Secrets to Holiday Fire Safety

Holiday decorations and crackling fires help make a happy and festive holiday season. Careful use of decorations and simple precautions can help ensure a SAFE holiday! Keep reading below to find some tips and tricks to prevent a holiday fire disaster.

Christmas Trees- The dryer the tree, the greater the fire hazard.

Follow these simple steps to help minimize the risk of fire:

  • Recut the trunk at least two inches above the old cut, this allows it to continue to pull moisture into its foliage.
  • Keep the trunk in water after it is recut.
  • Check the water levels daily; never allow the water level go below the bottom of the trunk.
  • Shedding of excessive needles indicates a dry tree.
  • Commercial floral preservatives can be added to the water to help keep the tree fresh.
  • If holiday distractions mean watering will slip your mind, consider investing in an artificial tree or try an automatic watering system.

Lights and Decorations


  • Choose only decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Use lights that have a UL seal, which certifies durability and safety.
  • LED lights produce almost no heat, making them safe to touch and reducing the risk of fire.


  • Use indoor lights inside and outdoor lights outside.
  • Keep decorations away from heat sources.
  • Check for frayed wires, broken bulbs, sockets, and loose connections
  • Do not attempt to repair worn electrical cords
  • Do not link more than three light strands
  • Do not overload electrical outlets, use as few power cords as possible
  • The larger a bulb is, the more heat it will generate. Inspect surfaces after your first light up to monitor for possible heat damage to gutters and surfaces.
  • Unplug lights at bedtime

Facts about home holiday fires

  • Annually, $2,091,000,000 in property loss occurs from winter home fires
  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every six of Christmas tree fires
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires – as a result, 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year

Source: National Fire Incident Reporting System 2009-2011