Preventing Fires During the Holiday Season

With Christmas trees, festive lighting, roaring fireplaces, and preparing meals for family gatherings, the holiday season represents many potential fire dangers. As a member of the National Fire Protection Association, Mountain Alarm offers these stats, tips, and guidelines from the NFPA to ensure your safety during the holiday season.

• An estimated average of 790 home structure fires per year begin with decorations, and that doesn’t even include Christmas trees. These fires caused an average of four deaths per year, 33 injuries, and $14 million in property damage.

• Lighting and other electrical equipment was involved in more than two in five Christmas tree fires.

• Nearly one in five Christmas tree fires was started by lamps or bulbs. Eight percent were started by candles.

• Roughly two of every five Christmas tree fires started in the living room.

• Candle fires peaked in December and January with 22 percent of candle fires occurring during these two months.

• Thanksgiving was the peak day for cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

• Thirty-three percent of home decoration fires were started by candles. Of these fires, 46 percent happened in January. Cooking started nearly 20 percent of all decoration fires.

Source: NFPA's Applied Research

Christmas tree & decoration fires

Carefully decorating your home can help make your holidays safer. Between 2017-2021, there were an average of 150 home fires per year that started with Christmas trees. Find the freshest tree possible and keep it watered. Keep your tree away from anything that may present a fire danger. Ensure that your plugs, wires, bulbs, and all electric-powered decorations are in good working order without cracks or fraying. Play it safe by discarding any lighted decorations that appear damaged or worn. Do not overload outlets, extension cords, or power strips. Make sure none of the cords are hot to the touch and keep them in view and free of obstructions.

Christmas tree disposal

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, they can grow very fast. As Christmas trees dry, they obviously become more flammable. Thirty percent of Christmas tree fires occurred in January. Dispose of your tree in a timely manner, particularly if it shows signs of drying like losing its needles. Check with your municipality. Many cities offer free Christmas tree pick-up or green waste disposal sites. If you have an artificial tree, keep it away from all heat sources and use lighting approved by the manufacturer. It’s also a good idea to look for artificial trees rated as fire resistant.

Holiday cooking

In 2021, the three worst days for home fires caused by cooking were: Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve. That's why it's important to follow our Cooking Safety Tips while entertaining for the holidays.

Please stay safe during the holidays while enjoying all the traditions that come with celebrating the season. And if you require a fire protection system or alarm monitoring, please call the experts at Mountain Alarm at 1-888-349-3455.