How to Avoid Fire Hazards During the Holidays
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- If you have an artificial tree, make sure it's labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
- If you choose a fresh tree, make sure the green needles don't fall off when touched; before placing it in the stand, cut one to two inches from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand, and be sure to water it daily.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit and is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, and/or heat vents or lights.
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory, and make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor use.
- Replace any string of lights with worn/broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree. Read the manufacturer's instructions for the number of LED strands to connect.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the room or going to bed.
- After Christmas, get rid of the tree. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home or garage or placed outside the home.
- Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
Candles: December is the peak month for home candle fires, with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day representing two of the five top days for associated fires. NFPA statistics show that more than half of all candle fires start when placing them too close to things that can burn.
- Consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles. If you do use traditional candles, keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed.
- Use candle holders that are sturdy, won't tip over, and are placed on uncluttered surfaces.
- Avoid using candles in the bedroom, where two of five U.S. candle fires begin, or other areas where people may fall asleep.
- Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.
For additional resources and information about holiday fire safety, including audio clips, videos, and safety sheets, visit www.nfpa.org/holiday.