Robert B. Baker, Esq., Zimmerman & Frachtman
Holiday Safety – Fires & Injury Prevention
Parkland, FL – Zimmerman & Frachtman want to help make sure your family is safe this holiday season. Even the most joyous times can be deadly; especially during the holidays, when we are often in a hurry, get distracted and become forgetful.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, reports of falls from ladders while stringing lights and hanging decorations, incidents of lacerations from broken glass ornaments and other holiday-related injuries are increasing. During November and December 2010, CPSC estimates that more than 13,000 people were treated in emergency departments nationwide due to injuries involving holiday decorations. This is an increase from 10,000 in 2007 and 12,000 in 2008 and in 2009.
Between 2006 and 2008, there was an annual average of four deaths and $18 million in property damage related to Christmas tree fires. During this same time period, CPSC received reports of about 130 deaths and $360 million in property losses related to candle fires.
The CPSC and UL recommend the following safety tips to keep you and your family safe this year:
Trees & Lights:
- Do not place your holiday tree close to a heat source. The heat will dry out the tree and it could catch fire by heat, flame, or sparks more easily.
- Check holiday lights each year for wires that are worn out or coming apart, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and a lot of bends or twists in the wire.
- Only use laboratory-tested lighting and extension cords.
- Never overload outlets or extension cords. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
- Do not leave lit holiday lights on unless someone is in the room.
- Buying an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean that the tree will not catch fire, it does indicate that the tree is more resistant to catching fire.
- The U.S. Fire Administration provides educational material on holiday decorating safety hazards.
- Never leave burning candles unattended
- Keep candles on a stable, heat-resistant surface where kids and pets cannot reach them or knock them over. Lighted candles should be placed away from items that can catch fire and burn easily, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.
- Buy toys from “a reputable store and a reputable brand within that store
- Make sure toys are age-appropriate for the child
- Check toys for loose or small parts that children can cause choking if swallowed
- Check for toy recalls – visit http://www.safekids.org/our-work/recalls/2011/ or http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html
Outdoor Fire Pits & Fireplaces
- It is recommended that they be kept away from anything that is combustible and not placed any closer than ten feet from the house or other combustibles.
- Do not allow children or animals to get too close to the fire pit to avoid smoke inhalation and burns.
- Fire pits should be protected from wind and ultimately not used when winds are high or gusty.
- Using the wrong materials inside a fire pit can be dangerous. Make sure to only use items such as wood, sticks, newspaper or dried leaves
- Before retiring for the night, the homeowners should make certain that the fire is completely out.
Have a safe and happy holiday season and Happy New Year!
Zimmerman & Frachtman , a Boca Raton / Parkland civil litigation firm, focuses on Catastrophic Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Burn Injuries, and Defective Products. The firm is headquartered at 6991 North State Road 7, Second Floor and may be reached at (954) 509-1900. Additional information about Robert Baker and Baker Zimmerman & Perez, P.A. may be obtained from the firm’s website at http://www.defendingtheinjured.com.