Though the winter holidays may bring freezing temperatures, it is also a time  for creating wonderful memories. As we anticipate the joy of family festivities, we should also remember to take preventive measures to keep the holidays safe and happy.
We always urge you to practice sound judgment when considering these tips, and to seek the advice of a professional when needed.

Around the Home

s Install new batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, then test them to make sure they function properly.
s Check fire extinguishers to insure they are operating properly.

Holiday Decorating 

s Examine your holiday lights. Throw away any light strings that are worn or broken, and replace them with products that have been tested by an independent lab.
s If purchasing a natural tree, make sure it’s fresh. It will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard.
s Make sure your artificial tree is labeled as fire resistant. Those with built-in electrical systems should bear the Underwriters Laboratories label.
s Trim trees with non-combustible or flame-resistant materials. Avoid placing breakable ornaments or those with small, detachable parts in reach of small children or pets.
s Place your tree at least three feet from any heat sources including fireplaces, space heaters, candles and radiators.
s Never use lit candles to decorate trees.
s Only lights and extension cords specified for outdoor use should be used for outside displays.
s Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow.

Post Holiday Tips

s If your natural tree is dropping needles, dispose of it. Dried out trees are fire hazards and should not be left in the home or garage.
s Never burn your tree or package wrappings in the fireplace.
s Bring in outdoor lights to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

Secure Your Holiday 

s When shopping, don’t leave purchases in the passenger compartment of your unattended vehicle. Store them out of sight, in the trunk.
s When in plain view, piled gifts around a Christmas tree serve as an invitation to burglars. Close the shades or drapes if you’re going to be away.
s Have your college students bring home their portable valuables and electronics. When possible, secure