Year-End Fire and Burn Prevention Tips

The traditional Christmas tree is a gathering place for family and friends, but as the season comes to an end, make sure to keep an eye on this holiday centerpiece. Most Christmas tree fires are caused by a combination of dried up late-season trees and electrical issues with ornamental lights.

Even small fires on a dried-up tree can grow large very quickly. The National Fire Protection Association suggests:

• Getting rid of your Christmas tree when it becomes dry (pine needles falling off easily).
• Not leaving dried-out trees in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
• Checking with local community resources to find a tree recycling program.

Another tradition is that of fireworks and sparklers to ring in the new year. Ricardo Castrellon, M.D., medical director of the Burn Center at South Miami Hospital, stresses that “supervision is key when igniting fireworks, especially when children are involved.” Dr. Castrellon adds that burns to the hand or face should be seen immediately by a burn specialist to assess the injury.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety suggests following these tips for a safe New Year’s Eve celebration:

• Purchase legal consumer fireworks from authorized stores or stands.
• Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
• Only use fireworks outdoors free of overhead obstructions and away from dry grass or other flammable materials.
• Never give fireworks to young children.
• Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
• Always have a bucket of water, and charged water hose, nearby.
• Dispose of spent product by wetting it down and place it in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until morning.

For more information on the Burn Center at South Miami Hospital call 786-662-BURN (2876).

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