Holiday décor is an absolute must in the Christmas season to make your home feel joyful. Unfortunately, many of our décor choices increase our risk for fires.
According to the American Red Cross, over 47,000 home fires occur each holiday season, causing thousands of injuries and claiming more than 500 lives. It’s critical to protect your family and home from holiday fires by choosing the right Christmas décor and following other safety precautions. Follow our tips for a safer, healthier, and happier holiday season.
Choosing Your Christmas Decor
Selecting safe décor is the first step to a fire-safe Christmas:
- Choose décor that is labeled as fire retardant or rated for fire safety.
- Do not use candles with a real flame, especially not near a Christmas tree, instead choose electrically powered fake candles. Some even have scents, so you can have the complete candle experience.
- Choose a tree and outdoor light strings that are rated for fire safety. LED lights deliver less heat than incandescent lights and will be safer if in close proximity to flammable materials.
- If you’re buying a real tree, buy it fresh and keep it well watered. If it dries out, it will be more of a fire hazard.
- When choosing an artificial tree, buy one that is made of fire-safe non-flammable materials.
- When you’re reusing last year’s décor, first inspect it for signs of damage. Frayed or damaged light strings are especially liable to start a fire.
- Also, check to see if any bulbs are burnt out, and replace them before use.
Placing Your Christmas Decor
Having the right décor is only half the battle. Placing it safely is the second key to fire safety.
- Do not block exits with wreaths, lights, or other flammable materials.
- Connect no more than three light strands to each outlet.
- Do not hang lights near flammable materials like gift wrap or dry greenery.
- Do not stand trees where they can block a fire exit or near any heat creating elements like vents or space heaters.
- Keep unnecessary Christmas décor, especially those items that are flammable, out of the kitchen. Most home fires occur in the kitchen and Christmas décor can fuel the fire.
- Remove trees promptly after the holiday season so that they aren’t in your home after they have dried out. Dry trees are a significant fire hazard.
- If you use real greenery for wreaths or holiday floral décor, they should also be disposed of after the holiday season or before they dry out.
In Case of Fire
If you do suffer a fire this holiday season, these tips will hopefully, help keep the fire damage to a minimum. Whenever you place potentially dangerous décor, including trees and light strings, you should ensure your home’s fire extinguishers are within reach. Specifically, an ABC rated fire extinguisher is best for the holiday season, because it can handle the electrical fires that can result from light strings.