Festive celebrations, flickering lights and winter decorations are hallmarks of the holiday season, but they also
present fire risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one. Below we look at some
ways that we can prevent house fires this holiday season.
Holiday Tree Safety
Each holiday season, fire departments respond to an average of 210 tree fires nationally according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
• Keep your tree at least three feet away from all heat sources (like fireplaces, radiators, and heat vents).
• Choose a sturdy stand so the tree will not tip over.
• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
• Once the holiday season is over you should aim to get rid of a real tree as soon as possible.
December is the peak time of year for candle-related house fires, says the NFPA. In one five-year study, the NFPA found that 52% of decoration-related fires were started by candles.
• Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from surrounding objects.
• Trim wicks to a quarter of an inch before you light them and only let candles burn for one hour for every inch of diameter, so the wax can melt evenly.
• Never leave lit candles in a room that’s unattended.
• Keep children and pets away from lit candles and matches.
Holiday Light Safety
As much as you may want to cover every inch of your house with lights, you may have to scale back depending on your outlets. Check the lights’ packaging for the power output and never plug in more than what a power strip or outlet says it can handle.
• Always look for the UL symbol when buying electrical items and pay attention to its color: Green means it’s approved for indoor use, and red means it can be used indoors and outdoors.
• If you’re using old lights, check the wires to make sure there are no signs of fraying or cracking.
• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
Fire Place Safety
According to a 2016 report from the National Fire Protection Association, a leading factor contributing to home fires was the failure to clean the chimney.
• Have a professional come out at least once a year to inspect/clean the chimney.
• Never burn anything but logs in your fire place. Don’t try to burn evergreens, wreaths, or wrapping paper in a fireplace or wood stove.
• Make sure the fire is out and the embers have cooled before you leave the house or go to bed. Put the ashes in a metal bin that’s at least 25 feet away from the house.