How To Be “Fire Smart” This Holiday Season
If not managed properly, holiday decorations can quickly become dangerous
FARGO, N.D. — Some say it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Lights, candles and Christmas trees begin to fill the homes of many, as the holiday quickly approaches.
But with the beauty and cheer of holiday decorations comes an often forgotten concern: the added risk of a house fire.
“I think that we’re all kind of aware of the hazards that it presents, but sometimes it’s easy to forget,” says Dep. Fargo Fire Marshal Dawn Stollenwerk.
The National Fire Protection Association says between 2013 and 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 Christmas tree home fires every year.
“Holidays do present added fire hazards within your home, and so there are certain steps you can take to reduce those hazards,” says Stollenwerk.
The first step begins with your tree.
“If you’re getting a live tree, when you bring it in, make sure you have the bottom two inches of the tree cut off. Make sure the base of the stand always has water in the tree. If you’re using lights on your tree, make sure that the lights — the strand isn’t worn, cracked. If any of the bulbs are loose, the string should be replaced,” she says
The NFPA also recommends making sure your tree is at least three feet away from any heat source.
They say it’s equally as important to know what to do with your tree once the holidays are over.
“When you remove it from your home, make sure it’s not in your garage, make sure it’s not set next to your home, actually remove it a distance from your home,” Stollenwerk says.
Christmas trees aren’t the only thing to be careful with.
December is the peak month for home candle fires.
“The Fire Department, we would recommend that you use LED candles. They’re starting to look more realistic. If you insist on having a real candle, never leave it unattended. Blow it out any time you leave. Make sure it’s in a sturdy base and don’t burn it all the way down so that it’s possibly touching the base. Make sure it’s a foot away from anything that can burn, but we would recommend an LED candle instead,” she says.
Dep. Stollenwerk says keeping these tips in mind will help keep you and your family safe this holiday season.