Ahhhh, the holidays. Lit fireplaces, trees and houses glowing with lights and candles burning all signal the most magical time of year. And while our festive decorations capture the spirit of the season, they also pose a real hazard to you and your loved ones: fire.
Winter Holiday Fires by the Numbers*
- Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in two out of every five (40%) home Christmas tree fires.
- More than one-third (37%) of home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den. All of the fatalities and roughly three-quarters (72%) of the injuries resulted from fires started in this area.
- The top three days for home candle fires were Christmas, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
Take time this year to follow a few simple steps that will make sure you have a happy and fire-safe holiday.
- Choose decorations that are flame resistant or fire retardant.
- Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
- Some lights are only for indoor OR outdoor use, but not both. Choose wisely!
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections – and don’t forget to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands safe to connect!
- Use clips, NOT nails, to hang lights so the cords don’t get damaged.
- Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
- Water your fresh trees daily to avoid them drying out and becoming a larger fire risk.
- Test your smoke alarms and tell your guests about your home fire escape plan.
- Keep kids and pets away from lit candles.
- Keep your matches and lighters high up in a locked cabinet or cupboard.
- Stay in the kitchen if you’re cooking on the stovetop.
- Ask smokers to smoke outside – and remind them to keep their smoking paraphernalia with them so kids don’t touch them.
- Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers, and wet cigarette butts before disposing.
Before Heading to Bed
- Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
- Turn off all string lights and decorations, too!
These safety tips should make it easy for you to have a safe and happy holiday season. Do you have any decorating safety tips of your own? Share them in the comments below!
*Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Christmas Trees" report