Families may enjoy the smell of fresh pine around the holidays as they decorate and light up their Christmas tree. But there are some risks involved with having a real tree in your home. Christmas trees present a risk of fire or electrical hazards which can lead to smoke inhalation or severe burn injuries in Asheville or elsewhere.
Winston-Salem personal injury lawyers know that once a real tree becomes dry it can be highly flammable so it is important to water your tree frequently throughout the holiday season.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently released a video to show just how dangerous real trees can be and how quickly they can cause severe damage to a home when flames ignite.
The NFPA reports from 2005-2009, there were an average of 240 homes fires that started from Christmas trees in the U.S. each year which required help from fire departments to put out the flames. During this period, 13 people were killed, 27 were seriously injured and $16.7 million in property damage occurred each year on average. It is reported that one out of every 18 Christmas tree-related fires resulted in death. In 20 percent of incidents a heat source too close to the tree started the fire.
The NFPA offers these Christmas tree safety tips while picking out a tree, placing the tree in your home and lighting the tree after it is decorated:
-Select a tree that has green needles. It is never a good sign if the needles fall when you touch the tree so always choose a fresh tree.
-Cut away 1 to 2 inches from the base of the tree before you put it in the tree stand.
-Check your home for the closest heat source like candles, heat vents, fireplaces, lights or radiators. Make sure your tree is positioned at least three feet away from any of these sources.
-Never stand a tree where it can block an exit in case of a fire or other emergency.
-Add water to the tree stand daily.
-Read labels on lights to make sure they are for indoor use and make sure they have been independently tested by a laboratory.
-No more than three strands of mini string sets should be connected. Screw-in bulbs should have a maximum of 50 bulbs.
-Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before lighting the tree.
-As nice as a lit candle may look on a Christmas tree, candles should never be used as decorations.
-Never leave a tree lit overnight or when you aren’t at home.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also reports that decorating your home for the holidays presents hazards for fall accidents or severe cuts in addition to the risks related to tree fires. Family members are at risk of falling off the ladder while hanging decorations or being cut when a bulb or ornament breaks. Last year, the CPSC estimates there were 13,000 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms from holiday decorating in November and December. This was 1,000 more medically treated injuries than each of the two previous years.
For more information about holiday decorating safety, visit CPSC online for helpful safety tips that can keep you or your family injury-free throughout the holiday season.
If you or a family member has been injured by defective tree lights or while decorating for the holidays, contact the personal injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
North Carolina Shoppers Can Check Consumer Group’s Website for Defective, Recalled Products, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, December 20, 2011.
North Carolina Mall Accidents a Holiday Danger, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, December 10, 2010.