Decking the Halls with Fire Safety

My favorite thing to do each season and holiday is to decorate. Whether it’s for the fall, Christmas, or Chinese New Year, I bring up my boxes of lights, decorations, and tableware from the basement and have at it.  (That’s a piece of my mantle pictured here.) 

While fun and festive, decorations can increase the risk of home fire.  US fire departments respond to just under 800 home decoration fires (not including Christmas trees) each year. More than two of every five decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.*

The NFPA® Winter Holidays page has information and resources to support fire and life safety (FLS) education efforts during this time of year, including tip sheets, videos, and downloadable social media assets.

Candle safety tips

  • Consider battery operated flameless candles (which look like real candles).
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets. Do not place lighted candles where they can be knocked over by children, pets, or anyone else.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches (30 cm) from anything that can burn, such as furniture, curtains, and other decorations.
  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room and/or go to bed.

Safe lighting tips

  • Check electrical cords often. Replace cracked, damaged, and loose electrical or extension cords. Do not try to repair them.
  • Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.Check the label.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions on how many strings of lights you can connect.
  • Some lights are approved for indoor and/or outdoor use.Check the label to make sure you are using the proper lights for your needs.

Watch and share the Deck the Halls with Fire Safety video.


*Statistics provided by NFPA Applied Research Division.

Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis, Sparky the Fire Dog® on Twitter and Facebook, and NFPA on Instagram to keep up with the latest in fire and life safety education.

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Andrea Vastis
Senior Director, Public Education, public health promotion & education professional passionate about eliminating disparities in access, education and resources.

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