Holiday Fire Safety Tips- Philadelphia Insurance Companies

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

The holiday season is in full swing, with millions of people observing a dynamic tapestry of religious and spiritual traditions. The increased use of candles, fireplaces, and combustible decorations means more risk for fire. It is important that employees and tenants know the property rules and regulations as they relate to holiday fire safety for your organization. Below are some tips and suggestions to help make the holiday safe and joyful.

Candle Fire Safety

The National Candle Association says that over a third of candle sales occur during the holiday season, using over 30 million pounds of wax. That's a lot of flickering flames lighting up homes and businesses. However, these festive sources of cheer can also be sources of disaster. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that while over 30 percent of home decoration fires were started by candles year round, that percentage jumps to almost half of such fires being caused by candles during the month of December.

The most immediate solution to protect against candle fires is to use flameless candles, but it may be difficult to forgo the use of traditional candles for important traditions such as lighting the menorah during Hanukkah. If so, follow these tips to help keep people and property safe:

  • If you exit, extinguish it. Never leave a burning candle unattended
  • Place candles at least 12 inches away from other highly combustible items, such as other decorations, drapes, and furniture
  • Candle holders and the surfaces where they are placed should be sturdy, difficult to tip over, and clear of clutter
  • Children should not be left alone in a room with lit candles or any open flame
  • Never use a candle if oxygen cylinders are used in the home or building

Do's and Don'ts for Holiday Lights

Clark W. Griswold wanted to provide his family with a stunning Christmas light display in the holiday classic National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but gave us a list of decorating don'ts in the process. Here are some tips for using holiday lights safely:

  • Do not overcrowd outlets. This Old House suggests keeping an outlet's total load under 15 amps
  • Check Christmas lights for damaged or exposed wiring and missing or broken bulbs and replace as needed
  • Lights should be used based on the manufacturer's instructions; inside lights should not be used outside and vice versa
  • Check the condition of extension cords and power strips
  • DO NOT DAISY CHAIN POWER STRIPS (plugging one power strip into another)
  • Use clips or hooks instead of nails or staples when hanging lights so they are not damaged

Christmas Tree Fire Prevention

The Christmas tree is one of the most recognizable symbols of the holiday season, but is also one of the top causes of holiday fires. Keep these tips in mind when trimming the tree:

  • If using a real tree, go for the freshest tree possible and keep it watered daily so it does not dry out
  • Never use lit candles as tree decorations
  • Keep trees at least three feet from any heat sources (fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, etc.)

According to the NFPA, one of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. Check out this video to see just how quickly a dried out Christmas tree can burn: