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.
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.
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.