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Holiday Fire Safety 

Decorating for the holidays and cooking for family and friends  are fun and important traditions during the holidays, however they all present truly dangerous fire hazards that can really put a damper on Christmas. Here are some tips to help your family have a holly-jolly- fire safe Christmas!


  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 790 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees.
  • Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in more than two in five home Christmas tree fires.
  • Nearly one in five Christmas tree fires were started by lamps or bulbs. Eight percent were started by candles.
  • Roughly two of every five home Christmas tree fires started in the living room.
  • Candle fires peak in December and January with 11 percent of candle fires in each of these months.
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
  • Year round, one-third (33%) of home decoration fires were started by candles. This jumped to almost half in December when candles started 46% of such fires. Cooking started one-fifth (19%) of decoration fires.


  • Blow out all candles when you leave a room and before going to bed.
  • Keep candles 1 foot away from anything that can burn.
  • Keep matches and candles out of reach of children.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy and can’t tip easily. 
  • Never place a candle on a cluttered surface.
  • Be careful while lighting a candle. Keep hair and loose clothing away.
  • Don’t use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.


  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in a stand, cut 2 inches off the base of the trunk.
  • Keep tree 3 feet away from any heat source.
  • Never place your Christmas tree in an exit route. 
  • Add water daily to the tree stand.
  • When decorating the tree, use lights that are tested by a qualified laboratory. Some lights can only be used indoors or outdoors.
  • Never decorate a tree with lit candles.
  • Replace any lights with worn cords or loose connections.
  • Always turn off your Christmas tree lights before leaving or going to bed.


  • Don’t use the stove or stove top if you have consumed alcohol.
  • Remain in the kitchen if you are frying, baking, broiling or grilling food.
  • Check on food that is simmering often.
  • Always use a timer!
  • Keep anything flammable away from stovetop.


Keeping a dry tree in your house or close to your house after the holidays presents a fire hazard.  Here are some local recycling dates  to help you and your family safety recycle your Christmas tree.

christmas tree recycling dates

 For other tips on fire safety, please visit the National Fire Protection Association's website.