Many of our most cherished and intimate holiday celebrations require fire. From candles on the table to lights on the tree, both open flame and electricity can pose risk for serious burn injury. Taking steps to prevent burn injury and home fires is an important part of ensuring the holidays are enjoyed by all.
Types of Burn Injury
The most common types of burn injury sustained during the holidays are thermal burns. These occur when the skin comes into contact with any hot object, including fire or a heating element.
When a burn only breaks through the outer layer of the skin, it is a first-degree burn. Common following brief exposure to heat, first-degree burns may be uncomfortable, but they are not typically of real concern. Home-care will likely see these types of burns healed within a week or two.
Second and third-degree burns are much more worrisome. These are common from longer exposure to heat but can also be a result of electrical, chemical, or radiation burns. Second-degree burns go through both the epidermis and dermis. Painful and disfiguring, second-degree burns may require a skin graft to heal properly. They may also result in some permanent damage or limitation.
Third-degree burns pass through the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin to impact tissue, glands, muscles, tendons, and bones. Not all third-degree burns will penetrate to bone, but all will result in serious pain, a potentially permanent loss of sensation and ability, and untreatable disfigurement. Complications from third-degree burns, even years after the fact, can be fatal.
Victims of serious burn injury caused by defective products or the negligence of others are entitled to take legal action and seek real compensation for their injuries. The burn injury lawyers at Kirtland & Packard can help. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
General holiday safety tips to prevent fires:
- Keep candles and open flames away from flammable materials
- Always extinguish candles before leaving home or going to bed
- Keep flammable decorations away from fireplaces and candles
- Use the appropriately labeled lights (outdoors for outdoors, indoors for in)
As a general rule, you should never walk away from open flame in the kitchen - even on the burner - and should follow the same common sense fire-prevention steps you follow throughout the year while baking holiday treats or preparing holiday meals. It is also important that you test all smoke and carbon dioxide detectors at least once a month. These safety alarms should be completely replaced every 10 years, even if they are hardwired into your home.
Tips to prevent Christmas tree fires:
Christmas trees do not catch on fire all that often, but when they do, they can spread quickly – especially if the tree is dry. Prevent such fires with these tips:
- Water your tree daily, or at least check it daily to make sure the water level hasn't fallen below the bottom of the tree trunk
- When you are buying a tree, try to find one that appears as fresh as possible, without a lot of needles already falling
- Check light strands for frayed/damaged cords, broken bulbs and loose light connections – use a new light strand if you find any of these things
- Use only UL-approved lights
- Use a single, undamaged, appropriately sized, heavy duty extension cord for lights
- Place your tree at least three feet from heating sources
- Turn off light strands before leaving your home or going to bed
And remember, never decorate a tree with real candles, placing open flame on a dry tree almost ensures it will erupt into a blaze. Use UL-approved indoor lights on indoor Christmas trees and approved outdoor lights for those in the yard.
Your Rights Following Burn Injury
If you sustain a burn injury this holiday season - through fire or electricity or explosion - you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering. The best way to determine if you have cause to file suit and seek compensation is through a one-on-one consultation with the burn injury lawyers at Kirtland & Packard. Dedicated, thorough, and effective, our attorneys can review your case free of charge to help you determine the best course of action.
If you or a family member was injured as the result of someone else's negligence, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Kirtland & Packard are ready to provide clear, honest answers about your situation and whether you have a claim to pursue compensation. For your complimentary case review, please call Kirtland & Packard at 310-536-1000. We serve Redondo Beach and surrounding South Bay communities.