While the holiday season is a beautiful time of year, it is a particularly dangerous time for fires. The weather is getting colder and more people are using indoor heating sources such as heaters and fireplaces, which increase the risk of home fires.

As you prepare to celebrate with family and friends, now is also the time to protect your home and family from the increased threat of fire that comes this time of year. Here are five important tips.

  • 1

    Christmas Tree Placement

    Although the lights and decor can be beautiful, these trees could be a fire hazard. Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire but make sure your tree isn't readily shedding. Always place your tree away from heat sources such as the fireplace, holiday candles, radiators, lights, and vents. Check your surroundings prior to finding the perfect and safe place for your tree. Don't forget to keep your tree watered.

  • 2

    Holiday Candle Safety

    December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.Keep all of your candles away from your Christmas tree and other holiday decor. Make sure to keep burning candles are in good eye sight and out of reach of children and pets.  Always place your candle on a sturdy surface with a candle holder. Keep your candle away from anything that may cause combustion. Always burn candles in a well ventilated room and consider switching to battery operated candles.

  • 3

    Christmas Lights

    Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and toss out any damaged lights. If it's hot, unplug it. Steer clear of using tacks, nails or screws to hang lights which can pierce the cable and become easily electrifying. Use insulated hooks instead. When using outdoor lights make sure to elevate plugs and connectors with a brick to keep snow, water and debris out of the connections. When using indoor lights keep them from flammable objects.

  • 4

    Cooking Food Unattended

    Cooking is the top reason for holiday fires. Leaving food unattended while cooking has resulted in house fires and burned food. Getting distracted with the family or the kids happens easily around this time of year. However, by taking  a pot holder with you when multitasking can be a great reminder that you have something cooking.

  • 5


    Right before the holiday season have your chimney inspected to see if it needs a cleaning before use. Soot can harden on chimney walls as flammable creosote and be very hazardous. Make sure to NEVER use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace. Only burn seasoned wood. DO NOT use wrapping paper.

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