and animals out of the chimney.

     

  • Choose the right fuel. For burning firewood in wood stoves or fireplaces, choose well-seasoned wood that has been split for a minimum of six months - one year and stored in a covered and elevated location. Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace or wood stove.

     

  • Keep the hearth area clear. Combustible material too close to the fireplace, or to a wood stove, could easily catch fire. Keep furniture at least 36” away from the hearth.

     

  • Use a fireplace screen. Use metal mesh or a screen in front of the fireplace to catch flying sparks that could ignite or burn holes in the carpet or flooring.

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Place detectors throughout the house and check batteries in the spring and fall. When you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time, remember to check your batteries.       

     

    Never leave a fire unattended!

     

    The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office encourages everyone to have a safe and joyous holiday season. During the busy hustle and bustle of the holiday season, important safety measures are too often forgotten.  Sheriff Wriggelsworth has some safety reminders to help ensure a safe and happy holiday season for everyone.

  •  

    Decorating Safety

    • Never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item.

     

    • Small children may think that holiday plants look good enough to eat, but many plants may be poisonous or can cause severe stomach problems. Plants to watch out for include: mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis. Keep all of these plants out of children's reach.

     

    • When displaying a real tree, put the tree in a sturdy, water-holding stand. Keep the stand filled with water so the tree does not dry out quickly. Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.

     

    • If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.

     

    • Only use indoor lights indoors (and outdoor lights only outdoors). Look for the UL label. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Replace or repair any damaged light sets.

     

    • Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs, around furniture legs or across doorways.

     

    • Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Unplug extension cords when not in use.

    Ladder Safety

    • When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks or other furniture.

     

    • If you have to use a step ladder near a doorway, lock or barricade the door and post signs so no one will open it and knock you off the ladder.

     

    • A straight or extension ladder should be placed one foot away from the surface it rests against for every four feet of ladder height.

     

    • When you climb, always face the ladder and grip the rungs to climb – not the side rails. Always keep three points of contact on the ladder whether two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.

     

    Hosting and Food Safety

    • When preparing a holiday meal for friends and family, be sure to wash hands, utensils, sink, and anything else that has come in contact with raw poultry.

     

    • Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw it in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. 

     

    • Use a clean food thermometer to cook foods to a safe internal temperature before serving.

     

    • When reheating leftovers, bring the temperature up to at least 165°F to eliminate any bacterial growth.

     

    • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow containers (less than two inches deep) within two hours after cooking. Date the leftovers for future use.

     

    • Being a smart party host or guest should include being sensible about alcoholic drinks. More than half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Use designated drivers, people who do not drink, to drive other guests home after a holiday party.

     

    • The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year. You can’t avoid stress completely, but you can give yourself some relief. Allow enough time to shop for gifts and meal items rather than hurry through stores and parking lots. Only plan to do a reasonable number of errands.