Stay safe during the holiday season


Take precautions to keep yourself and others safe this holiday season.

Stay healthy

Stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations, get your flu shot, and get tested for COVID-19 prior to holiday gatherings. If you test positive, follow the UW COVID-19 Public Health Flowchart.

Decorate safely

Prevent falls while decorating and house fires by taking these precautions:

  • Keep your tree at least 3 feet from heat sources and open flames (e.g., candles).holiday decor
  • Choose an artificial tree that is fire resistant, or if using a live tree, keep it well-watered.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from things than can burn, or choose flameless candles.
  • Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections
  • Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Don’t overload extension cords.
  • When putting up decorations, use a step stool or ladder to reach high places.

Prevent cooking fires

Kitchen fires are often started by cooking with oil or grease and leaving cooking food unattended. Take these steps to prevent fires while cooking:

  • Keep an eye on what you fry! Never leave oil/grease cooking unattended.
  • If a cooking fire occurs, smother the fire and turn off the heat source. Never pour water on an oil or grease fire. If the fire is inside the oven, keep the door closed until it’s cool.
  • Wear short sleeves or roll them up when cooking.
  • Move things that can catch fire (e.g., dishtowels, bags, boxes, and paper) away from the cooking surface.
  • Turn the handles of pots and pans toward the back of the stove so they can’t be easily knocked off or pulled over.
  • Test your smoke detectors; replace the batteries annually.
  • Make sure your fire extinguisher is nearby in case of an emergency.

Be sure to handle food safely to avoid food poisoning when preparing holiday meals.

Travel safely

Prepare your car for winter and keep an emergency kit with you. Designate a sober driver before leaving home, and don’t be distracted by your cellphone while driving.

Walk safely on campus

Take precautions to prevent slips, trips and falls while walking on campus in wet and icy weather.

holiday outdoor lights snowy darkness