Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season.
Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire, so take a minute to be sure you’re decorating safely.
An estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year*.
Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage*.
Check out this 48 second video, it’ll help you make sure you’re keeping your natural tree adequately watered… it shows there’s not much time to take action if you neglect to keep your natural trees adequately watered, take a look…
- Within three seconds of ignition, this dry Scotch pine is completely ablaze
- At five seconds, the fire extends up the tree and black smoke with searing gases streaks across the ceiling
- Fresh air near the floor feeds the fire
- The sofa, coffee table, and the carpet ignite prior to any flame contact
- Within 40 seconds, “flashover” – the entire room erupts into flames, oxygen is depleted and dense, deadly toxic smoke engulfs the scene – occurs
Please read through these quick guidelines to help ensure you have a safe and happy holiday season…
Maintain Your Holiday Lights
Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.
Do not leave holiday lights on unattended!
Use Only Nonflammable Decorations
All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.
Don’t Block Exits
Ensure that trees and other holiday decorations do not block an exit way. In the event of a fire, time is of the essence. A blocked entry/exit way puts you and your family at risk.
Never Put Wrapping Paper in the Fireplace
Wrapping paper in the fireplace can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire.
Avoid Using Lit Candles
Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
If You Do Use Lit Candles
Make sure candles are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn. Never leave a room or go to bed with candles burning.
Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree
Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame – candles, lighters or matches.
*Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA)