Here are some pointers from the National Fire Protection Association, to help you to keep the season merry and bright — and avoid the dangers of a holiday fire.
- Choose decorations that are flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
- Keep lit candles away from decorations and other items that can catch fire.
- Pay attention to the holiday lights you are using and where you display them: Some lights are for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the number of light strands to connect.
- Use clips, not nails, to hang lights to avoid damaging cords.
- Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
- Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about how to evacuate safely, in case of a fire.
- Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
- Keep matches and lighters stored high.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
- Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them to prevent young children from touching them.
- Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Be sure to moisten cigarette butts with water, before discarding them.
Before heading to bed
- Blow out lit candles when leaving a room, or going to bed.
- Turn off all holiday lights and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
Reminder: Be very careful with candles
More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles. Nearly half of all fires involving holiday decorations occur because the decorations are placed too close to a heat source.
Pointers to prevent Christmas tree fires
- Choose a Christmas tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in its stand, to help it absorb water.
- Be sure your tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source, such as a fireplace, radiator, candle, or heat vent.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Once you’ve placed the tree, add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
- When adding lights to the tree, be sure the lights are listed by a qualified testing laboratory. Pay attention to what type of lights you are using. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, while others can be used for both.
- Pay attention to how many light strands can be safely connected (read manufacturer instructions).
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Be sure to keep your Christmas tree watered through the holidays. After the holidays, dispose of it.
- Remember that dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
Published December 07, 2022
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