Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 27th 2015 Contents In the midst of all the festivities
and merriment this season, it is
imperative that we remain aware
of the safety of ourselves and our
While attempting to decorate our
homes, prepare lavish meals and
entertain our guests, it's easy to
overlook that much of what we
may be doing is unsafe.
Climbing and Working at Heights
While hanging holiday décor, it
might be tempting to grab a
bucket, chair or stool to climb on for
that much needed height. This
however is very dangerous as you
can easily fall and injure yourself.
Also, if you're planning to go up on
the roof to clean the guttering, re-
pair loose galvanise, or position
that lighted reindeer and Santa you
bought, remember that in profes-
sional environments, it is a require-
ment to wear a properly tied off
safety harness when working at
least 6 feet off the ground. Why
shouldn't this apply to you? Acci-
dents and falls don't only happen at
work. Be sure to use proper ladders
and step stools for climbing, and re-
member, it is always a good option
to hire a professional for potentially
Using the right tools
Using the right tools for the job
not only makes your task easier but
also much, much safer. A kitchen
knife tends to seem like a good
substitute tool for many around the
house jobs. However, using a knife
to cut open packages, tighten or
loosen screws, or even prise open
paint lids for instance, present a
hazard as the knife can easily slip
and cut you.
When wiring your house, most
persons may consider regular, day-
to-day electrical usage, and not
consider holiday electrical needs.
After all, that's only once a year,
right? As a result, there is a distinct
tendency to overload wall outlets
during the holiday season. This is
an incredibly unsafe practise and
should be avoided at all costs, even
if only for short periods of time.
You are putting yourself and your
family at risk for electrical shock,
and you can't tell how long it might
be before an electrical fire may
start. As advised by fire safety pro-
fessionals, 'one plug, one socket.'
For electrical safety:
• Routinely check your electrical ap-
pliances and wiring.
• Cover any outlet that is not in
use with plastic safety covers
if you have toddlers or young
children in your home.
• Insert plugs fully into outlets.
Poor contact may cause over-
heating or shock.
• To avoid possible overheat-
ing, do not coil or bunch an
extension cord which is in
• Do not run extension cords
under rugs or in areas where
a lot of people will be walking.
'Talking about lights,' they're
one of the most popular
means of decorating around
Christmas time. But if not
done safely, your beautiful
lights can present a major
Here's what you should do:
• Check each set of lights, new
or old for broken or cracked
sockets, frayed or bare wires
or loose connections and
throw out damaged sets.
• Always replace burnt out
bulbs promptly with the
same wattage bulbs.
• Before using lights outdoors,
check labels to be sure they
have been certified for out-
• Fasten outdoor lights se-
curely to trees, house walls or
other firm supports to pro-
tect the lights from wind
• Use only insulated staples to
hold strings in place, not nails
• Turn off holiday lights when
you go to bed or leave the
house. The lights could start
• Outdoor electric lights and
decorations should be
plugged into circuits pro-
tected by ground fault circuit
On the Road
As you rush from paranging
your aunt's house in Penal, to
your cousin in Arima and your
co-worker in Maraval, please
be sure to follow the road
• Absolutely do not drink and
drive. We know it's Christmas
and that ponche de crème is
extremely tempting, but your
and your family's safety
should be more convincing.
Designate a driver and rotate
the role throughout the sea-
son so everyone gets to enjoy
a holiday drink or two.
• Avoid texting, calling or
'whatsapping' your 'pardners'
to let them know you're 'on
the highway heading down.'
Ultimately, they would all pre-
fer you arrive alive than not
• Don't drive if you're sleepy. It
might hurt to miss or arrive
late for that Christmas party,
but driving while tired is akin
to driving while drunk. Make
sure you are well rested be-
fore getting behind the
wheel, and possibly have an
alternate driver in case you
start feeling drowsy.
• Buckle up. It is in fact the law.
With some information from
the T&T Fire Service:
Friday, November 27, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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