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Deck the Halls while Avoiding a Trip to the ER

We all look forward to the holiday season. Besides getting together with family and attending parties, many of us enjoy decorating our homes for the holidays. Some of our fondest memories are of driving through the neighborhood we grew up in and seeing all the beautiful light displays. However, despite the many joys that winter festivities bring, injuries and accidents are common. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission,  home fires, electrocutions, and falling accidents increase during the holiday season.

Common Injuries that Occur During the Holiday Season

As the holidays approach, our homes fill up with friends, family, and we spend more time in the kitchen preparing for big family meals and doing holiday baking. Additionally, because temperatures drop outside, we tend to spend more time inside, often relying on electrical sources of heat, like space heaters and heated blankets. Amidst all the excitement, we are decorating the Christmas tree, stringing lights up inside and out, and looking for new ways to make our homes sparkle with holiday cheer.

These activities are what make the holiday season so wonderful. However, they can also create hazardous conditions both inside our home and out.

Each year, emergency rooms see a sharp increase in the following holiday-related accidents and injuries:

  • Christmas tree fires
  • Cooking and kitchen-related injuries
  • Defective product injuries
  • Electrical fires
  • Electrical shock injuries
  • Extension cord-related injuries
  • Holiday decoration injuries and fires 
  • Heating equipment fires
  • Lifting injuries and sprains
  • Slip, trip, and fall accidents

With so much going on, we are frequently distracted. With this distraction, we may not notice things like tripping hazards or overburdened electrical outlets. Our homes are more crowded, and flammable objects may be mistakenly placed too close to the roaring fireplace. We are also spending more time on step stools and ladders and using dangerous kitchen equipment, like deep fat fryers.

How to Avoid Falling Accidents

We have all laughed at Clark Griswold as he staples his shirt to his house and falls off his ladder in Christmas Vacation. However funny this may be in a movie, it is an all-too-common occurrence in real life. Reports show that approximately 5,800 people sustain fall-related injuries while decorating each year. Falling injuries are some of the most common suffered during the holiday season. Before hopping on that ladder to string those lights, you should refresh yourself on the following decorating safety tips.

Tips for keeping safe while decorating your home:

  • Make sure you are using the right ladder for what you are doing
  • Make sure the ladder is on level ground and is stable before climbing up
  • Fully open and lock your ladder before using it
  • Never use the top rung of the ladder
  • Always move the ladder as you need to
  • Avoid reaching behind you or to the side while on a ladder as this can make it unstable
  • Always place your ladder on the ground and not on top of tables, chairs, or other objects. If your ladder is not tall enough, get a different ladder or adjust your decoration plans
  • Make sure the ladder is on level ground and is stable before climbing up

Slipping accidents are also common during the winter months. With inclement weather, walkways can become slippery or icy. Meanwhile, the addition of your holiday decorations result in crowded spaces, and more cords and objects in your way. Always pay careful attention to what you are doing and look where you’re going. When decorating, keep walkways clear, and post warning signs notifying visitors of any potential hazards.

How to Avoid Electrocution Injuries

According to an ESFI study, about 86% of Americans decorate their home for the holidays. This same study identified that approximately 60% of people do not inspect their extension cords for damage often enough. This is a problem because 63% of people are utilizing extension cords to power their holiday decorations. With such an increase in electrical usage, electrocution and shock injuries are common during the holiday season.

When utilizing extension cords, string lights, and other electrical decorations, you should always remember to:

  • Check the quality of your extension cords, lights, and other decorations before using them, and discard any that are damaged or have frayed wires
  • Label your outdoor and indoor extension cords, and only use them for their intended purpose
  • Never string multiple extension cords together – if your cord is too short, get a different one
  • Never run extension cords under carpets, floor mats, or furniture
  • Plug outdoor extension cords into GFCI outlets
  • Do not overload outlets with too many extension cords or outlet extenders
  • Avoid decorating near power lines

You should also never leave your holiday decorations on and plugged in when you leave the house or go to sleep. The same goes for space heaters, electric blankets, and other electrical heating devices. Electrical fires can happen without warning.

Zambrano Law Firm Wishes You a Safe, Healthy Holiday

This year, as you prepare for the holidays, make safety a priority. Check decorations, extension cords, and other equipment and holiday products before use. If any are damaged or defective, do not use them. In addition to following safety protocols when decorating your own home, you need to remain aware when visiting friends, relatives, and businesses. Always pay attention to your surroundings, look at walkways to ensure they are clear, and avoid hazardous conditions.

While we hope everyone has a safe holiday season, we know that accidents still happen, despite our best efforts to prevent them. If you sustained an injury due to a slip and fall accident, electrocution, or a defective product, call our lawyers. We offer clients compassionate representation. If your injury resulted from someone else’s negligence, we are prepared to help you seek compensation for your injuries.

To speak with a trusted injury lawyer, contact the Zambrano Law Firm at (956) 627-0908.

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