• Keep safety in mind when holiday decorating

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  • Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities
    Twinkly lights, candles, holiday trees and plants, ornaments and other decorations are an important part of holiday celebrations. Besides being festive and fun, the decorations families bring out every year can help children feel connected to family traditions.
    To help make sure decorations are safe, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers some tips:
    When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. The needles should be hard to pull off, and should not break when you bend them. When you tap the tree on the ground, only a few needles should fall off. Cut a few inches off the bottom of the trunk before putting it in the stand, and be sure to keep the stand filled with water.
    If you have an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.”
    When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
    Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree.
    Check all lights before hanging them on a tree or in your home, even if you have just purchased them. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
    Be cautious about trimmings that may contain lead. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded materials. Light strands may contain lead in the bulb sockets and wire coating, sometimes in high amounts. Make sure your lights are out of reach of young children who might try to put lights in their mouths. Wash your hands after handling lights.
    Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them. Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
    When lighting candles, remove flammable materials from the area, and place the candles where they will not be knocked over. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Do not use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
    In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.
    Wear gloves to avoid skin irritation while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.” Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.
    Remove all wrapping papers, bags, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child, or can cause a fire if near a flame.
    Page 2 of 3 - Keep potentially poisonous holiday plant decorations, including mistletoe berries, Jerusalem cherry and holly berry, away from children.
    Sand instead of salt
    If freezing rain is in the forecast for the day or ice builds up, Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities asks residents to use sand or ice melt products. Using salt can damage the concrete and the flower beds around homes. Pet-safe ice melt products are available for purchase in retail stores as is regular ice melt.
    Holiday cookie decorating party
    Join FLFHC from 9-11 a.m. Dec. 20 at the community center at 220 Hancock Ave. for hot cocoa, marshmallows, cookie decorating and lots of fun. This is a family-friendly event, but space is limited. Residents should watch e-mail and the FLFHC Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Ft-Leavenworth-Frontier-Heritage-Communities for details.
    For more information, contact Meghan Fowler at (913) 682-6300.
    Office closures
    The FLFHC offices will close at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 7 for staff development.
    The FLFHC offices will be closed Dec. 24-25 in observance of the Christmas holiday and Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day.
    In case of a maintenance emergency or wish to submit a work order, call the 24-hour maintenance line at (913) 651-3838.
    Decorating contest
    FLFHC representatives are patrolling villages on Fort Leavenworth in search of three families to be awarded this year’s best holiday display.
    Chosen homes will win a $25 Visa gift card and will be photographed and given special recognition on the FLFHC Facebook page and in the January FLFHC newsletter. To make a nomination or enter, call the Community Management Office at (913) 682-6300 or e-mail fhc@themichaelsorg.com with the home’s address by 5 p.m. Dec. 14. Winners will be chosen during the week of Dec. 17.
    Fall food drive
    FLFHC is hosting its annual fall food drive for non-perishable packaged food items and canned goods, as well as disposable baby diapers of all sizes to donate to the Leavenworth Assistance Center. The village with the most items delivered to the Community Management Office by 4:30 p.m. Dec. 15 will win a $50 Visa gift card to be used toward a village event. Expired items cannot be accepted. For more information, contact Meghan Fowler at (913) 682-6300.
    Coloring contest
    Children’s coloring contest sheets are available online at www.ftleavenworthfamilyhousing.com and at the FLFHC office at 220 Hancock Ave. All submissions must be received in the FLFHC office by 4:30 p.m. Dec. 21. Contest winners will receive a prize and have their artwork published in the FLFHC newsletter.
    Page 3 of 3 - Birthday drawing
    Have a child with a birthday in December? Come by the Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities office at 220 Hancock Ave. to enter him or her into the monthly birthday drawing. All submissions must be received in the FLFHC office by 4:30 p.m. Dec. 21.
    Super Savers
    Residents can nominate themselves for the Super Saver of the Month award by submitting a nomination form, which can be found on the FLFHC website at www.ftleavenworthfamilyhousing.com. Bring the form and a copy of the most recent utilities statement to the FLFHC office at 220 Hancock Ave. by the 21st of each month.
    Families can nominate themselves each month for this award but can only win once per calendar year. All monthly winners receive a $25 Visa gift card.
    Utilities tip
    Clean warm-air registers as needed and make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
    Watch for more announcements on Facebook, followed by a One-Call Now e-mail message with event details, and don’t forget to follow FLFHC on Twitter. Visit the FLFHC website at www.ftleavenworthfamilyhousing.com for downloadable forms and other useful information.
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