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Holiday Fire Safety Tips

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Holiday Decorating

  • Use caution with holiday decorations and whenever possible, choose those made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant or non-combustible materials.
  • Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible materials, and do not use candles to decorate Christmas trees.
  • Purchase only lights and electrical decorations bearing the name of an independent testing lab, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and maintenance.
  • Carefully inspect new and previously used light strings and replace damaged items before plugging lights in. Do not overload extension cords.
  • Check your strands of lights to determine the number of strands that may be connected. Connect no more than three strands of push-in bulbs and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Always unplug lights before replacing light bulbs or fuses.
  • Don't mount lights in any way that can damage the cord's wire insulation (i.e., using clips, not nails).
  • Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.
  • Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

Holiday Entertaining

  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. When cooking for holiday visitors, remember to keep an eye on the range.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Wherever you smoke, provide plenty of large, deep sturdy ashtrays and check them frequently. Cigarette butts can smolder in the trash and cause a fire, so completely douse cigarette butts with water before discarding.
  • After a party, always check on, between and under upholstery and cushions and inside trash cans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high, out of sight and reach of children (preferably in a locked cabinet). When smokers visit your home, ask them to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
  • Test your smoke alarms, and let guests know what your fire escape plan is.