“Put a Freeze on Holiday Winter Fires” is the current campaign slogan of the US Fire Administration (USFA), with key messages and outreach materials to help spread the word about holiday fire safety.
The USFA says that more than half the home decoration fires in December are started by candles.
Here are a few stats about holiday fires:
- The top 3 days for home candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve;
- On average, 1 of every 45 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in death; and
- A heat source too close to the Christmas tree causes 1 in every 4 winter fires.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns;
- Read manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect;
- Make sure your tree is at least 3 feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles, or heat vents. Also, make sure your tree does not block exits; and
- Get rid of your tree after Christmas or when it is dry.
The NFPA advises that you conduct your own, or participate in, regular fire drills to make sure you know what to do in the event of a home fire. If you or someone you live with cannot escape alone, designate a member of the household to assist and decide on backups in case the designee isn’t home.
Fire drills are also a good opportunity to make sure that everyone is able to hear and respond to smoke alarms.
The USFA campaign adds, “It’s fun to decorate for the winter holidays, but holiday decorations can increase your risk for a home fire. As you deck the halls this season, be fire smart.”