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Thousands visit the ER each year due to holiday hazards

Posted at 9:15 PM, Dec 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-05 21:15:18-05

Thousands of people every year make a trip to the ER due to mishaps while decorating the house for the holidays.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in November and December of 2015, 14,000 people visited the ER. That's 230 injuries per day.

The culprits included falling from ladders, lacerations on sharp objects and injuries like strains from lifting heavy boxes.

Other common recurrences were fires, with Christmas trees at the center of the cause.

“People are using lights that are no longer functional, lights that are really old,” said TJ Martin with the Parma Fire Department.

Fire officials suggest consumers change out Christmas lights every few years. Still, every year when they’re taken out of storage, they need to be checked for frayed strands, exposed wire and busted bulbs. All of those can present easy sparks for electric fires.

“Inspect your lines very well, make sure they’re not frayed, make sure there’s no loose ends, make sure nothing’s pulling out of the plug sockets,” said Martin.

Fire officials also urge consumers to follow manufacturers’ instructions. Don’t plug more than three to five strands of Christmas lights into one outlet and remember, “Inside bulbs are not made for outside and outside bulbs over time will degrade and the coatings on the wiring could cause electrical hazards,” said Martin.

The CPSC estimates between 2010 and 2012, an annual average of 200 fires were reported with the Christmas tree as the first item ignited, causing ten deaths, 20 injuries and $17 million in property loss per year.