Fire Safety Tips for the Holidays

A sparkling tree, a glowing fireplace, a hot oven: All of these things contribute to that warm, cozy feeling that is synonymous with the holidays, but our beloved holiday traditions and decorations also pose a fire risk. In fact, the winter holidays are the most common time for house fires.[1]

It’s important to take fire safety seriously, especially at a time when home fire risk is at a peak. Follow these tips to stay safe with your holiday festivities.

Lights & Candles

  • Check holiday lights every year for frayed wires or excessive wear.

  • Check whether your lights are designated for indoor or outdoor use, and only use lights that have the label of a qualified testing laboratory.

  • Choose LED string lights, which don’t get hot to the touch.

  • Don’t connect more than three strands of lights together.

  • Keep candles 12 inches away from other objects.

  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.

  • Opt for flameless, battery-powered candles.

  • Use clips instead of nails to hang exterior lights to avoid damaging the wires.

Christmas Trees

  • Only buy artificial trees that have a fire-resistant label.

  • If you’re buying a real tree, choose one with fresh, green needles that don’t fall off easily.

  • Before placing the tree in the base, cut off 2 inches from the trunk. This allows it to soak up more water and retain moisture.

  • Water your natural tree every day.

  • Keep Christmas trees — real or fake — 3 feet away from any heat source, such as space heaters, fireplaces, or vents.

  • Turn off tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.

  • Get rid of your tree after Christmas or once it has dried out, and don’t place it against the home or garage. A dry tree can catch fire easily, and most Christmas-tree-related fires occur after the holiday in January.


  • Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your fireplace and chimney every year.

  • Open the damper before starting a fire, and keep it open until the fire goes out completely.

  • Use a fire screen to keep embers and logs from falling out.

  • Keep all furniture and decorations at least 3 feet away from the fireplace. If you hang stockings from the fireplace, remove them before lighting a fire.

  • Make sure the fire is fully extinguished before heading to bed (you should see no glowing embers).

  • Scoop out the ashes in between fires.


  • Never leave the stove unattended.

  • Keep flammable items, such as kitchen towels or oven mitts, away from the stove and oven.

  • Don’t wear loose fitting clothing when cooking.

  • Clean kitchen surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup.

  • Keep children and pets at least 3 feet from the stove.

  • If a small stove fire ignites, do not throw water on it. Smother it with a lid or baking soda. If the fire is too big, get out of the house and call 911.

  • Use turkey fryers outdoors, and keep them away from buildings and trees. Never place your fryer on a wooden deck. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before frying.

You Might Also Like: