It’s no secret that holiday lights help make the season beautiful and brighten up our evening drive home from work, but they can also create a fire safety hazard if you’re not careful.
This is the season to enjoy good times and be with family and friends. While enjoying the season most of us are not affected by holiday accidents or tragedies; and to help you keep it that way, consider the following when decorating for the holidays :

Christmas Trees:
The National Christmas Tree Association estimates 36 million trees are sold each year. Christmas trees are involved in about 400 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 80 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage. To reduce the chance of becoming a statistic, we suggest:

  • Choose a fresh tree, cut 1to 2 inches off of the trunk and put it in a stand designed to support the tree, the trunk of the tree should be “mushed” to allow it to soak up water
  • Place the tree away from heat sources, exits and flammable materials
  • Water the tree daily, it will lose a ½ gallon of water a day (6’ tree)
  • Check lights for damaged sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections. No more than 3 strands connected together.
  • Shut off the lights before you leave or go to sleep
  • Tree should not lose needles if you tap on the trunk
  • Dispose of tree properly (not in the fire barrel on New Years Eve) consider recycling your tree

Extension Cords:

  • Should be Underwriters Laboratories listed with the correct amperage stamped in the cord
  • Do not plug an extension cord into an extension cord
  • For multiple cords, use a fused power strip
  • Do not fold, staple or mutilate the cord (shut in door, walked on/driven over, under carpet)
  • Do not modify the ground feature of any electrical cord

Candles:
Historically, December experiences double the number of home candle fires. Candle use has increased 100% in the last 5 years. Over the last decade, candle fires have tripled. In 2001 alone, an estimated 18,000 home fires started by candles were reported to fire departments, an all time high. These fires resulted in 190 deaths, 1,450 injuries and an estimated property loss of $265 million (National Fire Protection Association). We suggest:

  • Candles should be in/on a sturdy nonflammable container/base that is large enough to collect dripping wax
  • Candles should be extinguished before you leave or go to sleep
  • Candles, kids and pets don’t mix. Keep them away from each other
  • Never put candles on a tree, in windows or near exits
Did we miss any holiday lighting safety tips? Share your tips in the comments section below!