Winter Holiday Fire Safety Tips: Part 1

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It’s the holiday season! This is a time for holiday traditions, making memories with friends and family, and spreading holiday cheer. Stay safe during this time with these fire safety tips.

Holiday Lights & Decorations

When decorating for the holiday season, only use flame-retardant or non-flammable decorations. Ensure that any decorations outside are intended for outdoor use, especially lights. Indoor lights typically have thinner cords, so they are easier to damage and can catch fire if exposed to harsh weather conditions. When fastening holiday lights to the exterior of your home, be sure to securely fasten them with insulated hooks or nails. This will help avoid electrocution or fire hazards.

Here are some additional safety tips for holiday lights:

  • Always inspect your holiday lights before using them. Check for frayed wires or excessive wear and throw away any strands with damaged wires.
  • Never link more than three strands of holiday lights together! Read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure it is safe to connect multiple strands.
  • Do not run lights through windows or doors. This results in fraying from the pressure and causes them to be susceptible to shock, which can cause a fire.
  • Turn off your holiday lights before leaving the house or going to bed.

Christmas Trees

As you are getting your Christmas tree set up and decorated, be sure that it is at least three feet away from any heat sources and room exits. More than one in every five Christmas tree fires are the result of placing the tree too close to heat sources. To further reduce the risk of your tree catching fire, be sure to water live trees daily. This will keep it from becoming too dry, which makes it easier to catch fire. If your tree does get too dry, get rid of it as soon as possible. If you have an artificial tree, check the label to make sure it is fire-resistant. You will want to keep these trees away from heat sources, as well, and never use electric lights on metallic trees.


We love the comfort and nostalgia of a crackling fireplace as much as the rest, but there are important safety factors to consider.

  • Keep flammable items (e.g. wrapper paper, rugs, clothing) at least three feet away from the hearth.
  • Always use a fire screen to keep embers and logs from escaping.
  • If you hang your stockings on the mantel, be sure to move them to a safe location before lighting a fire.
  • Make sure all embers are fully extinguished before leaving the fire unattended, especially if you are leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Do NOT throw wrapping paper in the fireplace. This creates too much heat and can cause a chimney fire. Excessive heat in the chimney will ignite any combustibles in there.

Additional Resources

Continue reading holiday fire safety tips in Part 2 of this blog series. If you would like to learn more about holiday fire safety, check out USFA or Red Cross for more information.

If you have been affected by a fire or natural disaster in Oregon or Washington or if you would like to learn more about how we can help, reach out to us today.

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