Deck the Halls with Fire Safety

Here are some tips to help prevent fire while enjoying the winter holiday season.

Holiday Lights and Decorations

  • Keep candles away from decorations and combustible materials
  • Make sure all lights and electrical decorations you buy are labeled with the name of an independent testing lab
  • Check the manufacturer’s instructions for use and storage, and follow them carefully
  • Inspect light strands for damage and fix or replace faulty parts before plugging the lights in
  • Do not overload extension cords, and avoid connecting more than 3 strands of lights together
  • Never mount lights with staples or nails, because they could damage the wire insulation … Use clips to mount the lights instead
  • Turn off all light strands and electrical decorations before you go to sleep or leave your home
  • Bring outdoor lights inside after the holiday season to reduce fire hazards and extend the life of the lights

Buying a Christmas Tree

  • Purchase only live or cut trees that have fresh, green needles, and do not purchase a tree that is dry or is dropping needles
  • Be sure any artificial trees you buy are labeled "flame-retardant"

Setting Up a Christmas Tree

  • Use a sturdy tree stand that is designed not to tip over
  • Make sure the tree does not block an exit, and try to place it near an outlet so you do not need to run light cords across the room
  • Place the tree at least three feet away from all heat sources, such as fireplaces, wood stoves and radiators

Christmas Tree Lights

  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree, and place all candles far away from branches
  • Buy the right kind of lights: some lights are designed for outdoor or indoor use but not both, so use the appropriate type of lights and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Make sure that larger bulbs have some type of reflector around them, so they are not just bare bulbs
  • Do not use any light strands that have loose bulb connections or worn, frayed, or broken cords
  • Never use electric lights on a metal tree
  • Always unplug Christmas tree lights before going to sleep or leaving your home

Christmas Tree Maintenance

  • Water the tree daily to keep it as moist as possible
  • Dispose of the tree properly once it starts dropping needles—dried-out trees are highly flammable, so you should not leave them in the house or garage, or lean them against the side of your home