We’re quickly approaching the end of a busy year, and we’re well into the holiday season. This time of year is for fellowship, celebration, plays and recitals, shopping, and a host of festivities. But the holidays also expose us to many risks and hazards in our professional and personal lives.
The winter holiday season is traditionally filled with joyful celebrations, colorful decorations, and family gatherings, but for some is also marked with distractions, stress, fear, and dangers. At no other time of the year does such a dichotomy exist, where happiness runs parallel to heartbreak.
The need for holiday safety awareness is a priority. The National Fire Protection Association indicates that 30% of all home fires and 38% of home fire deaths occur in December, January, and February. The rise in fire-related deaths and property loss is directly linked to an increase in cooking, heating, and open flames.
A sample of statistics from the National Fire Protection Agency
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of reported home structure fires and injuries. It is also the leading cause of unreported fires.
- During 2004-2008, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 154,700 home cooking fires yearly. These fires caused an annual average of 460 deaths, 4,850 injuries, and $724 million in property damage.
Home Fire Victims:
- Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Children under five years old are almost 1.5 times more likely to die in a home fire than the average person.
Beyond this, our field force faces many other risks and hazards throughout the season. By staying focused on the task at hand, “being where your boots are,” avoiding multitasking, and pre-task planning are some of the simplest and most effective approaches to avoiding injury at work.
Let us not forget that the threat of stress and depression is real during the holidays. The holiday season can be overwhelming for all of us—demands of cooking, shopping, cleaning, decorating, entertaining, and travel, to name a few triggers. And for some, we’re isolated from family and friends, missing loved ones who may have passed or have recently separated. If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal depression, create a support network, acknowledge your feelings, reach out, set aside differences, and remember that there is life after the holidays.
I hope everyone has a happy holiday season and celebrates safely. Continue to put your personal safety and those that work beside you, first.
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