Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Christmas Tree, Holiday Light, Safety Tips

Date:
December 23, 2007
Source:
Rowan University
Summary:
When we think of the holiday season, pleasant and joyous thoughts come to mind but each and every year there are those families for whom the holidays turn tragic. Fires during the holiday season each year claim the lives of more than 400 people, injure 1,650 more, and cause more than $990 million in damage within the United States.

When we think of the holiday season, pleasant and joyous thoughts come to mind but each and every year there are those families for whom the holidays turn tragic.

According to Dr. Robert S. Fleming, a professor of management at Rowan University, Glassboro, N.J., and a nationally recognized authority on fire and emergency preparedness, the United States Fire Administration said fires during the holiday season each year claim the lives of more than 400 people, injure 1,650 more, and cause more than $990 million in damage within the United States.

Fleming offers a number of life-saving actions that you can take to ensure a safe holiday season. The four primary areas of concern regarding holiday fire safety are hazards associated with Christmas trees, holiday lights, holiday decorations, and candles.

Each year, according to the United States Fire Administration, more than 33 million American homes incorporate a natural tree in their holiday season celebration, and Christmas trees account for 200 fires annually, resulting in six deaths, 25 injuries and more than $6 million in property damage. Fire safety precautions are essential in that a burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.

Christmas tree fire safety begins with selecting an appropriate tree. If the tree has been freshly cut, needles should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the trunk should be sticky to the touch. If you bounce the tree trunk on the ground and too many needles fall off, it is a sign that it has dried out and is a fire hazard.

Placement of the tree is extremely important. Trees should not be placed close to a heat source, including heat vents and fireplaces, since the heat will dry out the tree and make it more susceptible to ignition from heat, flame, or spark. Keeping the tree stand filled with water at all times is crucial as is not keeping a tree up for more than two weeks.

The last step in the fire safety process for Christmas trees is to dispose of the tree properly. When the tree becomes dry, it must be removed from the residence promptly. It is important to resist the temptation to place tree branches in a fireplace or wood stove.

A related holiday fire safety issue involves holiday lights. Only lights that are listed by an approved testing laboratory should be used. Before installing the lights it is important to inspect for excessive kinking or wear, frayed wires, gaps in insulation, bare spots, and cracked or broken sockets.

A major issue associated with holiday lights is the overloading of electrical circuits. No more than three sets of lights should be connected together unless directions indicate that it is safe to do so. The wiring of holiday lights should be checked periodically to make sure that it is not warm to the touch. Holiday lights should not be left on when unattended.

Holiday decorations also present fire safety challenges. As with live trees, holiday decorations should not be placed near sources of heat or flame, including heat vents and fireplaces. Only nonflammable or flame-retardant decorations should be used. Artificial trees should be flame-retardant.

After unwrapping holiday gifts, wrapping paper should be disposed of properly. It should never be placed in a fireplace since that can generate dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup.

Many holiday fires result from the unsafe use of candles. If you use candles, they should be properly secured in stable holders and placed such that they cannot easily be knocked over. Lit candles should never be put on or near a tree. It is important that candles be attended and never left burning when leaving a residence.

While the above suggestions are designed to prevent the type of holiday tragedies that we all too often see in the holiday season news coverage, the importance of having properly installed, maintained and tested working smoke detectors in the home cannot be overemphasized in the event a fire were to occur. Knowing how to call for help in the event of a fire or other emergency and having a home fire escape plan are also essential elements of a holiday fire safety plan, Fleming said.

Fleming has more than 36 years of fire and emergency preparedness experience. He currently serves as chairman of the National Fire Academy Board of Visitors, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Advisory Committee, and the Chester County Local Emergency Planning Committee, as well as staff battalion chief of the Goshen Fire Company in Chester County, Pa.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rowan University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rowan University. "Christmas Tree, Holiday Light, Safety Tips." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071220222353.htm>.
Rowan University. (2007, December 23). Christmas Tree, Holiday Light, Safety Tips. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071220222353.htm
Rowan University. "Christmas Tree, Holiday Light, Safety Tips." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071220222353.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins