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Be safe with holiday decorations

Nov 11, 2015 02:03PM ● Published by Neighbors Magazines

"The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates there were 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating seen in emergency departments nationwide during November and December 2012. This is the fourth consecutive year these estimates have increased. In each year since 2009, there have been an estimated 12,000 or more emergency department visits. Falling from a ladder and stepping on broken ornaments may be funny in holiday movies but in real life, these and similar mishaps result in visits to the emergency room, or calls to fire departments, for thousands of consumers each year.

In 2012, the most frequently reported holiday decorating incidents seen in emergency departments involved falls (34%), lacerations (11%) and back strains (10%). When it comes to fires, from 2009 through 2011, fire departments nationwide responded to an average of 200 fires in which the Christmas tree was the first item ignited. These incidents resulted in 10 deaths, 20 injuries and $16 million in property loss. In addition, candle-related fires from 2009 through 2011 have resulted in an estimated 70 deaths, 680 injuries and $308 million in property loss.

Falls from ladders are the leading cause of falls involving holiday decorating. Check out the CPSC’s OnSafety blog, “Ladder Safety 101,” for tips to prevent ladder falls this season. onsafety.cpsc.gov/blog/2011/12/03/ladder-safety-101/

To prevent fires, discard holiday lights sets with evidence of damage such as broken sockets and bare wires, water Christmas trees frequently, and always extinguish candles before leaving a room.

Buying a live tree? Check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, its needles are hard to pull from branches, and the needles do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

Setting up a tree at home? Place it away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, vents, and radiators. Because heated rooms rapidly dry out live trees, be sure to monitor water levels daily, and keep the tree stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of foot traffic, and do not block doorways with the tree.

Buying an artificial tree? Look for the label: “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean that the tree will not catch fire, the label does indicate that the tree is more resistant to catching fire.

Decorating a tree in a home with small children? Take special care to avoid sharp, weighted, or breakable decorations. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children, who could swallow or inhale small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to reach for and swallow them.

Keep burning candles within sight. Extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room, or leave the house. Keep candles on a stable, heat-resistant surface. Place candles where kids and pets cannot reach them or knock them over. Lighted candles should be placed away from items that can catch fire, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions or concerns regarding you or your loved ones’ safety. Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!"


-North Aurora Fire Department

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