Common accidents during the holidays[Kristel Kobi | 23.12]
Experienced insurance experts know that the holiday season marking the end of the year is infamous for accidents caused by carelessness and disregard for safety requirements, leading to an accident rate twice as high as usual.
"Winter accidents are certainly characterised by burning and fires because, in addition to commonplace wood furnaces, forgotten Christmas roasts, flammable decorations placed too close to burning candles and end-of-year fireworks, which often end up in a next-door building rather than the open sky, can all prove hazardous," says Seesam's property insurance manager Kristel Kobi about the most common accidents that take place around the holidays.
Main culprit: candles
Candles are very popular during the winter season and they also cause a number of unfortunate accidents. According to the insurer, outdoor candles that seem harmless enough are often positioned on the terrace or outside too close to the wall of the building or other flammable materials and left to burn unsupervised. The same applies to indoor candles, which cause many big accidents due to being positioned in a careless manner. "Recently, our claims handlers were dealing with a case where someone lit candles on a stand in their living room, but the candles then fell down onto some decorations on the table and the decorations caught fire," says Kobi. "Fortunately, the person noticed the situation quite early on and tried to throw the burning objects outside the window, but they proved too hot and were dropped onto the living room parquet flooring. Even though the burning items were put out, the floor, furniture and table were all left with burn marks. This accident, even though a relatively fortunate one, still resulted in damages in excess of 9000 euros."
The insurance expert said, however, that open flames are not always the cause of fires. For example, every year there are fires caused by faulty wires of electric Christmas decorations. Since dry Christmas trees burn up like sparklers, people are often unable to react in time and this can cause the fire to grow and spread rapidly.
Pyrotechnics to blame for injuries and fires
In addition to candles, the widespread use of pyrotechnics at the end of the year causes a great deal of concern. Not a year goes by without accident reports of rockets flying in the wrong direction or exploding ahead of time.
"Unfortunately, New Year's Eve all too often sees the combination of alcohol and pyrotechnics; this explosive pairing is often to blame when a rocket explodes in someone's hand and merry celebrations can quickly end in a trip to the hospital with burns," said the insurer to emphasise that it is a poor idea to combine alcohol with the use of pyrotechnics.
When it comes to using pyrotechnics, Kobi recommends going as far as possible from any buildings because even though everything goes well most of the time, it is not uncommon to see rockets take a horizontal route straight to a nearby building instead of shooting towards the sky. "Last year, one such rocket caused household items stored in a garage to catch fire and the damage claims totalled over 15,000 euros," Kobi provided an example of a pyrotechnics accident.
Another example starring pyrotechnics and a garage took place after the fireworks had been let off. Once the show was over, the father of the family placed the empty cartridge onto a trailer in the garage and placed a wet chipboard and sheeting on top of it before heading back to the house to be with his family.
Later on, it turned out that the rocket cartridge had not yet fully extinguished by the time it was placed inside the garage and caused both the chipboard and the sheeting fabric to catch fire.
According to the insurer, the best time to deal with rocket waste is the following morning. This is the only way to be sure that all secretly smouldering elements have been put out and cannot cause accidents.