It’s the time of the year when we are putting up our holiday decorations and hosting holiday parties. Christmas decorations are fun and festive, but they are also responsible for numerous house fires every year. Don’t let a house fire turn you into a Scrooge this holiday season. Learn about the fire dangers and take some safety precautions.
Candles are responsible for two out of every five home decoration fires. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, candle fires cause an annual average of 115 civilian deaths, 903 civilian fire injuries, and $418 million in direct property damage. 56% of home candle fires occur when something too close to the candle ignites.
Fire Safety Tips
- Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
- Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
- Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
- Always place candle holder on an uncluttered surface.
- Use candle holders that are sturdy.
- Think about using flameless candles in your home.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, line-voltage or decorative lights start an average of 170 home structures each year. The fires cause a 7 deaths, 17 injuries and 7.9 million in property damage yearly.
Fire Safety Tips
- Look for UL on the label (Underwriters Laboratories).
- Follow manufacturer guidelines (indoor vs. outdoor).
- Use clips versus nails to hang lights to avoid damaging the cords.
- Disregard any damaged lights: broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, loose connections, etc.
- Per single extension cord: use no more than three standard size light sets.
- Avoid hanging lights near loose paper, flammable material, etc.
- Outdoor lights, inflatables, and other decorations should be plugged into outlets protected by ground fault interrupters.
- Use extension cords approved for outdoor use.
- Never run a light cord under a rug.
- Lights should not be allowed to touch carpet, drapes or furniture.
- Turn all lights off when you leave the house or when you go to bed.
- Purchases light decorations from a trusted retailer to avoid the risk of purchasing counterfeit products.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, Christmas trees start an average 250 home structure fires a year. These fires cause an average of 14 deaths, 26 injures and 13.8 million in property damage. Electrical problems are responsible for one of out of three Christmas tree fires. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are likely to be very serious and cause a lot of damage.
Please take a moment to watch this video (provided by the U.S. Fire Administration) illustrating what happens when fire touches a dry tree versus a properly maintained, well-watered tree: https://youtu.be/AZk4vIXCnc8
Fire Safety Tips
- When choosing a live tree, look for fresh, green needles that are hard to pluck and a trunk sticky with sap. The tree needles should be hard to pull off the branches.
- Cut an additional 2 inches off the trunk.
- Keep it watered at all times. Water every day.
- Place tree at least three feet from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, etc.
- Artificial Trees: Look for one that has been tested and labeled as fire resistant.
Have fun with your festive holiday decorations and be safe!