Electrical mishaps with Christmas decorations are a common theme of classic Christmas comedies. However, in real life, electrical hazards are nothing to laugh about.
Electrical fires, such as those resulting from faulty holiday decorations, cause about 25% of all house fires. Moreover, Christmas tree fires are a leading cause of house fires around the holiday season, and they are deadlier than most other house fires. Seasonal decorations are also associated with electrical injuries.
However, putting simple safety precautions into practice dramatically reduces the risks of electrical dangers such as fire and electrocution. Following basic safety guidelines can help prevent serious electrical and fire hazards as your family enjoys holiday festivities.
Below, we’re going to provide guidelines for avoiding common holiday electrical hazards to help your family enjoy a safe winter holiday season. Happy Holidays from all of us at the Injury Law Firm of South Florida!
Holiday Electrical Fire Prevention in Florida
Electrical fires are a common holiday electrical hazard. Which makes sense. After all, holiday decorations are kept in storage for most of the year, where they may become damaged.
Moreover, many homeowners don’t exercise the same level of caution they ordinarily would when putting up permanent decorations, as holiday decorations are only intended to be displayed for a short while.
Due to all these factors, electrical fires can and do happen.
Check any electronic decorations and light strands for damage, such as frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections. Discard any damaged decorations.
Do not use metal hangers (e.g. tacks, staples, or nails) when hanging electrical decorations.
Do not connect more than three strands of lights to a single extension cord.
Ensure that extension cords are in good condition. Discard and replace any cords that are damaged.
Unplug decorations when they are not in use.
Consider using LED holiday lights, which give off less heat, and are therefore less likely to spark and catch fire.
Never use electrical decorations on a metallic tree.
Christmas Tree Fire Prevention
Every year, Christmas trees cause over 200 house fires. Christmas tree house fires are also deadlier than other house fires. However, you can decrease your chances of a Christmas tree fire by selecting the right tree and taking appropriate safety precautions.
The safest type of Christmas tree is an artificial tree labeled as “fire resistant.” Although these trees can still catch fire, they are much more resistant than live Christmas trees and conventional artificial trees.
If you do choose to use a live tree (we love the smell, too!) make sure to buy a fresh one. A fresh tree is green, and the needles will not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of the tree should be sticky with resin, and the tree should not lose many needles when tapped on the ground.
Once your tree is home, be sure to set it up away from heat sources such as radiators. Water live trees daily to prevent them from drying out. It may also be helpful to buy live trees later in the season, so they are not on display for too long – eventually they will dry out, even when watered.
(Safely) Installing Electrical Decorations
Every year, thousands of Americans are seriously injured while installing holiday decorations – especially electrical decorations. Common injuries include electrocution, falls, strains, and sprains.
Do not stand on a desk, chair, or other similar object while hanging decorations. Use a step ladder, stool, or ladder as appropriate.
Make sure that ladders and step stools are placed on a flat, level surface. Be sure to keep two points of contact with the ladder at all times.
Always have someone spot you while you are on a ladder to assist in balance.
Do not overreach when standing on a ladder or step stool. Instead, move the ladder from place to place to prevent muscle strains and potential falls.
Do not install electrical decorations while they are plugged in.
Always hang electrical decorations in a dry area. Never touch electrical wiring while you are wet or standing in water.
Follow the use and care instructions that accompany electrical decorations.
Unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
Keep outdoor extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water.
Plug outdoor electrical decorations into a circuit protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
Scary? A little. You don’t have to let electrical hazards scare you away from getting into the holiday season, though. Just make sure you exercise an abundance of caution with electrical decorations and Christmas trees. Do that, and your chances of injury will be significantly reduced.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.
Nowadays, many more trucks are entering our roadways, sharing the same space we use in our everyday life. Product demand has significantly increased, and so does the congestion of commercial trucking. Unfortunately, with the increased numbers of trucks entering service they bring with them an ever-increasing number of accidents and resulting injuries. A central question [..]
Imagine sleeping soundly in bed and then a loud crashing crane comes through your roof. It was a scene that happened this week in North Miami Beach, where a crane that was being used to repair a seawall slid off a barge and struck the roof of a condominium building. [gallery type="slideshow" link="file" size="large" [..]
Car accidents can happen anywhere. Especially where you least expect it. Parking lots, driveways, parking garages, and drive-thrus are well-known for accident scenes. Even your own living room. On Wednesday, August 21st, an accident involving two cars ended up crashing into a Miami Gardens home. One of the drivers was air lifted to a [..]
Dade and Broward county roads are about to become a bit more confusing and request drivers to be more attentive to the road and the scheduled construction plans on the 826 Palmetto Expressway and I-75 throughout August 2019, while making room for a new Express Lane on the 826 Palmetto Expressway. As auto accident attorneys [..]
July 4th tends to evoke backyard barbecues, poolside cocktails, and fireworks at dusk. We usually think of spending this holiday with family, and staying close to home. On the contrary, AAA pegs the fourth as one of their busiest days. Did you know the average distance traveled on July 4th is 617 miles? What’s more, [..]
When most of us think about Fourth of July safety, we think about fireworks. Although improper use of fireworks can cause serious injuries, there’s a less obvious risk: food poisoning. Most Fourth of July celebrations involve outdoor gatherings, with perishable food that’s often brought in by a number of people, some of whom may not [..]
Summer is upon us, and it’s peak swimming pool season in the sunshine state. Although swimming is a great way to cool off and get some exercise, it can also be dangerous. Statistics show three children die every day from swimming pool accidents, and many more people sustain serious injuries. In many cases, these tragic [..]
Memorial Day offers a time to celebrate loved ones lost. It also signals the beginning of another Florida summer which often means road trip! In either case, we all find a reason and a way to cut loose. Unfortunately, these celebrations also lead to an uptick in car accidents. The primary causes? More cars on [..]
Johnson & Johnson has been a trusted name in cosmetics and household products for decades. However, in recent years, they have come under fire for lawsuits that suggest their talcum powder products caused cancer. The company isn’t just paying with a blow to their reputation, either. Earlier this year, a woman in California won $29 [..]
Every summer, Floridians look forward to that much needed break that summer camp provides: the kids to get away from the daily grind of the school year, and you to get a little breathing room from them. Exactly how much of a break would it be, though, if you’re still holding your breath in anticipation [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
Uber and Lyft have really made getting around town a lot easier. The apps are simple to use, the cars are relatively inexpensive, and getting a ride only takes a few minutes. However, as wonderful as Uber and Lyft are for convenience when you need a quick lift, it is important to remember that [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Florida’s summer is well underway, and the hot weather is a perfect excuse to get out on the water. With close to 900,000 registered vessels in the state, chances are that you or someone you know owns a boat and is planning to use it this season. Getting out on a lake or the ocean [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
We know that our state’s driving woes are partially due to the heavy volume of out-of-state visitors. Often, vacationers opt out of long road trips and drive a rental car instead. Unfortunately, getting into an accident or altercation involving a rental car can be confusing – whether you’re the one driving it or not. [..]