Christmas Accidents Happen Every Year
Did you know that serious injuries in accidents dealing with Christmas decorations happen every year!? According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), from 2004-2008 roughly 5,800 people per year were treated in hospital emergency rooms for falls associated with holiday decorations. More than half of these injuries were caused by falls from ladders or roofs while decorating outdoors.
An estimated 4,000 people are seriously injured in accidents involving electric extension cords. Of these trips to the ER, 50% of these injuries involve fractures, lacerations, contusions, or sprains from people tripping over extension cords. Children less than five years of age account for 13% of these injuries. Electrical burns to the mouth accounted for 50% of the injuries to young children.
ESPI has safety tips for dealing with decorations that require the use of extension cords:
- Clearly mark any extension cord used for outdoor decorations to avoid personal injury.
- Match power needs (amperage) of electrical products with amperage rating of extension cords. Avoid overloading an electrical outlet.
- Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). If circuits are not GFCI-protected, portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased at a hardware store. They require no special knowledge or equipment to install.
- Inspect all lights, decorations, and extension cords for damage before using. Look for exposed wires, and damaged or cracked light bulbs.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, the house, or other firm supports to protect them from wind damage, but take care not to attach the lights in a way that could damage the cord’s insulation.
- Keep all extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water.
- Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts, and nuts before using.
- Metal ladders conduct electricity. Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors if possible.
- Use the right ladder height, ensuring ladders extend at least three feet past the edge of the roof. It prevents the need to stand on the edge of a ladder or having to climb onto the roof.
- Exercise caution when decorating near power lines. Keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from power lines.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices. They can overheat and cause a fire.
- Make sure that cords are not pinched in doors, windows, or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation. Exposed wiring can cause an electrical fire.
- Always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
- Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.
Holiday Decoration Accidents
One of the most common holiday hazards is Christmas decorations starting house fires. ESFI estimates that 1,170 home fires per year began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees, from 2004-2008. These fires caused an annual average of 8 deaths, 54 injuries, and $19.1 million in property damage!
Christmas trees and holiday decoration related fires result in twice the injuries and 5 times more fatalities per fire than the average winter holiday fire. On average, 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees each year, resulting in 12 deaths, 24 injuries and $16.4 million in property damage.
Holiday lights can also start electrical fires. 150 home fires per year are caused by holiday lights and other decorative lighting, causing another 8 deaths, 16 injuries, and $8.9 million in property damage each year.
December is the Peak Time for Candle Fires
Avoid using candles when possible. Consider using battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.
- Never leave an open flame unattended. Keep burning candles within sight.
- Place lighted candles away from combustible material such as other decorations and curtains or drapes.
- Take care to place candle displays in locations where they cannot be knocked over.
- Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other greenery.
- Extinguish all candles before you go to sleep, leave the room, or leave the house.
Call the 4’s! Jeff is Here 4 You!
If you or a loved one has been serious injured in an accident Jeff is here for you! Davis Law Firm is here 24/7, through the holidays, to listen to your case. Our team of legal representatives offer free consultation at no risk to you. Jeff Davis is the San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer that is here for you, contact us today!