Stephen Schultz | November 6, 2022 | Product Liability
Ideally, Christmas is a special time of the year for many families. The season can feature family, festivities, food, and, unfortunately, fire.
Fires in the home generally spike nationwide in December. According to government data, fire departments across the country respond to an average of 240 residential fires yearly caused solely by a Christmas tree catching fire.
Data also shows that electrical distribution or lighting equipment was a factor in nearly half of residential Christmas tree fires. Decorative lights started almost one in five Christmas tree fires. And in close to one-fifth of the fires, a source of heat, like a candle or piece of equipment, was too close to the tree.
You can keep your friends and family safe from personal injuries caused by Christmas trees and their lights and decorations. Here are some helpful tips.
Are Your Christmas Lights Working Properly?
It’s essential to make sure your Christmas lights are working properly and aren’t defective. The number one cause of Christmas tree fires is faulty lights. Decorative lights, faulty wiring, cords, and plugs that are overloaded can all be fire-causing culprits.
When you pull the lights out of storage after Thanksgiving, make sure they are working and that none of the bulbs have burned out over the year. If you replace a bulb and the lights still don’t work, be sure not to use them, as this indicates a possible issue with the wiring. Frayed or exposed wires should not be used either.
Of course, even if there are no problems with your Christmas tree lights, you should never leave them on when you are asleep or away from home.
A Dry Tree Is a Flammable Tree
If your preference is a live Christmas tree, make sure it is fresh and green. A fresh tree will have more moisture and will be less likely to burn easily. A sign of freshness is when all of the needles are green. If the tree’s needles are brown and fall off of the tree when you touch them, that is not the tree to buy.
Check your tree daily for dryness and make sure it gets adequately watered. Once the holiday is over, get rid of your tree sooner than later, as it will have dried out. Over a quarter of Christmas tree fires happen in January.
Tree Placement Is Crucial for Fire Prevention
The place where your tree looks best might not be the safest place for it to stand. You want to ensure that the tree is far away from any potential fire hazards. Fire safety experts say the tree should be at least three feet away from anything that emanates heat. That would include fireplaces, radiators, candles, and heating vents.
You don’t want your Christmas to catch fire, and you also don’t want it to fall over and hurt someone. Keep your pets away from the tree, and be sure not to place anything edible on the tree that would tempt children or animals. A heavy tree stand should also help prevent the tree from tipping over, as would anchoring the tree to a nearby wall or the ceiling if possible.
Another good safety tip is to refrain from burning Christmas tree branches, any treated wood, or wrapping paper in your home fireplace.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer If Your Christmas Lights Started a Fire
A Christmas tree fire can take your holiday from merry to scary very quickly. It can cause serious damage to your home and, tragically, grave injury to your loved ones. Consult an experienced attorney about what your options for compensation may be.
If the lights were defective, you might have a valid product liability claim against the seller or manufacturer. Alternatively, you may have a premises liability case if a property owner’s negligence contributed to the fire. A personal injury attorney will help you determine what caused the fire and how to pursue damages for your losses.
Contact Our Product Liability Law Firm in St. Louis, MO
If you’ve been injured, please contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:
Ladue, MO Law Office
9807 S 40 Dr, St. Louis, MO 63124
Creve Coeur, MO Law Office
999 Executive Pkwy Dr #205, Creve Coeur, MO 63141