Holiday Fire Safety Tips

The winter holiday season is an especially important time to practice fire safety as it brings a new set of potential fire hazards directly into your home. Whether you traditionally use Christmas trees, lights, yule logs, or Hanukkah candles, practicing fire safety is absolutely essential for you and your family this season.

Christmas Trees can be particularly problematic and according to recent statistics, they cause over 200 fires in the US per year, resulting in about 6 deaths and 22 injuries. In fact, one out of every 40 Christmas tree fires resulted in a tragic death as opposed to the national average of one death per 140 for other home fires.

Choosing a tree, means first of all deciding between real and artificial and determining which is best and safest for your family. If you go with an artificial tree, make sure to verify with the retailer that it is certified as safe and flame retardant. If you choose a real tree, it is crucial to pick something green and fresh txmastree and standhat hasn’t dried up. To test this, you should be able to touch the green needles without having them fall off the branch. Once the tree is in your home or apartment, it is important to use a tree stand and to keep it watered, ensuring that your tree does not dry up and become a fire hazard (however, if you use an artificial tree, watering it may not be the best decision). The stand and tree should be placed at least 3 feet from any potential fire source, such as a heater, fireplace, or candle. When choosing lights to string on the tree or anywhere in your home, it is crucial to make sure the lights are unbroken and are safe for indoor use. The manufacturer will often provide safety instructions and it is important to actually read these, so your tree remains something safe and fun, and not something potentially dangerous. Finally, one should turn off Christmas lights before leaving or going to bed, a practice which will keep you safe and conserve electricity. Outdoor lights present a different set of potential hazards especially when using extension cords and stringing electrical wires from your home. Any cords or wires you use should be approved for outdoor use and securely fastened so they cannot be displaced by wind. Make sure that the lights themselves are also safe for outdoor use and are not damaged or broken. Furthermore, when using any kind of lights, be sure to avoid overloading electrical outlets which can overheat and potentially cause fires


  Yule logs, Hannukah candles and other sources of actual fire, can bring even more potential fire hazards into your home and make practicing fire safety with your family even more important. If you traditionally burn a yule log, make sure you are using a fireplace that is safe and clean. The National Fire Protection Association recommends cleaning a chimney at least once a year, and this will also help Santa make a clean entrance. The fire should be lit safely and closed with a fire retardant gate so that no pets or children can get too close. Make sure to keep a fire extinguisher nearby and keep other flammable materials away.

Hannukah candles should similarly be placed at least 2 feet away from any flammable objects and should be placed on a non-flammable surface such as glass or metal. They should be lit in a secure and stable location where they cannot fall down or be knocked over by kids or pets.

When choosing a menora, make sure that the menora is safe and  able to be used with fire. Children will often make menora art projects in school that are unsafe for actual fire use and may burn down if used. If your children also light a menorah, they should only do so under adult supervision and should never be given matches or any fire materials. Lastly, Christmas Trees can be particularly problematic and according to recent statistics, they cause over 200 fires in the US per year, resulting in about 6 deaths and 22 injuries. In fact, one out of every 40 Christmas tree fires resulted in a tragic death as opposed to the national average of one death per 140 for other home fires. Choosing a tree, means first of all deciding between real and artificial and determining which is best and safest for your family. If you go with an artificial tree, make sure to verify with the retailer that it is certified as safe and flame retardant. If you choose a real tree, it is crucial to pick something green and fresh tfully-lit-menorahlike Christmas lights, it is crucial to not leave Hanukkah lit candles unattended. Plan ahead so that you and your family can enjoy this beautiful tradition without having to compromise on the safety of your home or family.