By Ben Rodgers
It’s a wonderful time of the year, with all the kids jingle-belling, and everyone telling you to be in good cheer.
So keep Christmastime wonderful and avoid a trip to the emergency room by watering your live Christmas tree.
While many of us use artificial trees (we have three in our home), plenty of people opt for the real thing.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 25-30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the US every year. That’s a lot of pine needles.
The American Red Cross reports that house fires generally peak during December and January.
Within seconds, a spark can ignite a dry tree and smoke can overpower a room.
Every minute these fires can double in size. A dry Christmas tree is like having a giant piece of kindling in your living room.
A wet and freshly watered tree will take almost twice as long to ignite, and once it does the fire will spread much slower.
Dr. David Greenhalgh is the chief of burns at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California in Sacramento.
Since Shriners Hospitals for Children entered the burn care field, the survival rate for children with burns over more than 50 percent of their body surface has doubled.
In addition, today, patients with burns over 90 percent can survive, and go on to lead full, productive lives.
“Christmastime, these happen all over the country,” Greenhalgh told the “TODAY Show” about tree fires. “They’re tragedies, not only one or two kids, but entire families.”
Shriners Hospitals for Children offer some tips this time of the year to make sure you and your family don’t have to visit the burn unit.
Water your live tree daily. Only 70 percent of people know this, and yet only 45 percent of people actually do this.
Keep trees away from heaters and flames. Extra heat will help dry the tree out, which will lead to a greater chance of fire.
Check your Christmas lights before putting them on the tree. Any frays could easily cause a spark, which for a dry tree is enough to ignite it.
Also, never use outdoor lights indoors, or indoor lights outdoors.
The holidays also see a spike in kitchen-related burns with more people cooking and frying up food.
Always turn the pan handle in when cooking, 25 percent of people fail to do this. Also, 47 percent of people don’t keep a lid or cookie sheet nearby to extinguish cooking fires.
In the kitchen, wear short sleeves or roll up sleeves when cooking.
Finally, candle care is also important. Keep them out of the reach of children and use stable holders.
We at The Press Times wish everybody a safe and merry Christmas.