Holiday Fire Safety
Festive lighting, windowsill candles, and ornamented Christmas trees are staples of the holidays, but these decorative items also pose a fire risk if handled improperly.
In 2011–2015, on average, one out of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 reported home fires. Click here to read more from the NFPA Fact Sheet.
Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in two of every five (40%) home Christmas tree fires. Click here to view the danger of a dry Christmas tree verses one that has been properly watered: Dry vs. Wet Christmas Tree Fires
Here are the National Fire Protective Association’s tips for safe holiday decorating:
- Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Check the packaging; some lights are only for indoor use.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
- Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
- Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
For proper Christmas tree safety:
- Keep your tree well watered. A dry tree can be extremely dangerous. See how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be in comparison to a well-watered tree in a demonstration by the NFPA.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Get rid of the tree when it is dry. Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
- Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.