Children’s Hospital at Erlanger and representatives from the Kohl’s Safe and Sound Program are urging adults to be aware of fire hazards such as dry Christmas trees, holiday decorations, fireplaces and heaters during this holiday season.
As the outside temperatures begin to drop and families are enjoying the decorations during the holidays, specific hazards become more prevalent than any other time of the year.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), certain types of fires and injuries associated with holiday decorations are much more common during this season.
“We have already seen several homes in our region damaged due to fires that could have been prevented,” said Safe and Sound Program Coordinator, Coy Ellis. “We are asking adults to be a little more cautious than usual when it comes to children and fire safety. While it is fun for all ages to take part in the festivities and celebrations, certain precautions need to be made to ensure everyone has a safe holiday.”
A report released last year by the NFPA states in 2005-2009, United States fire departments responded to an estimated average of 240 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees. These fires caused an average 13 deaths, 27 injuries and $16.7 million in direct property damage per year. Electrical failures or malfunctions resulted in 33% of the fires, 20% were due to a heat source too close to the tree and decorative lights or line voltage were involved in 13% of the fires. The lowest percent, 11%, were started by candles on the trees. NFPA also found the risk of fire is higher with natural tees than artificial ones, because dry natural trees burn easily.
Not only are trees a particular hazard but so are the holiday lights on the trees and property structures. Decorative lightning was involved in an estimated 150 home structure fires per year in the same period with near half the percentages in death and injury and half estimated cost of property damage.