The holidays are a joyful time of year, celebrating with friends and family. Unfortunately, they are also a time of many home fires and personal injuries.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports the following statistics from previous years:
The top three days for home candle fires were Christmas, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in two out of every every fire (40%) home tree Christmas tree fires.
More than one-third (37%) of home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den. All of the fatalities and roughly three-quarters (72%) of the injuries resulted from fires started in this area.
Forty-two percent of reported home Christmas tree fires occurred in December and 37% were reported in January.
On average, one of every 32 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 200 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage annually.
Cooking equipment was involved in 19% of home decoration fires. This can happen when a decoration is left on or too close to a stove or other cooking equipment.
Safety tips for preventing holiday season-related home fires and personal injury
Here are some safety tips to prevent holiday-related home fires and to minimize damage and personal injury.
Never buy a dry Christmas tree. Opt instead for a very fresh and green one. To test the tree’s freshness, try to pull out a few needles. They should be difficult to pull out and not break easily. Once home, be sure the tree is watered regularly to keep it from drying out.
Keep your Christmas tree and other holiday decorations away from a fire or heat source.
If buying an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled “fire resistant.”
Protect small children by ensuring your decorations are safe, including decorations hung from the tree.
Stabilize your tree so that children or pets can’t pull it down.
Always put burning candles on heat-resistant surfaces and do not forget to blow them out when you don’t want them lit.
Purchase lights that are labeled as being tested by a reputable lab like UL (Underwriters Laboratories).
Discard old and broken Christmas lights.
Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.
When decorating outdoors, be sure to only use lights that specifically state that they are certified for exterior use.
If you use “fire salts” to create colorful flames in your fireplace or fire pit, be very cautious and keep them away from children.
Igniting wrapping paper can cause a flash fire so do not dispose of it in the fireplace or fire pit.
To prevent falls, tape all electrical wires securely to the floor.
Please follow these holiday safety tips, so that you can ensure the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones.
We all wish you a happy and very safe holiday season.
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