Christmas Tree decoration

Fire Safety Tips for the Holidays

For many of us, the holiday season means cooking, decorating, entertaining and celebrating. Follow these tips to ensure your family and friends have a fun, safe holiday season.

Tree Safety

  • Pick a tree with fresh, green needles and keep it moist by watering daily
  • Make sure it is at least three feet away from lights, fireplaces, heat vents or candles
  • When lighting the tree, use lights that have been tested and approved by a recognized facility
  • Always replace strings of lights that are worn out, have broken cords or loose bulb connections
  • Always turn off tree lights before leaving home or going to bed

Cooking Safety

  • Keep anything that could be flammable (oven mitts, food packaging) away from the stovetop
  • Always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking and use timers to remind yourself when you are simmering, baking or roasting
  • Be alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not cook
  • Have a “kid-free zone” around the stove and other preparation areas (unless your kids are trained helpers!)

When Entertaining

  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about exit routes
  • Keep matches and lighters in a high, locked cabinet
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles
  • Always be candle smart! Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires

When Decorating

  • Always choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant
  • Consider energy efficient LED lighting which produce less heat and therefore reduce fire risk
  • Check whether lights are for indoor or outdoor use; many are not for both
  • Use clips to hang lights, never staples or nails
  • Do not overload outlets, always check amperage of electrical devices
  • Always ensure decorations including trees do not block exits

After the Holiday Season

  • Be sure to dispose of your tree when it is dry. Dry trees are a fire hazard and should not be stored in or around your house
  • Bring outdoor lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and to help them last longer

Tips courtesy of the Office of the Fire Commissioner.