House Fires Can be Avoided by Using Holiday Decorations Wisely

December 6, 2005

Statistics show the incidence of house fires increases during the winter holiday season, fueled in part by holiday decorations, candles and Christmas trees.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reminds citizens of holiday safety tips. There are some easy, commonsense things everyone can do to reduce their risk of a fire and keep the holiday season joyful for families.

According to the United States Fire Administration, fires caused by candles increase fourfold during the holidays, and each year, 200 house fires occur where Christmas trees are the initial source of ignition. However, residents don’t have to give up holiday decorations in the interest of safety.

Some safety tips include:

* Maintain holiday lights. Avoid overloading electrical outlets.
* Use only nonflammable decorations that are placed away from heat vents and if using an artificial tree, make sure it’s flame retardant.
* Avoid using candles.
* Select a fresh Christmas tree and keep it in water at all times; needles on fresh trees should be green and should not fall off easily.
* Make a fire safety plan and escape route; practice.

For fire-safety reasons, residents should not place lights on damaged roofs or on blue roofs.

If there is a fire emergency in any residence, including FEMA travel trailers or mobile homes, Get Out and Stay Out, then notify the local fire department using the 911 system or proper local emergency number.

For additional safety tips, visit or contact the local fire department.

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