Take safety precautions when preparing for holidays

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The holiday season is upon us and that means more time in the kitchen for many families. Pay special attention to the safety of your family with these reminders.

Getting ready to prepare Thanksgiving dinner? Start your holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven. Keep kitchen clutter away from the stove's heat. That goes for dish towels and pot holders as well.

While cooking, remember to turn pot handles in away from a child's reach.

In the case of a grease fire, never throw water - that will only make it worse! Instead cover the pan with a cookie sheet and turn off the stove.

Appliances should always be in good working order. Never overload electrical outlets.

When cooking, do not wear clothing with loose sleeves or dangling jewelry. The clothing can catch fire and the jewelry can catch on pot handles, causing spills and burns.

Always keep your eye on cooking food. Try this so you don't forget you're cooking: put a wooden spoon in your apron or back pocket. That way if you get distracted or go into another room, as soon as you realize you have that wooden spoon in your pocket, you'll remember you were cooking!

Getting ready to decorate? Keep all holiday decorations away from heat sources. Haystacks, cornstalks or any dried decorations are more prone to burning quickly.

If you are using a fresh Christmas tree, make sure the needles are not shedding. Check the water level daily.

If you are using an artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant. Never decorate metal trees with electric lights and never connect more than three strands of lights together.

If you are using candles in your home decor, keep them away from curtains and other combustibles. Never put candles near exits or windows, because if the fire originates there, you might not have a way out.

Candles should be located where children will not be tempted to play with them and where guests will not accidentally brush against them.

Ready to enjoy a night in front of the fire? Always use a fire screen for your fireplace. Never overload your fireplace.

Don't burn trash or wrapping paper because it can cause an explosion. Never leave your fireplace unattended while burning and have it inspected at least once a year.

Take precautions throughout the holidays to ensure a safe and enjoyable time with family and friends.

Cinda Seamon is the fire and life safety educator for the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue.

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