Be Safe: Avoid Top 5 Holiday ER Visits

Warm It Up With Holiday Libation Recipes
November 16, 2012
Holiday Home: How to Prepare Like a Pro
November 19, 2012

What you don’t want this holiday season is an accidental fire or burn injury. And knowing the Top 5 causes of Emergency Room visits during the holidays may help you avoid becoming part of that statistic this season.

Deputy Fire Marshal William Bouse of Fire Station #1 says the holiday season means it is time for community education and awareness of safety. Blouse shares his warnings and tips in the hope people will prevent a disaster that could turn a time of celebration into devastation. 

Watch Those Pots

Bouse says that most fires during the season come from unattended cooking: someone thought they could step away for just a moment but the moment was too long. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling. If you must leave the room, turn off the stovetop even if it is going to be for a short period of time.

The Kid-free Three

Burns are common from cooking incidents. “Reduce the risk of burns by controlling traffic in the kitchen and by not letting the kids get under foot,” explains Bouse. The National Fire Protection Association suggests creating a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot drinks and food are served or prepared.

Just Say No To Turkey Fryers

Bouse warns against the use of turkey fryers. “There is not a turkey fryer made that has passed Ul testing,” he says, recounting the family whose garage was destroyed when they moved their turkey fryer into the space because it was raining outside.

 

by Amber Cassady

What you don’t want this holiday season is an accidental fire or burn injury. And knowing the Top 5 causes of Emergency Room visits during the holidays may help you avoid becoming part of that statistic this season.

Deputy Fire Marshal William Bouse of Fire Station #1 says the holiday season means it is time for community education and awareness of safety. Blouse shares his warnings and tips in the hope people will prevent a disaster that could turn a time of celebration into devastation. 

Watch Those Pots

Bouse says that most fires during the season come from unattended cooking: someone thought they could step away for just a moment but the moment was too long. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling. If you must leave the room, turn off the stovetop even if it is going to be for a short period of time.

The Kid-free Three

Burns are common from cooking incidents. “Reduce the risk of burns by controlling traffic in the kitchen and by not letting the kids get under foot,” explains Bouse. The National Fire Protection Association suggests creating a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot drinks and food are served or prepared.

Just Say No To Turkey Fryers

Bouse warns against the use of turkey fryers. “There is not a turkey fryer made that has passed Ul testing,” he says, recounting the family whose garage was destroyed when they moved their turkey fryer into the space because it was raining outside.

Christmas Tree Cautions

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments annually respond to an average of 250 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Nearly half of them are caused by electrical problems, and one in four resulted from a heat source that’s too close to the tree.

Tree fires can also happen when lights made for the outdoors are placed on a Christmas tree. These reach higher temperatures and can catch fire fairly easily if the tree is on the drier side, making it vital to ensure that the lights that go on the tree are made for indoors. Bouse encourages people to read the manufacturing instructions on the box and always double check that they are being utilized for the correct use. “Another simple solution is make sure that a Christmas tree is not cut down too early and that it is well watered and kept fresh,” says Bouse.

Be Prepared

For specific tools and tips to keep the holidays as happy and safe as possible, Bouse encourages visiting www.nfpa.org/holiday or www.safetyathome.com for helpful, trustworthy accident prevention advice from the experts. “Being careless during the holidays can severely affect a person or a family so please learn how to use fire safely,” says Bouse.  

5 Top ER Visits During the Holidays

1. Falls

ladders alone sent 163,000 people to the ER last year. Use the right ladder for the job; don’t place the ladder at too extreme an angle against the house; never attempt to move a ladder while you’re on it; and use the buddy system to have one person hold and one person climb.

Wear the right footwear. People, particularly the elderly, often fall when walking to church services due to slippery winter conditions or tripping over curbs at night.

2. Time is Heart Muscle

According to a Circulation study, the number of cardiac deaths is higher on December 25 than on any other day of the year; second highest on December 26, and third highest on January 1.

People often delay or attribute discomfort to indigestion when higher fat and salt or alcohol is causing abnormal heart rhythm. Time delayed in treatment is heart muscle lost during a heart attack.

Eat and drink sensibly. If someone is having pain, do not wait to seek help; call 911. For women, the symptoms could be pain in the shoulder or arm, weakness, nausea, sweating or vomiting. Often people decline help because they don’t want to make a fuss.

3. Sleep Safe

Install Carbon Monoxide alarms near sleeping areas: Each year, more than 15,000 people visit the emergency room and 500 die from unintentional carbon monoxide exposure from furnaces, unvented stoves or hot water heaters. you can’t hear, taste, see or smell carbon monoxide. It’s nicknamed the “silent killer’ because it sneaks up on its victims and can take lives without warning.

• Mild exposure: Symptoms are often described as flu-like, including slight headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

• Medium exposure: Severe throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion and fast heart rate.

• Extreme exposure: Unconsciousness, convulsions, cardiorespiratory failure and death. 

• Many cases of reported carbon monoxide poisoning indicate that while victims are aware they are not well, they become so disoriented that they are unable to save themselves by either exiting the building or calling for assistance. young children and household pets are typically the first affected.

4. Kid Stuff

Make sure outlets are covered and medicines are out of the reach, especially at grandma’s house. With lots of distractions, it’s easy for little Johnny to find grandma’s medicine cabinet and sample 12 of her blue blood pressure pills before anyone notices.

Check the suggested age range on a toy’s package. If a toy fits in a toilet paper tube, it’s too small for children under age 3 and is a choking hazard. Make sure kids wear helmets and appropriate gear while breaking in their new bicycles and skateboards.

5. Drowsy Driving

Don’t drink and drive. Don’t text and drive. And if you’re sleepy, coffee won’t keep you from falling asleep behind the wheel: pull over and take a nap. It’s better to arrive late to your relative’s house than to arrive in the ER. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue.

A study by researchers found that being awake for 18 hours produced an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05; that increased to .10 after 24 hours (.08 is considered legally drunk).