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Christmas 911: Holiday hazards, by the numbers

Don’t let carelessness with candles, lights, electrical cords, or ladders spoil “the most wonderful time of the year.”


It’s not going to be the most wonderful time of the year at your house if you’re careless with candles, decorations, extension cords, or ladders.

> 260 Average number of US house fires per year linked to Christmas trees

> 1 OUT OF 40: Number of Christmas tree fires that result in death

> 2 OUT OF 5: Number of home-decoration fires caused by candles

> 1 OUT OF 6: Number of fires caused by a heat source too close to a tree

15,000 Number of holiday decorating-related injuries seen in emergency rooms nationwide during November and December 2012

Chevy Chase starred in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

> 5,800 Approximate number of people treated each year for falls linked to holiday decorations, more than half involving a spill from a roof or ladder


> 4,000 Approximate number of people treated for extension-cord injuries — including lacerations and fractures from tripping as well as electrical burns — every year

> 24,262 Claims filed nationally with the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. in 2011 for dog and cat maladies associated with the holiday season, such as ingesting plants, decorations, Christmas tree water, or “people” food

Aunt Bethany: “Is your house on fire, Clark?”

Clark: “No, Aunt Bethany. Those are the Christmas lights.”

— Chevy Chase and Mae Questel, as Clark Griswold and Aunt Bethany in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Sources: FEMA; Electrical Safety Foundation International;; Consumer Product Safety Commission;; IMDB

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