If You Have These Holiday Decorations, Watch Out For These Fire Hazards

It's the holiday season, and people around the world are getting festive. Lights, trees, decorations galore, it certainly is a time to be holly and jolly. But what isn't holly and jolly are the numerous fire hazards that come with a plethora of holiday decorations. And we have a feeling you are not going to want to experience an emergency such as a house fire during the holidays.

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In order to ensure that you are being the safest you can with your holiday decorations, we have pulled up a few home fire hazards to prevent when decorating and celebrating during the holidays.

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The Tree

hang-decorations_290162711 decorate christmas treeLorena Fernandez/Shutterstock

The tree is probably the most iconic holiday decoration, and also one that can easily burst into flames if not taken care of well. For your first step, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends you find a tree that is fresh (which you can tell by evaluating the freshness of the tree’s pine needles). When you bring the tree home, make sure to keep it at least three feet away from a heated source, like fireplaces, radiators, or even candles. Keep the tree far from your exit, in case something does happen and you need to get out of the house quickly. And lastly, be sure to always add water to your tree consistently. It will keep it fresh, and fewer pine needles will fall off (causing even more of a hazard).

Candles

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Candles sure do create a cozy holiday environment, but they are dangerous for your household if you do not attend to them properly. Did you know that candle fires are four times as likely to cause fires during the winter holidays, and two out of five of holiday decoration fires are caused by candles? Typically these fires occur when a candle is unattended and close to flammable materials that can easily catch (like a tree, for example).  It is recommended to keep candles at least 12 inches away from a flammable source.

Christmas Lights

Christmas lights_175155356Eric Francis/Shutterstock

Lastly, the third popular holiday decor item that can easily catch flames are your lights. They may look gorgeous hanging on your house or your tree, but if not assess properly before hanging these lights can easily turn into a beautiful disaster. First, evaluate if the lights are meant for indoors or outdoor use—yes, it does make a huge difference. It may be tempting to leave your lights on all night, but it is recommended by NFPA to turn them off when you leave the house and when you go to bed. Since out of four tree fires are caused by electrical problems, you always want to make sure to check the wiring of your lights. Are any of the wires in the lights frayed? Bulbs missing? Excessive wear from previous years of decorating? A proper evaluation may take time, but it will keep you safe in the long run.

And lastly, make sure that all of your smoke alarms are working properly. U.S. Fire Administration states that having a properly functioning smoke alarm reduces your risk of dying in a fire by nearly half. Want to make sure all of your bases are covered? We have 12 fire safety tips you need to know to keep your family safe.