Christmas holiday brings need for safety measures

By Rick Moreci

Now that Thanksgiving is over, everyone is looking to the next major holiday of Christmas. However, there are some safety precautions that should be taken to make this a safe holiday.

Since Christmas is one of the major holidays, many students will be decorating their residence hall rooms or fraternity and sorority houses or apartments. Certain guidelines should be followed to assure the decorations are not a fire hazard.

Mike Boyd, a firefighter for the DeKalb Fire Department, gave a few safety tips for the displaying of these decorations. First and foremost, the fire department recommends that no real Christmas trees or wreaths be used. This is one of the biggest fire hazards. For students living in residence halls, the student guide post states that no live trees, branches or wreaths made of live trees can be used in decorating the rooms.

Boyd suggests that students look for Underwriter Laboratory (UL) Christmas lights. Once again, residence hall students are only allowed to use UL approved lights that do not generate noticeable heat in their rooms.

Extension cords are not suggested in apartments or other housing and they are not permissible at any time in the residence halls.

The last tip given by Boyd was for students to be aware of all exits in their residence and not to block any of these with decorations. The guide post for the residence halls also states that all decorations must be flame resistant. Finally, all decorations must be removed from the rooms prior to the winter break.

There is another consideration that all NIU students should be aware of for this holiday season. When students do leave for winter break, there are guidelines which should be followed to protect personal items.

Students living in residence halls may recall from the Thanksgiving break that there was a list of things to do before leaving their rooms. Among these were unplugging all electrical items, with the exception of refrigerators and aquariums, closing windows and drapes and turning off all the lights. These guidelines will once again have to be followed at Christmas.

In addition, Police Officer Dwight Gentry gave a few obvious safety precautions. He said students have to be sure to lock the door to their room. If one roommate is leaving before the other, make sure the last one to leave locks and then double checks the door.

Gentry also said that all students should take any valuables home with them. If you live in the residence halls, television sets, stereos, computers, etc. will be safe if left behind because the buildings will be locked up. However, if a student lives in other forms of housing and wishes to take these types of items home, they may as a safety precaution.