In the kitchen:
- Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator or in the microwave, never at room temperature.
- Use warm, soapy water to wash hands, sinks, cooking/eating utensils and anything else that touches raw poultry. Use clean, soapy paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. (Wet dishcloths and sponges can be full of bacteria.)
- Keep knife blades sharp and use knives and utensils carefully.
- Follow cooking directions and use a clean food thermometer to check for a safe internal temperature. Remember, a stuffed bird takes longer to cook.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of cooking. Use dated containers less than two inches deep. Reheat leftovers up to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fasten outdoor lights and decorations firmly with insulated staples or hooks. Never use nails or tacks to fasten electric wiring, or stretch or wrap it in a way that may cause damage to the wiring.
- Keep electric plugs off the ground, out of puddles and snow.
- To reach overhead use a step stool with handles or a ladder set up on a dry, flat surface.
- Wear clean, dry and slip-resistant shoes.
- Place the bottom of a ladder one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height. Face and grip the rungs, not the side rails. Keep three points of contact with the ladder - two hands and a foot or two feet and one hand - and keep your hips in between the side rails.
- Post or lock nearby doors to prevent them from opening unexpectedly.
- Get off a ladder immediately during high winds, snow, rain, sleet or lightning.
- Use a step stool that has handles or railings, and never stand on the top step.
- Keep trees and greenery at least three feet away from walking areas, doorways, fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat. Keep trees watered and remove dry branches.
- Use only lights designed for indoor use in indoor settings. Never put more than three sets on one extension cord. Keep cords away from furniture and doorways and never under rugs. Discard frayed, bare wires, broken lights or cracked sockets.
- Use breakable ornaments or ornaments with small parts on higher branches so children and pets cannot reach them.
- Turn off all tree lights and decorations at night or when leaving the house.
- Unplug extension cords when not in use.
- Keep lighted candles away from the tree, curtains or any flammable item.
- Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for information about poisonous holiday plants or if a pet or child has ingested something poisonous.
For more information contact the Lenowisco Health District at 276-328-8000 or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/LHD/lenowisco, www.facebook.com/Lenowisco or https://twitter.com/LenowiscoHD.