Holiday Fire Safety Tips
Colorful lights, scented candles, Christmas trees and greenery all play a role in making this the most wonderful time of year. However, these same things can quickly change the holidays into the most devastating time of year. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 200 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. Fire departments respond to an additional estimated 840 home structure fires annually that started with decorations, excluding Christmas trees.
Follow our safety tips to make the holidays a wonderful and safe time for your friends and families and to keep you from becoming a holiday fire statistic.
Christmas Tree and Decorations
- Keep your live trees well-watered and dispose of it after Christmas or if it becomes too dry. A dry tree is dangerous because it can catch fire easily.
- Use battery-operated flameless candles. These can look, smell, and feel like real candles.
- Place candles in a sturdy candleholder that will not tip over. Keep candles 12 inches away from things that can burn. Never leave a burning candle alone.
- Inspect holiday lights each year and throw away any strands that have frayed or pinched wires. Do not run more than three strings end to end.
- Check extension cords to make sure they are in good condition and they are UL-rated for indoor or outdoor use. Do not overload outlets. Check outdoor receptacles to make sure the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) does not repeatedly trip. If it does, it may need to be replaced.
- When hanging lights, avoid using nails or staples which can damage the wiring. Use UL-rated clips and hangars. Take down the lights after the holiday season so squirrels and mice cannot chew on them or have the lights get damaged by weather.
- Turn off all electrical lights and decorations and extinguish all candles before going to bed or leaving your home.
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned, if necessary.
- Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
- Keep “fuel”, anything flammable to include paper, rugs, clothing, and stored wood, at least three feet from the flames.
- Use a fire screen to keep embers and logs from escaping.
- Only burn seasoned, dry wood.
- Put ashes in a metal container and set them outside to cool 24 hours before disposal.
- Keep flammable items such as grocery bags and kitchen towels away from the stove and oven.
- Clean up greasy spills as soon as possible to remove a fire hazard.
- If deep frying a turkey, follow manufacturer’s instructions and ensure your turkey is fully thawed. Keep the fryer away from structures and trees.
- Do not leave food unattended.
One suggestion is to carry a potholder with you as a reminder that something is on the stove.
- Make sure you have a fully charged fire extinguisher that is rated for all types of fires in the kitchen and check smoke detectors to make sure they are working properly.