It seems that during the months of December through Feb are when the most house fires are recorded. Christmas being the highest of these. Candles and lights are the number one cause of the fires. Christmas trees can light up like a roman candle if not handled properly. Holiday trees burn with intensity, although it is short lived, it can cause devastating property damage and may cause loss of life.
Christmas tree fires have resulted in 260 Home fires, resulting in 24 injuries, 12 deaths and 16 million in property damage. Holiday trees and decorations result in twice the injuries and 5 times more fatalities per fire than the average holiday fire. Make sure to keep your natural tree hydrated and water it daily.
A dry tree with lights giving off heat is a disaster waiting to happen. Keep Animals and pets away from your tree. Our cat likes to chew on our Christmas Tree and has in the past bitten the wires that run the lights.
Christmas Lights and extension cords
- Use lights that have been tested by a recognized testing laboratory such as UL (underwriters Laboratories). Indoor and outdoor lights must meet strict testing requirements. On indoor and outdoor use, lights have a UL red holographic label. Green holographic labels are for indoor use only
- Throw away damaged light strands. Christmas lights are fairly reasonable, don’t try to squeeze and extra year out of 10 year old lights.
- Check each extension cord. Make sure each extension cord is rated for the intended use and is in good condition. Do not use cords with cuts or signs of fraying.
- Make sure to use GFCI outlets for all Christmas light strands and holiday lights.
It is estimated that there are about 4000 injuries associated with extension cords. These are injuries only treated at the ER. 50% of these injuries involved broken bones, burns, sprains, bruises, and lacerations. 13% of these involved children less than five years of age, the most common injury is burns to the mouth in young children.
- After opening all those presents you are going to have a ton of wrapping paper left over if you were on the nice list, don’t throw wrapping paper in the fireplace and burn it. Wrapping paper can burn quickly and intensely.
- Keep your Christmas Tree away from the fireplace. When a Christmas Tree Catches fire it is almost impossible to put it out before it burns up. It burns extremely quickly and with great intensity. It can catch other items or structures on fire in the near vicinity of the tree
Candles started around 45% of fires during the holiday season. Make sure to put candles out if you are not at home. Small children should be watched and warned about candles and the burns that they can cause. Candles should be kept away from flammable items. December is the peak Month for candle fires.
Falls and injuries caused by hanging lights
Around 5800 people are treated at the ER for falls associated with hanging decorations and lights. More than half were caused from falling off of roofs and ladders. Use caution when climbing up ladders or working on your roof to secure decorations.
- Make sure all Fire alarms and smoke detectors are in good working order
- Do not overload outlets
- Keep electronics away from water
- Do not let your children sleep with electronics under their pillows or blankets
- Keep decorations and Holiday trees at least 3 feet from an open flame, such as a candle or a fireplace
- Keep batteries in a safe place away from young children
- Do not leave space heaters unattended when in use
- Turn off Christmas lights before bedtime
- Discard any damaged Christmas Lights or decorations
- Don’t run extension cords under rugs, carpet, furniture, or out windows
- Keep pets away from Christmas Trees and lights if they like to chew on things
Christmas is a season that is a festive, eventful, and memories are made. Keep safety in mind this year with your friends and family over the holidays. Make your Christmas and Holiday memories wonderful, not the other way around.