Christmas tree fires three times more deadly than other fires

Warning comes as actor Joe Minoso of NBC's hit show "Chicago Fire" joins Shriners Hospitals for Children to help families "Be Burn Aware" this holiday season

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Home fires and deaths increase significantly during the holiday months with more cooking, decorations and open flames.* The biggest fire risk of all could be your Christmas tree. That is why Shriners Hospitals for Children is joining forces with actor Joe Minoso of NBC’s popular television show Chicago Fire, to keep families safe from fires and burn injuries this holiday season, despite the increased seasonal hazards.

Shriners Hospitals for Children provides specialized care to children with burns, orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate regardless of the families’ ability to pay. In an effort to educate families about the increased risks of fires and burns during the holidays, Shriners Hospitals has created a new series of Be Burn Aware Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and community outreach events with Joe Minoso.

“We’re all busy over the holidays but a few simple precautions can mean the difference between life and death for your family,” says Minoso. “Shriners Hospitals and I want families to enjoy all the decorating and family gatherings of the holidays – safely.”

The PSA series reminds families to take extra precautions with seasonal activities such as cooking, lighting candles and placement of holiday décor. One PSA features dramatic footage of a dry Christmas tree igniting in just seven seconds and demonstrates how watering a tree daily can substantially reduce the risk of fire and serious injury.

“Our patients and families know Shriners Hospitals takes the role of caring for kids very seriously and that care goes beyond the walls of our hospitals,” says Jerry Gantt, chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children, “Programs like Be Burn Aware help us reach into the community to help keep kids safe. It’s just another way we send Love to the rescue.”

Shriners Hospitals for Children offers these simple reminders to help families Be Burn Aware and stay safe this holiday season:

  • Water trees daily. Discard when dry.
  • Keep trees away from heaters and flames.
  • Discard lights with bare wires, frays or kinks.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children cannot reach them.
  • Never leave a hot stove or oven unattended.
  • Keep a lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover a pan if it catches on fire.

To view and download these important Public Service Announcements visit http://www.dssimon.com/MM/be-burn-aware/. To get more burn and fire safety information, including educational materials for the entire family, visit BeBurnAware.org.

* According to the National Fire Protection Association – Home Christmas Tree and Holiday Light Fires. www.nfpa.org

About Shriners Hospitals for Children
Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. Our 22 locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate. Learn more at ShrinersHospitalsforChildren.org.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.

About Joe Minoso
Joe Minoso stars as Joe Cruz on NBC’s hit show, Chicago Fire. A native of Bronx, N.Y., Minoso makes Chicago his home now. He has appeared in several television shows, including Boss, Shameless, The Chicago Code and Prison Break. He was also in the film, Man of Steel. Minoso graduated from Adelphi University with a bachelor's degree in fine arts, and Northern Illinois University with a masters in fine arts.