Holiday Fire Safety

Woman holds a small child while sipping from a mug in front of a fire.

December 07, 2022 | Tags: Wellness

The holidays are a time spent celebrating and spending time with loved ones, many people forget the holidays also bring an increased risk for home fires. Common causes of home fires during this season include candles, Christmas trees, holiday light displays and cooking. Luckily, there are preventive steps you can take to stop home fires before they happen.


Candles are often used in homes as decoration, especially around the holidays. According to the National Fire Protection Association, candle fires peak in December, and on average, 20 home candle fires are reported per day in the United States. Review the following tips to prevent a candle fire in your home:

  • When lighting candles be mindful of your surroundings. Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from materials that can catch fire, like curtains, tablecloths or other holiday decorations.
  • Remember to blow out candles before leaving the room, leaving your home or going to bed.
  • Only place candles on uncluttered surfaces to prevent them from tipping over. 
  • Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.
  • Consider using flameless candles, which can look just like a real flame!

Christmas Trees

Annually, fire departments in the United States respond to an average of 160 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. The following tips can help prevent Christmas tree-related structure fires and help keep your family safe:

  • If you have a real tree, make sure you are watering it daily. If you have an artificial tree, be sure it’s labeled by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
  • When decorating your tree, choose lights labeled for indoor use. Ensure any strings of lights with broken or fraying cords are replaced.
  • Do not link more than three strands of lights unless the manufacturer’s instructions state it is okay to do so.
  • Always turn off decorative lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • After Christmas, properly dispose of the tree. Dried out trees should not be left in the home or garage.


During the holidays, many people spent extra time in the kitchen. It's important to be aware of your surroundings in the kitchen and take precautions against grease fires and fires caused by electrical appliances.

  • Stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking and do not leave your stovetop or stove unattended.
  • Keep your stovetop clean. Substances left on the surface of your stovetop can easily catch fire.
  • If you need to step out of the kitchen, check on your food regularly and set timers as a reminder.
  • In the event of a fire, do not hesitate - get out as quickly as possible. If possible, close the door behind you to stop the spread of the fire. Call 911 as soon as you are outside and safe.

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Sources: National Fire Protection Association