As we celebrate the holiday season, it’s important to keep in mind that holiday decorations like trees, lights, and candles increase the risk of home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles, with Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day being the top three days for candle fires. In addition, more than two of every five fires related to holiday decorations happen because they are placed too close to a heat source.
- Candles: Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over. Keep children and pets away from candles, and keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children. It’s also important to keep candles away from other things than can burn. Flameless, rather than lighted, candles should be used near flammable objects. Don’t forget to blow out lit candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
- Holiday lights: Make sure lights used indoors are made for indoor use and those used outside are for outdoor use. Plug all outdoor lights into an outlet that has ground fault circuit interrupter protection. Don’t nail or tack cords when hanging lights as this can damage the cord; use hooks instead. Check holiday light cords to make sure they aren’t frayed or broken, or have loose bulb connections. Always replace old or worn-out light strands. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect together─ generally no more than three. Turn off holiday lights off when going to sleep or leaving the house.
- Christmas trees: If buying a real tree, makes sure it’s fresh, cut off about two inches before setting it up to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, and water daily. Remove it from your home after the holidays, or when it becomes dry. Keep the tree at least three feet away from fire places, radiators, heat vents, and other sources of heat or open flames. If using an artificial tree, make sure it has a fire-resistant label.
- Fireplaces: Use a screen on the fireplace at all times when a fire is burning and make sure the flue is open. Don’t burn trees, wreaths, or wrapping paper in the fireplace. If hanging stockings on the fireplace mantel, don’t light the fireplace. Don’t leave fireplaces burning unattended or when you’re asleep. Check and clean the chimney and fireplace at least once a year.
Celebrate safely this holiday season by following these tips. Also, remember to test your smoke alarms and make sure they’re located in each bedroom, outside sleeping areas, and on every level, including the basement.
For additional information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. From all of us at Safety Partners, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season.