By Vogel Bros. Safety Department

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful! December is a joyful time of year full of feasts, festivities and time with friends and family. But it also brings frightfully dangerous winter conditions and hazards. To help ensure you and your loved ones stay safe this holiday season, consider taking the following precautions:

  • Stock up for emergencies: When big storms are in the forecast, store shelves are quickly emptied of essentials such as bread, water, fuel and batteries. Don’t wait until the last minute like everyone else; plan ahead and stock up on your supplies in advance.
  • Trim your trees: Ice accumulation on branches can knock down power lines, crush vehicles, or smash through roofs and windows. Trim back branches that are over your roof or nearby power lines. Use caution when trimming trees, especially branches that are near power lines. Call a professional if you don’t think you can safely perform the work yourself.
  • Shovel carefully: Each year snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and as many as 100 deaths. Shoveling snow can lead to back strain or worse: heart attack. Be sure to stretch out before you begin, push the snow rather than lift it, and do not work to the point of exhaustion.
  • Decorate with caution: Stringing lights and decorating your home can be a real safety hazard if you’re not careful. Don’t hang lights using tacks, nails or screws, which can pierce the cable and become electrified; use insulated hooks instead. If you’re using a ladder to hang the lights, watch out for feeder or power lines overhead to avoid being electrocuted; ensure the ladder is on level footing or consider having someone hold it for you so you don’t fall; follow the manufacturer’s specifications, such as not using the top platform as a step.
  • Steer clear of carbon monoxide: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill you. It’s found in fumes produced by cars/trucks, gas stoves, grills, fireplaces, furnaces and generators. Space heaters are often culprits of causing CO poisoning if they’re used indoors without proper ventilation. Or if people warm their vehicle up inside the garage, those fumes can travel into your home and result in CO poisoning. Be sure to install a CO detector in your home, replace the batteries every spring and fall, and replace the detector every five years.

This winter, don’t be afraid to take extra precautions to stay safe. If you want more tips on staying safe – at home or at work – OSHA, Centers for Disease Control, National Weather Service, and National Safety Council have many great tips and resources you can check out.

May you all have a safe, merry and joyous holiday!