SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — From holiday-related house fires to decorating-related injuries, millions of Americans are reporting holiday-related catastrophes.
“Every day 200 people, as they were decorating and preparing for the holidays, visited the emergency room,” said Ann Marie Buerkle, acting chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
According to data from the CPSC, more than 18,000 emergency room visits were attributed to holiday decorating injuries from November 2016 through January 2017. Most were related to falls (38%), lacerations (14%) and strains or sprains from heavy lifting (18%).
But regulators warn that one of the biggest holiday hazards is a dry Christmas tree.
“If they‘re not watered regularly, they can literally go up in flames in seconds,” warned Buerkle.
In a recent side-by-side demonstration by the CPSC, a properly watered Christmas tree was set on fire. It actually extinguished itself.
By comparison, a dry tree was also ignited and it became a raging inferno in just seconds.
The CPSC reports there are about 100 Christmas tree fires, which end up killing at least 10 people a year.
Insurancequotes.com reports more than 26 million Americans say they have experienced a holiday-related house fire. They report that holiday candles (6.5 million) are responsible for twice as many fires as trees (3.3 million).
The experts stress that people should keep candles and menorahs on a stable heat-resistant surface, away from kids and pets. Keep trees well-watered, inspect every light strand for damage and avoid hanging lights or using ladder’s alone.
They also urge people to practice proper heavy lifting form when carrying trees or heavy boxes by lifting with their legs and not with their back.
To avoid fire danger, people should check and replace their home’s smoke alarm batteries.
A list of tips written by the CPSC to avoid these holiday-related catastrophes can be found here.