Our holiday traditions can increase the risk of home fire. Learn how to stay safe while you celebrate.Our holiday traditions can increase the risk of home fire. Learn how to stay safe while you celebrate.
From Thanksgiving to New Year, it’s time to enjoy our favorite holiday traditions, celebrating around the table, and making new memories with friends and family. To ensure that the festivities are both happy and safe, here are some useful holiday season fire safety tips from Red Cross regions across America.
Cooking and Baking
No holiday celebration would be complete without a feast, but be sure to take precautions against kitchen fires when you’re cooking and baking. That includes keeping children and flammable items such as grocery bags and kitchen towels away from the stove and oven. Clean up greasy spills as you go to remove another fire hazard. If you’re deep frying a turkey, keep the fryer well away from structures and trees, make sure your turkey is fully thawed, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your fryer. See the National Fire Protection Association's guidelines for Cooking Safety.
Old fashioned Christmas celebrations featured wax candles on live tree branches – inside homes! Today we know better, but risks still remain. If your family prefers real trees, be sure to water yours every day because dry needles and wood catch fire more easily. Go ahead and use many strings of light, but don’t plug more than 3 strings into each other (opt for a power strip instead). Discard light strings that are worn or broken. And be sure to always unplug the lights before leaving the house or going to sleep.
For more tips on fire-smart Christmas decorations, visit:
It’s possible to buy electric menorahs and kinaras, but if you prefer traditional candles you can still celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in a fire smart way. Keep flammable items, including curtains and holiday decorations, at least 3 feet away from your candles. Place your menorah or kinara on a non-flammable surface to catch the melting candle wax, such as a tray lined with aluminum foil. Never leave lit candles unattended.
Nothing takes the chill off winter holidays like the light and heat of a fire on your hearth. Just be sure to keep “fuel” – from wrapping paper to rugs to clothing – at least three feet away from the flames. Use a fire screen to keep embers and logs from escaping. Lastly, make sure all embers are fully extinguished before you turn in for the night.
We usually talk about firework safety for the Fourth of July, but many New Year celebrations also include fireworks. If you’ll be setting off fireworks at home, choose a location away from buildings and trees. Be sure your spectators, including children and pets, stay well back. Keep a supply of water or fire extinguisher at hand. If you live in an area that’s experiencing a drought, consider cancelling the show this year – a stray spark that lands on dry grass or leaves can lead to a wildfire.