Township Hall
20260 Capital Avenue N.E.
Battle Creek, MI 49017
(269) 968-8549
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Holiday Safety Tips

Trees

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant."
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness.  A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. 
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
  • Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood.  This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
  • Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly. 

Lights

  • Check all tree lights-even if you've just purchased them-before hanging them on your tree.  Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections. 
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted. 
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.  To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks.  Never pull or tug lights to remove them.
  • Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire. 

Decorations

  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.  Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces.  Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.
  • Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.
  • Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened.  These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child or can cause a fire if near flame.

Toy Safety

  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child.  Toys  too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.   
  • Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully. 
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet.  Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
  • Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
  • Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children. 
  • Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies. 

Food Safety

  • Bacteria are often present in raw foods.  Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
  • Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.
  • Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
  • Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
  • Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
  • Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours. 

Happy Visiting

  • Clean up immediately after a holiday party.  A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
  • Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed.  Keep an eye out for danger spots.
  • Keep a list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222. Laminating the list will prevent it from being torn or damaged by accidental spills.
  • Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child's stress levels. Trying to stick to your child's usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.

Fireplaces

  • Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area.  Check to see that the flue is open.
  • Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

2008 - American Academy of Pediatrics

Deep Fry Your Turkey Safely!

A new way of preparing a Turkey is by Deep Frying. This way produces a delicious Turkey that can be flavored in several ways. Deep Fryers can be dangerous if misused because:

  • When the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the hot oil may spill out causing a burn hazard or the oil may get to the cooking elements and be a fire hazard.
  • Oil can be spilled if the unit is tipped over causing a burn or fire hazard.
  • Turkeys must be fully thawed as partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. 
  • Because the units do not normally have controls there is the potential to overheat the oil which is combustible and can be a burn hazard when touching the unit.

Deep Fried Turkey Cooking Tips:

  • Always follow your manufacturer’s fryer’s instructions. 
  • Do not use large turkeys, appx. 12 pounds is a good size.
  • Use oils such as peanut, canola and safflower. Peanut oil adds flavor, but it can be a concern if guests have peanut allergies. 
  • To determine how much oil you’ll need, put the turkey in the basket and place in the pot. Add water until it reaches one to two inches above the turkey. Lift the turkey out, and use a ruler to measure the distance from the water to the top of the fryer. Pour out the water and dry the fryer completely. 
  • Remember that it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to heat the oil, depending on the outside temp. wind and weather. 
  • Before frying, pat the turkey dry with paper towels to keep the hot oil from spattering and popping.
  • Slowly lower the turkey into the oil, and maintain an oil temp of 350ºF. Fry turkey for three to four minutes per pound or about 35 to 42 minutes for a 10- to 12-pound turkey.

Safety Tips:

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn. 
  • Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages. 
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping. 
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don't watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire. 
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use. 
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer. 
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter. 
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don't mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard. 
  • The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator. 
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help. 
  • Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pots remains dangerously hot, hours after use. 

Halloween Safety Tips

  1. When using homemade items for a costume make sure they are fire safe.  For example. a simple costume made from an ordinary bed sheet can be consumed by flames if ignited.  When you purchase a costume make sure it is a flame-retardant costume and mask.  To prevent your child from tripping or falling make sure the costume and mask provide for free movement and allow for full vision.
  2. If you go door to door trick or treating always carry a flashlight and wear something reflective.  When going form house to house keep to the side of the road or street on the shoulder or sidewalk.  When crossing the street take off your mask and look both ways and make sure it is clear to cross.  Travel in groups and stay with your group.
  3. The purpose of Halloween is to get candy or treats.  Have all treats checked carefully before you eat them.  While you are traveling, we recommend that you do not eat your treats.  Wait until you get home and in the light and always check your treats before eating them.
  4. When carving your pumpkin or jack-o-lantern use proper knife safety with adult supervision.  We don not recommend an open flame in your jack-o-lantern but use a small light or liquid light.
  5. Haunted Houses are fun and are made to be scary. They can be dangerous. There should be clear exits that can be used in case of a fire. Materials used should be non-flammable or flame resistant. Items such as gauze, leaves, styrofoam, papers, and open flames used as props or decorations should not be used. Haunted Houses can be dangerous if they are too confining and make a confined space with limited exits. They should be well supervised, and operators should have plans to evacuate all participants safely if a problem occurs. There should also be plans to make the haunted house well lit in case of a problem.  Exits should never be blocked and remain lit to allow for evacuation.