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Tis the Season

Magically decorated Christmas Tree with balls, ribbons and red garlands on a blurred blue shiny, sparkling and fairy background


The holiday season is upon us all, which means we’re busy buying gifts for our loved ones, decorating our houses from top to bottom, and cooking up a storm in anticipation of a house full of guests.

Decorating for the holidays is a long-standing tradition that for many include having a Christmas tree decorated in your home. Unfortunately, some decorations may increase your chances of fire. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated average of 200 home structure fires per year that begin with Christmas trees. On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are much more likely to be deadly than most other fires.

Here are a few simple safety tips that can keep lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from causing a disaster:

  • Make sure to have working smoke alarms close to where all your family and guests will be sleeping.
  • Ensure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees.
  • Use Only Nonflammable Decorations.
  • Never overload an electrical outlet.
  • Do not leave holiday lights on unattended.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Water your Christmas tree every day.
  • Ensure all heat sources are no less than 3 feet away from your Christmas tree. In just over one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires, and 80% of those resulting in deaths, some type of heat sources, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.

The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) would like to wish you and your family a safe and wonderful holiday season!

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