December 1, 2011
In 1998, Christmas trees were the first item ignited in 300 home fires, resulting in 11 injuries and $8 million in direct property damage. The leading cause of Christmas tree fires and property damage was short circuit or ground fault (21%). In this category, electrical failure other than short circuit ranked second in number of fires, injuries and property damage with the exception of the “other known” category. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cords and plugs were the leading type of equipment involved in the ignition of Christmas trees.
Safety points to remember:
- Any string of lights with worn, frayed or broken cords or loose bulb connections should not be used.
- Always unplug Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to sleep.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree, and place them well away from tree branches.
- Try to keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily. Do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles.
- Choose a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over.
- When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet (one meter) away from any heat source and try to position it near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances.
- Do not place the tree where it may block exits.
- Safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage, or placed against the house.
Holiday Fire Safety
The winter holidays are a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire due to heating equipment.
- Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. When cooking for holiday visitors, remember to keep an eye on the range.
- Provide plenty of large, deep ashtrays for guests who smoke and check them frequently. Cigarette butts can smolder in the trash and cause a fire, so completely douse cigarette butts with water before discarding.
- After a party, always check on, between and under upholstery and cushions and inside trashcans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering.
- Keep matches and lighters up high, out of sight and reach of children (preferably in a locked cabinet). When smokers visit your home, ask that they keep smoking materials with them.
Candle Fire Safety
December is the peak month for candle fires, with nearly twice the average number of incidents. 44% of reported candle fires in the home started in the bedroom.
Safety points to remember:
- Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
- Keep candles away from items that can catch fire.
- Use candleholders that are sturdy, won’t tip over easily, are made from a material that can’t burn and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
- Don’t place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them.
- Place candleholders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface and do not use candles in places where they could be knocked over by children or pets.
- Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.
- Keep candlewicks trimmed to one-quarter inch and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holder or decorative material. Votives and containers should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.
- Avoid candles with combustible items embedded in them.
January 13, 2011
I have heard, I do not know, that trial attorneys are the ones most at risk to fall victim of depression, drug abuse and/or alcoholism. What I do know, is that I have heard of many trial lawyers suffering from this sort of diseases. It appears to be that it is simply a by-product of the type of work we do. This work is highly adversarial, highly contentious, petty and small things can get center-stage and become huge, anxiety about missing deadlines and due dates is ever present, errors that can occur as the result of being human consumes many attorneys into lying awake at night thinking about cases and on and on…
Once I was in the Daley Center, many years ago. I had recently graduated law school and I got onto the elevator going up. There was one other rider with me in the elevator and his body language told me that something was wrong, He was stooped forward, his head down, his clothes looked like he had slept in them… He did not look good. While pressing the button to the floor of his destination, he looked at me with eyes that were about to cry, and told me:”If I knew… I would have never chosen this profession.”
Steps to wellness: Lawyer launches Web site, support group for lawyers with depression (From The Buffalo Law Journal) “Lukasik has started the Web site www.lawyerswithdepression.com, and he also coordinated a support group for lawyers with depression that met for the first time June 1. Both resources are believed to be the first of their kind in New York state, and perhaps farther afield.”
We need something like this here in Illinois as well.