Stay safe this holiday season

It’s the holiday season and, before you all set out to celebrate and relax (hopefully) with loved ones, I just want to take a minute to remind you that the holidays should be good for you. Because I care about you and want to see you all back on campus in January with as many working parts as you left with, here are a few holiday safety tips to keep in mind. (Notice none of these address the danger of getting run over by reindeer. That one is much too obvious.)

• Don’t drive tired or drunk. Reaction times for overly tired drivers rival those of drunk drivers; both are dangerous to everyone. So, pass on the eggnog and get your full eight hours. You’ll improve your health and keep yourself safe on the roads.

• Be careful hanging holiday lights. Falls are the most common holiday accident. Whether from a roof, ladder, or tree, hanging holiday lights is dangerous business. So, be safe (look to Clark Griswold for details on what not to do), have a buddy hold the ladder, and try not to land on your head.

• Be fire-safe with candles, holiday lights, and Christmas trees. Turn off holiday lights when you leave, and don’t use indoor extension cords for outdoor displays. Buy either a fire-resistant fake tree or get a fresh real tree (no brown spots or dry needles), and keep both away from heat sources and vents. Candles are the most dangerous, so be sure not to leave them unattended or near anything flammable (such as curtains or Uncle Lewis’ toupee and stogie). The safest option is the fake LED candles that actually flicker. Fancy stuff.

• Fruitcake is not the only poisonous item lingering about for the holidays. Be careful with mistletoe, holly berries, and Christmas cactus, all of which are especially poisonous if ingested. Also, if you have pets, poinsettias can be deadly. The same is true for onions, garlic, grapes and raisins, chocolate, and sugarless gum. (Incidentally, if you decide to eat a poinsettia yourself, you probably won’t die, but you may wish you were dead. Poinsettias can cause serious gastrointestinal distress. Yikes!)

Be safe out there, Raiders, and we’ll see you right back here in January. Happy Holidays!

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