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Safety Tips To Keep Your Holidays Free From Fire


As you can see in the National Fire Protection Association’s video above, it takes seconds for your house to be engulfed in flames from a tiny spark on a dry Christmas tree. During the holidays, there are several things you can do to protect your family and your home from these horrible mishaps.

Rebecca Garber, a nurse practitioner with the Western States Burn Center at North Colorado Medical Center, provided the following tips from the NFPA to help you get through the holidays safe and sound.

Tree Placement

  • When you first bring your fresh tree home, cut 2 inches off the base before putting it into the tree stand.
  • Put the tree at least 3 feet away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Add water to the tree stand every day and make sure the pine needles are not dry and falling off—needles should be easily bendable.
  • Never block an exit with your Christmas tree.


  • Lights should be tested by an independent testing lab and should have a label saying they have been tested.
  • Choose indoor or outdoor lights appropriate for where you want to use them.
  • Be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations on the maximum number of strands you can connect together.
  • Replace any string of lights that have worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Always turn off the tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas

  • Get rid of the tree shortly after Christmas—dried out trees are a fire danger and should never be left in your house, garage or outside against your home.
  • Bring outdoor lights inside after the holidays to reduce the potential hazard (and make the lights last longer).

General Holiday Tips

  • If you like having lit candles, be cautious of them—keep them away from decorations, trees and children and pets.
  • Test your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working as expected.
  • Remind your family of the home fire escape plan.
  • Never leave the stove unattended when you are cooking.
  • Create a “kid-free zone” of about 3 feet around any fireplace or space heater.

The holidays are a wonderful time, so keep it that way with just a bit of precaution. A little time spent making sure everything is in order could save you from tragedy later.

Safety Holidays

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