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11 Fire Safety Tips for the Holidays

Posted on: Nov 20.2014

Decorating homes for the holidays is a long standing tradition for many families. These traditions, while festive, do pose some fire or injury risks.

The National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration estimate holiday decorations cause almost 400 home fires each year, resulting in many losses of life as well as millions in property damage.

Below are simple safety tips to help prevent holiday décor from starting a fire in your home.

Christmas trees

What is a traditional Christmas morning without a beautifully decorated tree? If your home includes a natural tree, please make sure to water the tree daily. A well-watered tree can help prevent a fire in the event of an electrical short in the lights or an open flame happens to come in contact with the tree.

Tree selection: Select a fresh cut tree with green needles, branches should be hard to pull back and do not break. The trunk of the tree should be sticky to the touch.

Tree location:  When choosing the perfect location for the tree, place it away from any source of heat which can cause the tree to dry out quickly. A dry tree has a higher risk a fire.

Tree disposal: When the time comes to dispose of the Christmas tree make sure to discard it promptly by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick up service.

Holiday Lights

Inspecting lights: Inspect your lights for any problems such as frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets. If any of these things are found please discard these lights and do not use them.

Electrical outlets: More than three light strands in one outlet can overload an outlet. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Periodically check the wires of the lights to ensure they are not warm to the touch. It is also important to turn off lights when no one is home.

Holiday Decorations

Nonflammable decorations: There are many flame-retardant decorations available for purchase for the holidays and always make sure decorations are placed away from heat vents.

Exit: Ensure that trees and other holiday decorations do not block exits in case of an emergency situation.

Exterior Decorations: Make sure lawn decorations do not block emergency vehicle access to the home if there is an emergency.

Candle Care

Unattended candles: Never leave a candle burning unattended. A nice option to open flame candles are battery –operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.

Candle use: Ensure candles are placed in a location that prevents them from being easily tipped over. Keep all candles at least 12 inch away from any flammable items. Avoid using candles in bedrooms or sleeping areas.

Fires can start any time of year, but there is an increased risk during the holiday season.  Following these tips will help ensure that everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday season.