Stay Safe from Home Fires this Holiday Season

The holiday season is a festive and joyous occasion. However, it’s also a dangerous part of the year. In the U.S., over 400 lives are claimed, more than 1,600 injuries occur and over $990 million in property damage is lost.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, taking simple, common-sense, life-saving steps will help ensure a safe and happy holiday – and you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty. Reduce the risk of home fires by following these important safety tips.

Holiday Trees

  • Do not use candles on or near the tree.
  • Place the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces and heaters.
  • If you have a live tree, keep it in a sturdy base filled with water. Check the water level every day.
  • Safely dispose of your tree before it becomes dangerously dry. Never burn the tree or tree parts in your fireplace.

Holiday Lights

  • Use “UL” approved lights.
  • Examine all indoor and outdoor lights for frayed cords and replace if necessary.
  • Lights should not touch combustible materials.
  • Indoor lights should never be used outdoors.
  • Avoid using extension cords, but if you do, follow instructions carefully.
  • Do not overload electrical circuits such as wall outlets and extension cords. Use a circuit strip.

Holiday Gift Wrap

  • Keep papers, bows and trims away from heat sources such as fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, etc.
  • Never burn gift wrappings in your fireplace.

Fireplaces and Wood Stoves

  • Have chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Leave glass doors open while burning a fire to prevent creosote buildup.
  • Install a stovepipe thermometer to help monitor flue temperature.

As a final precaution, make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, and ensure you have an escape plan, and practice it. Learn more online from the Fire and Rescue Department.

Ladder and Lifting Safety

This time of year many of us are putting up and taking down holiday lights on our house and lifting heavy boxes. In the video below, see how safety tips from the Fairfax County Risk Management Division can help you avoid injury during the holiday season.


During the holiday season, don’t be too busy to be safe.

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