Kohl’s Safe and Sound Program and Children’s Hospital at Erlanger representatives urge adults to be aware of the prevalence of fire hazards this holiday season, such as dry Christmas trees, decorations, fireplaces and heaters.
Because outside temperatures start to drop this time of year, the chances for a home fire escalate, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
“We have already seen several homes in our region damaged due to fires that could have been prevented,” Coy Ellis, Safe and Sound Program coordinator, said in a prepared statement. “We are asking adults to be a little more cautious than usual when it comes to children and fire safety. While it is fun for all ages to take part in the festivities and celebrations, certain precautions need to be made to ensure everyone has a safe holiday.”
The NFPA found that between 2005 and 2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 240 home fires that began with Christmas trees. These fires caused an average of 13 deaths, 27 injuries and $16.7 million in direct property damage per year.
Electrical failures resulted in 33 percent of fires, 20 percent were because of a heat source too close to the tree and 13 percent were because of decorative lights or line voltage. Eleven percent were caused by candles on trees.
The NFPA reports that the risk of fire is greater with natural trees because, once cut, natural trees dry out and become more likely to burn quickly than an artificial tree.
Decorative lighting was involved in an estimated 150 home fires per year during the same period.