Holiday Decoration Fire Safety
Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other December holidays are a fun time to spend with loved ones. Unfortunately, they also come with hazards that increase your risk of a house fire. With a few simple Christmas decoration safety tips, you can ensure a fire-free holiday season.
Christmas Tree Safety
While Christmas tree fires aren’t very common, they are likely to cause serious damage if they occur. About 200 Christmas tree fires ignite each holiday season, resulting in six deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in property damage per year. Protect your home and family with these Christmas tree safety tips:
- If you pick out a live Christmas tree every year, choose one with fresh, healthy needles. You know you’ve found a good one if the needles remain intact when you touch them.
- Cut 2 inches from the base of your live Christmas tree before placing it on the stand. Position the tree at least three feet away from the fireplace, radiator, candles, lamps, and other heat sources. Water the tree every day to keep it moist.
- Use UL-listed Christmas tree lights rated for indoor use. Check strands closely as you hang them and replace any with frayed cords or loose light bulb connections. Only link together the number of strands recommended by the manufacturer. Remember to turn off Christmas tree lights before you go to bed.
- Throw away or recycle the Christmas tree when the holiday is over. Don’t store a dried-out tree in your home, garage, or yard, as the drier it becomes, the more flammable it becomes.
Holiday Decoration Safety
US fire departments respond to about 840 home fires each year that begin because of holiday decorations, not including Christmas trees. These fires cause two deaths, 36 injuries, and $11.4 million in property damage per year. Don’t let your holiday decorations go up in smoke—implement these safety tips:
- Choose decorations that are flame retardant or resistant. Then, keep these decorations at least 12 inches away from the fireplace, open candle flames, and other heat sources.
- Check light strands for an indoor or outdoor rating, and replace any broken or missing bulbs before hanging up the lights. Use clips for this task, not nails, to prevent damaging the cord.
About 300 holiday decoration fires, or 36 percent of the total amount reported, are started by candles. The top three days for candle fires include Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. Enjoy this traditional holiday décor safely with these tips:
- Store matches and lighters up high, preferably in a locked cupboard.
- Place candles in sturdy holders and set them somewhere that children and pets can’t reach.
- Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to bed. If a ceremonial candle must burn continuously, place it in an enclosed glass container and set it in the sink, or a metal tray, or in a deep water-filled basin.
- Keep candles away from other decorations or flammable materials. Never decorate the Christmas tree with lit candles, and don’t set candles on windowsills where curtains or blinds could catch fire.
- Don’t allow small children to hold a lit candle. Consider battery-operated candles for holiday ceremonies.
With these tips for decorating your home safely this holiday season, you can keep your Christmas celebrations festive, fun, and fire-free.
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