SIKESTON - Accidents, such as fires and electrocutions, are especially tragic at this time of year. However, Sikeston Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden said there are ways to make the holidays as safe as possible.
Safety tips include:
* Make sure the home has a working smoke detector on every level.
* Choose a freshly cut tree.
Cut a few inches off the trunk before placing the tree in water. Live trees need water, so the tree stand should be checked and refilled often.
When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.
* Keep the tree away from heat sources, sparks or flames. Do not leave Christmas tree lights on while unattended.
* Avoid accidents by using wire or cord to secure the tree to the wall or ceiling (this will prevent it from being toppled over by small children or pets).
* Check all light sets prior to use. Do not use damaged light sets or extension cords. Avoid overloading the connections, extension cords and light strings. Use only Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved lights on your tree. Never use candles on or near the tree.
* Promptly remove all discarded packages and wrapping from the home. Never burn wrappings in the fireplace or wood stove.
* Use only non-combustible decorations. When using candles, make sure they are in stable holders on a flat table surface and create a one-foot circle of safety surrounding them.
Never leave the house with candles burning. Never leave children or pets unattended with a lit candle (the candle can easily be knocked over). Never use candles near combustible materials such as curtains, drapes, bedding and/or cabinets.
"We wish everyone a very safe Christmas season and a happy New Year," Juden concluded.