How to Avoid Disaster During the Holiday Season

Fire risks increase significantly around the holidays. Let’s dive into a few potential risks and how to keep fire hazards at bay as you deck the halls and prepare for Christmas.

Uncle Lewis Christmas tree

Christmas Tree Safety

Christmas trees can be highly flammable if you’re not careful. Here are some ways you can make sure your Christmas tree is not at-risk of catching fire:

  • When buying an artificial tree, check for a label that indicates it is fire-resistant.
  • If you opt for a live tree, inspect the pine needles before you buy it. They should be green and intact, and you should be able to bend the needles without breaking them.
  • Cut a couple inches off of the tree trunk before placing it in a stand with water. This will allow it to better absorb water.
  • Water your tree daily to keep it from drying out. Wondering how much water your tree needs? To give you an idea, a 6-foot tall tree will require 1 gallon of water per day. Taller trees require more than this, and shorter trees require less. 
  • Whether it’s live or artificial, avoid setting up your Christmas tree near heat sources, such as a fireplace, radiator, vent, or heater. 
  • ⅓ of Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical issues. If you plug the lights on your Christmas tree into a power strip or extension cord, limit it to three strings of lights per power strip or extension cord to avoid an overload.
  • Only use lights designated for indoor use on your tree.
  • Get rid of any cords that are damaged.
  • Make sure to turn off or unplug your Christmas tree lights before you go to bed or leave the house. 

Candle Safety

Candles are a potential fire hazard year-round, but according to the NFPA, Christmas Day holds the record for fires started by candles. In order to prevent this…

  • Keep candles at a safe distance from other objects and materials that could catch fire.
  • Never leave a lit candle unattended, especially if there are children in the house.
  • Matches and lighters should also be kept out of reach and out of sight from children.
  • Switching to battery-operated candles is a great way to enjoy the ambiance of a candle while eliminating a potential fire hazard.
The Grinch Fireplace

Fireplace Safety

There’s nothing cozier than sitting by the fireplace at Christmas time. But to safely enjoy your fireplace, there are a few things you should do beforehand:

  • Make sure that the flue is clear to prevent a chimney fire. If you have not yet had your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected this year, have it done as soon as possible so you can enjoy your fireplace with a little more peace of mind this holiday season.
  • Before lighting your fireplace, remove any flammable objects from the area around it. If stockings or other decorations are hanging from your mantle, consider taking them down before lighting a fire and putting them back up once it’s extinguished.
  • Always keep a screen in front of the fireplace when it’s lit.
Buddy the Elf spaghetti

Cooking Safety

Cooking is a leading cause of house fires year-round, but the top three dates for cooking-related fires are Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. To prevent a kitchen fire over the holidays…

  • Stay in the kitchen whenever the oven or stove is in use.
  • Most kitchen fires start on the stove. Keep any flammable items away from the stovetop, including oven mitts, towels, and wooden utensils.
  • When cooking in a pot or pan, turn its handle toward the back of the stove to avoid someone bumping into it.
  • Keep a lid close by in case you have to smother a small grease fire.
  • If a fire starts in the oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Call 911 if the fire does not eventually go out on its own.
  • It’s best to avoid cooking when you feel drowsy or have consumed alcohol.
  • If kids are passing through the kitchen, make sure they stay at least three feet away from the stove.
Kevin's battle plan Home Alone

Bonus Home Protection Tips for the Holidays

  • It’s important to regularly test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If their batteries haven’t been changed the past six months, it’s time to do so. If any detectors are older than ten years, they should be replaced.
  • Poinsettias, pine, mistletoe, and other traditional holiday plants can be harmful to your pets. If you have plants in your home, keep them out of reach for your pets, or simply opt for artificial plants. 
  • If you’re traveling over the holidays, avoid posting about your trip on social media until after you get home. If the wrong person sees that you’re out of town, they may take the opportunity to try breaking into your home.

We encourage you to keep all of these tips in mind as you celebrate the season. From all of us here at Kiser Construction, have a safe and very merry Christmas!