Holiday safety tips for EMS providers to share with friends and family

Today, as I watched and chased my children and their cousins (four kids with ages ranging from 2- to 5-years old) around the house – inside and out – I was reminded of the importance of many holiday safety issues. As emergency responders, we have many opportunities to communicate injury prevention messages to our friends, families and neighbors. Remember these holiday-related safety issues.

Hanging decorations

1. Falling while hanging lights or other decorations is a leading cause of holiday-related trauma. Encourage people in your community to use safe ladder practices, never touch electrical lines, and to always have a ladder spotter.

Not suitable for children

2. Small objects are a constant hazard to infants and toddlers. My son received a marble track from his grandparents. It's an awesome toy, but now we have 50 new potential foreign body airway obstructions in the house.

Fire awareness

3. Kids are fascinated by candles and fire places (I am, too!). Make sure burning candles are never left unattended. Ensure an adult is present in any room where there are children and open flames. Read this post from Montgomery County Fire Rescue Services about Holiday Candle Safety. MCFRS PIO also has a post with links to other holiday safety topics.

Finally, remind your friends and neighbors to shovel out the fire hydrants in their neighborhood. Many parts of the country have recently received heavy snowfall. It only takes a few minutes to dig out a hydrant, but those minutes could be costly if a nearby structure is burning as the hydrant is being located and unburied.

This article, originally published on Dec. 22, 2009, has been updated

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