The next few months are a magical time filled with cozy fires, warm cocoa, and holiday joy. Without the proper precautions, our winter wonderland can quickly turn into a holiday hazard. Between 2015 and 2019 alone, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires started by Christmas trees per year. These fires lead to almost $10 million in direct property damage annually.

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. This holiday season we want you and your family to stay safe. Taking these extra steps can help protect your home and your family from fires, electrical damage, and more.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • 1

    CHRISTMAS TREES

    According to the USFA, x, a Christmas tree is ‘almost explosive’ when it catches fire. If you plan on purchasing a real tree make sure it is fresh and always cut down the trunk to promote water uptake. Whether you buy a real tree or not, always keep it away from any heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, or candles.

  • 2

    CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

    Before you deck out your home with strings of lights, always make sure to inspect them for any damaged bulbs, frayed electrical cords, or broken sockets. Double-check that your extension cords are good for indoor and outdoor use. When you do hang up your lights avoid using nails or staples as it can increase the risk of fire. Instead, use UL-rated clips or hangers. Always turn off any Christmas lights before going to bed.

  • 3

    COOKING

    During the holidays it’s even easier to get distracted and start a kitchen fire. Don’t leave any food unattended while cooking and always keep a fire extinguisher handy. Double-check your smoke detectors are all working properly.

  • 4

    CANDLES AND HEATERS

    Avoid candle and portable heater fires by making sure that there are at least three feet between a lit candle or heater and anything flammable. Do not place candles on an uneven base. Purchase a steady candle holder, or cover them with a hurricane globe. Never leave a burning candle or heating unit unattended. Consider flameless LED candles to put on your window sills.