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Holiday and winter safety tips offered

December 02, 2009

SMITHSBURG -- With the holiday season approaching, the Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Co. provided the following safety tips:

o Keep your Christmas tree as far away as possible from any heat source, including fireplaces and heat vents. Heat will quickly dry out a tree, making it extremely flammable to any source of ignition.

o Never put holiday tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.

o Discard a tree once it becomes dry and is losing needles.

o Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wire, bare spots and gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, or excessive wear.

o Do not overload outlets. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.

o Do not leave holiday lights unattended.

o Avoid using lit candles. If using candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot easily be knocked over.

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o Never leave the house while candles are burning.

December is here, and snow and ice will inevitably be heading our way.

Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services (SEMS) reminds area residents to use extreme caution, whether driving or shoveling. SEMS tends to see an increase in vehicle crashes during inclement weather, as well as an increase in patients complaining of chest pain, exposure and fatigue.

The cardiac arrest danger increases with demanding physical activity such as shoveling heavy, wet snow.

The emergency medical services offered the following tips:

o Take frequent breaks, keep warm, stay hydrated and avoid working outside for extended periods.

o Ensure a family member or neighbor is able to check on you if you will be working alone.

o Take the time to properly remove snow and ice from walkways to prevent falls and other traumatic injuries.

Source is Chief Chris D. Rohrer with Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Co.

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