Holiday Safety Tips Minimize
Christmas Tree Safety
  • One out of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems. Make sure all your Christmas lights are in good working order, with no frayed cords or missing lights. Don’t link more than three strands of lights together at a time.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six of Christmas tree fires. Keep your tree away from heating vents, space heaters or fireplaces.
  • Make sure the tree you select is fresh and free of dry/falling needles. In the tree lot, run fingers gently over a branch and bend it slightly. If the wood breaks and/or needles fall easily from it, the tree is too dry.
  • A fresh cut in the base should me made (straight across, for better water intake) right before placing in the stand.
  • The trunk should be submerged in water at all times. Check the water level daily, to prevent drying out.
*Statistics courtesy of NFPA
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.
  • More than half (56%) of home candle fires occur when something that can catch on fire is too close to the candle. Avoid placing candles near trees, curtains, or any other flammable materials.
  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles. (see pic)
  • Put candles in sturdy metal, glass, or ceramic holders.
  • Place candles where they cannot tip over, and out of reach of children and pets.
  • NEVER leave a lit candle unattended!
  • Blow out candles after use and before going to bed.

Fireplace Safety Minimize
Fireplace Safety
  • The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys. Have your chimneys professionally cleaned annually, to prevent buildup, and make sure chimney tops have spark arrestors (screen) above, to prevent falling leaves, debris or wildlife from entering.
  • Use a metal or glass fireplace screen to keep sparks from hitting nearby carpets or furniture.
  • Keep kindling, paper, and décor away from fireplaces and wood stoves.
  • Make sure firewood has been properly seasoned/dried prior to burning – “wet” wood can cause excessive sparking and smoking when lit.

Space Heater Safety Minimize
Space Heaters/Heating Fires
  • Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, account for one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) of home heating fire deaths.
  • Keep heaters at LEAST 3 feet away from combustible materials.  Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half (53%) of home heating fire deaths.
  • When purchasing a space heater, look for safety features such as automatic shut-downs (to prevent overheating).
  • Never purchase a used safety heater, as several older models can be hazardous, or could have been damaged by a previous owner. 
  • Don't place heaters in wet places like bathrooms/shower areas.
  • Never use extension cords to plug in heaters.
  • Like candles, never leave a space heater going unattended, especially if you have children or pets in the home.

For more information on heating and winter safety, FEMA has issued the following video:


Keep Christmas trees away from fireplaces, heating vents and other sources of heat.



Battery operated candles like these are a great alternative to decorating with traditional candles.

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