Stay safe this 2021 holiday season

Keep these holiday safety tips in mind if travelling on the roads, attending a personal gathering, or putting up lights and decorations. 

Photo of scraping ice from a windshield Photo has been taken from the inside of the car

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Stay safe on the roads with proper snow tires

Recently, I overheard some people in a grocery line-up talking about the numerous stores sold out of snow tires. It made me think of the advice I got from the owner of Big O Tires on Kingsway, in Vancouver. I shared it in October, in my post Do you have your winter tires yet?

He said far fewer tires were being shipped globally because of supply chain disruptions. He also shared information about driving with chains.

Winter tires or chains are required on most routes in British Columbia from October 1 to March 31. On highways in high snowfall areas — like our many mountain passes — this requirement is extended until April 30.

Be aware of current public health orders

Keep updated with the most recent public health orders about COVID-19. If you travel within B.C., be aware that restrictions may differ in your destination. Regional restrictions may be in place for health authorities with lower COVID-19 vaccination rates or where outbreaks are occurring.

Before you host or attend an indoor personal gathering, know that the BC government has updated personal gathering limits to your household plus 10 visitors or one other household, and everyone 12+ must be fully vaccinated. Also see Safer Social Interactions from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). The webpage lists COVID-19 precautions that make getting together safer, and advises when extra precautions are needed.

Best practices for safe holiday decorating

Are you using a ladder to put up or take down decorations? WorkSafeBC reminds us to use ladders safely with these tips.

  • Always set up the ladder on a firm, level surface.
  • Maintain three points of contact: 2 feet and 1 hand, or 2 hands and 1 foot.
  • Wear slip-proof footwear.
  • Don’t carry heavy or bulky objects while climbing up or down a ladder.
  • Avoid ladder work in wind, rain, and snow.

See WorkSafeBC’s website for more ladder safety tips.

For staying safe from electrical hazards, see Technical Safety BC’s Top 10 holiday décor safety tips. Here are four of the tips:

  • Make sure your decorative lights have a mark of approval from a Canadian certification agency, such as CSA, CUL, or ETL. This certification should be located both on the outside of the package and stamped somewhere on the light cord itself.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for installing and using any electrical decorations, and always turn them off at night before you go to bed.
  • When hanging lights, avoid stapling or nailing cords as this can puncture the cord. Instead, use plastic clips made specifically for hanging lights.
  • Consider switching to energy-efficient LED lights — they produce less heat, which reduces the risk of fire.

On the topic of fire prevention, if your holiday includes a live Christmas tree, be sure you water it daily. Almost every year I post a link to this video from the National Fire Protection Association. It shows the alarming rate at which a dry Christmas tree burns compared to a well-watered tree.

This is my last post of 2021. See you in January 2022 — and thanks for reading! If you have any holiday safety tips to share, please leave a comment.

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