Many families will decorate their home for the holidays this weekend. It's often small decisions - a candle left burning, a dry Christmas tree or a child left alone even for a moment - that could have life changing consequences. When it comes to holiday dangers, the numbers are more startling that you think:
- Each year, fires occurring during the holiday season claim the lives of more than 400 Americans, injure 1650 more, and cause more than $990 million in damage
- Candle-related fires are one of the most common holiday home hazards, averaging more than 15,000 each year, resulting in 166 deaths, nearly 13,000 injuries and $450 million in direct property damage. Do not leave a candle burning unattended - and never leave one burning while you are sleeping.
- About 5,800 people - two to three every hour - are treated in emergency departments for fall related injuries sustained while decorating during holiday seasons. Use study step stools and ladders and wear proper footwear to hang those Christmas lights.
- Christmas trees, both natural and artificial, were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 250 reported home structure fires per year during 2003-2007. These fires caused an estimated average of 14 deaths, 26 injuries and $13.8 million in direct property damage per year. Check all your lights, cords and plugs as you are decorating your tree this year. If you have a natural tree be sure to keep it watered to reduce the fire risk.
By taking these simple steps, you can help change these statistics.