Holiday Decorations & Residential Fire Risks in Southwest Florida

Before climbing up onto the roof to string those holiday lights, there are a few things you should know. There are close to 13,000 people treated every year in emergency rooms because of injuries resulting from holiday decorations. These injuries are commonly caused by shocks, cuts and falls, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Holiday decorations include holiday lights, candles, decorations and even Christmas trees.

Residents use candles year round, but it’s the holiday season when we see the most fires from these lighted decorations. Each year, there are more than 11,500 fires started by candles. These incidents kill close to 200 people, injure another 1,200 — they cause more than $170 million in property loss. Christmas trees might be pretty, but they can be dangerous. Every year, there are about 300 fires that are started by Christmas trees. These accidents kill an average of 10 people, injure close to 40 and cause more than $10 million in property damage and loss.

Our Fort Myers personal injury attorneys understand that this is supposed to be a joyous time of year, but it can quickly turn tragic for those who don’t take fire safety seriously. This is particularly true in apartments and condo complexes, where property managers have an obligation to ensure resident safety. This may include rules and restrictions on certain types of holiday decorations.

To help Floridians get into the spirit safely, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is here to offer some tips to help to prevent fire hazards.

Holiday Safety Tips:

-If you’re getting an artificial tree, make sure you get one that is listed as fire resistant.

-If you’re getting a live tree, make sure you get one’s that fresh. Get one that is green and the needles are tough to pull from the branches. The trunk should also still be sticky with resin.

-Keep trees away from heat sources, windows and even exits.

-Use indoor lights where they’re instructed. Keep outdoor lights outside!

-Check each strand of wires before using.

-Never connect more than 3 strands of lights together.

-Don’t use lights on a metallic tree.

-Make sure that you shut down your holiday lights before leaving the house or before going to bed.

-Never tug or pull on lights when taking them down.

-When trimming the tree, only use items that are flame-resistant or non-combustible.

-Be cautious in households with small children and avoid using decorations that are sharp or breakable.

-Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes.

-When securing strands of lights to your porch or your roof, consider using clips instead of nails. This will help to keep your from puncturing the electrical cords.

-Discard any lights with cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.

-Ensure that trees and other holiday decorations do not block an exit. In the event of a fire, time is of the essence. A blocked entry/exit way puts you and your family at risk.

-Keep lit candles away from flammable objects and away from children.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-283-2900.

More Blog Entries:

National Fire Prevention Week to Keep Floridians Safe!, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 20, 2012

Elderly Residents & High Risks for Fall Injuries, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 10, 2012

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