MIAMI (CBSMiami) — For many, this truly is the most wonderful time of the year, but holiday merrymaking is not without risk. Federal safety experts are trying to spread the word about the inherent dangers of a season filled with lights, candles, and trees.
“Last year, there were probably approximately 240 visits to emergency rooms, every day, during the holiday season, said Acting Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Ann Marie Buerkle.
The agency is warning consumers to be vigilant when decorating their homes.
This year, the CPSC estimates that there will be 13-hundred fires related to Christmas trees and candles.
Those fires will lead to 150 emergency room visits as well as 20 deaths.
“We’re all in a hurry to get our trees up because it’s such a pretty event, but try to take a few minutes to inspect your lights, cautioned Buerkle.
Experts say you should discard any light strands that have broken bulbs or frayed wires.
The packaging should indicate that they are UL certified and, if you have upgraded to newer technology, don’t be complacent.
“LED lights require less of a current so they don’t generally don’t get as hot as an ordinary light, but they do pose the same hazard in terms of the wires getting frayed, and the bulbs being broken.”
Real trees should be watered regularly to prevent fires.
“It’s a wonderful time of the year, we all enjoy it, but take a few extra minutes to be safe,” said Buerkle.
One last piece of advice applies to any season.
Make sure smoke alarms are in place on every floor and make sure they are working.
The CPSC says many holiday related fires can be avoided by making a point of never leaving a lit candle unattended.