Current market advantages for home buyersMortgage rates are at historic lows these days, which makes buying a home more affordable than when rates are higher. The average percentage rate for a 30
Safety Tips For The Holidays
Dated: December 23 2016
Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season - see some great tips below!
Holiday safety is an issue that burns brightest from late November to mid-January, when families gather, parties are scheduled and travel spikes. Take some basic precautions to ensure your family remains safe and injury-free throughout the season.
Putting up decorations is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but about 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating were seen in emergency rooms during the 2014 season.
Spraying artificial snow can irritate your lungs if inhaled; follow directions carefully
Decorate the tree with your kids in mind; move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top
Always use the proper step ladder; don't stand on chairs or other furniture
Lights are among the best parts of holiday decorating; make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets
Plants can spruce up your holiday decorating, but keep those that may be poisonous (including some Poinsettias) out of reach of children or pets; the national Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222
Make sure paths are clear so no one trips on wrapping paper, decorations, toys, etc.; NSC provides tips for older adults on slip, trip and fall protection
Watch Out for those Fire-starters
Candles and Fireplaces
Thousands of deaths are caused by fires, burns and other fire-related injuries every year, and 12% of home candle fires occur in December, the National Fire Protection Association reports. Increased use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations present in many homes means more risk for fire.
Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle
Keep candles out of reach of children
Make sure candles are on stable surfaces
Don't burn candles near trees, curtains or any other flammable items
Don't burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace
Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year
Don't Give the Gift of Food Poisoning
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some holiday food safety tips. Here are a few:
Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking
Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature
Refrigerate food within two hours
Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for four days in the refrigerator
Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating
When storing turkey, cut the leftovers in small pieces so they will chill quickly
Wash your hands frequently when handling food
Traveling for the Holidays? Be Prepared
Many people choose to travel during the holidays by automobile, with the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation. In 2013, 343 people died on New Year's Day, 360 on Thanksgiving Day and 88 on Christmas Day, according to Injury Facts 2015. Alcohol-impaired fatalities represented 31% of the totals.
Use a designated driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; alcohol, over-the-counter or illegal drugs all cause impairment
Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance being traveled
Put that cell phone away; distracted driving causes one-quarter of all crashes
Properly maintain the vehicle and keep an emergency kit with you
Be prepared for heavy traffic, and possibly heavy snow
Remember, when guests are staying in your home, make sure areas have night lights or easy-to-reach lamps in case they need to get up during the night. And, whether you are visiting someone else's home or you have guests in your home, make sure all medications are kept up and away and out of sight from young children.
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