City of Plantation Podcast

Episode 28 - Holiday Safety Discussion with Kaitlin

December 04, 2020 City of Plantation Episode 28
City of Plantation Podcast
Episode 28 - Holiday Safety Discussion with Kaitlin
Show Notes Transcript

Thank you for listening to the City of Plantation's Podcast. In this episode, Cary and I have the pleasure of speaking with Kaitlin Murphins our Public Education Specialist. We discuss general safety issues relating to the Holiday Season, including, mental health, weather, tree and decoration safety, and other safety-related topics. This Podcast is aimed at keeping the residents of Plantation informed of events and important information happening throughout our city. Please subscribe to this podcast, as we will be producing new episodes weekly.

National Fire Protection Association's Christmas Tree Fire Video: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr6b9b8FYKk

Guests: Barbara Simmons / Madeline Nava
Hosts: Cary Blanchard and Ezra Lubow
Music: Oakwood Station
Graphics: City of Plantation

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the city of plantations podcast. I am Carrie Blanchard, battalion chief of public affairs for the plantation fire department. Thank you for tuning in our podcast is designed to keep you up-to-date on all the latest happenings and activities in about and around the city of plantation on our episodes, we talked directly with the leaders decision makers and the movers and shakers who make plantation the great city that it is

Speaker 2:

Into another episode of the city of plantation podcast. First and foremost, we want to wish everybody a warm and loving full of family and friends holiday season, of course, with COVID precautions today. Uh, we, once again welcome Caitlin Mervins our public education specialist. So we can talk about some home safety issues during the holidays that seem to pop up every year. So, Caitlin , thanks for coming in.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for having me again. Welcome Caitlin . Thanks for joining us. Um, Homeland fire safety is a year-round concern. Really. We try and talk about it with the seasons and you know, with everything that goes on, we try to place it, but the holidays bring a special kind of concern. You know, there's things like trees, decorations, candles, let's start with Christmas trees. How can trees be a hazard and what can we do to mitigate that hazard? Well, what's real Christmas trees. The houses are that the trees can dry out, which makes the trees more flammable and that can create a fire of Christmas tree can go up in seconds. It's that's why it's very important to water your tree every day with the lights on the tree, you want to make sure that there are a low heat and such as like miniature lights also with placing the tree, make sure it's at least three feet away from any heat source as candles, heat, vents, and other decoration lights that you have and make sure that the trees are not blocking any exits in case you have an emergency. Oh , that's good. I dream and think about the exit, but yeah, that's a big deal. And what should we look for when we're purchasing a real tree? Well , you want to look for when you're purchasing a real tree, you want to make sure that the tree is fresh, that the green needles do not fall. When they're touched also before placing the Trina stand, you want to cut at least two inches from the base of the trunk. And as before always water it every day, monitor the tree, make sure for its freshness, that's still smelling good. That's why a lot of people like the real Christmas trees. I love it. Um, and after the holiday, once the tree is all dried , you want to remove it from your home and you can look into your recycling within your city to see where you can recycle the trees. I know with us at public works off a clearing near central park. You can drop your real tree off there and they use it as mulch for the city and it smells good when they put it around public buildings, it really does smell good. It makes a difference.

Speaker 2:

It's recycling. I want to add one point to Caitlin's point about the , the hazards with the trees is , um, I think a lot of people don't think about their pets, right? So what happens is you put up a really beautiful tree and you put it in a smart location where it's going to be safe. And then, you know, Rex the cat or max the dog, knock it over, create a disturbance, which, you know, electrically the water spills. It gets on the lights. It creates some shorts. So definitely when you're putting up your tree, you know, think about if your pets are going to aggravate the tree and make it come down and how to , uh, to mitigate that and make it safe, right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Like geeky use baby Gates. I've I've, I've done that. Especially with when my daughter was younger, when she started crawling, I was like, Oh, this is not good. You know? And then of course you see the toddler trees where everything up top is decorated. Everything on the bottom is not.

Speaker 2:

Yup . Absolutely. All right , cool.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Let's talk about decorations. What can you tell us about holiday decorations causing fires? Because most people don't even think about that. No . What you want to do is you want to make sure when you're using that, you're using the proper lights. You want to make sure you losing using indoor lights for indoor and outdoor lights for outdoor to decorate. Um, you want to check all the lights, the light bulbs, the wires, make sure the wires are not frayed . Make sure they're not broken. And if bulbs are broken to replace them, especially now , uh , I keep seeing more and more as like inflatables. You want to make sure that inflatables are working properly and make sure those wires are working properly. When you're hanging your lights, you don't want to use nails. You want to use the hangs or clips. You can get those at any local store to hang your lights. You never want to use nails. Also do not overuse your extension cords. When you overuse your extension cords, they can short out and they can create fires. Most extension cords have a voltage to let you know how many Volgistics it can use. Obviously, when you use an indoor extension cord for indoor and outdoor for outdoor, you know, all also always turn your lights off the Christmas tree, turn it off. Wait before you go to bed, your outdoor lights, either turn them off or get a timer to turn them on and off. So that way it's safe. Also when you're leaving the house, like some people, you , you turn them on at night and then you're leaving to go to dinner. We should turn them off at that point because you're not there to monitor if something were to go wrong,

Speaker 2:

Right ? And nowadays, I mean, with Alexa and all these electronic devices and smart homes, you can probably find a very inexpensive network plug to plug your tree into. And when you leave, you just snap it on your cell phone, or maybe tell Alexa, Hey, turn the tree off or Google home or whatever product do you use. And you know, you can, you can incorporate that into your smart home as well. It had to be safe.

Speaker 1:

All right . And I think the biggest problem is candles. You know, candles pose a hazard year round, but the holiday is exacerbated . Everybody wants the smelly stuff. They want the lights, it makes a pretty glow. What should we know about candles? And they're using the home. Obviously the safest candles to use are battery operated. You know, you still pretty, yes. You're not getting the aroma, but you know, if you want the aroma , you can also use warmers. You know, you can use those wax warmers, which are really good. You know, you still get the smell, but you just don't have the hazard, you know? Um, but if you do use a candle , um, what you want to do is you want to keep it at least a foot away from anything. It can burn anything. And when you walk out of the room below it out, you know, especially now I know like some holidays they have endless , uh , the candles always burn the whole night. So when you do that, make sure it's an , uh , a dish, a glass dish with some water and you can put it in the sink, you know, just to be safe, don't leave it around, you know, if it has to burn all night.

Speaker 2:

Okay . Yeah. It's funny that here in South Florida, where we appreciate and love our warm, beautiful weather and lack of snow that over Christmas, I think every Floridian would love to have massive amounts of snow and 50 degree weather and the smell of pine and all these things going on for like 24 hours and then turn it off. Right? Funny, where we're chasing that Northern kind of environment.

Speaker 1:

And also when you are using candles, if you're using a lighter or a match, you know, you want to keep them away from the kids. You know, kids watch everything you do. And if you do use a match before you just throw it away, dip it in a cup of water or run it under the sink and then throw it away. That way the emperors don't continue to burn and have more fuel to burn. Right . And pets too . Like we got to consider most of us, most people watch their kids and see , you know, you know what they're doing, but your pets can climb up on a , especially a cat climbs up on a table, knock something over. And really what ? I had a cat, I love my cat, but wow. It was crazy. We didn't burn candles for many years.

Speaker 2:

We have a cat. I see him maybe once every 72 hours. So he's like an undercover cat, but the Christmas tree that he can't hang anything on the lower portion of the Christmas tree. Cause he'll take everything down. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, at least it's not going to be like the Christmas movie with the , you know , squirrel.

Speaker 2:

Yeah , exactly.

Speaker 1:

All right. Funny , let's talk about first date and environmental emergencies and things that can go wrong. We were fortunate fortunate enough to live in a warm climate. So we don't really have a lot of cold weather emergencies, but there are days that we do have stuff and we also have an aging population. So as your , what can you tell us?

Speaker 2:

Oh , he knows. So my very first thought off the bat over the holidays and we'll get this one out of the way. First is over the holidays. We obviously see an increase in , in adult use of adult beverages. And it's important to understand that for the majority of us alcohol changes the way we perceive temperature. And even though the temperature, you know , hovers in the sixties, or maybe even in the fifties, in the evening, large consumption of alcohol and then a long sit outside without the proper clothing, or maybe even , uh , a risky dip in the pool , uh, over the holidays with the adult beverage in you, right. Can obviously result in hypothermia. And we don't think about that because we're in South Florida. It's not something that we see frequently, but it is a possibility and it does happen. So again, use alcohol responsibly and , and just be aware of the fact that you can still get hypothermia in Florida, sitting in the ocean for more than eight to 10 hours. Um, you can become hypothermic when the oceans at 85 degrees, 87 degrees. So it's a drastic drop from our body temperature. The other thing too , the secondary thing is the holidays are very difficult for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. And we see an increase in depression. We see an increasing difficulty with , with dealing with the holiday. And then we see a lot of individuals who become lonely because they don't have family. So, you know, keep an eye on your neighbor, keep an eye on , uh, your coworkers, keep an eye on the people, close to you and, and , uh, you know, make sure that you're reaching out and , and , uh, you know, making sure that they're doing well as well. I know that , uh, with COVID concerns, obviously the CDC has put out guidance about family members in those considerations and social gatherings and things of that nature. And we're not here to tell you what to do and how to do it. But, you know, I would recommend that you consider this, especially with the elderly members of your family and their risks to having COVID and how we go about that. So whether it's , uh , you know, everyone getting tested and making sure that you're not positive or staying away from family members, if you're feeling ill or sick, or have a fever, or, you know, wearing masks, that's an individual decision. But I guess our recommendation would be just be safe and consider the consequences of large gatherings with the large group of people , uh, over the holidays.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I just wanted to circle back, you know, we were talking about mental health and I just thought it's to say that it's okay to not be okay. Like people feel guilty if they don't feel the joy and whatever, this is the time of year, you know, anybody that's experienced grief or loss or whatever, it's okay to not be okay, but you need to reach out to somebody, you know , sometimes just talking about it, we'll fix, not fix it, but make it a little bit better, make a tolerable to get through the season.

Speaker 2:

No, definitely. I mean, we've talked about mental health due to COVID we've talked about it amongst first responders and, and now workforce. So we've talked about it with our , uh , first responders in the hospitals and our nurses , um , and physicians and yeah, definitely. I mean, it is okay. Not to be okay. Right. Mitigate that, but you know, reach out if there are people you can reach out to you. And, you know, I know that there are people in my life who I reach out to over the holidays because they live alone and you know, maybe they're not traveling. So , um, you know, we all just a simple phone call can remedy , uh , a lot of the feelings that people have over the holidays. Right, right.

Speaker 1:

Um, just one wanted to make whatever for people to think about their pets when it's cold out. Yeah . You know, sometimes we forget because it's, but it's different for them. And you know, just, and the plants plants too , when there's chills or whatever, if you put, even if you just cover them, if you can't bring them inside, if you cover them, it will make a difference. So don't die.

Speaker 2:

Don't feed your dogs a large amount of Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and all that human food, because it's not good for them. Right. And , and your cats. I mean, I know , I know cats who are eat everything. Yeah . Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 1:

And I think we've kind of touched everything. Um, again, Katelyn , thank you very much for taking the time to join us and inform us and educate us. Thank you. All right . Thank you everyone for tuning in today, the city of plantation wants to wish everyone, a safe and wonderful holiday. No matter what you celebrate, we wish you the best. Just a quick reminder, stay safe. You want to wear your mask, wash your hands and maintain physical distance. Have a good one.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. Happy holidays.

Speaker 1:

You've been listening to the city of plantation podcast. We strive to bring you accurate and timely information. Please continue to tune into our podcast episodes and also catch up with us on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and next door. If you have questions, send them to ask [email protected] and we will answer your questions directly. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our podcast and stay safe, everyone.