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Common Winter Fire Hazards

Author: ServiceMaster Restore

Winter months are known for the festive holidays, time spent with friends and families, and keeping warm and cozy. Did you know that winter is the top season for house fires? Wonder why? It’s simple when you think about it, we’re home more - we need more heat, and we’re often, surrounded by family and holiday decor. At ServiceMaster Restore®, we want to make sure that you stay safe over the holidays. Use these tips to properly manage the most common winter fire risks while you enjoy time at home.


Candles are popular over the holidays for their charming glow and lovely aromas. Unfortunately, candle fires spike over the holidays, especially on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. During this time, up to 25 candle fires are reported each day.

An open flame, no matter how small, is not something to take lightly. When using candles during the holiday candles, follow these safety tips:

  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from any flammable objects.
  • Try not to use candles in the bedroom, where they may be forgotten if you fall asleep.
  • Do not leave small children or pets alone in a room with a lit candle.
  • Blow out candles every time you leave the room.


Half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February. Space heaters are a convenient way to fight against the cold, however, when improperly used, they can also cause destructive house fires. One in every seven home fires and one in every five home fire deaths involves heating equipment.

When using a space heater in the winter, keep your family and your home safe by following these tips:

  • Keep flammable objects at least three feet away from a space heater.
  • Turn off the space heater when going to bed or leaving the room.
  • Have your heating equipment inspected and cleaned by a qualified professional before each winter season.
  • Install and test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.
  • Plug only 1 heat-producing appliance (like a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.


There's nothing cozier than warming up by a fireplace on a cold winter night, but not taking the right precautions when lighting a fire can be highly dangerous.

Limit your risk of fire and smoke damage by following these tips:

  • Make sure the damper is open before lighting the fireplace.
  • Don't close the damper until all ashes are completely cooled.
  • Keep the screen closed while the fireplace is lit.
  • Always put the fire out before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Keep any flammable objects far away from the fireplace.
  • Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings.

Use These Additional Home Fire Safety Tips Year-Round:

  • Install a smoke detector on every level of your home.
  • Test your smoke detectors once a month and replace batteries when needed.
  • Create a family emergency evacuation plan and practice it at least twice a year.
  • Keep portable generators outside, away from windows, and as far away from your home as possible.
  • If you decorate outside your house, use the proper gauge extension cord and weatherproof outlets to prevent electrical fires.
  • Turn off electric blankets when not in use.

As well as using candles, space heaters, and fireplaces in a safe manner, there are some basic fire safety measures you can take to limit risk of holiday fires in your home during the holidays.

At ServiceMaster Restore, we know how important it is to keep our families safe. We also know that even if you follow our winter holiday fire safety tips perfectly, accidents can still happen. In the event that the unimaginable happens to you this season, call on us to help. Our fire damage services use superior quality tools, innovative techniques, and decades of professional expertise to get your home back to normal as quickly as possible.

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