Holiday Safety Hazards
Tis the season for joy, family gatherings, and nights in front of the fireplace. It’s also a great time to refresh your memory on how to enjoy the holidays safely. Below, we are discussing some of the most common dangers that are around us during the holiday season.
Christmas trees are the ultimate symbol of the Christmas season. Many families buy their trees the day after Thanksgiving and spend the weekend decorating them with lights and ornaments. It’s an exciting time for everyone as they each get to put their touch on their holiday tradition. But by the time Christmas day has rolled around, the tree is at least a month old, and the pine needles have already begun to dry out.
Not only are dry pine needles a bit of an eyesore, but they are also a major fire hazard. While Christmas tree fires are not all too common (there are about 200 per year) they are pretty serious when they do happen because of the rate at which they burn. Pine needles are incredibly flammable and burn much faster than logs of wood and cause sparks to fly which could lead to a faster spread of the fire.
Be diligent with your tree and make sure that you water it consistently. If you do notice that it’s begun to dry out and you have lights hung on the tree then refrain from turning them on to prevent any possibility of a spark.
When you’re out doing your last minute Christmas shopping, remember that not all toys are meant for all kids. Babies will put anything inside of their mouths, that’s how they learn to explore the world around them. Because of this, you must be extremely careful of the types of toys you purchase for them. Toys with small detachable pieces can become instant choking hazards.
Most toy packaging lists the recommended age of the children who should or should not play with that particular toy. Heed that warning, and you should be in the clear with your kids presents this year!
The holiday season makes us want to pull out every strand of lights we have purchased and hang them around every inch of our homes, inside, outside, around the trim of our home and our fireplaces but it’s important to pay attention to the labels on the lights.
Some lights are strictly designated for indoor use and should not be hung on your home’s gutters. This could be for any number of reasons, including a lack of adequate waterproofing, and we all know what happens when water and electricity mix.
Additionally, check the wires on the lights to make sure there’s no fraying or cracking that could make them susceptible to water leaks. Check to make sure all of the bulbs are attached as well.
In a study done by the NFPA, they found that over 5 years, nearly 52% of decoration-related fires were started by candles. Even though they are small and they seem contained, candles are still considered an open flame, so you should treat them with the care and respect that you would treat any other fire.
Always keep your candles at least 12 inches away from any surrounding objects, don’t let them burn for too long, and never leave them in an unattended room. We talked about how quickly Christmas trees catch fire, so no matter how pretty it looks, make sure that your candles are kept at a safe distance from your tree.
If you have any further questions about holiday safety hazards and would like more tips on how to keep your family safe this holiday season, give the Los Angeles County Fire Department Foundation a call. We are here to help with general life safety tips and fire safety tips because preparation is your greatest defense against a disaster.