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Prevent holiday fires, burns

Loyola's winter safety tips

Now that temperatures are dropping, burns from accidental fires are on the rise. As a major burn center, Loyola University Medical Center sees a substantial rise in the number of patients, especially children, who are burned as a result of accidents with appliances used to keep warm.

Space heaters, the most common source of fire at this time of year, should only be used where they cannot be tipped over or come into contact with flammable material such as curtains or bedding. An adult should always be present when a space heater is used to prevent small children or pets from being injured or causing a fire.

Electric blankets and wood fires should be closely monitored too.

Holiday decorations add a festive touch to homes but present a potential danger. Test lights, extension cords, or any other electrical items before use. Repair or replace them as needed. Christmas trees and candles are another major cause of fire in the home and precautions should be taken to ensure this remains a happy holiday season.

Please encourage the public to use holiday decorations, heaters, holiday lights and all electrical appliances safely. Nothing is more tragic than a serious injury or loss of life due to a fire that could have been prevented.

For more information about preventing burns in the home, visit Loyola's Web site:

This is a joyous time of year and we want everyone to stay healthy and safe.

Best wishes,

Richard L. Gamelli, M.D.
Chief, Burn Center
Director, Burn and Shock Trauma Institute
Loyola University Health System
Chairman, Department of Surgery
Professor of Trauma Surgery
Professor of Pediatrics
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine
Maywood, Illinois