In the true spirit of the season, and to help keep family and friends out of harm’s way, here are some tips and helpful hints for The 12 Days of Holiday Safety:

On the First Day … prepare your home for the holidays – and safety. Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.

On the Second Day … make a plan. Your family may not be together when an emergency occurs. Plan how to meet or how to contact one another and discuss what you would do in different situations.

On the Third day … think about special needs. Establish a personal support network of friends, relatives, health-care providers, and neighbours who understand your personal needs. Write down details about accommodation needs, allergies, family medical history, medical conditions, etc.

On the Fourth Day … decorate with safety in mind. Never leave burning candles unattended and keep them away from children and pets, decorations and wrapping paper. Cut candle wicks short to prevent a high flame, and if candles are used in a centrepiece, make sure they don’t burn low enough to ignite the decoration.

On the Fifth Day … make your tree safe. When buying a real tree, check that it is fresh (needles are hard to pull off). Water the tree daily – trees can consume up to four litres of water a day. Place the tree away from high traffic areas, doorways, heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles. If young children are around, use safe decorations

On the Sixth Day … keep lights bright. Only use lights that have been certified by a recognized organization such as CSA, ULC or C-UL. Make sure you use indoor lights inside your home and outdoor lights outside. Check the light strings and extension cords, throwing out any that are frayed or have exposed wires, loose connections or broken sockets. Never run electrical cords through doorways or under carpets. Turn off all holiday lights before you go to bed or leave your home.

On the Seventh Day … choose appropriate toys. Always follow age recommendations when choosing toys for children.

On the Eighth Day … get ready for severe winter weather. Blizzards, ice storms, and high winds can develop quickly. Listen to local radio or television stations for weather warnings and advice.

On the Ninth Day … prepare your car for an emergency. Install winter tires and make sure windshield washer fluid is always topped up. Prepare a kit to keep in your vehicle in case of an emergency, with items such as a blanket, a candle in a deep can and matches, and first aid kit with a seat belt cutter.

On the 10th Day … prevent illness. Protect yourself and others from getting sick, by always washing your hands. If you are sick, rest and stay away from others so you don’t pass along your illness.

On the 11th Day … learn first aid. Knowing first aid could save a life.

On the 12th Day … know the risks. Always check the weather conditions if you are traveling for the holidays, so that you can be prepared for any emergencies.

Source: Government of Canada – Department of Public Safety