Holiday Fire Safety

Holidays

Guests

  • Make sure there is a working smoke alarm in every level of your home and every bedroom to ensure family and overnight guests are safe
  • Make sure overnight guests are aware of your fire escape plan
  • Remove fire hazards from children who may be visiting, such as moving matches and lighters out of reach, or covering outlets



Cooking

  • Have a fire extinguisher near you while cooking (no more than 10 feet from the stove) and know how to use it
  • Start your holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven
  • Keep young children out of the kitchen to avoid burns, spilling hot liquids, or injury from hot steam
  • Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry while cooking which could catch on fire, or cause burns and spills
  • Cook on the back burners when possible
  • Turn pot handles away so they don't hang over the edge of the stove
  • Never leave cooking unattended
  • It is NOT recommended to use a a turkey fryer to cook your turkey, but if you do choose to use one, please take a look at these helpful tips to stay safe



Decorations

  • Keep decorations away from direct sources of heat
  • If using candles make sure they are always within sight, and place them out of reach of children or where someone won't accidentally knock them over
  • Never use string lights that have worn, frayed, or broken cords/bulbs
  • When decorating your tree, make sure you are using tree-safe lights (some lights are designed only for indoor or outdoor use, not both)
  • Never use electric lights on a metal tree
  • Unplug lights/decorations before leaving your home or going to sleep
  • DO NOT use lit candles to decorate your tree
  • Ensure all holiday decorations are nonflammable/flame-retardant, and do not place them near sources of heat
  • Do not put wrapping paper in the fireplace, it can create sparks and chemical build-up in the fireplace
  • Make sure small children or pets do not play with the wiring/lights on the tree



Trees

  • Look for "Fire Resistant" artificial Christmas trees
  • If choosing a live tree:
    • Make sure the tree is fresh:
      • Look for one with green needles
      • Gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward you; very few needles should come off in your hand
      • The tree trunk should be sticky to the touch
      • If you bounce the tree on the ground and a lot of the needles fall off, do not choose this tree as it has probably dried out
    • Do not put up a live tree too early or leave it up for longer than 2 weeks
    • Make sure the tree stand is filled with water at all times
      • If you are not setting up the tree right away, store it in water outside
        • Make a fresh cut off the bottom of the trunk one half inch from the bottom just before putting it in the stand
      • DO NOT add anything to the tree's water. Research has shown plain tap water is by far the best. Some commercial additives and home concoctions can actually be detrimental to a tree's moisture retention and increase needle loss
      • The tree stand you use should hold at least one quart of water for every inch diameter of the trunk after the tree is in the stand
    • Do not place your tree near heat sources (heat registers, space heaters, fire places, wood stoves, televisions, computer monitors, etc.) where it may catch fire, or dry out the tree potentially starting a fire
    • Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood stove
    • When the tree becomes dry, dispose of it it promptly by taking it to a recycling center or have it picked up by a community pick-up service
    • Do not store dried-out trees in the house, garage, or against the outside of the house
  • Use a sturdy tree stand so your tree does not accidentally tip over



Halloween


  • When choosing a costume stay away from long trailing fabric or bulky costumes that could catch on fire
  • Choose a costume that is flame retardant
  • Keep all decorations, especially items like crepe paper or cornstalks, away from open flames, light bulbs, and heaters
  • Keep exits clear of decorations in order not to block possible escape routes
  • Use caution when using a candle for jack-o-lanterns, or opt for a battery-operated candle
  • When lighting jack-o-lanterns use a utility lighter or a longer style of matches
  • If using lit candles in jack-o-lanterns, be sure to watch children around them, and place them far enough away from anything that could potentially burn in case they tip over