We’re always concerned about our customers’ well being, and we are hoping that everyone will have a safe and happy holiday season.
But here’s some sobering facts from the National Fire Prevention Association: Between 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 240 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year.
These fires caused an average of 13 deaths, 27 injuries, and $16.7 million in direct property damage annually. That’s a lot of unnecessary death, injury and damage for what is supposed to be a joyful season. Watch the NFPA’s video on the speed at which a dry tree can be engulfed in flames:
Did you watch the video? Yikes. That dry tree went up in , what, 30-40 seconds? That’s not a lot of time to react and get your family out safely. Imagine if that happened in the middle of the night?
We’ve been watching the news and there’s been several Christmas tree-related fires this year already, and although no deaths have been reported (that we’ve seen), there have been pets who did not make it out, and houses destroyed—unlivable for the holiday season.
How can you avoid this tragedy in your home? Here’s some tips to help you through the season, safely:
— Trees should not be set up in high-traffic areas or near fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters.
— Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they occur, they are likely to be serious. On average, one of every 18 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death.
— A heat source too close to the Christmas tree started one of every five (20%) of these fires.
— Eighteen percent of home Christmas tree structure fires were intentionally set. Half of the intentional Christmas tree fires occurred in January and may have been related to disposal.
—Here’s some tips on keeping your tree fresh from the Orange County Register.
— When hanging tree lights, always make sure that each bulb works and there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
— To avoid electrocution, electric lights should never be used on a metallic tree.
— When decorating with lights outside, check to make sure the lights have been certified for outdoor use.
— Hooks and insulated staples should be used to hold lights in place—not nails or tacks.
— All lights should be plugged into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
— Never leave lights on when you are not home; they could short circuit and cause a fire.
— When it’s time to take lights down, don’t pull or tug on them.
— All wrapping papers, bags, ribbons and bows should be removed from fireplace areas once gifts have been opened to avoid fire hazards.
— Remove all greens and other decorations from fireplace area and be sure the flue is open before building a fire.
— Keep “fire salts,” which produce colored flames, away from children. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense stomach and intestinal irritation and vomiting if swallowed.
— Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace.
If you have any questions about how your home can be protected from fires this holiday season, or how your home insurance covers fires started within the home by accident, please call us immediately. We can review your policy and ensure that you are covered, so you can rest assured this holiday season. Click here to email us, or call (714) 838-1911 to talk to us at our Tustin office. And happy holidays to all!