Holiday season sees increase in fire, traffic, and burglary incidents

Published 4:30 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

The holiday season, while a time for festivities and joy, also brings an uptick in safety risks, including increased instances of home fires, traffic accidents, and burglaries. Understanding these risks and taking appropriate safety measures are crucial for a secure holiday experience.

Statistical Overview of Holiday Risks

Fire Hazards:

  • The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that from 2014 to 2018, an average of 160 home fires started each year with Christmas trees in the United States. These incidents resulted in an average of 2 civilian deaths, 14 civilian injuries, and $10.3 million in direct property damage annually.
  • Candle fires reach their peak during December, with the highest incidences recorded on Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Traffic Accidents:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted that in December 2018 alone, 839 fatalities occurred in the U.S. due to traffic crashes involving drunk drivers.
  • Over the Christmas and New Year period, the average fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver increased by 34% compared to the rest of the month.

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Crime (Burglaries and Thefts):

  • According to the FBI’s 2017 Crime in the United States report, there were approximately 1.4 million burglaries nationwide, with a significant increase observed during the holiday season, especially in November and December.

Safety Recommendations

Fire Safety:

  • Choose a fresh Christmas tree and keep it regularly watered to prevent drying.
  • Ensure all holiday lights have safety certifications and turn them off when not in use.
  • Never leave candles burning unattended, especially during high-risk days.

Traffic and Alcohol Safety:

  • Avoid driving after consuming alcohol and plan for sober transportation options.
  • Be extra vigilant on the roads during the holiday season, given the increased risk of impaired drivers.

Crime Prevention:

  • Secure your home with effective locks and consider installing a security system.
  • Be cautious about displaying valuable gifts in view of windows or doors.
  • Avoid publicizing travel plans to reduce the risk of burglaries during your absence.

Food Safety:

  • Adhere to proper food handling and storage practices to avoid foodborne illnesses.

The holiday season requires heightened awareness and proactive safety measures to mitigate the increased risks of fires, traffic accidents, and crimes. By staying informed and vigilant, individuals can contribute to a safer and more enjoyable holiday period.