MySafetySign Blog

Surviving Christmas: Fire safety tips for the holidays

[Image courtesy: andrew.petro]

Placing Christmas tree near the fireplace is no less than an invitation to a house fire. [Image courtesy: andrew.petro]

Although fire safety is a perennial issue, Christmas is the time when a little extra precaution is recommended. That’s because everything that makes this holiday beautiful — candles, wreaths, outdoor lighting, chestnut-roasting — also makes it hazardous. Home fires are common (and preventable) during the holiday season.

U.S. fire department responds to an average of 230 Christmas tree fires every year. These fires cause an average of 6 deaths, 22 injuries, and $18.3 million in direct property damage every year.

Electrical problems make for one-third (32%) of home Christmas tree structure fires in America.

It’s easy to forget the obvious fire hazards during the merry-making. So here’s a reminder post about everything you should watch out for, so that your holidays are merry and bright — just not too bright.

The comforts of home cooking

Many holiday traditions revolve around food, and big elaborate meals require a lot of attention in the kitchen. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires during the holidays. Fifty-eight percent of kitchen fires involve stovetops. Moreover, electric stovetops are more risky than gas ranges.

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum ..

… How flammable are thy branches! According to the US Fire Administration, one of every 40 Christmas tree fires results in a death. Dry trees catch fire more easily than fresh ones. If you bring home a natural tree for Christmas, check its freshness and if you bring an artificial tree, check it for its fire resistance.

Better to light a candle (safely!) than to curse the darkness

December is the peak month for candle fires. According to US Fire Administration, 11% of all home candle fires occur during this month as compared to 4% that occur rest of the year. 

Twinkling lights on winter nights

[Photo credit: George Deputee]

Outdoor Christmas displays are a beautiful way to draw attention to your festive cheer, and trimming the windows with lights can bring your holiday spirit throughout the house. However, these twinkling lights can be another fire hazard if not installed or maintained properly.

Besides the above Christmas fire safety tips, remember to check your smoke alarms weekly during the holiday season. Keep fire extinguishers, escape ladders, emergency kits, and flashlights within easy reach. Last of all and most importantly, enjoy a safe Christmas!