Although Christmas Day has come and gone, many residents and business owners will keep their Christmas trees up for at least another week, if not two. Many of these trees were probably put up weeks ago, but it’s not too late to check them thoroughly this week to be sure everything is safe. You may not realize it, but Christmas trees can quickly turn into hazards, causing injury, death and costly property damages if not taken care of properly.
Emergency response teams respond to roughly 240 Christmas tree fire accidents in Hollywood and elsewhere every year. Over the last six years, there has been an average of 13 fatalities, 27 injuries and more than $16 million in property damages each year as the result of these types of accidents.
Our Hollywood injury attorneys understand that in about one out of every 20 Christmas tree fire reports, a fatality occurred. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that most of these accidents are the result of poor planning and careless decorators. About a fifth of all Christmas tree fires are the directly result of someone putting it too close to a heat source. If that is the case in your home or office, now’s a good time to relocate it if you plan on keeping it up for another week or so.
About half of all Christmas tree structure fires that are reported happen in this month. Another third of these incidents are reported in January, while more than 40 percent are reported during the 12 days from December 23rd through January 3rd.
Causes of Christmas tree fires:
-Nearly 35 percent of Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical failures or malfunctions.
-About 20 percent of these fires occur because a heat source was located too close to a tree.
-More than 10 percent happen because lit candles were placed too closely to the tree.
-Nearly 15 percent happened because of a malfunctioning string of lights or other electrical issue.
Residents are urged to be cautious when taking down this year’s Christmas tree. If you have an artificial tree, before you put it away for the year make sure it is labeled as either flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
If you’ve got a real tree, make sure the needles aren’t falling off every time you touch it, because that means it’s too dry. Remember to water live trees daily. When you’re done with your tree, you should contact your recycling facility or household waste removal company to determine how to dispose of it. You never want to leave your old, dry tree laying anywhere around your house. That’s a fire hazard in itself!
We hope you are enjoying the holiday season, and wish you all the best in 2012.
If you or a family member has been injured because of a Christmas tree fire in Hollywood, Oakland Park, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 1-800-529-2368.
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