With COVID on the move this holiday season, things will certainly be different as we close out the year. With family gatherings either limited or not in the cards at all, people will inevitably be looking for other ways to spread some holiday cheer. That could include louder light displays, more grandiose Christmas trees, etc.

However you decide to celebrate, it’s important to make sure you’re being safe. Unfortunately, when it comes to the holidays – there are lots of potential fire safety issues – and every year, we like to remind you all of some of the things you should be thinking of. It’s bad enough that we can’t get together with family, it’d be even worse if an accident happened due to a fire.

That being said, here are some holiday fire safety tips for you to keep in mind this season so that everyone can stay as safe as possible. Let’s jump right in!

Christmas Trees

The good news is that Christmas tree fires aren’t widespread, but when they do occur, they take an awful lot along with them. About 200 Christmas tree fires happen nationally each year – but of those 200, there were 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in property damage. So while it’s a long shot, you still need to be mindful. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re on the lookout for the perfect tree:

  • If you choose a live tree – make sure it’s healthy and fresh. If the tree seems even a little dried out, pass on it. The dryer a tree is – the more likely it can catch fire. 
  • Before you put it in your stand, cut two inches off the bottom. This will help it absorb and maintain its health longer, thus minimizing the risk of a fire. Also – be conscious of where you’re positioning the tree as well. Try to keep it away from places like a fireplace, radiator, candles, lamps, and other potential heat sources. Make sure your stand always has water in it.
  • Check your lights. Make sure there aren’t loose bulbs, frayed wires, and above all else – make sure the bulbs are UL-listed for tree and indoor use. And always, always turn off the lights before you go to bed. 
  • Throw away the tree when you’re done. Having a dry tree with dry wood is rarely a good thing to have on your property. Most towns have a disposal service, so take advantage of it.

Holiday Decorations

This is a big one. There are nearly 1,000 fires every year due to holiday decorations. Like Christmas trees – there aren’t a ton of these fires – but the fires that do occur are devastating. Whenever it comes to your decorations and yard displays, keep the following in mind:

  • Always choose decorations that are flame retardant or resistant. And when you place them indoors, keep them away from heat sources. If they’re outdoor decorations, make sure they’re not all drawing power from the same outlet or source. Spread them out!
  • Also, check your light strands, particularly for outdoor usage. If you read the box they come on; they’ll tell you whether they’re suited for outdoor usage or not. It’s also doubly important to make sure there aren’t any exposed wires, fraying or loose bulbs. Especially if you’re playing around in the snow, this can cause you to get electrocuted, can cause fires or power outages. Make sure everything is in good, working order.

This holiday season hasn’t and won’t be easy or normal for anyone, but being more mindful of these potential hazards will most definitely make sure that it doesn’t get any worse. It’s been a tough year for all of us, and we’re all eager to partake in a little extra holiday cheer. Just be mindful that you’re channeling it the right way. Good luck, and stay safe!