As I was getting my holiday decorations down from the attic this week, I had Christmas songs playing – songs like White Christmas, I’ll be home for Christmas, Jingle Bells, and Check All Your Christmas Decorations for Fire Hazards. Oh, okay… “Check all Your Christmas Decorations for Fire Hazards” isn’t really a song – but maybe it should be! While candles, wreaths, lights, and trees can certainly “help to make the season bright”, those same decorations can cause fires when improperly used or maintained. Did you know there are more than 400 fires annually attributed to holiday decorations? Those fires are responsible for an average 21 deaths, 43 injuries, and over $25 million in property damages every year.
Heeding several safety tips to minimize potential fire hazards in your home can help to ensure your holiday season is both festive and safe.
9 Tips for a Happy and Safe Holiday Season
- Never leave candles burning unattended. Make certain candles are in non-flammable containers that are set away from Christmas trees, trimmings, and wrapping paper. Better yet – use flameless candles!
- Position your Christmas tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces and radiators.
- Be sure to keep your tree well-watered – a dry tree can catch fire and that fire can engulf a family room in less than 40 seconds. (http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/media/drytreefire/tree_fire.mpeg)
- Before starting a fire, be sure the flue is open and that you have removed all greens and decorations from the fireplace area.
- Only use Christmas lights that have been tested and have the U.L. (Underwriters Laboratories) seal of approval.
- Do NOT use any strands of Christmas lights with frays, broken sockets, bare wires, or loose connections.
- Turn off all Christmas lights before going to bed.
- Do not overload extension cords.
- Do not leave pots on the stove unattended.