Preventing Fire Injuries During the Holiday Season

It may seem odd that fire safety needs to be a concern during the coldest months of the year, but as our burn injury lawyers know, the holiday season can be one of the most hazardous and you and your family could unknowingly be at risk of a burn injury.  According to the U.S. Fire Association (USFA), holiday season fires claim the lives of more than 400 Americans, injure 1,650 more, and cause more than $990 million in damage annually.  This can be attributed to a number of factors:

  • Increases in utility costs have resulted in more people sourcing alternative heating methods e.g. fireplaces and space heaters
  • Increase in candles in the home during festivities;
  • Presence of Christmas trees which are often dry and burn quickly if met by a flame;
  • Additional people in your home increasing the risk of things being knocked over and moved;
  • Handling of Christmas lights and electrical strands;
  • Kids wanting to help in the kitchen;
  • Long periods in the kitchen with multiple heating devices and exposed pot handles;
  • Turkey fryers;
  • Additional use of heating during colder months;
  • Multiple electrical devices used at once causing overload

With the chaos of the holiday season, you can be forgiven for feeling a little bit stressed.  Don’t add to your stress by ending up in the emergency room at the local hospital with a burn injury.  The following are a few things you can do to prevent fires and burn injuries during the holiday season:

  1. Fire Alarms — Ensure you have a working fire alarm installed
  2. Water Your Tree frequently — Dry trees pose a fire risk – make a fresh cut on the base before putting your tree into a sturdy stand, and water frequently.
  3. Consider Tree Position — Avoid placing your tree near fireplaces, heaters and other heat sources.  Ideally your tree should be placed at least three feet away from any hazards.
  4.  Dispose of Trees Carefully — Locate a tree recycling plant in your area.  Don’t put dry tree branches or needles in fireplaces or wood burning stoves.
  5. Check Extension Cords — Do not overload electrical outlets.  Use an extension cord where possible to connect multiple light strings together. Check the rating on your extension cords and do not plug in more than the recommended wattage.
  6. Check your Lights  — Inspect all of your electric lights and decorations for damage or wear and tear.  Often they are packed away year after year without any damages being assessed.  The slightest bare wire or loose connection may pose a risk for fire or burn injury.
  7.  Monitor Lights — Do not leave holiday lights on unless someone is home and preferably in the room.
  8. Have a Family Fire Escape Plan — Ensure with all of the extra items in the house that doors and exits remain clear (this includes not placing Christmas trees in doorways).  The holidays as a good time to implement a fire escape plan with your family. Make sure you have a central meeting point and have identified exits in each room.
  9. Beware of Flames — Flames are ever present during the holiday season.  Place candles in secure holders that cannot be tipped over easily and place them out of harms way.  Ensure your children are educated to stay away from flames and blow out any active flames before leaving the house or room.
  10. Look for UL on Products — Look out for the UL mark on products to ensure it has been tested to the highest safety industry standard.
  11.  Be Safe in the Kitchen — Cooking equipment is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States and the leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.  Use equipment only as per the instructions and stay alert

As you can see there is plenty to be aware of during the holiday season to avoid you, your loved ones or a visitor to your home suffering a burn injury.  Use these tips to ensure a safe and happy holiday period.

And for a Free Consultation with a nationally-recognized burn injury lawyer, call the Burn Injury Firm at 866-293-2615.