Fire Safety Tips for the Holiday Season
The winter holidays are often a time of celebration; with family, food, and a variety of traditions. Enjoying meals together, decorating Christmas trees, and warming up together by the fire are just a few end of year favorites.
When you start preparing for for those family visits, lighting those new sweet-smelling candles from Bed Bath and Beyond, and putting on your favorite holiday music, keep these simple fire safety practices in mind to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Holiday Fire Safety Tips
The most common house fires come from cooking, candles, electrical fires, …see the pattern? Every year during the holidays, hundreds of fires are reported due to Christmas trees, candles, and fireplaces. Most fires are preventable, if just a few simple safety measures are put in place.
So, as you bring out the candles, the bright lights, and wood for the fireplace, follow these holiday safety tips and enjoy a safer holiday season.
1) Use caution when putting up Christmas lights on your Christmas tree and around your home
- Always check whether your lights are instructed for indoor or outdoor use and keep cords dry and away from any moist surfaces. Improper use of indoor or outdoor lights can increase your risk of a fire incident.
- Use a wooden ladder instead of a metal ladder when stringing lights to prevent accidental electrical shock.
- Only plug outdoor Christmas lights into circuits protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs).
- Don’t use Christmas lights with worn, cracked or frayed cords.
- Stringing to many lights together can increase your risk of an electrical shock or fire. Likewise, do not overload your outlets when plugging in lights and other electrical decorations.
2) Keep flammable items away from cooktops, ovens, and candles
- Towels, curtains, holiday decorations and other flammable materials should remain at least 3 feet away from any hot or flammable source.
3) Use candleholders to properly secure candles before lighting the flame
- Keep candles out of reach of children.
- Candle holding devices can help secure candles to prevent accidents such as hot wax spills.
4) Never leave lights or candles on overnight
- This includes unplugging lights on your Christmas tree or other decorations around the house.
5) Check your fireplace to ensure it is clean before use.
- Using a fire screen will help protect you and your loved ones from the flames and ensure embers stay contained.
- Be sure to all flames are extinguished once you’re finished using the fireplace.
How to Prevent Christmas Tree Fires
Whether you prefer a real tree or an artificial tree, there are Christmas tree safety tips to follow when getting ready this holiday season. According to NFPA, between 2015-2019, US fire departments responded to an average of 160 house fires per year that began due to Christmas trees!
How to Pick an Artificial Christmas Tree
Artificial trees are often made to be fire resistant. When shopping for your tree, check to see if the label indicates it is fire resistant. This may not prevent a fire from occurring, but it will help your tree resist burning and extinguish more easily.
If you’re hoping for a pre-lite artificial Christmas tree, make sure the tree has a seal for an approved safety testing laboratory. Replace any bulbs that are burnt out before plugging in your tree.
Even though many artificial trees can be fire resistant, you should still make sure your tree is set up away from any heat sources.
How to Pick a Real Christmas Tree
Nothing beats the smell of a real Christmas tree. To ensure your tree stays fresh and lasts all season, be sure to pick a tree with fresh green needles that do not easily come off when you touch them. Stay away from dry trees as they are a higher risk for catching fire.
Be sure to check the water level of your stand daily and ensure there is always water left. This will help prevent your tree from drying out to quickly.
Just like artificial trees, real trees should not be placed near any heat sources as this will greatly increase the risk of a fire.
How do Christmas Trees Catch Fire?
Christmas trees can catch fire for several reasons including electrical causes such as decorations and heat sources that may be located to close to your tree.
If you purchased your real Christmas tree early in the season, you could be at an increased risk of your tree catching on fire. The longer your tree has been cut, the dryer it becomes, and your Christmas tree could show signs of dryness before the holiday season is over. Dry Christmas trees are more susceptible to heat sources or Christmas lights that could also cause electrical fires.
A fire can easily be avoided when proper holiday fire safety precautions are taken. So, be safe, follow these Christmas safety tips, and enjoy a wonderful holiday season with friends and family.
Are Christmas Lights a Fire Hazard?
It’s that time of year again when Christmas lights are put up all around town. While they are pretty to look at, it’s important to remember that they can also be a fire hazard. Fires from Christmas lights are more common than many might think. When putting up your holiday lights, be sure to follow these Christmas light safety tips to prevent fires:
- Test and inspect all your lights before decorating.
- Use extension cords that are rated for the environment where you’re hanging them and electrical load you’re putting on them.
- Don’t overload the electrical sockets.
Holiday Cooking Safety
Whether you’re hosting a party or simply bringing along food, by following these tips, you can avoid kitchen fires and cook more safely.
- Keep your kitchen safe by storing flammable items away from the stove, including oven mitts, potholders, food packaging and dishtowels. Be sure to wear fitted clothing while cooking to avoid any accidents with loose fabric catching fire on burners.
- Never leave your food unattended while cooking. If you’re using the stovetop, remain in the kitchen so you can monitor the food. Check on oven-cooked dishes frequently, and set a timer to remind yourself.
- Keep the floors clear of obstacles that can cause you to trip, such as bags or toys. To avoid any accidents, it is best to keep pets in another room where they are less likely to trip someone up.
- Pay attention while cooking. If you’re exhausted or have been drinking, ask someone else to finish up for you.
- Be very careful when handling hot liquids, food and containers as they can all cause serious burns. Always keep hot liquids near the center of the table, where they are less likely to be knocked over!
- Lastly, always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off. The last thing you want is a kitchen fire!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Christmas Lights Cause a Fire?
Yes, Christmas lights can start a fire if safety precautions are not taken. The risk of starting a fire increases when using multiple strands of lights at once. If you use Christmas lights indoors, you should be careful about where you place them. Avoid placing them near flammable materials such as curtains, rugs, or furniture.
Are LED Christmas Lights a Fire Hazard?
LED Christmas lights can start fires if safety precautions are not followed. When using multiple strands of lights, you need to be extra careful about where they are placed. Avoid placing them near any flammable materials like curtains, carpets, or furniture.
Are Artificial Trees Flammable?
Although artificial trees are less flammable than real trees, artificial trees can still start a fire with enough heat.