According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 160 home structure fires per year that began with the ignition of Christmas trees in 2016-2020. These fires caused multiple injuries and approximately $10 million in direct property damage annually. Follow these suggestions and keep your family, home, pets, and belongings safe this holiday season and throughout the New Year.
WINTER FIRE CAUSES
During the winter and throughout the holidays, several seasonal factors can increase the risk of fire in your home. These factors range from increased fireplace and candle usage to Christmas tree fire hazards. As festive as this lighting may be, it's important to keep specific holiday fire safety tips in mind. General holiday fire safety includes:
Never leave a room when a candle is burning. Candle fires are four times more likely to occur during the holidays.
Never burn wrapping paper, garbage, or other debris in your fireplace.
Always supervise children around fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and any open flames, even candles.
Check your space heater before using it. If it's not operating correctly or the cord is damaged in any way, don't use it. Plug your space heater directly into the wall outlet, not a surge protector.
CHRISTMAS TREE FIRE SAFETY
Live trees need to be fresh and stay fresh until removed from your home. Look for a tree with needles that pull back easily from the branches but don't break. Tap your tree on the ground. If it sheds a lot of needles, it's not fresh.
Keep a freshly cut tree watered to prevent it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
Never place your Christmas tree near a fireplace, wood-burning stove, or other open flames.
Never place real, burning candles on your Christmas tree as decorations, and keep lit candle displays at least three feet away from the tree.
Christmas trees should not block doorways or exit routes.
Consider buying fire-resistant artificial trees instead of fresh ones.
Inspect all strands of Christmas lights before placing them on your tree. Look for fraying wires and other damage.
Never use more than three sets of light strands per one extension cord.
Check all extension cords for damage or fraying; don't overload a single electrical outlet.
If you're going to be away from home, turn off the Christmas tree lights and consider unplugging all non-essential electronics and appliances.
Only decorate a tree with non-combustible or flame-resistant decorations.
OUTDOOR DECORATION FIRE SAFETY
Continue using safety precautions even when decorating outdoors:
Be sure that any extension cords you use outside are labeled for outdoor use. Look on the label and packaging to determine whether your cord is made for the outdoors.
All outdoor lights need to be fastened securely to your home's porch, columns, gutters, surrounding trees, or other supports that will stay secure, even in windy conditions.
Always plug outdoor lights and electric decorations into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet or use a surge protector for safety.
By keeping these safety tips in mind, you can help avoid any accidents this Holiday season. But if you should need our services, remember that we are here for you 24/7/365 as the leading provider of fire and water restoration services in the Chicago area. Call us at 800-954-9444.
We hope you have a wonderful time with your close friends and family during this holiday season!