Holiday season safety tips

INCIRLIK AB, Turkey -- As Christmas approaches, the 39th Air Base Wing safety office offers some advice to have a safe holiday season.

Some holiday cooking tips:

· Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing while cooking.
· Never leave the kitchen unattended when cooking.
· Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
· Be sure the kitchen is well ventilated to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide from gas cooking appliances.
· Promptly refrigerate leftovers; gravy and stuffing should not be kept longer than two days, and turkey and other side dishes may be good for up to four days.
· Divide turkey into smaller portions when refrigerating instead of placing an entire cooked turkey in the refrigerator.

Some common tree safety tips:

· When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "fire resistant."
· If purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green and the needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a tree is sticky with resin.
· When setting up a tree at home, place it away from radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
· Cut a few inches off the trunk of your live tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help keep the tree from dying and becoming a safety hazard.

Some safety tips for using decorative lights during the Christmas season:

· Check all tree lights before hanging them on your tree, even if you have just purchased them. Make sure all the bulbs work and there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
· Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights and a person touching a branch could become electrocuted.
· Before using lights outdoors check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
· Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
· Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house; they could short out and start a fire.

Some candle safety advice:

· Never leave burning candles unattended.
· Place candles well away from curtains, bedding and other flammable materials.
· Keep candles away from table decorations, trees and other greenery.
· Don't place lit candles in windows.
· Place candles in holders that will not tip over.
· Extinguish all candles before going to sleep.
· Always keep burning candles up high and out of reach of children.
Christmas decorations tend to be very popular and vary in size and shape; here are a few safety tips to keep in mind about decorations:
- Never leave candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders and place candles where they will not be knocked over.
- In homes with small children, pay special attention to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. Keep small removable parts out of the reach of children.
- Remove all wrapping paper, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child.

Some safety tips for toys:

· Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interests of the intended child. Toys that are too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
· Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy he or she has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
· Children under age three can choke on small toy parts.

Some general holiday safety rules:

· Make an emergency escape plan to use if a fire breaks outs in the house.
· Be familiar with the operation of each type of fire extinguisher.

"Mishap prevention is key," said Tech. Sgt. Eric Streeter, a ground safety technician for the 39th ABW. "Everyone must stay vigilant during the holiday season."

For more safety tips and advice, contact the 39th Safety Office at 676-7233.